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Book Reviews

Carrying that Weight Together

Bearing the Unbearable BEARING THE UNBEARABLE: TRAUMA, GOSPEL, AND PASTORAL CARE DEBORA VAN DEUSEN HUNSINGER WM B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO., 2015 $20 179 PAGES Many mainline Protestants have a strange relationship with trauma. Our newspapers and prayer lists are strewn with stories of traumatic events. Stories of refugees fleeing war, racial aggressions on college campuses and sexual abuse of children are so common that they have nearly faded into white noise in our news cycle. But even given how ubiquitous…
Book Reviews

Judgment versus Community

Orbiting Jupiter ORBITING JUPITER GARY D. SCHMIDT CLARION BOOKS, 2015 $18 192 PAGES In the first chapter of Gary Schmidt's latest young-adult novel, Orbiting Jupiter, a social worker warns Jack and his parents about Joseph, the foster child they are thinking of taking in. Joseph has served time in two juvenile halls. While in one, he reportedly tried to kill a teacher. And even though Joseph, like Jack, is in middle school, Joseph has another secret that sets him apart.…
November 1, 2016
Book Reviews

A Peek into the Mind of Marilynne Robinson

The Givenness of Things, by Marilynne Robinson THE GIVENNESS OF THINGS: ESSAYS MARILYNNE ROBINSON FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2015. $26 286 PAGES Marilynne Robinson, best known for her four novels, Housekeeping, Gilead, Home and Lila, is a prolific essayist. The Givenness of Things represents her most recent compilation of essays. A self-described theist, Robinson identifies as a Protestant and makes no apologies for assigning priority to the Christian faith. The 17 pieces in the Givenness of Things derive from talks…
September 1, 2016
Book Reviews

Dissecting a Suburban Exodus

Shades of White Flight SHADES OF WHITE FLIGHT: EVANGELICAL CONGREGATIONS AND URBAN DEPARTURE MARK MULDER RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2015 $28.95 181 PAGES In May 2015, I sat in an intense council meeting that would decide the fate of my church, Roosevelt Park Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The council resolved, and the church agreed, to give ourselves three months to achieve specific benchmarks so that we might discern if the church should continue on or not. We did not…
June 30, 2016
Book Reviews

God as the ‘Principal Clerk’ of the Market

Stories Economists Tell STORIES ECONOMISTS TELL: STUDIES IN CHRISTIANITY AND ECONOMICS JOHN P. TIEMSTRA WIPF AND STOCK $18 191 PAGES In his essay describing the good merchant, Thomas Fuller says, “For God is the principal clerk of the market.” That is, there are three people involved in every commercial transaction. His definition reflects the ethos of an earlier world view, one pervaded by Christian thought patterns. Much has changed, especially because of the Enlightenment, but has Fuller’s formula changed? Even…
Book Reviews

A Roadmap for the Church’s Mission

The Story that Chooses Us THE STORY THAT CHOOSES US: A TAPESTRY OF MISSIONAL VISION GEORGE HUNSBERGER EERDMANS PUBLISHING, 2015 176 PAGES $17.78 In his book The Story that Chooses Us, George Hunsberger reaches back in time and chronicles the evolution of the mission mindset as we have grown to understand it today. In doing so, Hunsberger prompts us to imagine a roadmap that reveals where we are headed. It becomes evident that if the church in the Western context…
April 30, 2016
Book Reviews

A Sobering Diagnosis for Christian Higher Education

A Future for American Evangelicalism A FUTURE FOR AMERICAN EVANGELICALISM: COMMITMENT, OPENNESS, AND CONVERSATION HAROLD HEIE WIPF & STOCK, 2015 156 PAGES $20 With the publication of A Future for American Evangelicalism: Commitment, Openness, and Conversation, Harold Heie, one of the giants of evangelical Christian higher education in North America, presents us once again with an innovatively constructed book. Full disclosure requires that I mention my participation in an earlier volume of similar type, titled Evangelicals on Public Policy Issues:…
April 30, 2016
Book Reviews

Calling Men to Be Fully Human

MAN ENOUGH: HOW JESUS REDEFINES MANHOOD NATE PYLE ZONDERVAN, 2015 $15.99 208 PAGES I cried as I read the last chapter of a book written about Christian manhood. Yes, you read that correctly. But, before I talk about the end, let me back up a bit. As a woman called into ordained ministry but having to struggle against ideas I had learned during my formative years about the place of women in church and home, I have had to unpack the…
February 29, 2016
Book Reviews

Tackling the Psalms in One Volume

THE BOOK OF THE PSALMS (THE NEW INTERNATIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT) NANCY DECLAISSE-WALFORD, ROLF A. JACOBSON, BETH LANEEL TANNER EERDMANS, 2014 1,073 PAGES $60 “Reflecting the combined insights and strengths of three superior biblical scholars, this book is the most complete and detailed one-volume commentary available on the Psalms”: so boasts publisher William. B. Eerdmans. Before I comment on this mammoth book and respond to that claim, honesty demands that I begin with full disclosure: I am neither…
December 31, 2015