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Leonard I. Sweet is an American theologian, church historian, pastor, and author.
Sweet currently serves as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School at Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey; and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.
Sweet is a leading figure in the emerging church movement (though he has publicly disagreed with some of the positions taken by other leaders in the movement, such as his friend Brian McLaren) and is a major figure in discussions about Christianity's transition to postmodernity.
Sweet is also an advocate of contextualizing Christianity into digital culture. He is regularly voted one of the most influential Christian leaders in America. Sweet is ordained in the United Methodist denomination.
Sweet is founder and President of SpiritVenture Ministries. His writings focus on the study of Semiotics (the study of signs and sign processes).
He has over 1000 published sermons, and currently is the chief weekly contributor to the lectionary-based sermons.com. Sweet has weekly podcasting on iTunes entitled Napkin Scribbles.
Sweet has served a term on the council of the American Society of Church History and was an associate editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion for ten years. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate/Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer and Ph.D from the University of Rochester.
Sweet is the recipient of honorary Doctorates of Divinity from University of Richmond, Baker University, Lebanon Valley College, and Otterbein College.
Black Images of America, 1784-1870 (1976)
New Life in the Spirit (1982)
The Minister’s Wife: Her Role in Nineteenth-Century American Evangelicalism (1983)
Editor, The Evangelical Tradition in America (1984) (Reprinted 1997)
The Lion's Pride (1987)
Quantum Spirituality: a Postmodern Apologetic (1991)
Editor, Communication and Change in American Religious History (1993)
Health and Medicine in the Evangelical Tradition (1994)
Strong in the Broken Places (1995)
The Jesus Prescription for a Healthy Life (1996)
A Cup of Coffee at the SoulCafe (1998)
Eleven Genetic Gateways to Spiritual Awakening (1998)
Soul Tsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture (1999)
>Aqua Church: Essential Leadership Arts for Piloting Your Church in Today's Fluid Culture (1999)
Postmodern Pilgrims: A 1st Century Passion for a 21st Century Church (2000)
The Dawn Mistaken for Dusk: If God so Loved the World, Why Can't We? (2000)
Carpe Manana: Is Your Church Ready to Seize Tomorrow? (2001)
A is for Abductive (2001)
Jesus Drives Me Crazy (2003)
Editor, The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives (2003)
Summoned to Lead (2004)
Out of the Question...Into the Mystery: Getting Lost in the Godlife Relationship (2004)
The Three Hardest Words In The World To Get Right (2006)
The Gospel According to Starbucks (2007)
The Voice from on High (2007)
The Voice: Genesis (2008)
The Church of the Perfect Storm (2008)
11: Indispensable Relationships You Can't Be Without (2008)
Postmodern and Wesleyan?: Exploring the Boundaries and Possibilities (2009)
So Beautiful (2009)
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ (with Frank Viola) (2010)
Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There (2010)
The Seraph Seal (with Lori Wagner) (2011)
Real Church in a Social Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith (2011)
I Am a Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus (2012)
Viral: How Social Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival (2012)
What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (2012)
The Greatest Story Never Told: Revive Us Again (2012)
Jesus: A Theography (with Frank Viola) (2012)
Indispensable Relationships You Can't Be Without (2012)
The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work
Giving Blood: A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching (2014)
Me and We: God's New Social Gospel (2014)
From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed (2015)
Jesus Speaks: Learning to Recognize and Respond to the Lord's Voice
(with Frank Viola) (2016)The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to
Live Right in a World Gone Wrong (2016)Mother Tongue:How Our
Heritage Shapes Our Story (2017)
Meditation on Space-Time (2017)
Leonard Sweet's homepage: http://www.leonardsweet.com/
His new website from 2015 is preachthestory.com
In 2006 and 2007, Sweet was voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine, and in 2010, he was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential Christians of 2010."
His popular podcast, “Napkin Scribbles,” is widely quoted, and his weekly sermon contributions to sermons.com have made that site the top preaching resource for pastors in North America.
For nine years, he and his wife wrote the entire content for the weekly preaching resource Homiletics.
In 2005 Sweet introduced the first open-source preaching resource on the Web, wikiletics.com. Sweet’s microblogs on twitter and facebook rank as two of the most influential social media sites in the world.
You can find some of Sweet’s talks on his youtube channel, www.youtube.com/lenssweetspots.
Excerpts from A Response to Critics, by Leonard Sweet:
I wrote a book 20 years ago called Quantum Spirituality, and a few years ago made it available as a free download on my website.
Back when "New Age" was a movement, I was inspired by the brilliance of the Apostle Paul in evangelizing pagans, to show how even New Agers, like atheists or other non-Christian groups, could be evangelized for orthodox Christianity if only we learn how to speak to them.
For example, the recovery movement language of "higher power" or "higher consciousness" can be turned into "Christ consciousness." Instead of "New Age," we might adopt and adapt the "New Light" language of Charles G. Finney, the founder of modern urban revivalism and the leader of the Second Great Awakening, who called his followers "New Light" evangelists because they used new methods like altar calls and hymns to bring early 19th century Americans to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Would I write the same book today? No. Would I say some things differently? Yes. I started working on the book in my late 20s.
I hope I'm older and wiser now. But this was the first book to examine the challenges confronting Christianity as it entered into the uncharted waters of a new postGutenberg, postChristian, postmodern culture, and I quoted and referenced
New Age thinkers who seemed to "get" this cultural transition better than the church did while I outlined avenues of approach to their minds and hearts.
Because I quote someone does not mean I agree with everything that person ever wrote.
Paul quoted pagan philosophers in the Book of Acts. Quantum Spirituality was the first book that broke up the text on a page and inserted side-bars and images and quotes, a feature which is now the norm for most books.
Some of the quotes I chose were meant to provide contrasting positions to my argument, some to buttress my argument, some even to mock my argument.
The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not "Do I agree with them?" but "Does this quote energize the conversation?" "Guilt by association" is intellectually disreputable and injurious to the whole body of Christ.
It is doubly ironic that I am under attack for being Emergent or a leader in the "emerging church" movement when I am known in emerging church circles as one of its severest critics.
Already called "a spirituality classic," Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic is the book that launched what today is called "postmodern publishing" as well as Len's ministry to postmodern culture. ... This was Len's "coming out" book as a postmodern disciple after his 1987 knockdown, drag-out Damascus Road encounter with God, who (as he describes it) "knocked me off my high academic horse and said, 'Sweet, are you going...
Suzanne Jackson [a
Kripalu-certified yoga teacher and is the creator of the YogaSing Method] and Brian
Be Still and Know...
is an invitation to a new prayer form. By weaving movement through prayer, the
body, mind, and spirit combine into a whole body prayer bringing an innate
connection to God, the creator. Poses from Yoga and QiGong and postures of
silence combine to create a flowing river of moving prayer.
Yoga (which means union in Sanskrit) originated in South Asia. Yoga
helps practitioners to unify or harmonize their outer (physical) and inner (soul
or spirit) worlds. It does so through a planned succession of physical postures.
Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and related practices originated in East
Asia. They also use postures or moves in a planned succession. Practitioners of
these disciplines develop strength, balance, harmony, and flexibility in the
body, and they experience inner benefits as well - reducing stress, promoting
relaxation, and improving emotional health.
Some may wonder if there is
an inherent conflict between contemplative Christian faith and Yoga, Tai Chi,
and related disciples. Can Christian contemplative practices be integrated with
postures and movements originally developed outside the Christian community?
In the tradition of Thomas Merton
and many others, we believe that Christians have insights and practices
to share with other faiths, and other faiths have valuable resources to share
with Christians. But in the sharing process, each faith must maintain its own
unique identity and integrity. In that spirit, we have sought to integrate
compatible practices, insights, and resources in ways that will enhance your
spiritual life, whatever your background and wherever you are in your journey.
You may be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist or you may be from
a secular background, or alienated from religion due to some hurtful experiences
in your past. You might consider yourself a spiritual seeker. Whatever your
background, we believe this integration of physical postures and spiritual
practices can help you develop both outer and inner harmony and balance to help
us all deepen our love for our Creator, ourselves, and others.
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