As you know, I’ve taken a bit of a risk in writing critically about the shallowness and bad Biblical theology of two quintessential evangelical writers, each writing on two exceptionally profound Old and New Testament texts. (Scroll back two entries if you didn’t seem em.) Because some of this CBA silliness comes from the lack of an integrated and broad Christian worldview, it seems a perfect time to promote a book that may be in our the top handful of books of the year. It is a fascinating and fun read, an important and weighty set of teacherly essays on what we mean by worldview, what it means to think Christianly, how the much-noted narrative flow of creaiton-fall-redemption fits into one’s life picture, and why a comprehensive vision for the Christian life is so important to reflect upon. And reflect upon it he does.
J. Mark Bertrand may be known to hip bloggers for his great website (if you’re a big coffee fan, or lover of fine pens, or swanky book bindings, say, you’ll love his bourgeois push for the best.) Better, if you’re a book lover of any kind, but especially a fan of serious fiction, you simply have to read his Comment piece from this summer, about the huge question of what to read while traveling. What a great, great essay, fun and interesting and, surely, a good encouragement to be intentional about your reading habits.
Besides being a blogger, coffee snob and bookman par excellance, Mr. Bertrand works teaching young folks about the importance of serious worldview thinking. I so badly wanted to put his new book, (Re)Thinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World (Crossway; $16.99) on that list which I compiled in August, but it wasn’t out yet, and I hadn’t laid eyes on it. I was sure it would be great but, you know, that little integrity piece of the Christian worldview really kept me from pushing it sight unseen, on intuition alone. Now, I am happy to report, advance claims and good suggestions from those in the know, are spot on. This is a great, great book.
Here’s is what our friend and worldview guru David Naugle writes of it:
For those of you suffering from “worldview fatigue.” or who think it’s a theologically unhelpful concept, or who are new to the notion altogether, read this book. It’s like a satisfying draught of ice-cold, refreshing water on a hot summer day! Bertrand’s book is a rich gift to serious citizens of the Kingdom of God.
There is so much here I could comment on (and just a few things to quibble about, but no upside-down cover for him!) One section is especially useful, where he explains how to move from being a consumer of culture, to a critic, to a contributor. That he is contributing to culture is doubtless; that he is a fine writer is evident. In case you wondered, though, listen to lit guy Leland Ryken: “Bertrand maintains our interest througout with an incipient narrative thread…The book actually has the quality of a suspense story in which the reader is led to wonder what Bertrand discovered next in regard to worldview.” If a feisty guy like Marvine Olasky says it “throws off sparks” you should take notice.
We think that in the growing set of resources to counter dualism, personalized sentimental faith and a thoughtful approach to cultural engagement, this is an important one. We are glad to promote it, encourage you to join us in moving your faith community towards wholistic dischipleship, non-partisan cultural reformation, and learning, as he shows in this book, how to move from worldview to wisdom to witness (and, in a brief epilogue, the role of worship.). He is a savvy young writer, aware of the role of story (and of stories—gotta love his quotes from movies and novels) who is honest about many, many things. Including, his own foibles, the frustrations of the evangelical sub-culture, and, of course, about another key to worldviewish faith: mystery. Thanks, Mark. If only, now, we could talk over some of that great java you show on your classy website.
regularly $16.99 now $12.75