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“A Heart Deeply Affected”: Musings on Jonathan Edwards, William Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, and Edward Albee

Hendrickson Publishers Blog

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers

I am bold in saying this, but I believe that no one is ever changed, either by doctrine, by hearing the Word, or by the preaching or teaching of another, unless the affections are moved by these things. No one ever seeks salvation, no one ever cries for wisdom, no one ever wrestles with God, no one ever kneels in prayer or flees from sin, with a heart that remains unaffected. In a word, there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected by those things.

—Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections (1746)

A Tale of Two Plays (and a Play within a Play)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I have seen two plays lately: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. The first one…

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What It Means to Take up Your Cross: A Lenten Meditation

Hendrickson Publishers Blog

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director

“It’s not so simple following Jesus to Jerusalem. What he says is so grave and serious.” These are the opening words in a chapter titled “Take up Your Cross” in Barbed Wire and Thorns: A Christian’s Reflection on Suffering, by Swedish writer and pastor Lena Malmgren. “If any want to become my followers,” she continues with Jesus’ words, “let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”

In this time of Lenten reflection, we need to ask ourselves what Jesus means by this. How can we take up our cross and follow him? Perhaps Luke in his Gospel can shed a bit more light on this statement from Jesus: “If…

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The Manifestation of Christ to the World

Hendrickson Publishers Blog

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director

If you’ve been in the stores recently, you’ve probably noticed that the Christmas stuff is gone, the Valentine candy is heavily discounted, and Easter baskets, plastic eggs, and pastel-colored candy now fill the shelves (with maybe a few shamrock items displayed nearby for a bit of Irish luck on St. Patrick’s Day). But between the “major holidays” of Christmas and Easter, we have the seasons of Epiphany and then Lent.

In these last days of Epiphany—which climaxes with Shrove Monday and Tuesday (or “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras in French) before Ash Wednesday (March 1 in 2017)—let’s take a moment to focus on the celebration of Jesus Christ as he was revealed to the world during his earthly ministry. From the Greek word meaning “appearance” or “manifestation,” Epiphany is the joyful season that follows Christmas (which actually ends on the twelfth day of Christmas, January 5!)…

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Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom: The Continuing Legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr

Hendrickson Publishers Blog

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers

“O God, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”
—Reinhold Niebuhr

This famous prayer, known as the Serenity Prayer, was jotted down on a piece of paper in 1934 by Reinhold Niebuhr for a sermon he gave at a small church in Massachusetts. Present at this service was his next-door neighbor, Howard Chandler Robbins, dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. When Robbins asked for a copy, Niebuhr handed him the paper and said, “Here, take the prayer. I have no further use for it.” This prayer would go on to impact the lives of countless millions, including military chaplains on the battlefield during World War II and members of the international organization Alcoholics Anonymous, who still use…

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15 Marks of the Christian Life from The Paradox of Holiness by Donald G. Bloesch

Hendrickson Publishers Blog

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers

Donald Bloesch teaching at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

There are books that ought to be read. And then there are books that must be read. The Paradox of Holiness and Faith in Search of Obedience are books that must be read by those among us who seek to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in language we can understand—language that has the power to lift up our hearts, encourage our spirits, and strengthen our backbones. These books present us with a vision of God who is truly God; not a hobby or an image of ourselves, but God who—in love deeper, richer, and more demanding than we can imagine—reaches out to embrace all of us living amid the fractures, violence, and heartache present in the world today.

—Frederick R. Trost, President (Retired)
Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of…

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