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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Naturalist

The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde
In his new book, The Naturalist, Museum Specialist at the Smithsonian Darrin Lunde tells the story of Theodore Roosevelt and his quest to explore and excavate from nature many prized findings.  While you won’t find much about his political here, Darrin does a great job at framing the story of how young Theodore though sickly, was fascinated by nature, its animals and the habitats in which they live.  This is a more specialized book in the sense that a takes a slice of Theodore’s life and hones in on it with great precision. 
Early on young Theodore was captured by the travels his family took him on, especially in the Adirondack country.  Lunde writes, “Theodore was in heaven.  Later, he would refer to his Adirondack days as his introduction to and first inspiration for preserving wilderness (40).”  Canoeing, hiking, and camping in the beautiful country was a first entry point into the wilderness of the Adirondacks for Theoodre Jr.  “Covering the entire mo…

Vegangelical

Vegangelical: How caring for animals can shape your faith by Sarah Withrow King
What difference does caring for animals make and is it really a matter of justice?  Sarah Withrow King in her new book, Vegangelical, answers these questions and more as she draws together the rich tapestry of Scripture concerning creation and her research on the use and abuse of animals in our world.  What turns out to be no so much an apology for the vegan way of life, but a vision for how to rightly treat animals and how God has made the world in such a way as to promote the flourishing of all of creation.
Drawing on her experience picking up a booklet on the suffering of animals and their use for food, Sarah was propelled to stop eating meat, join PETA and advocate for animals and oppose testing on them (14-17).  Yet, there was a certain disconnect between those in the church who were like-minded with Sarah and a whole host of others who thought Christianity had little to do with animals.  It was in semi…

Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity

Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity by Norman Wirzba
What is at the heart of the Christian faith, what makes this age old faith tick?  This is the question that Professor Norman Wirzba tackles in his new book, The Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity.  Many will know Wirzba as a Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke University Divinity School, while others will know him for his long forays into the intersection of theology and the environment (Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, 2011).  This book is both a clearing of the deck of old worn out theories describing the essence of Christianity but also paves the way forward with a vision of Christianity that is for all of life, including all of creation.  With a healthy dose of wisdom, clear thinking, and imagination, Wirzba plows ahead breathing new life into the teachings of both Scripture and the faith.
Grounding the nature of Christianity as both a way of life and an understanding of God, Wirzba writes, …

Faith for a New Age

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs by Peter Enns
Does our faith in God require us to rally the troops around our mental fortress and not allow any uh-oh moments to creep in?  Has our correct thinking about God, the Bible, and faith pushed us away from interacting from the messiness of the God we see in the pages of Scripture?  These are just a few of the questions that Dr. Peter Enns wrestles with in his new book, The Sin of Certainty.  Not an exercise in academia, but rather some ponderings on his own faith journey and his getting in a wrestling match with his own preconditioned ideas about God and the Bible, Enns offers a way forward for the weary.  Many will be furious in these pages about his views on the Old Testament, the Bible, and the Psalms, but many will find a breath of fresh air to his sensitivity to the text and to those following after God.
Peter states early on in the book, “Sooner or later we all find ourselves faced with some…

Zeal without Burnout

Zeal without Burnout by Christopher Ash
Slogging through 70-80 hour work weeks, feeling the weight of disapproval from the congregants, getting not much in the way of rest, all these things lead to spiritual burnout for pastors.  Yet, as Christopher Ash begins his book called Zeal without Burnout,  he writes, “For many of us there is a different path.  One that combines passionate zeal for Jesus with plodding faithfully on year after year.  I want to write about this path (14).”  Having twice come to the edge of burnout in ministry, Christopher is no stranger to these issues. 
One of the first sections of the book is devoted to sacrifice.  Ash writes, “There is a difference between godly sacrifice and needless burnout…You and I came from dust and our bodies will return to dust.  At no point in our lives in this age are we far away from reverting to dust.  We are very fragile (24, 37).” To sacrifice in a sustainable way we need to be keenly aware of our limitedness and fragility.  Sleep…

With Eyes Wide Open

With my Eyes Wide Open by Brian Welch with Carol Traver
With my Eyes Wide Open chronicles the story of Brian “Head” Welch, band member of the nu metal band Korn, from his success touring with the band, to his head long plunge into drugs, alcohol, and broken relationships.  Finally, at the edge of the abyss, Brian was lead into the arms of Jesus Christ, and his life has not been the same. 
After the divorce, Brian tried to start his life over in the sunny town of Bakersfield where he grew up, along with his daughter Jennea.  And yet, after leaving Korn, Brian never left the call to make music, it’s something that stayed with him.  After a few heated discussions regarding pets in the house, Jennea and Brian settled down into their nice home, without the slightest notion that trouble was on the way.  From early on, Edgar was Brian’s front man who sought to get him contracts, investors, and those who would support Brian, but after so many failed promises Brian was done.  It was only after …

A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 3 (90-150)

A Commentary on the Psalms Vol. 3 (90-150) by Allen P. Ross
Anyone who undertakes a commentary series on the Psalms, much less a three volume series on the Psalms should be commended. Allen P. Ross, Professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School has accomplished such a feat, with an admirable amount of focus, vision, and challenge to his readers.  This third volume by Kregel Academic focuses on Psalms 90-150.  Each psalms begins with an introduction, a section on composition, exegetical analysis, expository commentary, message and applications.  The value of this kind of commentary comes in the painstaking exegetical analysis of the Hebrew text and in seeking out each psalm’s main theme.
Ross weaves together insights from other scholars as well as his own interpretation, which comes to the foreground in his analysis of Psalm 103:4b.  Ross writes, “The psalmist now declares that God crowns the believers with loyal love and tender compassion.  By using “who crowns you”, the psalmist is s…