Search Results For "david swanson"

 

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More Authentic Community
 
A Review of

The Color of Life:
A Journey toward Love and Racial Justice
Cara Meredith

Paperback: Zondervan, 2019
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Reviewed by David Swanson
 
 
On October 1, 1962, James Meredith enrolled in the University of Mississippi for his final year of college. What should have been a straightforward process involving applications and recommendations was anything but easy. Riots broke out on campus two nights before the arrival of the 29-year-old incoming senior. The possibility of the first African American student at Ole Miss was significant enough to draw concerted opposition from the governor of Mississippi and intervention by Robert Kennedy, then the U.S. Attorney General. Reflecting later, Meredith, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, remembered his time at the university as a war, one which he won by forcing the federal government to intervene to defend his civil rights. This was a war against white supremacy and Meredith was willing to lead the charge, no matter how violent the response.

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A Feature Review

The Pietist Option:
Hope for the Renewal of Christianity
Christopher Gehrz and
Mark Pattie III

Hardback: IVP Academic, 2017
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Reviewed by David Swanson

 

Find a brief summary of the Pietist Option here:
What is the Pietist Option?

 
When, in 1675, Philipp Jakob Spener wrote Pia Desideria (Pious Desires), the German theologian and pastor was responding to the tumultuous circumstances of his age. The Thirty Years’ War was nearly thirty years past, yet the memories of the millions of casualties as well as the war’s religious roots were still fresh and the spiritual questions it raised remained relevant. Lutheran theology had developed intricate doctrines since the Protestant Reformation, less than two hundred years earlier. This scholastic theology relished minute points of nuance and, borrowing the same philosophical tools that Luther had disdained, was built upon elaborate systems of doctrine that were more at home in the universities than the churches. Although Spener’s small book was a reaction to his circumstances, in time it proved to be a signpost toward the future for those searching for a personal, vital faith in the midst of a changing world.

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for the Hyper-Local

 
An Abridged Review of

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God
Eugene Peterson

Hardback: Waterbook, 2017
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Reviewed by David Swanson
 

This is a brief clip of a review that appears in
our forthcoming Eastertide 2017 magazine issue…

The issue with this review
will mail next week.

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While reading through these sermons it is easy to imagine something about the women and men who comprised Peterson’s suburban congregation. The sentences and illustrations seem to hold in mind particular people with their very particular lives. In a sermon titled “Holy, Holy, Holy” from Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, the pastor addresses his people gently:

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Justice and Hope

 
A Feature Review of 

Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love 
Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2015.
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Reviewed by David Swanson
 
 

In Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love, theologian Grace Ji-Sun Kim writes consciously and unapologetically from her social and historic location: a Korean woman, an immigrant to Canada, familiar with gender and racial prejudice even when enveloped in the subtle model-minority and honorific white myths so prevalent in North American society. In doing theology from such specific ground Kim implicitly, and occasionally directly, undermines the concept of a hyphen-less theology, as though feminist-theology, liberation-theology, and others were different somehow than some sort of neutral, orthodox theology. This particular foundation is not the primary focus of Kim’s book, but it is necessary for the work she does in these pages.

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A Feature Review of

Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God is At the Center
Noel Castellanos

Paperback: IVP Books, 2015
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Reviewed by David Swanson

 

What is your testimony? The question might sound dated, but the sentiment behind it has been important to a wide variety of American Christians for a long time. The before and after of conversion to Jesus is mixed with one’s narrative arc – some more dramatic than others – to create a form that is instantly recognizable in churches of distinct denominations, races, and styles of worship. Increasingly there is a second conversion that follows the first. If the first conversion is accomplished by believing the good news of Jesus, identifying with the justice priorities of Jesus’ kingdom marks the second. Like the first conversion, the second has its own testimony.

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1587433273″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FikD3caoL.jpg” width=”216″ alt=”Nicole Baker Fulgham” ]Addressing Educational Disparities.

 A Feature Review of

Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids
Nicole Baker Fulgham

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2013
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Reviewed by David Swanson.

 

There will be forty-nine fewer public schools in Chicago when fall rolls around in a few months. These shuttered neighborhood schools were casualties in the ongoing war of education reform. Pensions, property taxes, charter schools, teachers unions, segregated neighborhoods, and city government all have their places in this complicated war. The children have a place too; more often than not, they are the victims.

 

As a Christian I watched the back and forth leading up to the school closings with one specific question in mind: How do individual Christians and local congregations respond to the education crisis in my city and around the country? If there is any doubt that public education is in crisis then Nicole Baker Fulgham’s book, Educating All God’s Children, should convince the most dubious skeptic.  Early on she outlines the inequities most of us have become accustomed to: far greater percentages of Asian American and White students gradate high school in four years than do African American and Hispanic/Latino students; noticeably fewer African American forth-graders preform basic math skills compared with White students.  Many of us have heard these sorts of statics often enough that we no longer really hear them; Educating All God’s Children makes sure we listen closely while beginning to imagine a different future.

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Joan WalshA Review of

What’s the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age that Never Was

Joan Walsh

Hardback: Wiley, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by David Swanson.

The title question of Joan Walsh’s book could be understood very differently depending on whom is doing the asking.  Sarcasm and shock might be the tone coming from a certain kind of white person who believes reverse racism is as much a reality as is the more traditional variety.  Resigned disappointment could be expected from an African-American who has felt again the barb of systematized prejudice.  In Walsh’s case I imagine notes of frustration, confusion, and disappointment.  For Walsh, like me, white people are my people and there seems to be something the matter with us.

“What’s the matter with white people?” is a question that has recently come to my mind with disappointing frequency.  The race of our president has provoked code language and race baiting from those who want to retake “our country.”  Debates about immigration have once again made suspect those whose language, customs, and religion don’t fit the accepted American narrative.  In my city of Chicago one’s race is a far-too-accurate predictor of the likelihood of incarceration, a fact often ignored or explained away by white people like me.

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Henry Brinton - Welcoming CongregationSustaining Non-Homogeneous Communities

A Feature Review of

The Welcoming Congregation: Roots and Fruits of Christian Hospitality .

Henry Brinton

Paperback: WJK Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by David Swanson

“You’re going to preach an entire sermon series about hospitality?”  This was a friend’s confused response as I was sharing about my preaching plans.  She conceded that hospitality might merit some discussion but couldn’t imagine that the topic warranted more than one sermon.  Her perception, I imagine, is shared among many American Christians.  In the secular realm hospitality is an industry; in our churches the word is associated with ushers, greeters, and those staffing the welcome booth in the lobby.  How much can actually be said abut hospitality?

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THE UNIVERSE BENDS TOWARD JUSTICE - Obery Hendricks“Illuminating the costly way of Jesus in our world”

A Review of
The Universe Bends Toward Justice
:
Radical Reflections on the Bible,
the Church, and the Body Politic

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by David Swanson.

A couple miles from my home on Chicago’s South Side is the burned out shell of Pilgrim Baptist Church. As impressive as its building was before a fire in 2006, it is what happened inside the sanctuary that sealed the congregation’s reputation.  Under the direction of long-time music minister Thomas Dorsey the church is credited with birthing gospel music in the 1930s.  Driving by the abandoned building today it would be easy to miss the influence this historic African-American church has had on global Christianity.

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