2 sentence book reviews: christian living and theology

yay! this is the week my readers either love or ignore (traffic tells me many are in the latter camp). i have found that writing reviews of the books i read really helps me remember them. and i hope it helps some of you make reading choices (and avoid others). i allow myself two sentences for each review (unless i’ve already written an official endorsement): the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of it.

here’s the plan for the week!
monday: 8 young adult fiction books
tuesday: 2 fiction books, 2 non-fiction books, and 2 graphic/illustrated books
wednesday: 10 christian living and theology books
thursday: 10 parenting, church and ministry books

Christian Living/Theology

chilvaryChivalry: The Quest for a Personal Code of Honor in an Unjust World, by Zach Hunter
3 stars
formerly teenage abolitionist author zach hunter challenges his 20something peers to live with honor and character. good book, but sometimes felt like the publisher or editor should have pushed the author to focus more (still worth giving to 17 – 23 year-olds, though).

in search of deep faithIn Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity, by Jim Belcher
4.5 stars
the author and his family travel through europe, seeking insight from the stories and lives of a wonderful collection of faith heroes.
my official endorsement (found in the book):
Equal parts pilgrimage memoir, parenting book, theological reflection, and biography collection, Belcher weaves a particularly fascinating journey. That combination might sound strange; but it totally works, allowing us to view historical authors, theologians, artists and dissidents through the eyes of the author and his family, and reflecting on theological anchor points as if we were traveling with them.

the in-betweenThe In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing, by Jeff Goins
5 stars
life isn’t all mountain tops, obviously; so what’s the learning of that space between? full of great stories and profound insights, goins deserves to be read.
(full disclosure: i agented this book; but i still love it!)

thelogy of hopeTheology of Hope, by Jurgen Moltmann
5 stars? 2 stars?
sure, it’s probably the most brilliant theological exploration of this topic ever written, i suppose. but it sure revealed the limits of my capacity for pithy, mostly impenetrable, theological writing.

hope within historyProphetic Imagination, Hope within History, and Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile, by Walter Brueggemann
5 stars for insight, 2 stars for style
absolutely brilliant colletions of essays that unpack what i have come to see as the biblical model of hope. my upcoming IVP book about hope wouldn’t exist without these books, of which Hope Within History is by far the best, imho.

surprised by hopeSurprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, by N. T. Wright
5 stars
briliant, wonderfully readable dismantling of multiple ways we christians (particularly we evangelicals) have gotten it wrong. really, i don’t know how to plead with thoughtful evangelicals more strongly to read this.

a better atonementA Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin, Tony Jones
3 stars
short collection-of-blog-posts-turned-ebook about atonement. unnecessary sloppiness found in many self-published ebooks, but was SO helpful to me and very much worth reading.

jesus feministJesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, by Sarah Bessey
4 stars
a very personal (often autobiographical) exploration of feminism through a jesus lens, completely without anger or bitterness. this is a wonderful book that should be required reading for all evangelicals.

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