Summer 2021 Book Preview

I last did a book preview in late January. I’ve reviewed a number of great books in the intervening months (over 70!). Meanwhile, the publishers have obligingly sent me a number of new ones to review, books that are on my summer reading list. So here is a preview of the religious books that I’ve received. The links in titles are to the publisher’s web page for the book. If you decide you want to buy one of these before I review it, there are many outlets from the publishers to various online and brick and mortar sellers. For any of the books on this list, I’d recommend my favorite bookseller, Hearts and Minds Books (and no, I do not get a kick back–I just love the mission of the store as well as personalized service offered by Byron and Beth Borger, the proprietors).

The Fire Within, Ronald Rohlheiser. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2021. Where does sexual desire come from. Rohlheiser argues that it comes from God and is meant to draw us back to Him.

Art + Faith, Makoto Fujimura. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020. Fujimura explores the spirituality and theology of making.

Worshipping with the Reformers, Karin Maag. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. A companion to the IVP Academic Reformation Commentary on Scripture series, this volume considers the character of the worship life in 16th century Reformation churches.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell. Brewster: MA: Paraclete Press, 2021. Chronicles in poetry a year in lockdown in a small village outside New York City, a journey in verse that will help us all remember and reflect.

Women Rising, Meghan Tschanz. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021. A global mission trip opened the author’s eyes to the abuses of women and the systems of injustice toward women in which churches, even her own church were complicit. Tschanz describes her own journey of finding her voice to speak out against and resist this injustice.

Iona, Kenneth Steven. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2021. Poems concerning Iona, often considered a “thin place” where people encounter God and the center of Celtic Christianity.

Working Abroad with Purpose, Glenn D. Deckert. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2019. An educator speaks of his experiences of working abroad and the opportunities for outreach as a self-supporting foreign national.

Finding Your Yes, Christine E. Wagoner. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021. How we might live lives open to God’s invitations and our own “yes” to those invitations.

Recovering the Lost Art of Reading, Leland Ryken & Glenda Faye Mathes. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021. Reading of the Bible and other literature is in decline as our reading habits are shaped by online media. The authors propose who recovering lost practices of reading may be a delight rather than drudgery.

The Coming Race Wars, William Pannell, Introduction by Jemar Tisby. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021. An expanded edition of a 1992 book that calls the white church to account for its complicity in racial sin.

Pillars: How Muslim Friends Led Me Closer to Jesus, Rachel Pieh Jones. Walden, NY: Plough Publishing, 2021. “Personal friendships with Somali Muslims overcome the prejudices and expand the faith of a typical American Evangelical Christian living in the Horn of Africa.”

The Servant of the Lord and His Servant People [NSBT], Matthew S. Harmon. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. Explores the theme of “the servant” running through scripture, centering on Christ as well as his servant people.

Talking About Ethics, Michael S. Jones, Mark J Farnham, and David L. Saxon. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2021. A dialogue approach to ethical thinking about moral dilemmas.

No Longer Strangers, Gregory Coles. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021. When you don’t feel like you belong anywhere, it may be best to give up on belonging to follow Jesus and discover a new way of belonging.

Mother of Modern Evangelicalism: The Life and Legacy of Henrietta Mears, Arlin C. Migliazzo. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2020. Her What The Bible is All About was my first guide to reading the Bible. Her impact extended far beyond that book touching the lives of men and women who would become evangelical leaders.

Every Leaf, Line, and Letter, Edited by Timothy Larsen, Introduction by Thomas S. Kidd. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. A collection of essays on the uses and abuses of the Bible by evangelicals from 1730 to the present.

Passions of the Christ, F. Scott Spencer. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021. A fine-grained study of the emotional life of Jesus in the Gospels.

Letters for the Church, Darian S. Lockett. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. How do we read those small books between Hebrews and Revelation–James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1-3 John and Jude? Lockett argues these are treasures.

Leadership, God’s Agency & Disruptions, Mark Lau Branson and Alan Roxburgh. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2021. The authors contend modernity’s belief in the irrelevance to life is reflected in leadership approaches that fail to consider God’s agency and his disruptive initiatives in scripture.

An Introduction To Ecclesiology, revised and expanded, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. A primer to the theology of the church including interfaith comparative theology.

Evil and Creation: Historical and Constructive Essays in Christian Dogmatics, Edited by David Luy, Matthew Levering, and Gregory Kalantzis. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020. A collection of essays on the doctrine of creation as it relates to moral and physical evil.

Conspicuous in His Absence, Chloe T. Sun. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2021. “What is the nature of God as revealed in texts that don’t use his name? How do we think of God when he is perceived to be absent? What should we do when God is silent or hidden?”

A Burning in my Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Winn Collier. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2021. Peterson was one of my contemporary heroes. I’m looking forward to this one!

Science and the Doctrine of Creation, Edited by Geoffrey H. Fulkerson and Joel Thomas Chopp. A look at how ten theologians have engaged scientific developments regarding origins in light of the doctrine of creation.

The Black Church: This is our Story, This is our Song, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Penguin Press, 2021. A new history of the Black Church and its importance to the Black Community and its civil rights struggle.

Lead Like It Matters to God, Richard Stearns. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021. Stearns argues for values-driven leadership in a results-driven culture.

Who Created Christianity? Editors Craig A. Evans and Aaron W. White. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Academic, 2020. A collection of essays on Paul’s relationship with Jesus and Christianity.

Whew! That’s quite a stack and quite a list! Some are short and a quick read. Others deserve a leisurely, undistracted read. At any rate, summer’s coming. Hope this list offers a few idea for your own inspiration and edification!

Winter 2021 Book Previews

It has been three months since my last book preview post. I was surprised to see the stack of books that have arrived during that time for review. So many good books have come out during that time, and I will be reading and reviewing a few of them. But there are some you might find interesting and not wait for me to review them. So here are all the books in the stack, from top to bottom:

Breaking Bread with the Dead, Alan Jacobs. Makes the case for the reading of old books to give us the depth we need to confront our age.

Workplace Discipleship 101, David W. Gill. A basic introduction to following Christ in the workplace.

The City is My Monastery, Richard Carter. A book offering resources for a contemplative life in the heart of the city.

Mixed Blessing, Chandra Crane. Crane is a colleague with a Thai birth father, European-American mother, and African-American adoptive father. She draws on her experience, scripture and history to discussing of one lives as a person of mixed identity.

Redeeming Power, Diane Langberg. The subtitle says it all: “Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church.”

An Impossible Marriage, Laurie Krieg and Matt Krieg. What makes this marriage “impossible” is that both husband and wife are attracted to women. What makes this possible is what they have learned about love and the gospel.

Sergeant Salinger, Jerome Charyn. Based on the World War II experience of J.D. Salinger, a fictional imagining of his service as an interrogator and internship after the war at a psychiatric clinic.

Hurting Yet Whole, Liuan Huska. The author, who has gone through years of chronic pain, explores how one can experience wholeness amid such pain.

Ecology and the Bible, Frederic Baudin. A guidebook outlining the basic biblical teaching concerning how Christians ought care for the environment.

Public Intellectuals and the Common Good, Edited by Todd C. Ream, Jerry Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers. The editors and contributors envision a Christian role as public intellectual–one who mediates their understanding and articulates it for the benefit of others.

A Survey of the History of Global Christianity, Mark Nickens. Offers an account of how the Christian movement grew from a small group of disciples to a global faith.

The Theology of Jeremiah, John Goldingay. Looking at the book as a whole, articulates the theological themes found in it.

Work and Worship, Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson. The word liturgy comes from two words meaning “the work of the people” but often the idea of our work and our worship has been disconnected. This book makes that connection.

J.I.Packer, Alister McGrath. J.I. Packer died in 2020. This biography explores his life, faith, and theological contribution. He was one of my heroes, so I can’t wait to read this!

Balcony of Fog, Rich Shapero. Post-apocalyptic fiction involving a love affair and and escape to the clouds, and a nemesis thunderhead. Won this one in a giveaway. We’ll see! There is also an app for an immersive reading experience.

The Problem of the Old Testament, Duane A Garrett. Explores constructive approaches for Christians to study and understand the Old Testament material.

Torah Old and New, Ben Witherington III. Focusing in on the first five books of the Old Testament, this New Testament scholar offers commentary on the books, how they were read by early Christians, and applies an intertextuality of reading backward and forward to these texts.

The Doctrine of Creation, Bruce Riley Ashford and Craig G. Bartholomew. The authors believe the doctrine of creation is critical to meeting the challenge of public theology and ethics, and that the work of Kuyper and other neo-Calvinists offers valuable resources for a robust doctrine of creation.

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Carl R. Trueman. Sees the sexual revolution as part of a deeper search for identity and traces the intellectual history that has led to our conception of the modern self.

Majority World Theology, Edited by Gene L. Green, Stephen T. Pardue, and K.K. Yeo. This is a systematic theology to which scholars from the majority world, where the greatest number of Christians live, have contributed. Both because they are in the majority and due to the failings of the Western theological enterprise, it seems worthwhile to listen to these brothers and sisters in Christ.

That’s quite a stack (20 books). Since I am still sheltering and working at home, awaiting my turn to be vaccinated, I derive some comfort from the anticipation of digging into these books, some quite think. Of course I have some other books from mysteries to histories that I’ll intermingle along the way. Look forward to some good reviews!

Upcoming Reviews of New Works: March 2015

One of my “blog resolutions” for this year was to review more recently published works. I still will review “backlist” works simply because they are of interest to me, and I hope others as well. But I also realize that reviews of new works are helpful to others who hear about a recently published work and are deciding whether to read them. Here are some of the books on my TBR pile that I anticipate reviewing in the next month or two (links are to the publishers’ websites):

Minds, BrainsSufferingCollege Disrupted

1. Minds, Brains, Souls, and Gods by Malcolm Jeeves. Probably the oldest book on the pile with a 2013 publication date but dealing with a number of the current issues in neuroscience research and the implications of this for what we believe about what it means for us to be human and even the implications of claims for a “God spot” in the brain for our belief in God.

2. Suffering and the Search for Meaning by Richard Rice. I’m part way into this book on six different ways Christians deal with suffering, the problem of evil and God. Very clear, with numerous personal stories and yet good theological and philosophical depth.

3. College Disrupted by Ryan Craig. This book deals with the rising costs of college education and the ways college education is becoming “unbundled” to deal with these costs through MOOCs, other forms of online education, and cobbling together degrees through courses from various institutions.

A Glorious DarkNonviolent ActionA Year of Living PrayerfullyAccidental Executive4. A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda. This book is described as dealing with the tension we often experience between what we believe and what we experience.

5. Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider. Sider explores the common ground between just war and pacifism theorists on the ethical requirements upon Christians to pursue where possible nonviolent solutions to conflict.

6. A Year of Living Prayerfully by Jared Brock. Brock is a young activist who spent a year on a global “pilgrimage of prayer”. This book is his account of that journey.

7. The Accidental Executive by Albert M. Erisman. The book’s subtitle is “lessons on business, faith, and calling from the life of Joseph”. Erisman is a former Boeing executive.

These aren’t the only books I anticipate reading but are some of the new (or newer) titles you can anticipate on the blog! I realize that all of this is non-fiction. If any of you have suggestions of quality fiction you think I should read, I’d be glad to hear from you!

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