Archives For Review

 


Thin Places
 
A Review of 

Dreaming of Stones: Poems
Christine Valters Paintner

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2019
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Hearts & Minds Books ]

 
Reviewed by Michial Farmer
 
 
Midway through Dreaming of Stones, her new collection of poems, Christine Valters Paintner writes that her mission as a writer and a human being is to remember “the wonder that there is anything, / much less bluebells and fresh bread, / the way world are encapsulated / in drops of dew” (“In Praise of Forgetting,” ll. 23-26). As far as aesthetic mission statements go, you could do a lot worse—especially for a poet like Paintner, whose poems skate the line between physical and metaphysical, between ordinary and sacramental. Though she doesn’t say so directly, Paintner’s poetics demonstrate Simone Weil’s famous observation that attention is a form of prayer. Perhaps all good poetry does that, but Paintner seems particularly cognizant of it.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1611803373″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/41MYIGo7FL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]An Old Friend Newly Met
 
A Feature Review of
 

On Thomas Merton
Mary Gordon

 
Hardback: Shambhala, 2019
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Reviewed by Mark Jenkins
 
 
 
The New York Times has called Mary Gordon “the bard of the American Catholic experience.” I suspect she isn’t comfortable with that title. On more than one occasion she has paraphrased Flannery O’Connor saying that, in our time, one has to “suffer because of the church and not for the church.” Gordon’s approach/avoidance response to the church—any church—particularly in its more dogmatic and sexist iterations is healthy.

Such attitudes uniquely qualify her perspective on Thomas Merton, his life, and his writing. Like Merton, she is keenly aware of the ambiguities and tensions of being labeled a “Catholic writer.” She can be fiercely loyal to Roman Catholicism, but never unquestioningly so. Not unlike Merton in his final years of life.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1978702019″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/511nIF3j2EL-1.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”209″]Mapping the Landscape
of Christian Ethics

A Review of

Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics:
On Loving Enemies

D. Stephen Long

Hardback: Lexington Books, 2018
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Reviewed by David W. Opderbeck
 
 
Steve Long has a talent for seeing a way through tensions between competing movements in contemporary theology.  In his 2014 book Saving Karl Barth: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Preoccupation (Fortress Press, 2014), Long addressed the debates over natural theology and the analogia entis that still divide Protestant theology in a Barthian key from Catholic theology sympathetic to von Balthasar.  As Long showed in that book, while there are real differences, contemporary theology can benefit from insights from both of these great thinkers, even as Barth and von Balthasar benefitted in their own lifetimes from their personal friendship.

Now, in Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics, Long takes up a related set of differences in Christian ethics, between “neo-Anabaptists” and “neo-Augustinians.”  The “neo-Anabaptists” – or, as Long comes to refer to them, the “ecclesial” ethicists, are represented by John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, James William McClendon, and others who have taken up their work.  The “neo-Augustinians” are represented by Oliver O’Donovan, John Milbank, Eric Gregory, Charles Mathewes, Jennifer Herdt, and others who are more sympathetic to the “Augustinian realism” of Reinhold Niebuhr. In many ways, the ecclesial ethicists represent the Barthian side of Saving Karl Barth, while the neo-Augustinians represent the von Balthasarian side (though O’Donovan is perhaps a Barthian Augustinian).

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0814645925″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/51lMP2hM3dL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Toward A Deeper Life of Dialogue
 
A Brief Review of
 

Finding Jesus Among Muslims:
How Loving Islam Makes Me A Better Catholic
Jordan Denari Duffner

Paperback: Liturgical Press, 2018.
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0814645925″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07B6N3M75″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
 
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
 
In an age when hostility toward those of the Muslim faith is all too common, Jordan Denari Duffner in her recent book Finding Jesus Among the Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me A Better Catholic, points us in a different – and more Christ-like – direction. Duffner’s approach is grounded, as she notes in her introduction, in the virtues of dialogue. “We are called to dialogue,” she observes, “because God dialogues. As Christians, we believe in one God who is also Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Augustine understood this three-in-one God as a communication – or dialogue – of love, in which the Father and Son give and receive love, and the Holy Spirit is the love between them. God also dialogues with humanity” (4).

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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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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0310351847″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/41LZkyYQ7WL-1.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”218″]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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[ [easyazon_link identifier=”0310351847″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07DT37ZDP” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ] [  [easyazon_link identifier=”B07K7SPPJ9″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

 
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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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1400208416″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/412hztztPFL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]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
Buy Now:
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”1400208416″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07DT3PM3R” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07JJP6W6J” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

 
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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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0385544529″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/51j9qLvk1FL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”220″]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
Buy Now:
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”0385544529″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07C949C5B” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07H3DKX9G” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

 
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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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0830845445″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/51zPVur24PL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]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
Buy Now:
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”0830845445″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07G3F91V1″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07JJRDYLR” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

 
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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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”083085245X” locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/51MJNbqutnL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Struggling to Figure out
What Following Jesus Means

 
A Brief Review of

Phoebe: A Story
Paula Gooder

 
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2018
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”083085245X” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07HGJ7FDX” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
 
 
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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