Archives For *Brief Reviews*

 

A Shared Justice For All People

A Brief Review of 

A Christian Justice
for the Common Good

Tex Sample

Paperback: Abingdon, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Rafael Andres Rodriguez

 

A Christian Justice for the Common Good is Tex Sample’s quick primer for the community activist, clergy, layperson, and student seeking to engage the issues of justice from within a local church context.  His treatment on the issues is interwoven with compelling narrative, reminding the reader that, in the words of John Milbank, “narrating is a more basic category than explanation or understanding.”[i] Within these pages is a mind deeply devoted to Jesus Christ as God’s self-disclosure, grappling with what it means to work for the good of all.

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Facing Death with Grace and Courage

A Brief Review of 

Walking Home Together:
Spiritual Guidance & Practical Advice for the End of Life

Michael Mercer

Paperback: 23rd Publications, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Facing our own death, or that of a loved one, can stir up much anxiety in us. When we inevitably must take this journey, it is wonderful to have a friend who knows what to expect and can walk this journey with us. Michael Mercer, a hospice chaplain here in Indianapolis, has walked this road with many people, and captures much of his own wisdom about this journey in the new book Walking Home Together.
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The Workings of a Great Imagination
 
A Brief Review of 

Eight Children in Narnia: The Making of a Children’s Story
Jared Lobdell

Paperback:  Open Court, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Review by Betsy Susan Morgan
 
 

I first read the Narnia tales when I was in college, after I had read Mere Christianity.  I read them again a couple years later, after I had taken a class in Medieval Literature and had read Chaucer’s “Parlement of Foules.”  When I came across the Parliament of Owls in my second reading of The Silver Chair, I was discouraged.   Such a blatant allusion and I had missed it, because I had not yet read enough.  How many more of these were there, that I was missing?  I felt I could never read enough.

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Rippling Through History

 
A Review of 

All Things Made New:
The Reformation and Its Legacy

Diarmaid MacCulloch

Hardback: New York: Oxford UP, 2016
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Reviewed by Seth Moland-Kavash
 

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University and one of the most well-regarded and prolifically published church historians of our era. This newly published volume is a collection of essays, all previously published in various venues over the past 25 years, that reflect MacCulloch’s reflections on the Reformation and its ongoing legacy in England, in Europe, in the West, and throughout the world.

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A Necessary Conversation 

 
A Review of

Representing Christ: A Vision For the Priesthood of All Believers
Uche Anizor and Hank Voss

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2016
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Reviewed by Trent Crofts

 

My first year of college involved a lot of church shopping. Oddly enough, the experience was analogous to shoe shopping. I remember thinking, “this church feels too restricting, this feels too loose, this is bland, this is flashy, this smells,” and so on and so forth. At the time, I focused on what I could get out of church—rather than what church could get out of me. I lacked vision for how believers can serve within the Church, a vision that Representing Christ provides.

Written by Uche Anizor and Hank Voss, Representing Christ provides an introduction to a necessary conversation about the priesthood of all believers, a conversation that is based on Scripture, grounded in history, and motivated for service in the Church and in the world.

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“Be holy, because I am holy.”
 
 
A Review of 

Blessed Among Us:
Day by Day with Saintly Witnesses

Robert Ellsberg

Hardback: Liturgical Press, 2016
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Reviewed by Danny Wright
 
 
In His book Blessed Among Us, Robert Ellsberg provides readers with an encyclopedia of introductions to a wide variety of saintsEach day offers a brief biography of two “saints” who have lived a life of example and ends with quotes to aid the reader in reflection. This particular volume can be used as an addendum for praying the hours (and can be found as such in the daily prayer app offered by Liturgical Press, Give Us This Day), as a supplement for personal inspiration and reflection, or as the subject for family devotions, or as encouragement for a church/ministry staff. There is a wealth of information shared in a succinct, accessible style that will spark your creativity and curiosity, inspire more attentive living, and may even cause you to fire up your search engine, or send you to your favorite website or bookstore in search of the actual writings that are being referenced.

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Linking The Past With Present
 
A Brief Review of 
 

Poets & Saints:
Eternal Insight. Extravagant Love. Ordinary People.

Jamie George

Paperback: David C. Cook, 2016
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Reviewed by Lynn Domina
 
 
In Poets & Saints: Eternal Insight, Extravagant Love, Ordinary People, Jamie George has undertaken an intriguing project. Partly memoir, partly religious history, partly devotional, the book links the past with the present, the extraordinary with the ordinary, the public with the personal. Traveling through Europe with his children and a film crew, he reflects on the lives of several writers and saints (some canonized, others not) affiliated with the regions they explore. He pays particular attention to the characters’ flaws in order not only to humanize them but also to provide specific detailed examples of individuals who did what was theirs to do, trusting that God will show contemporary readers what is their own. George’s project is ambitious, but his style is hospitable. He writes conversationally, including sufficient detail for readers unfamiliar with his material but also with sufficient energy to keep readers with a stronger background in religious history engaged.

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These great new books on marriage were featured in
our Advent 2016 print magazine
(As sidebar reviews to  Katherine Willis Pershey’s excellent book Very Married)

Reviews by ERB Editor,
C. Christopher Smith

 

*** SUBSCRIBE NOW to our print magazine!

 

Making Marriage Beautiful:
Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You

Dorothy Greco

 
Hardback: David C. Cook, 2017
Buy now: [ Buy Now ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Dorothy Greco offers us in Making Marriage Beautiful a poignant reflection on the many challenges of marriage that will require our attention and our diligence. Beginning with the helpful conviction that marriage will change you, Greco explores the dynamics of marriage and how indeed we are changed through the covenant of marriage. Each chapter ends with a story from a different married couple that sheds light on the theme of that chapter. The beauty of this book lies in its insistence that the fruits of marriage–joy and intimacy, for instance–are cultivated through weathering challenges together. Cultivation is a helpful, agricultural metaphor, for a marriage, like farming, will require hard work, but there are also other factors that shape a marriage that cannot be controlled by our most diligent efforts. Making Marriage Beautiful is a wise and immensely practical book for anyone who is married, or who  hopes to someday be married.
 
 

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Choosing Honest Engagement
 
A Review of 

Race in Post-Obama America:
The Church Responds

David Maxwell, Ed. 

Paperback: WJK Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Heather Caliri
 
 

The first day of our family vacation in New York, my blonde six-year-old rushed joyfully into the opening elevator. Not a second later, she rushed out just as fast, a startled look on her face.

I looked up to see two African-American ladies staring at me, their faces shocked as my child’s.

“Come on, honey,” I said, grabbing her hand, and nodding at the women. I didn’t know what to say—so I said nothing. By staying silent, I hoped to pretend nothing had happened.

Which is exactly why many white Americans stay silent about race.

But the older of the two women spoke up. “We’re just human beings, honey,” she said to my daughter. Then she looked at me. I saw a tiredness and anger that seared my heart.

“Oh, dear Lord, ma’am,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

The encounter hurt me. But it clearly hurt those women more.

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What Does It Mean to Belong?

A Review of 

The Wangs Vs. The World:
A Novel

Jade Chang

Hardback:  HMH Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [  Kindle  ]

 

Reviewed by Cara Meredith

 
 

I often wonder what it means to belong: to a people, to a place, to God.

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