Archives For *Brief Reviews*

 

Our Different, Blurry Places
 
A Brief Review of 
 

I [Heart] Francis:
Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer

Donna Schaper

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2017
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Reviewed by Kelsey Maddox
 
 
I can remember a picture of the pope (John Paul, to be exact) positioned above my grandma’s recliner on the peach and maroon colored wallpaper of the farmhouse. I never understood why she had a picture of someone on the wall who wasn’t in our family. I never understood any of that, and neither did Donna Schaper, a progressive queer women from New York City.  It seems esoteric, that is, until Pope Francis.

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A Disciplined Eye
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
 

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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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Persistent, Attentive Cultivation
 
A Review of 

Garden In The East:
The Spiritual Life of the Body
.

Angela Doll Carlson

Paperback: Ancient Faith, 2016.
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Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon

 

I’ve spent more than four decades bouncing around Evangelicalism. The movement, disparate as it can be, has been remarkably effective at proclaiming to me that faith resides primarily in my mind  (what I think) and in my heart (what I feel).

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Bringing to Light the Inner Person
 
A Review of

What She Was Saying:
Stories

Marjorie Maddox

Paperback: Fomite, 2017.
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Review by Janna Lynas

 
 

Each day we cross paths with someone that is saying something. It may be an actual conversation with audible words, but sometimes, there are no words –just signals, signs or even silence. The experiences of a life, the beautiful and the tragic, can become tangled in a mind, showing itself in the actions, attitudes and behaviors of a person. And because there is this event, sometimes with words, sometimes a memory, sometimes with subtle speechless revelation, the only way we can know is to notice, to remember and to give honor to what is uttered out loud or in silence.

What She Was Saying, a compilation of award winning short stories and poetry from Marjorie Maddox, peers into these thoughts of women and girls and puts words to those happenings of a person we may never know. Maddox recounts memories and wonderings from newspaper headlines and real-life encounters, as well as putting words to imaginative narrative and stories behind faces of those who often stand before us.

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Pilgrim in Pumps

 
A Review of 

Still Pilgrim: Poems
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell 

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2017
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Reviewed by James Matichuk

Featured on our list of
Ten New Poetry Books
to Read in 2017!

 

This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog.
Reprinted with permission. 
*** Visit his blog for many other insightful reviews!

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell teaches English at Fordham University and is the associate director of Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. She has previously published seven poetry collections (in addition to publishing other books, articles, and essays). Her new collection of poems, Still Pilgrim showcases a steady faith and the journey of a woman through the seasons of life and liturgy.
The project was birthed after O’Donnell made a pilgrimage to Herman Melville’s grave, a few miles from her home in the New York. Melville had written of the passion of men going off to sea, but his grave plot in Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx was in only one of ‘New York’s five boroughs not surrounded by water” (69).  O’Donnell composed a poem, St. Melville, with these words, “Is this what you were called to still pilgrim,/to sleep beneath six small feet of earth?” (70). An old sailor interred in the earth, still but his work still lives on.

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What the Bible REALLY Says
about Science

 
A Review of 

Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!
Denis Lamoureux

Paperback: Zondervan, 2016
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Reviewed by Emily McGowin
 
 
Denis Lamoureux is Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. He holds a Ph.D. in theology, a Ph.D. in biology, and a D.D.S., Doctor of Dental Surgery. Lamoureux is the author of Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution; I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution; and Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins. At one time, Lamoureux was a passionate promoter of young earth creationism (YEC), eager to expose evolution as an elaborate deception. But, in the process of obtaining his Ph.D. in theology, Lamoureux found his assumptions about the Bible—especially what it does and doesn’t teach—challenged and ultimately up-ended. He embarked on a journey to figure out what the Bible really says about science. Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! is a distillation of Lamoureux’s conclusions and his attempt to help others along the same journey.

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Creative Experimentation
 
A Review of 
 

Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy
Chad Abbott

Paperback: Davies Group, 2016
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Reviewed by Jon Moore.
 
 
Reading Chad Abbott’s Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy reminded me of the deep and wondrous gatherings I was privileged to participate in during the time I was involved in campus ministry or attending seminary. Abbott invited a host of friends to each contribute one thematic chapter to Sacred Habits, and reading one voice after another, shifting from one topic to another, took me right back to those old Spirit-infused encounters with groups of old and new friends always ready to take even a casual conversation to deep and important places.

I am somewhat sad “writing a book review” wasn’t included in the list of Sacred Habits, but thankfully I can still be “a clergy rising from the ashes” (the title of Rev. Abbot’s concluding chapter).

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A Call to Life

 
A review of 

Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood
Patrick Reyes

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2016
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Reviewed by Ryan Johnson
 
 
Racism, violence, hatred, shootings.  Headlines are filled with these injustices and most believe there is little hope to enact lasting change.  For many this is the narrative of American society.  This is the day-to-day life for millions of individuals.  We are left asking the question what do we do?  More than that:  What are we called to do?  This question leaves many of us without an answer, or with still more questions.  It is a question that cannot live solely in the theoretical realm but must be lived out through practical action.  Thus, Patrick Reyes’s book Nobody Cries When We Die serves as a step toward answering that question with the urgency it deserves.

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The Deeper Waters of Our Faith

A Review of 

A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for Deeper Faith
Brandon Hatmaker

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2016
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Reviewed by Sara Sterley

 
 
While Brandon Hatmaker’s newest book, A Mile Wide, does not cover much new ground, it is nonetheless a refreshing voice to come out of (what I tend to think of as) the evangelical celebrity culture. I’m coming off of a tiring season of striving, so when I saw the subtitle in Brandon Hatmaker’s new book, A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for Deeper Faith, I was thirsty for this “deeper faith” Hatmaker promises.

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The Shimmering Illumination
of God’s Presence

 
A Review of 

The Faithful Artist. A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts
Cameron Anderson

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2016
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Reviewed by by Rhodara Shreve
 
 

This review first appeared on the Artway website,
and is reprinted here with permission.

 
Cameron Anderson has written a compelling book of Evangelicalism’s historical role in shaping religious life as well as tracing the unique focus of this particular stream as to the visual arts. As the historical context has played a role in shaping the acceptance of artistic expressions, Anderson brings a breadth of perspective by reviewing the different philosophical and theological developments of thought that impacted how various artists redefined and revolutionized this historical flow. By weaving together the impact of different individuals who were key in influencing the thinking of various periods up to our current age of postmodernism, he notes artistic expressions that uniquely reflected these prevailing views. Bringing together an interfacing of Evangelicals with their cultural contexts as well as with Catholic and Orthodox artistic contributions, he shows how these streams of Christianity sometimes evoked extreme theological reactions resulting in dramatic effects on art within the church. The conflict between word and image has been an enduring tension for Evangelicals, to say the least.

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