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Showing posts from June, 2011

Sociology in Biblical Perspective

What Vern Poythress has done in this ambitious book entitled Redeeming Sociology is to seek to bring God into the picture as the foundational piece upon which sociology and human relationships are built. Too often, social scientists have relied upon fact finding, statistical analysis, and theoretical understanding without seeing God in the picture of every relationship. The first three chapters develop the idea that God is foundational for all human relationships. Therefore, the character of the Trinity is displayed in the self-giving love each person has for the other. This mutual self-giving love is an appropriate context for understanding the love a dad has for his son. It is only when we start at the headwaters (with God) that we truly understand the familial relationship of father and son (28-29).

In speaking of God's covenants with his people, Poythress uses the terms authority, control, and presence to indicate the way in which these covenants can be relational…

Courage and Faith

Hitler in the Crosshairs is an excellent work both historically and in telling the story of Ira 'Teen' Palm. This work chronicles both the life of Teen Palm, a man sent over to Europe as a second lieutenant fighting the Germans, and who on an assaination attempt upon Hitler finds a golden gun engraved with Hitler's initials. Upon finding this gun, he puts in his shirt and brings it back with him to the States when the war concludes. Yet, to say this book is about a lieutenant in the war fighting Hitler's rule is too simplisitic a statement, for in this work Woodbridge and Possley capture the genius of faith of Teen Palm and the growing relationship Teen had for his sweetheart Helen and their pastor Charles Woodbridge.




The personal side of Teen's letter throughout the work are a monument to the brutality of war but the connection that Teen had for Helen. Teen writes speaking of the French towns he passed, "The towns are all in rubble with few houses left stand…

Unity in Community

A Life Together by Bishop Seraphim Sigrist is a wonderful little book that delves into Eastern Orthodoxy's understanding of community, particularly the notion of 'sobornost.' Sigrist writes early on that although the term sobornost may be like a riddle in that it escapes exact definition, it focuses on unity derived in the context of community (31-32). Sigrist's view of this unity finds concrete example in the life and witness of the group of Russian thinkers called the Slavophils. These people did not seek wisdom from the governmental authorites nor the Russian state but the old farming practices of the the farming communes (33). In one sense, the idea of unity in community finds its ideal in communities where the rhythm of work, play, feasting, and caretaking all combine in glorious harmony. This kind of unity rears its head against forms of individualism (particularly the West) and collectivism (at times the Russian state) that seek to elevate the I and yet also obs…

Adam and Eve

sat under the teaching of Jack Collins in seminary, I was glad to see this new book entitled Did Adam and Even Really Exist? from Crossway. Collins' goal is to "show why I believe we should retain a version of the traditional view, in spite of any pressures to adandon it" (13). Collins is referring to the view taken by most Christians through history that identifies Adam and Eve as historical persons and the fall of man into sin as coming from their own hands. Collins very carefully handles the concept of history in the introduction to provide the readers a foundation upon which to handle the Genesis narrative. He sides with argument that the author of Genesis believed he was writing about actual events while using rhetorical and literary conventions to shape his readers minds (16). Why is all this talk about history important? For one, many shrug their shoulders and decide that history is unnecessary to modern man. Others, believing in the advances of scientific inquiry…

Following Jesus Whatever the Cost

Kyle Idleman has written a pointed and thought provoking book about following Jesus, not just being a fan. His premise is that many of us in the country and in many churches have given into being a fan of Jesus but not willing to sacrifice our creature comforts for truly following Jesus. Kyle gets us into the book by defining what a fan is or rather what he does and doesn't do. From the dictionary a fan is "An enthusiastic admirer" (24). Idleman goes onto say that a fan is "..the guy who goes to the football game with no shirt and a painted chest. He's got a signed jersey on his wall at home. But he's never in the game" (24). It's the lady down the street who obsessed with pictures of dogs in her house, her wallpaper, and her house but who never has actually owned and trained a dog. Basically, Idelman points out that these type of people go crazy for the benefits of the team or celebrity but never commit themselves to staying with something when it …

Writing a Book Proposal

Anytime I come acrss a How-To book in the library or at the bookstore I immediately run the opposite direction. Not that How To books don't have their place in the myriad of other categories, but they tend to be about as enjoyable as watching paint dry. Yet, Michael Larsen's ever so popular book How To Write a Book Proposal was a enjoyable and informative read that will be useful for a long time. First, the layout was easily accesible for the reader who is getting interested in the book writing world (27 chapters with 208 pages + appendices and index). What caught my eye initially was the digestibility of the book? Each chapter is packed with key focus points on how to write a book proposal but also gets the reader to think about how a proposal sounds, looks, and grabs the attention of anyone interested in publishing the book. In the opening chapter, Larsen writes that there are two fundamental questions you must ask your proposal: Why this book? Why you? (8). The first questi…