Category Archives: Christianity

HOW TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER

Theologians are generally leery, even disdainful (usually in quiet, socially accepted ways!) of “lay” people. And so-called “lay” people tend to return the favor. There are many reasons for this, and Keith Johnson helps unpack them for us.

Johnson’s book is desperately needed since the animus between professional theologians and the church is acute and does not seem to be getting any better.

The author provides a good historical sketch of how theology moved away from the church and found itself in the academy. This offers perspective for how we ought to proceed in understanding the challenge of wedding theology to the church.

Johnson writes with a gracious touch but makes clear how we all need to make amends for our less than Christlike behavior.

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND DESIGNED!

It is wonderful to see publishers who care about a book’s design and aesthetics. Baylor University Press consistently hits home runs in these areas.

John Swinton has written a terrific book that makes us look more honestly at our ideas of time and how they impinge on our treatment of those with disabilities. Non-spoiler alert: we don’t do very well at either!

There is much to like about this book. It helps us wrestle with issues of great consequence and yet maintains a gracious tone throughout.

Perhaps this quote by Scott Bader-Saye from page 57 well describes the tenor of this terrific book: “The ways we experience, name, and interpret time contribute to the kinds of communities we imagine and inhabit.”

Highly recommended!

GIVE A GIFT TO YOURSELF!

This is the third book I’ve read by Tim Larsen. I interviewed him on the other two books.

There is so very much to like about this book. I will simply list out four of my favorite things about the book:

Some shorter books like Larsen’s pack in plenty of content. If a lecture series becomes a book (as is the case with this book), there is a better than average chance that the smaller size book will have great content. You can see this with books (from another lecture series) like Andrew Delbanco’s fascinating, The Real American Dream. Larsen’s book does not disappoint as it offers the reader plenty of material.

Even though there is much content, the writing is lucid and engaging.

Larsen is an eminent historian of nineteenth-century Britain. You can always count on him to do careful archival work and know the primary sources. This book showcases those strengths.

Larsen is sensitive, as was George MacDonald, to Christians who struggle with doubt. As one who knows firsthand these struggles, I greatly appreciate Larsen’s treatment in this book.

Perhaps it is too late for a Christmas present, but how about a present for yourself for the new year?!

FAITHFUL: A THEOLOGY OF SEX

It is wonderful when a short book does a good job of addressing the major areas of an issue. You don’t expect short books to go into great detail. You do hope they are aware of the important issues.

Beth Felker Jones has written a wonderful, and yes, short book on a theology of sex. The book is barely over a hundred pages and can easily be read in a sitting or two.

Jones is winsome, writes clearly, and gives the reader confidence that this issue should matter a whole lot more than it does. Jones does a terrific job of highlighting some bogus beliefs among the Christian community that continue to hurt people needlessly.

A great introduction to an important topic!

THE MYTH OF CERTAINTY

The Myth of Certainty greatly ministered to me.  It was my companion on a recent trip. 

I often jest that I am a serial, not cereal (!) doubter.  Dan does a terrific job of showing how the struggle to believe can (and should) be incorporated into our Christian lives. 

Dan is a wonderful writer and brings into this conversation some insightful people like Ellul, Kierkegaard, Flannery O’Connor, and Pascal.

Highly recommended!

Image result for The myth of certainty amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Certainty-Reflective-Christian-Commitment/dp/B00CSGGVUW

 

BIBLICAL AND HISTORICAL IGNORANCE

Alan Jacobs And Marilynne Robinson’s Faith

My own reflection on this important piece by Alan Jacobs:

For many years, I’ve tried to address the problem through teaching the Bible and theology. I still do so, but I am now convinced that though biblical/theological illiteracy is still a big problem with so-called evangelicals, historical ignorance is equally eating our lunch.