A wonderful place for spiritual and creative energies is the Niños prayer group (yeah, "neenyos," you got it). We've been meeting
for more than EIGHTEEN
years now and it remains fresh: lots of fun; amazing prayer; miraculous answers; wonderful support and
encouragement in our creative endeavors, including a handful of doctoral theses prayed-through and completed.
We are called The Niños because there was an El Niño weather system bringing in big weather drama during the first few months we met and "niños" means
"children." So, as children of God, we are grateful to be His Niños.
New Books by Niños!
has a new book from Kent State University Press,
This is something of a "popular" version of her wonderful
scholarly work, The Company They Keep
, looking at C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as
writers in community but focusing less on the scholarship and more on the nature of collaboration - and how we
can "do what the Inklings did."
has a new book, just released by Beacon Hill Press,
Nothing Is Wasted
In this book, Joe finds hints of redemption in the least expected places - in dirt, in whale carcasses, in death, in suffering, in fairytales, in frustrations, and in the
stories of people's lives.
Tom Allbaugh's blog, Plainclothes
Joe Bentz's blog, Life of the Mind and Soul
Diana Glyer's occasional blog
Sierra Glyer's Kid tested, kid approved Sierra's Bookmark
Barbara Hayes' blog, PERKYLESADVICE
Liz Leahy's APU blog, James L. Stamps Theological Library
Lynn Maudlin's occasional blog, Big Blonde Blog
Lynn Maudlin's new faith-focused blog, Too Marvelous For Me
Dave Milbrandt's blog, socalteacher
John Barnts' blog, Barnts in the Belfry
2015 Niños Christmas book
2014 Niños Christmas book
is one of the "original Niños" —along with Mike and Diana Glyer, Laura
Simmons, and myself— and when the group started he'd published one book and had another under consideration. Now Joe has a
veritable stable of successful books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Joe's latest book is Nothing Is Wasted
from Beacon Hill Press.
Released in 2015, an updated version of his first book, Dreams
, and the premier release from Enclave Publishing.
Recently Joe contributed six chapters to a small-group curriculum series called Named
He wrote chapters on Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the Man Born Blind, the Gadarene Demoniac, and Andrew. To quote from the
is a 6-week small-group resource like no other. Through imaginative retellings of familiar stories from
Scripture, powerful videos, and thought-provoking discussion questions, small groups can explore the mysteries of
faith together and learn how God's story finds its place in each of them."
Here are text links to all Joe's books on Amazon (collect 'em all!):
Nothing Is Wasted
Named: The Patriarchs (DVD-ROM),
Named: The Patriarchs (workbook),
Named: The Unnamed (DVD-ROM),
Named: The Unnamed (workbook),
Named: The Disciples (DVD-ROM),
Named: The Discipless (workbook),
Pieces of Heaven: Recognizing the Presence of God,
God in Pursuit: The Tipping Points From Doubt to Faith,
Silent God: Finding Him When You Can't Hear His Voice,
When God Takes Too Long: Learning to Thrive During Life's Delays,
and Joe's novels:
Dreams of Caladria
At Close of Day,
A Son Comes Home,
Cradle of Dreams,
Song of Fire.
is the one God gave the vision for
the Niños; she has always had a strong sense of community and understands that God built us for relationship - both with Him and
with each other. One of our regular prayer focuses in the early years was Diana's award-winning book,
The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community
- a piece of truly inspiring scholarship that every writer would benefit from reading. If you also happen to be a fan of Tolkien or
C.S. Lewis or Charles Williams, well, all the better!
New podcast interview
with Diana by William O'Flaherty at All About Jack
Diana's newest book is Bandersnatch
, a closer look at the collaborations of
C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and all the Inklings.
Clay in the Potter's Hands
, a book on spiritual
formation and Christian growth using the God-given analogy of humans as clay in God-the-Potter's hands. No
bias here but it's a wonderful book!
Here is a nice interview
with Diana on The Tolkien Library
website and here are some of my thoughts
on my blog.
' excellent book,
Creed without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers
has been reprinted by WIPF and STOCK publishers; there may still be some of the original printing available through
It was developed from her doctoral thesis and, while she's moved out of state to be a professor at George Fox Theological Seminary and
thus is no longer a regular
Niño, she is always in our hearts (and emails!) and we were thrilled to be noted in her thanks.
The current cover and the original cover, both with links, are presented below.
has just published her first book,
Under the Influence: California's Intoxicating Spiritual and Cultural Impact on America
and since we've heard her read excerpts out loud at our "Grateful Hearts" celebration, we're all looking forward to reading it.
is another talented Niño: he has written a textbook,
Pretexts for Writing
, now updated in its second edition. Tom also leads worship, writes fiction, teaches
English, and blogs at Plainclothes
is one of our newer Niños and has
recently published his first novel, Chasing
; he also teaches English.
The Niños have supported, encouraged and prayed powerfully for me through the years. Fruits of this group in my
life include my musical based on the book of Ruth, House of Bread
and the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,
and now 2014 companion calendars to Diana's
Clay in the Potter's Hands
book; some images are viewable on the Clay in the Potter's Hands Facebook
page. I've also written several pieces of short
fiction for the Niños' annual Christmas book; I've posted these on my Fiction
Several years ago a big project was creating a large website for my friends Suuqiina and Qaumaniq's ministry, Indigenous
. Please take a look; they have a fascinating story and it's told with lots photos. In late 2013 I created a web
site for Castle Summitrose
, the same folks who had been happy with my web
work for Rocky Cola Cafe
, a charming neighborhood cafe which finally closed their
doors after 20-some years.
I sold the 2015 and 2016 Clay in the Potter's Hands
companion calendars here
; you can see images for some
months on that page and view all the earlier calendar images on Flickr
The Niños write a lot but we also read a lot; some of our fun occasional projects have been book discussions:
We Niños read and discussed G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy
over the summer of 2013.
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
The book we read over the summer of 2012,
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
The book we discussed over summer, 2011: Gilead: A Novel
by Marilynne Robinson.
Here's the Lenten study book from 2011, Intercessory Prayer
by Dutch Sheets.
Our first book discussion was Anne Lamott's terrific Bird
I think we discussed Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers
I really enjoyed our discussion of Stephen King's
Writing: A Memoir of the Craft