I have been too busy to write well about our work, our recent times with clergy retreats and other opportunities to talk books with good folks, or to develop detailed reviews of great titles. Sorry…Forthwith, I will dispense with the hoopla and hype, and just list a bunch. I am enthusiastic and glad, just so you know. Holler back when you can.
Christian Attitudes to War, Peace and Revolution John Howard Yoder (Brazos) $34.99 A few more cheers for Brazos who has brought this largely unknown collection of posthomously published lectures, class notes and underground curriculum to light. It is a marvelous 450+ paperback, long, long-awaited. Thanks to Theodore J. Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker, Mennonites who gathered this together and edited it well. A new Yoder—imagine!
Divine Presence Amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua Walter Brueggemann (Cascade) $13.00 This is the second new Brueggy book from Cascade issued just recently. As one reviewer said of this brief work, he addresses this pressing matter of violence in the Bible “with theological candor, exegetical rigor, and literary eloquence.” Of course he does. Whew.
The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith Mark A. Noll (IVP) $25.00 With a stellar blurb from Lamin Sanneh on the back, and the spirit of Philip Jenkins hovering, this is more than another urgent investigation of global faith. This provides deep insight into the relationship (or lack thereof) of American evangelicalism and the growth of Christianity throughout the world. Noll is a historian so he looks back to the 19th century, and makes what Ogbu U. Kalu (McCormick Theological Seminary) calls “startling conclusions.” Complex and nuanced, Noll is a great read; IVP Academic extraordinary in their important, high-quality output.
Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality Barbara Bradley Hagerty (Riverhead) $26.95 A prestigious and literary imprint, an author known by all who listen to NPR. A Christian friend, a great journalist, a true seeker. What more do ya want, I ask? This looks to be one of the books of the year—can we measure faith? What’s going on in brain studies? Who are we, after all? How many sharply written, insightful books have blurbs from Coki Roberts and Donald Miller? As Sister Helen Prejean writes, this will “provoke you, intrigue you, and inspire you.” I think it will be a delight and inspiration to many.
Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting Michael Perry (Harper) $25.99
I hope you know that Beth and I really, really love this guy, this writerly rural fella who regularly makes you laugh, and occasionally cry, and often clap your hands at the joy of a well crafted sentence. Jonathan Miles (Dear American Airline) says he writes books of “ultra-charming midwestern earnestness and serrated wit” and that he is “outrageously funny and surprisingly touching.” Homesteader Gene Logsdon writes that “There is a literary gem on every page.” We adored his Population 485 and Truck and the thoughtful essays Off Main Street. Here he revisits the faith of his youth, buys some pigs and poultry, tells of some other crazy stuff that happens at his rickety new farm, and home births their baby. You don’t want to miss it; trust me, you don’t want to miss this.
Indwelling the Forsaken Other: The Trinitarian Ethics of Jurgen Moltmann J. Matthew Bonzo (Pickwick) $14.00 We have oodles of what appear to be doctoral dissertations that become books in theology, social theory, political science, and some are pretty good. This is great. It is concise and clear and offers important insights for anyone interested in contemporary theology of the way in which a Christian worldview impacts our hurting world. What does it mean that we are to copy God? How does that work, anyway? Okay, he doesn’t say anyway; it’s a thesis. But, man, this is good stuff. Matt is a friend, now teacher at Cornerstone in Grand Rapids, where he operates a sustainable farmstead. He co-wrote (with Michael Stevens) A Celebration of Life: Wendell Berry’s Vision of Life.
Life, Inc. How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back Douglas Rushkoff (Random House) $26.00 Decades ago I was taken with social critic Jeremy Rifkin. Years ago, somebody said that Rushkoff is a postmodern Rifkin. I don’t know about that, but some of us await every new book he does. The corporatization of public life and personal space is urgent and there are blurbs on the back from Naomi Wolf and Seth Godin. How cool is that?
The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral Life Dennis P. Hollinger (Baker) $19.99 We have said before that Dennis is one of the most sane and thoughtful ethicists around. He is a friend and I admire his work and his writing. Now the President of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, this deeply faithful book addresses the complexity of this tender and painful and joyous side of life. Blurbs on the back come form scholar-leaders like Rich Mouw, those who have worked in socio-sexual research like Stanton Jones, and youth worker guru Walt Mueller. We’ll send it in brown paper if you want, but just buy it! Very thoughtful.
The Orthodox Heretic And Other Impossible Tales Peter Rollins (Paraclete) $19.99 This is a handsome little book that fits nicely in the hand, with endorsements from Phyllis Tickle and Frank Schaeffer. I think it is worth it just to see that, if you know what I mean. (If not, don’t worry about it.) I don’t fully grasp the meaning of these wild stories but Rob Bell says that he heard Pete once and just thought that, “Everybody needs to hear these.” You may know his other books, How (Not) To Speak of God and The Betrayal of Unbelief. Founder of the Ikon community in Ireland, which may explain the storytelling.
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