Archives For *Brief Reviews*

 

James SkillenEngaging Politics Faithfully

A Review of

The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction

James Skillen

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2014
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Reviewed by Tim Hoiland

 

For decades, James Skillen has been thinking deeply and carefully about politics and public policy from an evangelical perspective. Despite the culture wars raging to his right and to his left, he has managed to maintain a degree of nuance and sanity that is all too rare among political commentators, Christian or otherwise. Needless to say, he has earned the right to be heard.

 

The founder and former executive director of the Center for Public Justice, a non-partisan think tank that seeks to apply Christian principles to public policy issues, Skillen has long advocated a robust view of civic responsibility, believing that Christians are called to collaborate with others for the sake of the common good.

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Rosario PicardoThe Cultivation of New Churches

A Review of

Embrace: A Church Plant that Broke All the Rules

Rosario Picardo

Paperback:  Resource Pubs., 2014
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Reviewed by Christopher Brown
 
Rosario Picardo’s thin book Embrace tells the story of his call to ministry and the planting of Embrace Church in Lexington, KY. With refreshing honesty and candor, Picardo gives an account of his church’s life which should embolden other leaders of new worshiping communities both to venture into uncharted territory and to persevere when they encounter unexpected challenges.

 

The beauty of Picardo’s story in Embrace lies in its messiness, which in turn reveals the wisdom which can be gained from Picardo’s example. To write a book which so openly shares not the successes but the apparent missteps of a new church requires a level of humility that is rare among church planters.

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Daniel RobinsonRepairing Imaginations

A Review of

Myself and Some Other Being: Wordsworth and the Life Writing

Daniel Robinson

Paperback: U of Iowa Press, 2014
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Reviewed by Amy Gentile
 
There’s this odd phenomenon that happens from time to time, where you hear a word, a name, or an idea for what feels like the first time—or at least the first time you really noticed it—and then you start hearing it everywhere, as though you can’t escape it. And it’s so prevalent that you begin to wonder if you really never heard about it before, or if it really is as it seems—that this word or idea is suddenly haunting you, following you around for some purpose.
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Leah KostamoLeading the Way.

A Review of

Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community

Leah Kostamo

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2013
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*** The Kindle ebook is on sale for $3.99 for the remainder of May!

Reviewed by Kurt Armstrong

Leah and Markku Kostamo established Canada’s first Christian environmental center more than 12 years ago, an A Rocha site on ten acres of vulnerable land on the Little Campbell Watershed, 30 minutes south of Vancouver, BC. A Rocha (no, not Almond Rocha) is an international Christian conservation society working in 19 countries around the world. Similar to 4th century monastics or today’s New Monastic communities, A Rocha works within abandoned or vulnerable ecosystems, where people give their lives to a particular vision for a particular place. A Rocha uses the tagline “Environmental Stewardship” instead of the more-honest-but-less-professional-sounding “Because We Love This Place.” But Leah Kostamo’s book, Planted, is unmistakably a love story, complete with dreams, romance, frustration, heartache, and fidelity.

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Glynn YoungSpeaking With Poetic Precision

A Review of

Poetry at Work

Glynn Young


Paperback: T.S. Poetry Press, 2013
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Reviewed by Micheal Hickerson

 

This book, the first of T.S. Poetry Press’s Masters in Fine Living series, is intended to be read slowly and reflectively. Poetry at Work consists of 20 short, practically poetic chapters, each offering a few pages of thoughts about a specific area of work, along with a poetic exercise and, in many chapters, a few lines of Young’s own poetry about his work. The chapters largely deal with Young’s own experiences with turning to poetry for encouragement, inspiration, and comfort during his career in speechwriting, public relations, and social media. He wants readers to share his discovery that poetry can be used to discover beauty and purpose in the everyday.

Key to the book is this passage:

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Timothy WengertA Fresh Encounter With Jesus

A Review of

Reading the Bible with Martin Luther

Timothy Wengert

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2013
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Reviewed by Douglas Connelly

 

If you are a Lutheran, you will find a lot of encouragement in Timothy Wengert’s book on Martin Luther’s view and approach to Scripture.  The book will challenge you to undertake the interpretation and proclamation of the gospel with the same passion and care as the original Lutheran.

 

If you are not a Lutheran, Wengert’s explanation of Luther’s view on Scripture will force you to re-think some of the things you thought you knew about Luther.  Most of us outside the Lutheran camp know only two things about Luther and the Bible: first, he called the New Testament book of James a “real strawy epistle,” and second, Luther championed the position of sola Scriptura, the appeal to Scripture alone to define Christian belief and practice.

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Gandhi's Printing PressOn the anniversary of Gandhi’s death, I thought I would post my recent review of

Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading
Isabel Hofmeyr

Hardback:  Oxford UP, 2013
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[ FREE Ebook of Gandhi's
FREEDOM'S BATTLE
]

 
 
This review originally appeared on the Books And Culture website, and was later shared on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish.

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Maurice FriedmanI and Thou and Thou

A Review of

My Friendship with Martin Buber
Maurice Friedman

Hardback: Syracuse UP, 2013
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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.

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Two Brief Reviews

by C. Christopher Smith, ERB editor.

Brief Reviews

Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith
Paul Buhle, Editor.

Paperback:  Herald Press, 2013.
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It Was GoodExalting the Giver of Music

A Review of

It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God
Ned Bustard ed.

Paperback: Square Halo Books, 2013.
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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.

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