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As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson

The regular printing of sermons is something that was commonplace in Civil War days and in the early 20th century, but rarely do we now find sermons in printed form that are deep with wisdom and interesting also.One notable exception to this truth is the new book of sermons entitled As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson, author of the Message.While much is praised about Peterson’s work on ministry and spiritual theology, these edited sermons bring the best of his deep knowledge of Scripture and love of God to the foreground.In fact, after reading the book one can imagine Eugene as a scholar and a poet, who fuses the loftiness of scholarship with the real needs of the people.
In writing about the relationship between Balaam and Balak in the OT, Peterson brings us to the fountain of humor.He writes, “Hilarity is integral to Christian pilgrimage.There is no question that being a Christian involves us in many sorrows, many struggles, sober hours of repentance and meditation.But ther…
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The Ecumenism of Beauty Edited by Timothy Verdon

The Ecumenism of Beauty


How do we make sense of visual arts in the church and in the history of the Christian church?  There has been a bit of rediscovery of this question and answers to the issue by both Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox and Anglican.  This new book, The Ecumenism of Beauty, edited by Timothy Verdon captures the essence of seeing the beauty of art in the church as a vehicle to understand God's character and man's genius.  The various contributors to this volume write with a vigor and wisdom that is rarely seen, commenting on aesthetics in Calvin, the artist as contemplative, and the way in which the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, Massachusetts bears together both the simplicity and brilliance of art in a house of worship.  Although the book is short, it is rich with pictures of art past and present, and the writing points our gaze toward the heavens as we contemplate both God and beauty.  With a learned introduction by Monsignor Timothy Verdon,…

Pursued by Lisa Harris

Pursued by Lisa Harris


This new book in The Nikki Boyd Files series by Lisa Harris is a thrilling, mind -bending journey into the work of Missing Persons Detective Nikki Boyd, who in the opening salvo goes on a plane ride that will change the course of her life.  In Pursued, author Lisa Harris untangles various  webs of money, murder, and dangerous criminal activity that come to light as Detective Boyd can't seem to put down her knack for finding out the right clues to the case.  This is my first knack at the Nikki Boyd files books and I was clearly impressed.  What was notable about the book was its fast paced and detailed approach to solving the case of the missing lady who was to testify in a court case.  Further, there was enough detail in the book to keep you on the edge of your seat but not too many extraneous details or unnecessary fleshing out of the characters in lewd or inappropriate ways. 


The plot seemed to move along seamlessly as Nikki picks up clue after clue afte…

Misfit Faith

Misfit Faith: Confessions of a Drunk Ex-Pastor by Jason J. Stellman
I usually go for a book with a good title and this one has quite an edgy and provocative title.  To go along with it, the author at one time was a PCA pastor, a denomination I belong to and wanted to see what he had to say about life in ministry.  This new book, Misfit Faith, is a story of someone who still wrestles with the faith and was pulled toward the Roman Catholic Church from being a church planting pastor in Seattle prior to his change.  The book is a critique of those who have their theology all lined, ducks in a row, and more a conversation about how to have doubts and still believe.  In the book, Jason explains the first segment of the Apostle’s Creed concerning believing in God the Father and how this changes the way we should think about faith.
In the opening chapters, Jason seeks to draw the implications of God as Father in relationship to the Calvinist system that he says minimized this idea and promoted …

Kingdom Family Devotional

Kingdom Family Devotional by Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans
This new devotional by pastor Tony Evans and his son, Jonathan, is a wonderful exploration of what it means to be kingdom minded people in God’s world.  With Scripture, illustrations and stories, Tony and Jonathan get to the heart of loving God and loving people in these short entries.  What I enjoyed most about the book was the way in which the entries got straight to the heart of issues rather than skirting around the central idea.  Further, the daily devotions are rooted in the gospel and are applicable to life in an everyday way.
One of my favorite entries was on respect.  The authors write, “God wants us to treat family members as nicely as we would the president.  Why? Because each of us has been made in the image of God.”  There is value in people and Tony gives us the freedom to be real with people, look them in the eye and address them with respect rather than a disrespectful informality.  The authors go in the week to …

Murder is No Accident

Murder is No Accident: A Hidden Springs Mystery by A.H. Gabhart

This the first book by A.H. Gabhart, known as Ann H. Gabhart to many, that I've read and it was a fast paced and intriguing work of fiction.  One of the key elements of the story is the cantankerous nature of the characters in the story, from Deputy Michael Keane, to Aunt Lindy, and Reece, each member at some point in the story rubs each other wrongly and suspicions remain.  In any good story, there must be a bit of uneasiness in the plot that moves the story along.  I found this book to be amusing and easy to follow, and the clues were there to keep you guessing.

The story centers around a small town that holds within it the Chandler residence, a mansion that is on the market, an owner of the house, the aged Miss Fonda, the real estate agent Geraldine Harper, sheriff Michael Keane and other characters.  The plot thickens when a body is found at the bottom of the steps to the tower room.  One of the amusing scenes in …

Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn, Compiled by Sarah Arthur
This vibrant and rich collection of stories, poems, and prayers that connects Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide is a wonderful compilation.  Called Between Midnight and Dawn, compiled by Sarah Arthur, each an Opening Prayer, Scriptures, Literary Readings (both contemporary and older), personal prayer and reflections, including a closing prayer at the end.  Beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding in Eastertide Week 7, the collection spans a broad range of themes from repentance to consolation and deliverance.  The entries are rich with interesting stories and beautiful poems, that each reader is sure to find something that catches their spirit. 
In the first entry on Ash Wednesday, included is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story called the The Minister’s Black Veil in which Reverend Mr. Hooper came to the pulpit one Sunday wearing a black veil.  The crowd bemused that he had gone mad or weren’t even sure it was him.  But Hawthorne says o…