The Lost Art of Good Conversation: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life, Sakyong Mipham, Penguin Random House, 2017.
Have you noticed in this highly politicized time that it’s hard to have a good conversation? Among family members, in the workplace, and in churches, having a good conversation has become challenging. When you consider the conversations that the United Methodist Church is (and has been) having, particularity about human sexuality, it becomes even more challenging to have a good conversation.
Sakyong Mipham, head of the worldwide Shambhala community, uses his book to remind readers that in this hyper-connected time in which we live, we do not always communicate well. It is easier to make our point and refuse to hear another’s on Facebook and Twitter than it is sitting at a table, face-to-face.
By doing so, we no longer rejoice with those who rejoice or cry with those who cry. We lose any intimacy that a conversation would normally have. As Mipham writes, “We are at a dangerous crossroads because when we lose feeling, our exchanges with others lose value.” (11)
“It is a warrior practice of kindness using words.” -Sakyong Mipham (16)
Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior, Ed Clayton, Candlewick Press, 2017.
During a road trip one summer, Megan and I made a stop in Birmingham, Alabama. There, we went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. As we walked through the museum, retracing the steps of the Civil Rights Movement, we walked pass Martin Luther King Jr.’s jail cell where he wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Crowded with large families, summer school programs, and other vacationers like us, the Institute was challenging to navigate. I noticed a museum employee pulling a cart through the crowd, politely asking people to make a path for him. On the cart was a bench. I watched as the employee took the concrete bench to the Birmingham jail cell.
Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers, Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy Brady, Worthy Kids/Ideals, 2018.
The latest children’s book from the VeggieTales franchise is a padded board book of bedtime prayers. Complete with colorful illustrations from Lisa Reed featuring the well-known, and well-loved VeggieTales characters.
There are short, easy to understand, rhyming prayers that can be used as part of the evening ritual of reading books before bed. The prayers in this little collection are designed to help child and parent reflect on their day and prepare for the day yet to come. Scattered throughout the book are verses from the Psalms.
Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, Mark Batterson, WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2017.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to hear the voice of God.
Especially when we consider the multiple voices, alerts, and notifications we listen to. There are the voices (and tweets) of politicians, gurus, and talk show hosts. They are loud and overbearing. There is the constant 24-hour news cycle. And the notifications that pop up on our smartphones.
Then there are the coworkers, family, and friends who give us advice. There are iTunes, podcasts, and newscast. Then there are demands at work, at home, and at church. The demands on us continue as we pack lunches, help with homework, pay bills and manage money.
Our lives are full.
And we are supposed to hear God?
When God Made You, Matthew Paul Turner, Waterbrook, 2017.
Turner’s book, with bright and engaging illustrations from David Catrow, brilliantly connects being an individual with being loved by God. The book has extra emphasis on God-given gifts and using those gifts.
At times the text of the poem may be too much for a three-year-old. But with a parent’s help, meaning can be found. Children ages three to seven will enjoy this book. This would make a great addition to the resource bag for any Christian educator or Sunday school teacher.