Archives For *Brief Reviews*

 

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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Humor and Theology
at the Chemo Pump

 
A Review of 

Cancer is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo
Jason Micheli

Hardback: Fortress Press, 2016
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Reviewed by Alex Joyner
 
 
 
Most of what Jason Micheli has to tell you about cancer, you don’t want to know.  The title of his new book, Cancer is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Cancer, may hint at optimistic self-help with some humorous anecdotes laced throughout, but cancer is not ‘ha-ha’ funny.  Micheli is glad to tell you, in harrowing detail, that “cancer f@#$ing sucks.” (ix)  This book is as raw as the sores running down his esophagus in mid-stage chemo.  Yeah, there’s a lot here you don’t want to know, but it’s a story told by one of the most honest and profane pastors you’ll ever meet and along the way he spins out the heart of a battle-tested theology that is clear-eyed, unsentimental, and fully alive.  Plus, too, he’s funny.
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God Loves Stories

 
A Review of 

Reading Your Life’s Story: An Invitation to Spiritual Mentoring
Keith Anderson

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
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Reviewed by Danny Wright
 
 

In Reading Your Life’s Story, Keith Anderson provides a primer for intentional spiritual mentoring. He recognizes along with Eugene Peterson that our lives “…only become clear in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.”  Therefore, Anderson, the president of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, has written a guide for learning to read our lives as stories within the bounds of spiritual friendships.  He wants to help people develop “intentional, planned, repeated and focused conversations” about life in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The Divine Author has written with purpose in each of our lives and we must learn to read and co-read in a God-drenched and saturated world that is overflowing with His voice and presence.

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A Particular Death-in-Life

A Review of 

Do We Not Bleed? A Jon Mote Mystery
Daniel Taylor

Hardback: Slant Books, 2017
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Reviewed by Heather Caliri

 

Can I confess something? I dislike Father Brown.

G.K. Chesterton, august Christian apologist, whose prose helped convert C.S. Lewis, created the humble everypriest sleuth. In each story, the curate faces down the sharpest criminal minds in England and wipes the floor with them—with Christian charity, of course.

I have no beef with the writing. In each story’s brief pages, Chesterton sketched derring-do with humor and panache. Each episode also features a genuine puzzler.

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The Juncture of the Ordinary and the Extraordinary

A Review of 

Sheds
Howard Mansfield

Photographs by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey
Paperback: Bauhan, 2016
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Reviewed by Pam Kittredge
 

In his book, Sheds, author Howard Mansfield writes, sheds might be “the shortest line between need and shelter.” Mansfield’s book then expands on this conjecture, exploring sheds through the lenses of architecture, history and culture. He shows sheds in a variety of places, with a variety of purposes, across time.

Mansfield’s sheds form their own wildly diverse landscape of shapes and colors, of uses and purposes. Once we have observed this diversity through the author’s eyes, it seems to be everywhere. At least in New England where I live, and where Mansfield finds many of his examples, the shed is ubiquitous.

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A Shared Justice For All People

A Brief Review of 

A Christian Justice
for the Common Good

Tex Sample

Paperback: Abingdon, 2016
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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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