Archives For Review

 

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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Facing Death with Grace and Courage

A Brief Review of 

Walking Home Together:
Spiritual Guidance & Practical Advice for the End of Life

Michael Mercer

Paperback: 23rd Publications, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Facing our own death, or that of a loved one, can stir up much anxiety in us. When we inevitably must take this journey, it is wonderful to have a friend who knows what to expect and can walk this journey with us. Michael Mercer, a hospice chaplain here in Indianapolis, has walked this road with many people, and captures much of his own wisdom about this journey in the new book Walking Home Together.
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You are More…
 
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Ruined: A Memoir
Ruth Everhart

Paperback: Tyndale House, 2016
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Reviewed by Jasmine Smart
 
 
What I love most about this memoir is that it is a gift, primarily for her daughters, but by extension to other young women and ultimately Christian culture in general.  Purity-culture theology has real-world, damaging  consequences, and Ruth Everhart has an insightful lens in which she explores those consequences: through her personal journey wrestling with the traumatic events that happened to her,  and the way her theology held up to those events and community responded.

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Speculative Autobiography?

 
A Feature Review of 
 

Moonglow: A Novel
Michael Chabon

Hardback: Harper Books, 2016
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Reviewed by Cynthia Beach

 

A shadowy horse lopes in a long pasture at night, sliding in and out of the full moon’s bright glow. This image captures well the new book by Pulitzer prize-winner Michael Chabon.

The protagonist, Chabon’s grandfather—a fictionalized grandfather—strides large and complex and strangely sympathetic, a man who moves with riveting power, yet a man whose dreams don’t ever come true.

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The Workings of a Great Imagination
 
A Brief Review of 

Eight Children in Narnia: The Making of a Children’s Story
Jared Lobdell

Paperback:  Open Court, 2016
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Review by Betsy Susan Morgan
 
 

I first read the Narnia tales when I was in college, after I had read Mere Christianity.  I read them again a couple years later, after I had taken a class in Medieval Literature and had read Chaucer’s “Parlement of Foules.”  When I came across the Parliament of Owls in my second reading of The Silver Chair, I was discouraged.   Such a blatant allusion and I had missed it, because I had not yet read enough.  How many more of these were there, that I was missing?  I felt I could never read enough.

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A Heart in Darkness

 
A Feature Review of
 
The Underground Railroad:
A Novel
Colson Whitehead

Hardback: Doubleday, 2016
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Reviewed by Alex Joyner

 

*** This review orginally appeared on the reviewer’s blog,
and is reprinted here with his permission.

 

South Carolina seemed enlightened, until you realized that, beneath the comforts and opportunities, the plan was to sterilize the black race out of existence.  North Carolina used less subterfuge, resorting to a grisly ‘Freedom Trail’ of hanging black bodies as a way of dealing with its ‘race problem.’  Tennessee was a burnt-over, cursed place and Indiana had its own terrors.

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Rippling Through History

 
A Review of 

All Things Made New:
The Reformation and Its Legacy

Diarmaid MacCulloch

Hardback: New York: Oxford UP, 2016
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Reviewed by Seth Moland-Kavash
 

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University and one of the most well-regarded and prolifically published church historians of our era. This newly published volume is a collection of essays, all previously published in various venues over the past 25 years, that reflect MacCulloch’s reflections on the Reformation and its ongoing legacy in England, in Europe, in the West, and throughout the world.

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Excoriating Christendom
—and Suffering for it

 
A Feature Review of
 

Kierkegaard: A Single Life 
Stephen Backhouse

Hardback: Zondervan, 2016.
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Reviewed by James Dekker
 
 

In an entry of less than 300 words, the then peerless Encylopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, calls young Søren Aaby[e] Kierkegaard “delicate, precocious and morbid in temperament” (vol. 15, 788). One hundred five years later, I am sure that Kiekegaard maven Stephen Backhouse would agree, probably extending Britannica’s estimation to the maverick philosopher’s entire life.

Dying after a series of seizures in 1855 at age 42, Søren—as Backhouse calls him throughout this concise, yet full biography—was not merely precocious, but enormously productive and often acerbic in in his writing. As well, he was beset with intractable paradoxes that both attracted and repelled friends, family and colleagues. During his life he reaped few accolades and much scorn for his relentless, often slashing criticism of leading Danish literati (among them Denmark’s hitherto untouchable Hans Christian Andersen) academics, political theorists and state church leaders. After being ignored by his family pastor and erstwhile mentor, Bishop Jakob Peter Mynster, Kierkegaard added him to his phalanxes of targets. Calling Mynster a “poisonous plant . . . a colossus,” he concluded, “Great strength was required to topple him, and the person who did it also had to pay for it” (148).

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A Necessary Conversation 

 
A Review of

Representing Christ: A Vision For the Priesthood of All Believers
Uche Anizor and Hank Voss

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2016
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Reviewed by Trent Crofts

 

My first year of college involved a lot of church shopping. Oddly enough, the experience was analogous to shoe shopping. I remember thinking, “this church feels too restricting, this feels too loose, this is bland, this is flashy, this smells,” and so on and so forth. At the time, I focused on what I could get out of church—rather than what church could get out of me. I lacked vision for how believers can serve within the Church, a vision that Representing Christ provides.

Written by Uche Anizor and Hank Voss, Representing Christ provides an introduction to a necessary conversation about the priesthood of all believers, a conversation that is based on Scripture, grounded in history, and motivated for service in the Church and in the world.

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Switching Our Religion.
 
 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Market As God
Harvey Cox

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2016
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Reviewed by Philip Christman
 
 
 
I teach first-year English at an elite public university, which gives me a window into the hopes and anxieties of America’s luckier youth. Mostly, they’re anxious about getting into the business school. Some of them actually want to study business, which is fine, but every semester, usually several times, I talk to someone with a demonstrable gift for thinking, writing, doing good, or making art, who has convinced her- or himself that any other major would be irresponsible. They have heard from every corner that the Market will punish them if they—who by their mere presence at University of Michigan have already found their way into a social network so privileged it beggars the human imagination—do the work they want to do. They continue to feel this way even though, from several of my course readings, they have learned that the “skills gap” doesn’t really exist (it’s largely a PR move by corporations that want to offload new-hire training to our public universities), that our future is not threatened by a deluge of art history majors, and that majors have less impact on hireability than many other factors—personal connections, school prestige, work experience. Knowing all this, and in some cases dreading the boredom and enforced club-ability for which business programs are notorious, these students still choose to reroute their hopes and dreams in deference to an abstraction: the Market.

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