Archives For Review

 


The Ecology of Faith Formation

 
A Review of

Cultivating Teen Faith:
Insights from the Confirmation Project
Richard Osmer / Katherine Douglass, Eds.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018
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Reviewed by Daniel Ogle
 
 
The good news – and there is plenty of good news shared in Cultivating Teen Faith – is that when it comes to teenagers participating in confirmation, they are participating by and large in order to form a stronger connection with God.

Cultivating Teen Faith, edited by Richard Osmer and Katherine Douglass, is an interpretation of a three-year study of how over 3000 Christian congregations guide teenagers through an intentional process of Christian formation under the broad heading of confirmation.

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Toward Greater Courage and
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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Flourishing in Conversation
 
A Review of

I Think You’re Wrong
(But I’m Listening):
A Guide to Grace-Filled
Political Conversations

Sarah Stewart Holland /
Beth Silvers

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2019
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Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers are long-time friends and co-hosts of the Pantsuit Politics podcast. More significantly though, they sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum: Sarah is a Democrat (a former Hillary Clinton campaign worker) and Beth is a Republican. Together they have written an important new book, I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening), that guides us toward “grace-filled political conversations.” Sarah and Beth invite us into the joys and vulnerability of a conversational life:

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The Capacity to Change
 
A Brief Review of

The King and the Catholics:
England, Ireland, and the Fight for Religious Freedom, 1780–1829
Antonia Fraser

Hardback: Doubleday, 2018
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Reviewed by David E. Anderson
 
 
Fans of Antonia Fraser, the well-regarded surveyor of the British (The Wives of Henry VIII) and French monarchies (Marie Antoinette: The Journey) as well as a popular novelist (the “Jemima Shore” novels), will find much to enjoy in this history of Catholic emancipation in Great Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

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Who is the Holy Spirit?
 
A Brief Review of

Here In Spirit:
Knowing the Spirit Who Creates, Sustains, and Transforms Everything
Jonathan Dodson

Paperback: IVP Books, 2018
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Reviewed by Alisa Williams
 
 
In this brief book, author Jonathan K. Dodson invites the reader to discover who the Holy Spirit is and to come to know Him better. “The most meaningful, creative, satisfying life possible is one lived here in Spirit,” writes Dodson in the introduction (5).

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Struggling to Figure out
What Following Jesus Means

 
A Brief Review of

Phoebe: A Story
Paula Gooder

 
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2018
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Reviewed by Leslie Starasta
 
 
As 21st century readers, we are far removed from the life and times of early Christians. Sitting down to read the Bible, we consider it an ancient text to be studied and the inspired scripture that is central to our faith. Our ability to interact with the text by reading it in the privacy of our own homes or on a mobile device is vastly different from the first believers who heard the letters read while gathered in house churches.

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Why You Need to Own a Copy of
Madeleine L’Engle’s The Kairos Novels (box-set).

 

Madeleine L’Engle:
The Kairos Novels:
The Wrinkle in Time and
Polly O’Keefe Quartets

 
2 Hardbacks:
Library of America, 2018.

 
 
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By C. Christopher Smith
 
 
The Library of America has recently released a gorgeous hardback box-set of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and its seven subsequent novels, a collection they have dubbed The Kairos Novels. The eight novels are presented in two volumes that contain four novels each: The Wrinkle in Time Quartet (Wrinkle, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters) and The Polly O’Keefe Quartet (The Arm of the Starfish, Dragons in the Waters, A House Like a Lotus, An Acceptable Time). The novels in the first four volumes trace the adventures of Meg Murry and Calvin O’Keefe, to whom we are introduced in Wrinkle. The second volume follows Polly O’Keefe, the daughter of Meg and Calvin.

Many L’Engle fans will already have copies of most, if not all, of these novels, so why recommend the box set?

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Confronted and Grieved
by the Sins of our Past.

A Feature Review of

The Color of Compromise:
The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
Jemar Tisby

Hardback: Zondervan, 2019.
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Reviewed by Dorothy Littell Greco.
 
Writer, speaker, and historian (PhD Candidate, University of Mississippi) Jemar Tisby has created an authoritative masterpiece. The Color of Compromise relies on history as “the main vehicle to take us on a journey toward greater racial understanding.” And what a journey Tisby takes us on.

The author topples multiple sacred cows as he dismantles the prevailing textbook narrative that nearly deifies both the early European settlers as well as the men who wrote the Constitution. Yes, the document was vital for our nation, but it also legalized systemic racism—and misogyny. Had the Founding Fathers actually been willing to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defencefor everyone (as written in the preamble for the US Constitution), the history of the United States would have been radically different.

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Healthy Acts of Resistance
 
A Review of
 

Sacred Signposts:
Words, Water, and Other Acts of Resistance

Benjamin Dueholm

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018.
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Reviewed by D.S. Leiter
 
 
Sacred Signposts is by a minister in the mainline Lutheran tradition. As such, the book is organized according to the “sacred possessions” of the church offered by reformer Martin Luther: words; water; a meal of bread and wine; confession and forgiveness; ministry; prayer, praise, and worship; and the cross and suffering.

Dueholm seeks to make an argument that these traditions are worth continuing. At times he makes a good case. For instance, I dearly loved that the author pointed out that the biblical creation story is the only known creation narrative that creates the world through speech. And I really loved some of the ways he talked about the need for repentance, especially by the white church.

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Life-giving and Life-sustaining
 
A Feature Review of
 

Invitation to Retreat:
The Gift and the Necessity of Time Away with God
Ruth Haley Barton

Hardback: IVP Books, 2018.
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Reviewed by Alicia Brummeler
 
Ruth Haley Barton’s Invitation to Retreat is a gift to readers. In a compelling and straightforward manner, she diagnoses what plagues most of us: busyness and exhaustion. However, she doesn’t leave readers hopeless. She identifies the cure: retreat is an essential spiritual practice.

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