Tran’s book models a no less trenchant but more careful iconoclasm, one that seeks to name and negate the false god that fuels the evils of racism. Where others name the god “whiteness,” Tran suggests instead that its name is Mammon.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to ask Eugene Heideman, who served the Reformed Church in America in a variety of roles for a half century, “What is the most important quality that a disciple of Jesus needs to demonstrate in our day and time?” He did a little bit of pondering on the question and then answered in a quite firm manner, “Humility; a follower of Jesus most needs humility!”
Firth’s volume is an implicit clarion call for readers of all stripes to continually build a proper catholic church: orthodox in belief, yet unimaginably diverse in participation. One does not need a slimmed-down, New Testament— only Bible to come to such a conclusion— it is a foundational element of Israel’s entire history.
In Boss’ book, the scarcity and cold that characterizes the lives of animals in the peak of winter is held in tension with the promise that the sun will begin to shine more each day, that the snow will melt, spring ephemerals will bloom, trees will bud, and bugs will emerge. Animals are one guide God gives us to see how to live in that tension without fear.
This collection functions more like a book of daily prayer than a traditional poetry collection, and in fact, many of the poems included were originally intended for liturgies and worship services. The reader would be best served picking the book up daily to read and pray one of the poems.
If you are looking for an easy, how to negotiate the land minds of the current political polarization, this book will be a disappointment. But if you are willing to do the hard work of reading deeply and listening carefully, this is a discerning book for how Christian leaders and churches can effectively thrive during this current time of national division.