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Book Reviews

Art as Concrete Theology

For anyone familiar with the interdisciplinary conversation in theology and the arts, Jeremy Begbie’s name is well known. Begbie has been arguing for music – and arts more broadly – as sites for serious theological engagement for some time (his first major monograph, Theology, Music, and Time, is now a landmark) and has pioneered an approach to doing theology that goes far beyond superficial attempts to get “behind the art” with questions of authorial intent. Begbie’s approach is, as he…
April 24, 2019
Book ReviewsEssays

Love and Hate: Christians and Rock Music in the 1960s

As a child of the 80s born to evangelical parents with a tall stack of Christian music on vinyl, I grew up with an odd mix of music. Music from an earlier era of secular styles was called “oldies.” Oldies were music that was once the devil’s music that had grown into AM-airwave fodder. Then there was country music, an old-time tradition often accompanied by gospel style and lyrics that developed into a saccharine substitute, with sad songs about lost…
April 17, 2019
Book Reviews

One Muslim’s Journey to Christ

There is no doubt that there is a wave of movements to Christ sweeping across the Islamic world, and this testimony by Abu Atallah with Kent Van Till is witness to that. As this movement grows, it is important that we in the West listen to voices that have been marginalized in the past: the voices of Muslim-background believers and of the historic Egyptian church, Protestant or Coptic. This book is an important addition to a growing collection of books…
January 1, 2019
Book Reviews

Subtracting from the Noise

In my classroom, a groggy eighth-grade student confesses that he was up until 2 a.m. watching YouTube videos. My seventh-grade son declares his parents “the meanest ever” when we disconnect his gaming device during the school week. My 6-year-old asks when he will finally get a cell phone. I am quick to be indignant, annoyed and head-shakingly judgmental at the misled youth around me, but, admittedly, I am not much better. My phone beeps, and I drop the dinner I…
January 1, 2019
Book ReviewsCulture

Learning to See Life’s Ecstatic Dance

The Overstory, by Richard Powers THE OVERSTORY RICHARD POWERS W. W. NORTON & COMPANY. INC., 2018 $27.95 512 PAGES Richard Powers, a National Book Award winner, has been writing science- and tech-related fiction for more than 30 years. In his latest novel, The Overstory, he displays his mastery of the craft with an innovative interplay of theme, structure and style. The first 150 pages trace nine characters – nine “roots” according to the section heading – each equally compelling. The…
October 31, 2018
Book ReviewsCulture

Treating a Literary Icon with Dignity

A Light So Lovely A LIGHT SO LOVELY: THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MADELEINE L’ENGLE SARAH ARTHUR ZONDERVAN, 2018 $13.38, PAPERBACK 224 PAGES If she were alive, Madeleine L’Engle would turn 100 at the end of November. Her centenary, along with the release of a version of A Wrinkle in Time brought to us by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling earlier this year, has brought this formidable and prolific author back into the spotlight. Sarah Arthur, a prolific writer…
October 31, 2018
Book Reviews

Becoming a Church that Learns

Future Faith FUTURE FAITH – TEN CHALLENGES RESHAPING CHRISTIANITY WESLEY GRANBERG-MICHAELSON FORTRESS PRESS, 2018 261 PAGES (PAPERBACK) $18.99 The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson has dedicated his adult life to understanding how the church relates to a Western culture that appears less and less interested in the gospel and its core values. Granberg-Michaelson is in a true sense both a global citizen and follower of Jesus. With the publication of Future Faith – Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century, he…
September 1, 2018
Book ReviewsEssays

Bringing Balance to the Missional Church Movement

As is felt in the pews on Sunday mornings and reported statistically, the American church is in decline. While this raises a lot of anxiety among church leaders, there are resources and movements attempting to change this trend. One of the most compelling movements is the missional-church movement. However, the word “missional” is so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to discern what people mean when they use it. One helpful tool for understanding is the book The Permanent Revolution.…
September 1, 2018
Book Reviews

Finding a Deeper Piety in the Lord’s Supper

Remembrance, Communion, and Hope REMEMBRANCE, COMMUNION AND HOPE: REDISCOVERING THE GOSPEL AT THE LORD’S TABLE J. TODD BILLINGS WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO., 2018 $25 (PAPERBACK) 237 PAGES At the beginning of his book, J. Todd Billings presents readers with a wager: “that a renewed theology and practice of the Lord’s Supper can be an instrument for congregations to develop a deeper, more multifaceted sense of the gospel itself.” As a church planter and pastor, I’ve accepted this wager. And…
September 1, 2018