Archives For Review

 

A Calm and Quiet Presence
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life
Joan Chittister

Hardback: Convergent Books, 2017
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 Reviewed by Alexander Steward
 
 
We are a people that search. We search for the things we have lost. We search for the latest and greatest item that will make our life that much easier. These searches tend to focus upon the outward self and what will benefit us as individuals the most. The search that is easily avoided because it takes too much time and a lot of patience, is the search for the inward self. The self that is called to be in relationship with God. It is in this search that we are able to grow as individuals and nurture our relationship with God.

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The Power of Myth
in the Human Spiritual Experience

A Review of 

A Well of Wonder: Essays on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings
Clyde Kilby

Loren Wilkinson and Keith Call, Eds.
Hardback: Mount Tabor Books, 2017
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Reviewed by Warren Hicks
 

 

“Clyde Kilby was fundamentally a teaher, but what he had to teach was not a collection of facts, rather, he taught an awed, thankful, and joyful stance toward creation and Creator.”  – Loren Wilkinson, from the foreword (.xiii)

 

A Well of Wonder introduces the reader to the relationships that Mr. Kilby had with Lewis and Tolkien that led him to pursue the project of gathering their papers and that of other of the Inklings into what would become the Marion F. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. This repository of primary source material including manuscripts and handwritten and typed correspondence among and by Lewis, Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield and G. K. Chesterton has become the fruit of what Kilby describes as, “nothing less than a movement of the Holy Spirit.”

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Harnessing Your Creative Energy

A Review of

Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life
Peter Himmelman

Hardback: Tarcher Perigee, 2016
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Reviewed by Bailey Shannon

 
 

Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Lifeis an insightful and practical tool to help us discover the fears that hold us back from pursuing our dreams and make steps toward living a creative life. Written by Peter Himmelman, musician and founder of Big Muse, a company that teaches leadership skills, creative thinking, and deeper levels of communication, the book offers a wide array of unique metaphors, like giving a name to our fear and negative self-talk, referring to our dreams as our “finished song”, and including various exercises called Brain Bottle Openers at the end of each chapter. Himmelman’s life experience influenced his method and style of writing and he presents  valuable information in a way that leaves the reader with a tangible “next step” to turn their dream into a reality.

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A Disentangled Deity.

A Feature Review of 

Jesus Untangled:
Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb

Keith Giles

Paperback: Quoir Books, 2017
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Reviewed by James Matichuk
 

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

 
Keith Giles is an Anabaptist in the house church movement.  His new book, Jesus Untangled is an attempt to disentangle Jesus from the political Right. He doesn’t advocate for wedding Jesus to the Left either. The problem with American Christianity is that Jesus is so enmeshed with nationalism that we fail to see Jesus on his own terms. In 186 pages, Giles offers his diagnostic of American Christianity and offers a solution: the recovery of Jesus as the central component of Christianity. The implication is that following Jesus chastens our nationalism, empire building, militarism, and violence.

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Not for The Faint of Heart

 
A Feature Review of 
 

Break Open the Sky: Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear
Stephan Bauman

Paperback: Multnomah, 2017
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Reviewed by Jeff Crosby
 
 

Chicago’s historic Fourth Presbyterian Church at the corner of Michigan Avenue (the “Miracle Mile”) and Chestnut, a Gothic Revival masterpiece designed by famed architect Ralph Adams Cram, opened more than a century ago. Since its first worship services in 1912, the church has played host to numerous cultural and spiritual gatherings of importance alongside its weekly proclamation of scripture and its robust outreach to people – both the well-heeled and the down-on-their luck – in the heart of the near north side of the city.

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Hospitable to the Human
and to the Divine

 
A Review of 
 

The Yearning Life:
Poems

Regina Walton 

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2016.
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Reviewed by Lynn Domina
 
 
The poems in Regina Walton’s first collection, The Yearning Life, are written by someone who is not only observant but also thoughtful, even contemplative. They consider questions without, as Keats so famously said, “any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” They often, therefore, straddle that boundary between poetry and prayer.

The opening poem, “Exemplum,” might have been written by one of the desert fathers or mothers. It relies on a direct style with short lines and stanzas, predominantly straightforward sentences, and accessible vocabulary (with one notable exception). Like many of the best poems in this style, its simplicity is deceptive. Here is the first stanza:

A fly lands
On my open book,
And rubs its fingerless palms together
Over the word askesis.

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Reading with Creative Anachronism 
 
A Feature Review of 

Biblical Truths: The meaning of Scripture in the 21st Century.
Dale Martin

Hardback: Yale UP, 2017.
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Reviewed by Jordan Kellicut
 
 
Biblical Truths: the meaning of Scripture in the 21st Century is billed as a ground-breaking book which seeks to give a framework for how to think theologically in light of our postmodern world. From the first page Martin lays out intriguing and frequently scandalous methods of interpretation. His introduction is a critical introduction to his thesis and methodology. Martin argues, rather persuasively, that there is a difference between pre-modern and modern Biblical interpretation. Namely the pre-modern Christian assumed that everything in the Bible was written to that person, in that place and that time. Thus the meaning of the text was not necessarily what the author meant. This is striking since the prevailing thought in both academic and popular understanding is the meaning of a text is located not “in” but “behind” the text – what I learned to call “authorial intent.” A substantial amount of Martin’s introduction is dedicated to tracking how this hermeneutic progressed into modern theology. He then contends that the division between Bible and theology is a modern invention and not a helpful one.

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A Confident Trust in the
Sovereign Purposes of God

 
A Brief Review of 

Change for the First Time, Again:
A Story of Change and How Change is our Story
Scott Lencke

Paperback: Resource Publications, 2016.
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Reviewed by Jessica Hudson
 
 
This most recent publication of work by author Scott Lencke is without doubt the most enjoyable paperback I have sat down to digest in a number of years. It is just the book I want to have with a cup of my favorite coffee in my most comfortable chair. Indeed, the further in it I read, the more I felt the impression that I might as well be sitting across a table in a pub with the author, comfortably sharing our stories together.

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Jesus, Messiah of the Poor

 

A Feature Review of

Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor
Liz Theoharis

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
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Reviewed by Joseph Johnson

 

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his famous speech “A Time to Break Silence” that, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” I think these words, challenging as they are, express the conviction that undergirds the efforts of Liz Theoharis in her timely new book, Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor. Her contention is that Matthew 26:11, one of the most influential passages on poverty in Scripture, has often been twisted out of context in order to give red-lettered justification for viewing poverty as inevitable and pitting Jesus in opposition to the poor (13, 97). In her eyes, these conclusions have obviously damaging consequences.

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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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