Posted in book reviews

So many books, so little time

booksI’m in the final stages of correcting assignments for an online missions course that I monitored for Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Once that’s done, I’ll put up a review of the two Kindle version course text books, both of which were new to me:

Hunter, George G., III. The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…AGAIN. 10th anniversary edition, revised and expanded. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2000, 2010.

Pierson, Paul E. The Dynamics of Christian Mission: History Through a Missiological Perspective. Pasadena, CA: William Carey International Press, 2009.

Other e-books that I haven’t started, but that are beckoning to me from my iPad Kindle reader:

1) Allen, J. Bennett. The Skeptical Juror and the Trial of Byron Case. Long Beach, CA: Allen & Allen Semiotics, 2010.

This reflects my budding interest in innocence projects, which came out of following the story of Ryan Ferguson, exonerated after being wrongly imprisoned for nearly 10 years in a Missouri penitentiary for a murder he did not commit. Ferguson’s grace under fire amazed me, and his tireless advocacy for the innocent post-release is inspiring.

2) Barrett, Matthew, and Caneday, Ardel, gen. eds. Four Views on the Historical Adam. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013.

-I’ve seen very little dedicated to this topic, so hope to expand my thinking about possibilities.

3) Burden, Suzzanne, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright. Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2014.

-Carla Sunberg recently spoke at the Africa Nazarene Women’s Clergy conference, and referenced this new book. It’s designed for the average lay reader.

4) Carson, D.A.  Christ and Culture Revisited. Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2008.

– I appreciate the original 5 points from H. Richard Niebuhr, and look forward to Carson’s take on it.

5) Fudge, Edward William. The Divine Rescue: The gripping drama of a lost world and of the Creator who will not let it go. Abilene, Texas: Leafwood Publishers, 2010.

– This Church of Christ biblical scholar is best known for his excellent work on hell and conditional immortality. You can read my short book on the same subject by clicking here. You may also be interested in my podcast interview with Christopher Date at the website, dedicated to evangelical conditionalism (aka annihilationism). Grab a cup of coffee…the interview is 90 minutes long.

6) Heurtz, Christopher L. Simple Spirituality: How to See God in a Broken World. Downer’s Grove, Illinois: IVP, 2008.

– Anything on Christian simplicity attracts my attention.

7) Keller, Timothy. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. New York: Dutton (Penguin), 2013.

-Rev. Brent L. White, a UMC pastor with a growing blog, highly recommends this book. Timothy Keller is pastor of the 5,000 member Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

8) McClung, Grant, ed. Azusa Street and BeyondC: Missional Commentary on the Global Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement. Revised edition. Alachua, Florida: Bridge-Logos, 2006.

– I’ve read little about Pentecostalism from an insider’s point-of-view. This was mentioned by Pierson, and should be enlightening.

9) Merrick, Britt, with Trowbridge, Allison.  Godspeed: Making Christ’s Mission Your Own. Ontario, Canada: David C. Cook, 2012.

– Honestly, I don’t remember who recommended this, but it looks like it would be a good book for an intro to missions course.

10) Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville, Dallas, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro: Thomas Nelson, 2010.

– My friend and advocate for those living in poverty, James Copple, is a big Bonhoeffer fan. This one’s for you, Jim!

11) Noble, T.A.  Holy Trinity: Holy People (The Historic Doctrine of Christian Perfecting). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2013.

– Dr Thomas Noble was the internal examiner for my PhD viva through the University of Manchester. He is considered one of the foremost Wesleyan theologians of our time, with an accent upon Christology.

12) Olson, Roger E. Questions To All Your Answers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2007.Sanneh, Lamin. Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2008.

– The more I read of Roger Olsen’s blog, the more I like how he thinks. Dr Matt Price of MVNU put me on to this book.

13) Snyder, Howard A., with Scandrett, Joel. Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace (Overcoming the Divorce between Earth and Heaven). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011.

– Snyder is one of my John Wesley heroes. I’m about 10 pages in on this one, and liking how he frames ecology from a soteriological perspective. This (so far) reminds me of Michael Lodahl’s God of Nature and Of Grace.

14) Truesdale, Al, ed.  Square Peg: Why Wesleyans Aren’t Fundamentalists. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2012.

– Truesdale has been a gatekeeper for me in my academic career, including inviting me to write several articles for the 2013 Global Dictionary of Wesleyan Theology. I’m anxious to see what he and others have to say about what Paul Bassett has called the “fundamentalist leavening of the holiness movement.”

15) Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Madison, Wisconsin: IVP Academic, 2010.

– I’m an unapologetic theistic evolutionist. My Presybterian pastor friend, Chris Wiley, had good things to say about Walton’s work.

16) Wright, N.T. Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today. SPCK, 2011.

– I’m about 1/2 way done with this. It’s not as revolutionary to my own thinking as Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, but it’s making some good points.


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Posted in reflections

Top 5 Christlike acts in 2013

crossSome want to go back to the “good ‘ole days.” Count me out. These are exciting times to be alive and to see what God is up to right now. Here are my “Top 5 Christlike acts of 2013”-

5. Nine-year-old swimmer gives trophy to hospitalized rival – Josh Zuchowski and Reese Branzell are rivals, with Reese usually coming out first, and Josh a close second. When Reese was hospitalized with a bone infection, Josh won the Florida swim meet, then sent his trophy to the hospital, a gift for Reese. The attached note?  “I won this trophy for you today,” said Josh, “and I hope to see you back in the pool.” What parent wouldn’t be proud of such a son?

4. Wrongfully imprisoned man has kind words for friend whose testimony put him behind bars – Ryan Ferguson, 29, spent more than 9 years in a Missouri prison for a crime he did not commit. When he gave a news conference the day of his release – cleared of all charges – he promised to do what he could to work for the release of Chuck Erickson, whose police-coerced testimony had put Ryan behind bars. Ferguson’s humble spirit and refusal to walk down the path of bitterness have gained him more than 90,000 followers on FaceBook, the “army” that – in addition to the efforts of his family and lawyer, Kathleen Zellner – he credits with having produced the judicial review that ultimately resulted in his release. Thanks, Mr Ferguson, for your positive model to everyone.

3.  Teammates create an unforgettable moment for fellow player with special needs – In a story worthy of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Keith Orr – a young man with a learning disability – scored a touchdown for his team, the Olivet Middle School. His teammates left their coach in the dark, working for weeks in secret to devise a play that would allow Keith to score from within the 5 yard line. When the play worked, they carried Keith off the field in triumph. Looks a lot like Jesus to me.

2. Freed prisoner walks the way of peace – O.K., this one happened before 2013, but the movie – “Long Walk to Freedom” – came out this year, so I’m counting it. Nelson Mandela had every reason to strike back after having spent 27 years in prison. Even his wife, Winnie – who had suffered 16 months of solitary confinement – was ready for battle. Yet in a broadcast that many credit with averting civil war, Mandela committed himself to reconciliation between long-term enemies in South Africa. The rest, as they say, is history.

1. Pope Francis sets new tone for the Roman Catholic Church – With his emphasis upon reaching the hurting and marginalized, Pope Francis is leading the way, not with law but with grace. Even those not usually inclined to applaud Christianity have noticed, including Time, which named him Man of the Year.

How about you? What would be your vote for the top 5 Christlike acts of 2013?