Our Church Speaks: An Illustrated Devotional of Saints from Every Era and Place, By Ben Lansing and D. J. Marotta

Our Church Speaks

An Illustrated Devotional of Saints from Every Era and Place

by Ben Lansing and D. J. Marotta

Our Church Speaks
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: October 29, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0903
  • ISBN: 9781514009031

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Surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses

Do you ever feel like you're alone in your struggles to live out the Christian faith? Do you ever read the Bible yet still wonder what it looks like to follow Jesus in the complexity and difficulty of our time?

The stories of great men and women throughout the history of the church can help us form a bridge between the teaching of Scripture and our embodied lives. This illustrated devotional vividly depicts the lives and words of great women and men of faith. Artist Ben Lansing and Anglican priest D. J. Marotta offer fifty-two profound images and reflections on Christians, from Polycarp in the first century to the martyrs of Sudan in the twenty-first century. These saints, from every continent and century of church history, demonstrate the historic church's relevance for Christians today and reveals God's faithfulness in all times and circumstances.

The artwork, biographies, devotionals, and prayers in this book are meant to spark our imaginations, helping us to be faithful here and now, in our own age.

"In a world captivated and mesmerized by the cult of celebrity, this book helps us to reorient our hearts to experience the saints as ones that not only speak to our past but also shine the light and guide the path to our future. We stand on the shoulders of brothers and sisters in the faith who've faithfully shown us the way—and this resource helps make them accessible and relevant to our everyday lives. Our Church Speaks is a useful tool full of stunning artwork and meaningful prayers to help us to sit at the feet of saints young and old and learn from those who are a part of the great cloud of witnesses. For the past few years, I've been shaped and formed by these visuals online. I'm thrilled this collection has been published into a book we can now hold in our hands!"

J.R. Briggs, founder of Kairos Partnerships and author of Fail and The Sacred Overlap

"This isn't a history textbook but a lively introduction to a group of flawed but faith-filled followers of Christ spanning the breadth of the Christian church. You will come away from this book not just educated about these men and women but inspired to seek out the ways of the Spirit to which they point."

Russell Moore, editor in chief at Christianity Today and host of The Russell Moore Show

"Whenever I've encountered these arresting modern 'icons' on social media, I've always stopped scrolling in order to read further. To have them wonderfully collected into one winsome book is a gift to the church, especially as we seek to know and honor the global story of our great 'cloud of witnesses.'"

Jennifer L. Holberg, co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing at Calvin University and author of Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith

"Ben Lansing and D. J. Marotta invite readers to pull up a 'third chair' and join this dynamic duo 'at the table' for a transformative conversation. The table is set with a smorgasbord of spiritual delicacies that whet your appetite to know more about the Divine. They entice you with appetizers such as the Calendar of Saints and various theologians through the ages. Their 'dessert' is offered at the beginning, 'How To Use This Book As A Prayer Tool.' Such dessert enhances spiritual disciplines. This book made me feel that I could 'sup on this spiritual smorgasbord' while drawing closer to Yahweh!"

Barbara L. Peacock, author of Soul Care in African American Practice and founder of Peacock Soul Care

"With so many reasons today to feel discouraged about the state of the Christian witness in the public square, Lansing and Marotta draw our attention to a cloud of witnesses—of saints and sinners, priests and poets, Asian and African, Byzantine and Baptist—who persevered in their devotion to Christ in the face of manifold temptations to become a faithless, hopeless, loveless people. This is a wonderful book for those who need a little encouragement to remain faithful, hopeful, and love-full in the face of their own temptations to become otherwise."

W. David O. Taylor, associate professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and author of Prayers for the Pilgrimage

"The saints are not finally dead but are our living friends and mentors, alive with us in Christ now. We need their witness and their voice now. Which is why we need this beautiful book, especially with its ultimate aim of leading us into prayer—which is (as every saint insists) our truest work."

Winn Collier, director of the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination and author of A Burning in My Bones: The Biography of Eugene Peterson

"I love Our Church Speaks! Ben Lansing and Dan Marotta are doing such a service to the church in our day by introducing us to so many saints, martyrs, and heroes from around the world. Each of them bore witness to the living Jesus with their lives—and with Our Church Speaks, Ben and Dan are doing the same. Check this book out! You'll be encouraged and inspired."

Caleb Maskell, executive secretary of the American Society of Church History and associate national director of theology and education at Vineyard USA

"Like brilliant stained glass in cathedral windows, saints are people who let the light shine through: humans broken yet radiant and splendid, illuminated not by their own goodness but by God's glory. Our Church Speaks holds up preachers, healers, artists, reformers, women, men, and children, fifty-two saints from across times and places who scatter light of every imaginable hue. They inspire me with wonder: what are my own peculiar colors, created to display God's presence in the world?"

Karen Wright Marsh, author of Vintage Saints and Sinners and director of Theological Horizons

"I'm always grateful to see books that bring the rich history of the church to Christians today who need to hear such stories. I've followed Our Church Speaks on Instagram for a long time, and it's a delight to now have a sampling of their art and wisdom in this physical book—perfect for reading, savoring, praying over, and giving to friends and relatives as a gift."

Jennifer Woodruff Tait, senior editor of Christian History and author of Christian History in Seven Sentences

"This is a beautiful book. Reading it is like coming home to a family you forgot you had."

Justin Whitmel Earley, business lawyer and bestselling author of The Common Rule, Habits of the Household, and Made for People

"I cannot think of a more helpful resource for the future than diving into this resource about the past. Enrich your soul and drink in both the words and art from this trusted guide as you live faithfully into all the vibrant streams of the church that flow from the loving heart of Christ."

AJ Sherrill, Anglican priest and author of Being with God: The Absurdity, Necessity, and Neurology of Contemplative Prayer

"This book masterfully crafts illustrations and words to bring to life a mosaic of exemplary men and women who have embodied the way of Jesus in various circumstances that inspires us to live faithfully today. I'm grateful for this book."

David M. Bailey, founder and CEO of Arrabon and coauthor of A People, a Place, and a Just Society

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: Saints Over Celebrities
How to Use This Book as a Prayer Tool


Appendix A: Church History Survey
Appendix B: Chronological Listing of Saints
Appendix C: Geographic Listing of Saints


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Ben Lansing

Ben Lansing is an artist from Richmond, Virginia, and the creator of the online art series Our Church Speaks. He is an Anglican deacon and a lifelong student of the history of art and religion. He loves sharing the history of the global church through art and storytelling. He lives in Richmond with his wife, Bethany, in a house full of books.

D. J. Marotta

D. J. Marotta is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and the founding rector of Redeemer Anglican Church in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of Liturgy in the Wilderness: How the Lord's Prayer Shapes the Imagination of the Church in a Secular Age. His wife is gracious and his children are clever.