Books I’ll Be Reviewing This Summer


Recent weeks have brought a pile of new books for review that hold the promise for many hours of rich reading. That’s in addition to other books I am reading “just because.” I thought I’d give you a preview, just in case you see something you are interested in and don’t want to wait for the review. Let me take you on a quick tour down the pile.

religion in the university

Religion in the University, Nicholas Wolterstorff. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019. Wolterstorff, whose wonderful memoir I recently reviewed, argues that religion indeed does have a place in the modern university.

the reluctant witness

The Reluctant Witness, Don Everts. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2019. The promotional copy for this book proposes: “As society has changed, it seems we have become more uncomfortable talking with people about our faith. We are reluctant conversationalists. The reality is that many of our churches and communities are shrinking instead of growing. What can we do about this?” The book draws on research from Barna and The Lutheran Hour.


Priscilla, Ben Witherington III. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. This is a study of a fascinating minor but significant character in the book of Acts, Priscilla, often named before her husband, an instructor of Apollos, and a co-worker with Paul. What can we learn from this important New Testament woman?

boundaries for your soul

Boundaries for Your Soul, Allison Cook and Kimberly Miller. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2018. Often emotions of shame, guilt, anger, sadness, and fear end up overwhelming us. These two counselors share ways we can gain control and turn these emotions to good ends.

stones and stories

Stones and Stories, Judith E. Anderson. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2019. This slim volume explores the inescapable reality that we are interpreters of stories, whether in literature or scripture. The book, written for use in high schools, explores basic principles of how we exercise interpretive judgment.

jean vanier

Jean Vanier: Portrait of a Free Man, Anne-Sophie Constant. Walden, NY: Plough Publishing, 2019. Constant describes the story of Vanier, recently deceased, and his life of living with the intellectually disabled, that not only changed how we look at the disabled but that changed Vanier, making him a “free man.”

A Liberated Mind

A Liberated Mind, Steven C. Hayes. New York: Avery, 2019. The promotional copy for this book states: “Life is not a problem to be solved. ACT [Acceptance and Commitment Therapy] shows how we can live full and meaningful lives by embracing our vulnerability and turning toward what hurts.”

the reformation and the irrepressible word of god

The Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God, edited by Scott Manetsch. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. The Reformers believed in the “living and active” Word of God, powerful to transform lives, and able to provide norms of belief and behavior for the life of the church. This collection of essays explores that belief and how this is no less true 500 years later.

campus life

Campus Life: In Search of Community, edited by Drew Moser and Todd C. Ream. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. This is an expanded and updated edition of a 1990 study by Ernest Boyer for the Carnegie Foundation, particularly exploring the contribution of Christian higher education to the practice of community and offering recommendations for higher education leaders.

Pursuing an Earthy Spirituality

Pursuing an Earthy Spirituality, Gary S. Selby. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. A work that explores the earthy spirituality of C.S. Lewis–that our spiritual life is found not in withdrawal from the physicality of life but a transforming engagement with it.

the dearly beloved

The Dearly Beloved, Cara Wall, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019. A story tracing the love and friendship and challenges of two couples over several decades, brought together by their care for a church in Greenwich Village.

balm in gilead

Balm in Gilead: A Theological Dialogue with Marilynne Robinson, edited by Timothy Robinson and Keith L. Johnson. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. In 2018, a group of theologians convened to dialogue about the work of novelist and essayist, Marilynne Robinson, known for the rich theological content of her work. Robinson was present and is a contributor of one of the chapters in this book.

the soul of an american president

The Soul of an American President, Alan Sears and Craig Osten with Ryan Cole. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2019. A study of the faith of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the only president actually baptized in office.

the church of us vs them

The Church of Us vs. Them, David E. Fitch. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2019. An investigation of why so many of our churches have become embroiled in the vitriol of our culture and the patterns and practices needed to be the presence of Christ in the world.

Well, that’s the pile top to bottom. Just skimming the descriptions and summarizing them whets my appetite to read them all. How about you? Anything here that you might want to pick up this summer? If you do, let’s compare notes.

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