Summer favorites

I plan to continue writing about more mystics in the coming months but it's too darn hot right now. Instead here are some fun, informative, and interesting things I'm into this summer. 



My life is proof of the saying, "So many books, so many children climbing on me"...but I've managed to read a few good ones this summer.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: a tough narrative about a girl who is a witness to a police shooting. The story digs deep into the lives of those affected by racism and police brutality. It's hard but worthy read that asks us all to empathize and understand. 

2. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken was one of my favorite reads of the summer so far. It has romance, pirates, and spans several centuries, asking the question: what would time travel be like for an African American man who wouldn't be accepted in every period and country?

3. And finally, I wrote a book review of one of my other favorite reads for the summer: Birthing Hope by Rachel Marie Stone. I'll send you to the book review to understand why I loved it so much. 

Podcast episodes:

1. America Ferrera and John Paul Lederach speak to Krista Tippett at an On Being conference. They discuss how to remain hopeful in a climate of fear, how to balance self-righteous anger with kindness, and how art is essential in informing and influencing social change. 

2. Richard Beck, a professor at my alma mater Abilene Christian University, gives a talk at a Lectureship series at Pepperdine. The theme of the Lectureship is the Holy Spirit. This might sound like a normal topic for a Christian/Bible conference but for the Church of Christ tradition (the one I was raised in), the Holy Spirit is the silent member of the Trinity, only stirring a Christian in very quiet and Biblical ways. Beck's topic "Disenchantment with Disenchantment" is appropriate then, as he talks about how many Christians have lost a mysterious and sacred view of God. Here come the mystics....


3. I recently sat down with Lisa Delay of the podcast Spark My Muse. Her questions were so thoughtful and our discussion so delightful that I have to sing her praises. She's a fabulous interviewer and a kind person. I will post our conversation in a few weeks when it comes out but until then, check out some of her other episodes

4. Last month, I did a short interview with the Ohio Mennonite Conference podcast hosts Bill Seymour and Thomas Dunn. If you want a brief introduction to my book and our life, listen to it here.



I love music but the truth is, if you look at what's on heavy rotation on my Apple music, you'll see the soundtrack to Trolls, Nursery Rhymes, and Peanut Butter Jelly Time. Guess who's been in charge of my music lately?

So what music is left for me? Lately I've been listening to the Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo, to the Indigo Girls, and to 70s folk . But the true soundtrack of our family life right now is our friend and songwriter Bryan Moyer Suderman whose profoundly simple lyrics and singable melodies are beloved by our kids and by us. 


Other things: 

Sarah Quezada is a fellow Herald Press author whose book Love Undocumented is very timely. We are in a crisis with immigration policies, border policies and ICE raids that have separated children from their families. Quezada's book "wrestles with the Christian response to immigration...She calls on the church to educate their congregations and address the uncomfortable question: What will we do if Christlike behavior becomes criminalized? Quezada challenges readers to overcome barriers and welcome strangers, regardless of their immigration status."


Besides recommending her book, I've really enjoyed receiving Sarah's email newsletter "The Road Map" in which she offers all kinds of news and information about immigration. You can sign up for it here: 

What books, music, and podcasts are keeping you sane this summer?