Archives For *Brief Reviews*
A Review of
My Friendship with Martin Buber
Hardback: Syracuse UP, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Review by Michial Farmer
All Americans who love the work of the great German-Jewish theologian and philosopher Martin Buber owe an immense debt of gratitude to Maurice Friedman, whose 1956 analysis of Buber’s work, Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue, was the first book of its sort. Friedman was the first translator of many of Buber’s best-loved essays, including most of those published in 1952’s The Eclipse of God; these essays were read and loved by many of the most important theologians of mid-century America, including Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Review of
It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God
Ned Bustard ed.
Reviewed by Erin M. Stephens
If the Church is the Body of Christ, then music is its heartbeat. Music reverberates in the spirit, draws individuals together into community, and guides them in the common desire to exalt their Savior. Through music, Christians experience an inexplicable link to their Creator. Though mysterious, this interaction is a central facet of Christianity that intimately informs your relationship with God. Each follower of Christ, regardless of personal musical ability, should cultivate a God-centered understanding of music. For such an endeavor, It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard is an ideal resource. In its engaging pages, thirty devout music-professionals offer their unique perspectives on music-making. Its content is accessible, its contributors authoritative, and its captivating insights universally applicable, making this book a necessary pleasure for worship leader and worshiper alike.
A Brief Review of
Come To My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours
Sue Moore Donaldson
Reviewed by Sara Sterley
Hospitality is a loaded issue in these days of Martha Stewart, Pinterest, and a whole host of other blogs, personalities, and magazines. I love to cook and host friends at our house, but I didn’t really connect those passions to hospitality until more recently and certainly until after reading Come To My Table. I’m coming to think of hospitality as a cornerstone of our faith, and I think we need to reclaim hospitality from the lofty Pinterest ideal.
Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk
J. Dana Trent
Reviewed by John W. Morehead
According to recent research by Naomi Schaefer Riley, the number of interfaith marriages is increasing. 45% of all marriages in the last decade involved couples from differing religious traditions. Riley’s research also shows that these marriages are not easy. Although we live in an age that is calling for increasing religious tolerance, this does not make the daily struggles of interfaith marriage any easier to wrestle with.
These difficulties are illustrated in Saffron Cross, where Dana Trent, a Christian minister with connections to the Southern Baptist Convention, shares her experiences in an interfaith marriage with her husband Fred, a Hindu and former monk. This is an interesting volume that provides insights into what the partners in such marriages experience, and it includes lessons for those outside of such marriages. Their experiences navigating such relationships have much to teach us in navigating religious pluralism.
Faces from Dante’s Inferno: Who They Are, What they Say, And What It All Means
*** This book is a companion to Longfellow’s translation of Dante’s Inferno, which is available as a free ebook (in multiple formats) here.
Dante’s Inferno, the first part of his work The Divine Comedy, is a piece of literature which many people have heard referenced or have a passing familiarity with its content, but a much smaller number of people have actually read. This classic work of Italian poetry has served as an inspiration for numerous other works of literature, art, and even movies, yet no longer is a text read or studied by many individuals. Many people feel intimidated to even begin such a book. Fortunately, Peter Celano’s newest work Faces from Dante’s Inferno: Who They Are, What they Say, And What It All Means is available to help.
A Review of
Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Douglas Connelly.
If you are looking for a critique of the prosperity gospel or a biblical evaluation of its teaching, this is not the book for you. In her first book – an adaptation of her doctoral dissertation – Kate Bowler tells the story of how the American prosperity gospel began and developed, and she introduces us to some of the main prosperity preachers. But Bowler does not take a side in the debate over prosperity teaching. Instead she tries (and largely succeeds) to give an even-handed account of how such teaching set its roots in American religious culture and how it grew into the mega-influence it is today.
A Review of
Finding God in a Bag of Groceries:
Sharing Food, Discovering Grace
Laura Lapins Willis
Reviewed by Denise Frame Harlan
After handing out a bag of groceries in the church food pantry, Laura Lapins Willis offers to show her church sanctuary to a client, and then Laura demonstrates how communion is served. The unchurched woman asks rapturously if Laura could please, please baptize her right there and then. But in Laura’s church, only ordained priests are allowed to baptize new believers. Witnesses are needed, a congregation is needed.
Laura herself is struggling: is handing out groceries in the name of Jesus enough? What is the difference between offering loaves of bread in paper bags, and offering wafers of bread at the kneeling rail? Both are callings—is one calling better than another?