Notebook

FAITH FORMATION
RESOURCES

Personal Wellness

The synod office maintains a list of resources to help promote personal wellness. This list will include things like spiritual directors, counselors, and a few recent book recommendations.

“The Body of Christ and Mental Illness” seeks to raise awareness of the challenges of mental illness, offer reflection and direction, and inspire action. This social message notes how mental illness makes the most basic aspects of everyday life daunting and sketches some of the challenges. 

By David Finnegan-Hosey

This book offers a series of reflections on the intersections among mental health, faith, and ministry. 

By Monica A. Coleman

This book offers a spiritual autobiography that examines her long dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death in light of the legacies of slavery, war, sharecropping, poverty, and alcoholism that masked her family history of mental illness for generations.

Dealing with Grief

The Grief Lectionary was created by a Lutheran pastor for use individually or in groups as people navigate the difficult and messy path of grief. Purchasable as a downloadable resource, this resource has 6 sessions. Each of the six sessions focuses on one Scripture story paired with one or more of the stages of grief. Participants are invited to access their grief through an opening meditation, then given questions to reflect on as they read the Scripture story.

By Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen

This book is a modern-day fable told in a richly illustrated children's book format, but helpful to people of all ages. Tear Soup centers around an old and somewhat wise woman, Grandy. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life and so she is headed to the kitchen to make a special batch of Tear Soup.

By C.S. Lewis

In April 1956 Lewis, a confirmed bachelor, married Joy Davidman, an American poet with two small children. After four brief, intensely happy years, Lewis found himself alone and inconsolable. This is the unflinching account of how a stalwart believer lost his sense of bearings in the "mad midnight moment" of grief in the loss of a spouse.

For Children and Youth about Faith

By Teresa Kim Pecinovsky

“You know God the Father, but God is your Mother too.”

With lyrical, rhyming text and exquisite illustrations, Mother God introduces readers to a dozen images of God inspired by feminine descriptions from Scripture. Children and adults alike will be in awe of the God who made them as they come to know her as a creative seamstress, generous baker, fierce mother bear, protective mother hen, strong woman in labor, nurturing nursing mother, wise grandmother, and comforting singer of lullabies.

By Rachel Held Evans

Children who are introduced to God, through attending church or having loved ones who speak about God, often have a lot of questions, including this ever-popular one: What is God like? The late Rachel Held Evans loved the Bible and loved showing God’s love through the words and pictures found in that ancient text. Through these pictures from the Bible, children see that God is like a shepherd, God is like a star, God is like a gardener, God is like the wind, and more. God is a comforter and support.

By Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick 

This book celebrates instances in the story of God's people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy. From the darkness at the beginning of creation to the blackness of the sky on the day when Christ's birth was announced to the shepherds, children learn that blackness is something to celebrate as an important element of the life of faith. Lush and vibrant illustrations by artist Nikki Faison underscore the mystery and beauty of these wondrous acts of God's holy darkness.

Prayer and Spiritual Practices

Pray as you Go is a podcast series offered by the Anglican church. It offers music, scripture, as well as some reflection questions

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, offers daily meditations by email that reflect on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Each month a new pamphlet is offered with a single prayer petition for each day of the month.

By Anne Lamott

This short book offers reflections about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life - asking for God help, offering God thanks, and praise for the wow moments in the world.

Lutheran Living

By Martin Marty

Lutherans often have questions about Lutheran theology and beliefs that are basic to the Christian faith itself. Featuring a unique question-and-answer format, Lutheran Questions, Lutheran Answers is an accessible and concise treatment that provides the most frequently asked questions on important topics and brief but complete answers from a distinguished Lutheran historian and theologian.

By Nadia Bolz-Weber

Bolz-Weber, an ELCA pastor, takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term pastrix (a negative term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize women as pastors) in this wildly entertaining and deeply resonant memoir about an outrageous, unlikely life of faith. PASTRIX is a journey of cranky spirituality that intersects religion with real life, weaving incredible narrative, hilarious rants, and poignant honesty to portray a life deeply flawed and deeply faithful-giving hope to the rest of us.

By Steven D. Paulson

Martin Luther started a reformation movement that revolutionized Europe in the sixteenth century. His far-reaching reforms of theological understanding and church practices radically modified both church and society in Europe and beyond. Steven Paulson's discussion of Luther's thought, coupled with Ron Hill's illustrations, provides an engaging introduction to Luther's multifaceted self and the ideas that catapulted him to fame.

An ELCA downloadable resource that explores the beliefs and practices of Word and Sacrament ministry in the Lutheran church. 

Bible Study

Bible Gateway offers a quick way to search and compare different translations of the Bible.

The Bible Project is a series of free YouTube videos that offer an overview of different books and themes of the Bible. It is not a Lutheran resource, so some of its interpretation does not match Lutheran views, but the summaries offered help to grasp some larger storylines in the Bible.

Enter the Bible is an online resource developed by an ELCA seminary to help everyday disciples and spiritual seekers engage Scripture in ways that are thoughtful, accessible, and faithful—with an aim to encourage and strengthen faith in the God revealed in the Old and New Testaments.

Enter the Bible deals honestly with academic insights and resources, take into account modern criticism of the Bible, and discuss theological difficulties within the biblical texts. It affirms that the Bible is the Word of God—and is sturdy enough to handle the questions we throw at it.