Book Review: Might from the Margins

I’ve known Dennis Edwards for a few years. He was pastoring a church in North Minneapolis where one of my sons and his wife attended. They raved about Dennis. It was a privilege to visit that church a few times and take in what God was doing in a hard part of town. This church was a shining jewel. Dennis would deliver such depth in his sermons. I was always jotting down some book he would reference in his sermons. They turned out to be DEEP reads… academic studies/theological works, etc.

Continue reading “Book Review: Might from the Margins”

Book Review — Simple Faith Bible, Zondervan

A few months ago I purchased the Tony Evans Study Bible (CSB) because I wanted to gain more insight from a great African American pastor I’ve admired for decades. It was wonderful to have a study Bible with his personal notes, reflecting so many years of pastoral and teaching ministry.

When the offer came to review the Simple Faith Bible (NRSV) with notes from President Jimmy Carter, I was intrigued. Carter has famously taught Sunday School in his Baptist church for over 65 years. This Bible draws on his notes, insights, and principles from those years of teaching.

Continue reading “Book Review — Simple Faith Bible, Zondervan”

Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself

Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself by Cindy Bunch

The other day was yet another exercise in mental self-flagellation for me. My mind raced with questions about why I had made certain choices in certain times, why I had not become “awake” in issues around me sooner, etc. It is a regular occurrence in my life.

This particular time I was so frustrated with myself I pulled out a legal pad and simply began writing. It was a brief review of my life as I looked back on what had influenced me. Within minutes I had 9 written pages.

Beating myself up is a too often regular exercise in my life. In this particular moment came the book, Be Kind to Yourself, by Cindy Bunch. In a few short pages I felt amazing relief.

First, I wasn’t alone.

Second, I needed to hear words of kindness that poured over my soul and I learned quickly the best words of kindness will come from the Spirit… and me.

Cindy is a spiritual director and also works for Intervarsity Press. As she was reading another book on spiritual formation, there were some healing words that came to her from that writing and challenged her to reflect more. This book is the result of that reflection.

This book is an exercise based on two questions:

  1. What’s bugging you?
  2. What’s bringing you joy?

Ask these two questions each day for 30 days. She found that asking those two questions helped her look deeply into the negative thought patterns she had about herself or others.

When we ask the first question, we can then hear how we talk about ourselves. I am harsh. But the question causes me to then ask WHY I am harsh. I walk back through the scenario that set me off and ask what I was feeling.

It is a process of learning how to deal with moments in new ways.

Cindy leads the reader in very practical exercises and opens up her own life to the very real struggles. Her goal is to move us to shame-free self-examination.

The book is a refreshing exercise. It is practical. It is real. She gets personal.

This is an exercise to walk through with intentionality… and grace. Walk slowly. Find joy in this journey.

Book Review: Reading While Black

I have come into the Anglican tradition late. I grew up in a Pentecostal church and was a minister in a Pentecostal tradition for 30 years. In the past two years I have transitioned to the Anglican Church and am now seeking transfer of ordination so I may be a vocational deacon on the Anglican Church in North America.

In this transition I have become aware of Esau McCaulley who is an Anglican priest and professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His newest work is Reading While Black, set to be released September 1 by Intervarsity Press. I am fortunate to get an advanced copy to review.

Continue reading “Book Review: Reading While Black”

Book Review: Soul Care in African American Practice

Soul Care in African American Practice by Barbara Peacock

In the late 90s and early 2000s Renovare released some volumes on spiritual reading that were “workbook” based. One, Spiritual Classics, focused on readings for individuals and groups based on the 12 spiritual disciplines from Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline. Another book was Devotional Classics based on Foster’s book, Streams of Living Water. They were designed to take individuals or groups through a slow process of learning from historic spiritual reading combined with Scripture and spiritual formation practices. I still have those volumes on my shelves. They are well-worn.

In that tradition and format comes Barbara Peacock’s book from Intervarsity Press, Soul Care in African American Practice.

Continue reading “Book Review: Soul Care in African American Practice”

Book Review: The Myth of the American Dream by D.L. Mayfield

The Myth of the American Dream by D.L. Mayfield

For the past 3-4 years I have had a book on my heart to write. Not ever having done a writing project, and being deathly afraid of critiques, I took notes, blogged a bit, preached a series with the beginning ideas of the book, and generally avoided doing more.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Myth of the American Dream by D.L. Mayfield”

Book Review — "The Story Retold"

The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament

G.K. Beal and Benjamin L. Gladd

Having taught Bible classes for 15 years in a college, THIS is the book I wish I had early on. The approach in this textbook is to keep the entire story in mind. We can’t be enamored with the New Testament because it is “easier” to read. We need to understand the world of the story of Israel in our Old Testament.

Continue reading “Book Review — "The Story Retold"”

Book Review: The End of Hunger

This book creates a big problem for me. There is so much to work through and think through it’s impossible to put it in a book review. This is a book for thought, for contemplation, for discussion, and then for action.

The book is edited by Jenney Eaton Dyer and Cathleen Falsani, but the feature is the articles by so many people involved in the issue of hunger, food insecurity, and the work to actually think of ending hunger by 2030.

Continue reading “Book Review: The End of Hunger”

Book Review — Basic Christianity

InterVarsity Press is re-issuing some classics from their catalogue. Basic Christianity by John Stott is a standard. It is every bit a classic in the explanation of Christianity as Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Having read Stott’s book years ago, I took the opportunity to read it again.

Continue reading “Book Review — Basic Christianity”