Archives For Review

 

Occupying and Holding Space Together
as Church Communities

A Review of 

Seeing Jesus in East Harlem:
What Happens When Church Show Up and Stay Put

José Humphreys

Paperback: IVP Books, 2018.
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Reviewed by Bob Cornwall

 

*** This review originally appeared 
on the reviewer’s website.
It is reprinted here with permission.
Browse his website for other excellent reviews!

 
I am the pastor of a predominantly white suburban church that once lived in Detroit. This church moved to the suburbs, as did other congregations in the city, because most of the members had moved to the suburbs. The congregation tried to stay put, but in the end, it made better sense for the now diminished congregation to let another congregation make use of the historic building. The choice was probably correct, but I am attuned to stories of being present in the community. To be honest, suburban communities need congregations to be show up and stay put as well, so as to demonstrate God’s love and grace, as well as challenging the status quo. Forty years after the move, this congregation is trying to stay put in the community we were replanted.
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Recontextualizing Time.

 
A Feature Review of 

Timefulness:
How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
Marcia Bjornerud

Hardback: Princeton UP, 2018
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Reviewed by Justin Cober-Lake
 
 

With the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report this past October, the disastrous effects of anthropogenic climate change feel even more imminent (as if we aren’t seeing them already). Even so, neither public conversation nor policy properly addresses the problem. Marcia Bjornerud, a professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University, writes that at least some of the problem with our understanding of the situation lies in our “time denial.” In Timefulness, she proposes that developing a geologist’s thinking about time will help us more properly address our current global situation.

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Georgia on his Mind: George Whitefield and the Margins of Empire
 
A Feature Review of 

George Whitefield:
Evangelist for God and Empire
Peter Choi

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018
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Reviewed by Alex Joyner

 

Experiments flourish on the margins. It’s why visionaries and mavericks gather in places far from the watchful eye of social convention and official control.  Think Donald Judd making his art and his mark in Marfa in ultra-West Texas. Think Brigham Young and the Mormons building Utah.  Or think George Whitefield and his Georgia plantation.  Wait…what?

George Whitefield has been hard for American religious scholars to classify.  The 18th century transatlantic evangelist clearly had a major impact on the Great Awakening, but, as Peter Choi puts it in his new book on Whitefield, he has always been “a sort of third wheel among undisputed leaders of the evangelical awakening.” (233) The two big wheels being Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley.  “Edwards was the indisputable intellectual leader of the early evangelicals,” Choi says, “and Wesley the sophisticated organizer who laid the groundwork for worldwide Methodism.” (233) But what did Whitefield do?

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The Vital Humanness
of Moral Leaders

A Review of 

Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World
David Gushee / Colin Holtz

Hardback: Brazos Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Aaron Morrison

 

Moral Leadership for a Divided Age works best as an introduction to moral leaders who have made a positive impact through their deep conviction to work for the common good. Readers may wish other leaders would have been included, or they may be disappointed in the limited reflection on how moral leaders form us into better people. Nonetheless, David Gushee and Colin Holtz have designated a well-intentioned list of remarkable people whose lives have much to teach us about being good citizens in a divided polis.

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A God-Illuminated World
 
A Brief Review of 
 

Flame in the Night:
A Novel of
World War II France

Heather Munn

 
Paperback: Kregel, 2018
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Reviewed by Tim Otto
 
 
Flame in the Night, Heather Munn’s new young adult book, takes place in a dark time in which a populist head-of-state scapegoats immigrants, glorifies military might, and calls for worship of the nation-state. The majority of Christians not only don’t resist, they cooperate. In one place however, a witness blazes forth as Christians bravely and sacrificially defy the night. Flame in the Night explores the character and practices that fuel such a community.

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Transforming Memory
into a Place of Solace
 
A Review of 

Acacia Road:
Poems
 

Aaron Brown

Paperback:
Silverfish Review Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Ben Rawlins
 
 

Aaron Brown’s Acacia Road flows from a remembered intimacy with a particular place foreign to most of us. In the opening poem, “N’Djamena Morning,” the speaker strolls through the African city as a popular song crackles on the radio, and a lizard scurries across a wall. N’Djamena is the capitol of Chad, a land-locked country in north-central Africa and Brown’s home through childhood and adolescence until violence forced his family to leave. Even as these poems provide continued connection to past meaningful experience, they also acknowledge the palpable sense of loss inherent to translating memory into poetry.

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Becoming We.
 
A Review of 
 

One in Christ:
Chicago Catholics and the Quest
for Interracial Justice

Karen Johnson

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018
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Reviewed by Claire Johnson
 
 
During this past Easter Break, I exited what was supposed to be a unified, city-wide prayer and worship service in my hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas. Instead, the event was marked with sharp racial divisions of black and white. Catholics and far-fetched liberals weren’t present, or if they were, the white, evangelical event planners had stripped their voices. The body of Christ was not unified. The service was held in a conservative, white Protestant church with white contemporary Protestant Christian music led by the white band from the Southern Baptist church down the street. White pastors from white Protestant churches led the inter-song devotionals. The façade of unity came only from the closeting of diversity. Unity with no diversity is not unity at all.

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Questioning and Thanking and
Running and Falling and
Searching and Rebuilding

A Review of

Once You Go In:
A Memoir of Radical Faith
Carly Gelsinger

Paperback: She Writes Press, 2018
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Reviewed by June Mears Driedger

 

When God created Adam God declared it was not good for man to be alone, so Eve was created to ease Adam’s loneliness. The Old Testament is the story of individuals creating community with God and with one another. It is natural for us to long to belong to others whether this is within families, neighborhoods, sports team fandom, or within a faith tradition. We want to belong.

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Drawing Near
 
A Feature Review of
 

The Eternal Current:
How a Practice-Based Faith Can Save Us from Drowning

Aaron Niequist

Hardback: Waterbrook, 2018
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Reviewed by Janna Lynas

 

Growing up Christian, I believed and learned the lingo at a very young age. Subtly, and not so subtly, I learned other faith practices were not to be observed or even discussed. Eventually this thirty- something young woman wondering about a lot of things. Growing up Christian, believing and beginning to wonder if there were deeper things at hand, led me to an inductive study of the book John in the home of a woman who had a picture of the Virgin Mary on her wall and sometimes spoke of mystery and wondering as though they were acceptable and inseparable from the gospel. This once-a-week Bible study touched something that had been stirring within this “growing up Christian” woman who was just beginning to realize what was growing up within her was what would sweep her away. Aaron Niequist describes this as an universal ache for more in his first book, The Eternal Current.

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Listening to the Voice of God
in Your Heart

A Review of 

Grace: On the Journey to God
Michael Casey

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Mark Jenkins

 

With everything that Michael Casey does, I can’t help but wonder when he finds time to sleep! He is one of the most widely sought after, erudite, and respected priests active in the world of Roman Catholic monasticism. A select bibliography of his books and articles spans ten full pages, covering more than 45 years of publication. Fr. Casey has lectured and led retreats in more than forty countries on 6 continents. He was a primary force and the principal author behind the 1990 revision of the “The Constitutions and Statutes of the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance.” He served as prior of the Tarrawarra Monastery in Australia from 1988 to 2003 and vocation director from 1998 to 2012. He has written extensively on the care and formation of novices and has contributed significant, substantial scholarship to the field of Benedictine studies.

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