Ten Theology Books to Watch For – June 2017

June 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

 

Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering

Kelly Kapic

IVP Academic

“This book will make no attempt to defend God. . . . If you are looking for a book that boasts triumphantly of conquest over a great enemy, or gives a detached philosophical analysis that neatly solves an absorbing problem, this isn’t it.”

Too often the Christian attitude toward suffering is characterized by a detached academic appeal to God’s sovereignty, as if suffering were a game or a math problem. Or maybe we expect that since God is good, everything will just work out all right somehow. But where then is honest lament? Aren’t we shortchanging believers of the riches of the Christian teaching about suffering? In Embodied Hope Kelly Kapic invites us to consider the example of our Lord Jesus. Only because Jesus has taken on our embodied existence, suffered alongside us, died, and been raised again can we find any hope from the depths of our own dark valleys of pain. As we look to Jesus, we are invited to participate not only in his sufferings, but also in the church, which calls us out of isolation and into the encouragement and consolation of the communal life of Christ. Drawing on his own family’s experience with prolonged physical pain, Kapic reshapes our understanding of suffering into the image of Jesus, and brings us to a renewed understanding of―and participation in―our embodied hope.

 

 

Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice

Rima Vesely-Flad

Fortress Press

At the center of contemporary struggles over aggressive policing practices is an assumed association in U.S. culture of blackness with criminality. Rima L. Vesely-Flad examines the religious and philosophical constructs of the black body in U.S. society, examining racialized ideas about purity and pollution as they have developed historically and as they are institutionalized today in racially disproportionate policing and mass incarceration. These systems work, she argues, to keeps threatening elements of society in a constant state of harassment and tension so that they are unable to pollute the morals of mainstream society. Policing establishes racialized boundaries between communities deemed “dangerous” and communities deemed “pure” and, along with prisons and reentry policies, sequesters and restrains the pollution of convicted “criminals,” thus perpetuating the image of the threatening black male criminal. Vesely-Flad shows how the anti-Stop and Frisk and the Black Lives Matter movements have confronted these systems by exposing unquestioned assumptions about blackness and criminality. They hold the potential, she argues, to reverse the construal of “pollution” and invasion in America’s urban cores if they extend their challenge to mass imprisonment and the barriers to reentry of convicted felons.

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