What's Tony Thinking

Shameless Self-Promotion


My newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers should be out soon from Cascade Books.

It has received some very nice endorsements. Here are several of them:

“Into this lovely, affectionate book, pastor and master church coach Tony Robinson pours a lifetime of insights on the joys and the challenges of pastoral ministry. Tony’s steadfast but also critical and experienced love for the vocation of church leadership shines through on every page. Offered as testimony to his daughter who is beginning ministry, Tony gives Paul-to-Timothy guidance that will be strong, realistic, faithful encouragement to anyone in ministry today.”

—Will Willimon, Professor of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School

“On many a hiking trail, I have been the lucky recipient of my dad’s wisdom. Now I’m so glad for myself (and others) to have access to his wisdom, even when retirement hobbies take him out of cell phone range. These letters are a breath of fresh air, a gentle reminder to get back to basics, and a saving grace whenever ministry feels overwhelming or isolating. And I have no doubt they will be this for all who encounter them.”

—Laura Robinson, pastor, Bethel United Church of Christ

“This is a generous book filled with seasoned observations and practical counsel. But even more, it is a testament to Tony Robinson’s conviction that the pastoral life is a worthy one. His letters brim with encouragement to all who have taken it up, providing much-needed companionship as well as useful wisdom. I am no ‘young minister,’ but I came away edified, instructed, and grateful.”

—Mary Luti, United Church of Christ pastor and professor

I will keep you posted on the actual publication date. I think it’s a pretty good, little book (120 pp.) While the primary audience are younger or newer ministers, many of the themes and topics are transferable to other vocations and to life more broadly.

Let me also mention one other book of mine, as well as another resource  that have proven useful to many pastors and congregations. Some of you may be planning adult education now for Lent or spring. Consider these.

The book is What’s Theology Got To do With It? Convictions, Vitality and the Church. The publisher for that 2006 book is Rowan and Littlefield. While it has been out a while, it continues to be found useful particularly for adult education. The idea of the book is to take the major headings of classical theology, e.g. “revelation,” to ask what this really means and what it has to do with healthy congregations. It reflects my view that often our mainline or liberal churches are theologically underfunded.

The resource is the UCC Listen UP! bible study series for small groups. I wrote or co-authored the studies of Exodus, Acts and I and II Corinthians. And I designed the small group format for using these studies. While they don’t get a great deal of publicity I’ve heard from many congregations and pastors how useful this series has been. You can find and order it at the ucc.org website.

Most of the studies are designed for a 4 to 6 week experience.

My essay “Baptizing the Ordinary: Divine Agency and Church Administration” is also included in a new collection titled What Is Jesus Doing? God’s Activity in the Life and Work of the Church. It is edited by Edwin Chr. Van Driel, who teaches at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Publisher is InterVarsity Academic Press. Other authors in the collection include M. Craig Barnes, L. Roger Owens and Nicholas Wolterstorff.



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