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Showing posts from November, 2017

Calling out into the Mess

To Light a Fire on the Earthy: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age by Robert L. Barron with John L. Allen Jr.
Knowing John L. Allen Jr. from previous reporting on the Catholic tradition, I am immediately excited about this book engaging Father Robert L Barron.  Somewhat of an internet sensation on YouTube and through the production of a series of videos on Catholicism, Father Barron has gotten a wide audience of viewers and readers in a way unseen since the time of Fulton J. Sheen.  The subtitle of the book was also appealing since it is the gospel that I believe that is central to the whole edifice of Christianity, both in belief and in practice. 
Part of the unique voice coming from Father Barron is related to his being raise in the post conciliar time where experimentation and feeling were part and parcel of the Catholic experience.  Yet, this kind of deep emotional weight left a kind of fully orbed understanding of the behind. After hearing much about social justice, Barron was…

A Prophets Point of View

Peter J. Gentry, How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets
With our noses in the good book, we often plow through the Bible’s pages with the same focus, reading Romans like we read Ezekiel.  And yet, as Dr. Gentry so helpfully explains, we miss the point if we read the prophets like an epistle or gospel.  There is so much going on that we need to be aware of and pay attention to.  In his new book, How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets, Dr. Peter J. Gentry, author Kingdom Through Covenant helps us read the prophets well, paying attention to the various kinds of literary forms and theological message they have for us.
In the opening chapter, Peter alerts to the central theme of these OT prophets, “Everything in the prophets is based upon the covenant made between God and Israel during the exodus from Egypt, especially…as it is found in the book of Deuteronomy.” Covenant keeping and covenant breaking is part and parcel of the whole prophetic corpus, but this plays of part…

You Want me to Think?

How to Think by Alan Jacobs
In this frenetic world of information and gadgetry, we often promote arguments and ideas without properly thinking about what we are saying and how we are saying it.  Alan Jacobs, Professor at Baylor University’s Honors Program, gives us a pungent dose of sane wisdom on how to think in almost any given situation, including when we want to slam our opponents head against the wall with some overblown illogical and unfair verbal argument and need help.  Drawing from C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Daniel Kahneman and others, Alan paints a broad picture of how unthinking brings the whole society down and how clear thinking aided by emotion can bring back a sense of flourishing among human beings.
Jacobs posits in the introduction of the book that it is not so much a matter of rational or irrational thinking that is the problem, but something altogether different.  He writes, “For me, the fundamental problem we have may best be described as an orientation of the wil…

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

Can You See Anything Now?

Can You See Anything Now?  A Novel by Katherine James
Upon seeing this book on my doorstep for the first time, I was very intrigued by the cover, the fact that this was the author’s first novel, and that Paraclete Press was back publishing fiction, alongside their beautiful and profound religious literature.  This book, Can You See Anything Now is a novel of intersecting characters whose lives illuminate the themes of friendship, deep brokenness, and immense suffering.  Though this book was sure to bring one to both tears and anger, its message was intertwined between hope and despair, a novel that caused the reader to look deeply into the road each character walked.
One of the main characters of the book, Margie, was the mother of Noel, and the wife of Nick, the counselor.  Margie walks on the precipice of despair, suffering deeply from depression and meaninglessness.  Yet, part of the beauty of the book is the way Katherine draws Margie out of her loneliness through Etta.  Both painte…