Archives For Review

 

Walking Forward Into the Future
 
A Review of 

The Last Arrow:
Save Nothing for the Next Life

Erwin McManus

 
Hardback: WaterBrook, 2017
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Reviewed by Andy Johnson III
 
 
While Erwin McManus was finishing his writing of The Last Arrow, the message of the book took on deeper meaning when he was diagnosed with cancer. Although he did not write the book intending to describe it as his “last arrow” processing this life-threatening situation accentuated the insight that we are all living with a terminal condition. The question is not if but when we will die. McManus writes, “It’s only when when we realize we are terminal that we start treating time with the respect it deserves.” (96)
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“Get Proximate to Suffering”
 
A Feature Review of

White Awake:
An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White

Daniel Hill

Paperback: IVP Books, 2017
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Reviewed by Justin Cober-Lake
 
 
CNN showed the terror happening in the park where I used to eat my lunch. It showed a man being beaten in the garage where I used to park for church. It showed a car attack on the street where I used to go for Chinese food and used books. My town Charlottesville turned into a danger zone before my eyes, and – while I was safely away on vacation – I tried to account for my friends who were downtown.

The events that happened last summer connect to public arguments over Confederate statues, similar to the debates taking place across the US South. The conversations after the tragedy of August 12 (and before that, during the previous election cycle) became more urgent, whether in home groups, bars, or Girl Scout meetings, or on social media. The urgency hasn’t helped the clarity; the same miscommunication continues, and the weight of the same conversations and same experience of talking past each other still lies heavy.

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A Call for Adventure
 
A Review of 
 

Stay in the City:
How Christian Faith is Flourishing in an Urban World

Mark Gornik / Maria Liu Wong

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
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Reviewed by Kevin Book-Satterlee
 
 
Stay in the City is one of the most fun, quick, and inspiring little texts on urban mission. Gornik and Wong bring forth small anecdotes to narrate a grand emerging adventure. We often think of adventure as journeying out, into the unknown, but in the city, with all its change, the familiar becomes unkown and recycles back to familiarity once again. This is the adventure of urban mission, the complex intertwining, changing dance with rehearsed steps to developing beats. Staying in the City inspires dance-lessons and improvisation to tell the journey of what God is doing in our cities across the globe.
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Haunting Characters
 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Ninth Hour: A Novel
Alice McDermott

Hardback: FSG Books, 2017.
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Reviewed by Carolyn Miller Parr
 
 

Alice McDermott, winner of the National Book Award and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written another unforgettable novel.

It opens in a poor Irish-American section of New York City in the early twentieth century. While his pregnant wife is out shopping her young unemployed husband rips the gas hose from his stove, lies down, and breathes deeply.

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The Mundane, Vital Details of Life
 
A Review of 
 
Whiskey & Ribbons:
A Novel
 

Leesa Cross-Smith
Hardback: Hub City Press, 2017
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Reviewed by Meghan Florian
 
 
Whiskey & Ribbons, Leesa Cross-Smith’s first novel, is a love story folded inside of a love story. It is a novel about grief, about family, about how we hold one another together when everything falls apart.

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A Powerful Medium of Storytelling
 
A Review of 
 

God in the Movies: A Guide for Exploring Four Decades of Film
Catherine Barsotti / Robert Johnston, Eds.

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2017
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Reviewed by Fred Redekop
 
 
The Sound of Music (1966) was the first movie that I saw at the theatre. My parents and their eight children went the Brock Theater in Niagara-on -the-Lake, Ontario. The other movie experience that I remember growing up with was The Wizard of Oz. It came on once a year, in the spring, and our family sat down and watched it together on television. My first R-rated movie I saw was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. So, I am a movie-watcher, who likes movies from all over the world. My brother is a set designer and set builder for the movie industry in Toronto. I was a pastor for over 30 years, and know from the people that I was pastor to,  that movies are a powerful medium of storytelling

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The Desire for the Beauty of the Book
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World
Christopher De Hamel

Hardback: The Penguin Press, 2017.
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Reviewed by Jonathan Homrighausen
 

*** WATCH brief clips of the author
    discussing some of these manuscripts!

 
Every book tells a story. At first glance this is obvious: books hold words that can fashion imagined worlds in the minds of its readers. But add another dimension: the stories told by every individual physical book. If there is an “ex libris” in the front, whose was it? Were its owners significant? If it is dirty and ragged, what trials did it endure?

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Claiming Too Much.
 
A Review of 
 

5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ.
Alan Hirsch

Paperback: 100M, 2017.
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Reviewed by Chris Schoon
 
 
Relying on Ephesians 4, one of my early mentors taught: “Ministers are not hired to do the work for the church; they are called to equip God’s people to do works of service.” In light of that teaching, I have followed missional discussions of the five-fold gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor/Shepherd, and Teacher (APEST) with great interest. From Frost and Hirsch’s The Shaping of the Things to Come to Hirsch’s other work in The Forgotten Ways and The Permanent Revolution to works from a few other missional theologians, this conversation has kept my attention. As such, I eagerly engaged Hirsch’s latest exploration of APEST through 5Q.
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Wisdom Sprinkled Lavishly
 
A Brief Review of 

Love Big, Be Well:
Letters to a Small-Town Church

Winn Collier

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017.
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Reviewed by Rhodara Shreve
 
 

In this new novel by Winn Collier, you might think letters written by a pastor to his small church congregation would be irrelevant to the modern, urban churches in larger city areas but, you would be so wrong. In fact, reading this book is more about getting a chance to remember what we can be robbed of in this crazy high-tech, global world and why this has to do with our deepest need for friendships that matter as as we journey through life. In this book, a pastor finds himself called to a rural church, and as he writes these letters to his congregation, he shares so much wisdom through the stories of people he meets in this church as he gets to know them and the community they inhabit.

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Environmentalism’s Constaninian Turn 
 
A Review of
 

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays
Paul Kingsnorth

Paperback: Graywolf Press, 2017
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 Reviewed by Ragan Sutterfield
 
 
 
When I first heard of Paul Kingsnorth I was walking through the streets of New York City, megaphones near by, banners broadcasting slogans about mother earth, CO2, and poisoned water. I was walking in the “religious” section of the People’s Climate March, a gathering of over 200,000 environmentalists set on making a clear call that the time to act against the rise of climate change is now. My friend Fred Bahnson was in the crowd and since you can only chant “he, he, ho, ho, climate change has got to go” so long, we talked writing, reading, and climate as we marched.

Fred told me about an English writer, Paul Kingsnorth, who was the leader of a different kind of response to the climate crisis. Kingsnorth, he told me, had begun a project called Dark Mountain which was gathering people to create new stories about the human relationship with the earth. “There’s a great profile of him in the New York Times Magazine,” Fred said. “It’s titled ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It…and He Feels Fine.’”

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