The Red Couch: 2015 First Quarter Books



What an amazing first year The Red Couch has had! Thank you so much to everyone who has participated thus far. As a reminder, today is the last day to fill out our first Reader Survey. If you haven’t had a chance to fill it out yet, we’d much appreciate it.

I am positively thrilled about this year’s book picks. Just picture me doing a happy dance right now. Really. Picture it. That’s how much I love the books we’ve chosen. They’ve all been selected with discussion in mind. We might not all agree with one another and that’s completely fine. I want these books to get us out of our comfort zone. I want us to deal with the speck of sawdust in our own eyes. I want us to learn together and see things from another angle.

I realize that might sound a little intense, but I believe in the power of a good book. And these are all good books. Each and every one.

First Quarter Books:

In January we’re reading Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland. Why are divisions an inherent part of the Body of Christ? Why do we tend to stick with those who look, act, and think like us? Why do we tend to distrust or write off those who are different from us? A social psychologist, Cleveland opens our eyes to the reasons behind conflict and division. She gives us the tools for building bridges and exposes why we need more than a heart for unity for it to actually happen. If you’re not familiar with Christena Cleveland‘s work, you’re in for a treat and perhaps a wake-up call.

In February we’ll read The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan.  The book copy says it all: “In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Based on extensive research, and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air in 1998, Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.”

In March we’ll read Found: A Story of Grace, Questions, and Everyday Prayer by our friend Micha Boyett. What better way to prepare ourselves for Easter than to journey through these pages? The book is structured around the liturgical calendar and the Rule of  St. Benedict, which centers on peace, prayer, and work. It’s not just about spirituality or motherhood or prayer. It is all these things but it is really one woman’s journey of discovery. It is about how Micha grew to know God in a whole new way. Her openness and honesty about this process is a gift to us, no matter how similar or different our lives may be.

New Team Members:

We also have three new members on The Red Couch team! Please join me in welcoming Alia, Osheta, and Amy.

Alia Joy

AliaAlia Joy is a cynical idealist, homeschooling mama of three, and wife to Josh. She’s a book wormy, grace- saved, writer of random musings and broken stories. She lives in Central Oregon and loves to visit big cities because there are no decent Indian, Moroccan, or Vietnamese restaurants close by. She is a regular contributor for Allume and (in)courage and can be found on twitter drinking copious amounts of coffee and hashtagging all the things.

Osheta Moore

osheta biopic-1Osheta Moore is a naked Anabaptist, stay-at-home mom living in Boston but moving to Los Angeles very soon. She’s passionate about racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and community development in the urban core. At the top of her bucket list is dancing in a flash mob—all the better if it’s to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Pharrell’s “Happy.” Catch up with Osheta on her blog, Shalom in the City.

Amy Peterson

IMG_3164Amy is a writer, ESL instructor, and Assistant Director of Honors at Taylor University.  A wanderer at heart, she is practicing the discipline of stability on two acres of farmland in rural Indiana with her husband and two small children, as well as some pesky cats, beloved chickens, and a hive of bees. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, baking, mystery novels, road trips, french press coffee, and television. She blogs at Amy



Come back Wednesday, January 7 for our introduction to Disunity in Christ.

Any questions?  Which book are you most looking forward to?

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