Writing – Book Reviews and More

The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor (Review)

Who Should Read This Book - Anyone who wants to better understand why our contemporary culture has come to so highly value authenticity (be true to yourself). The Big Takeaway - The modern age of authenticity is not merely to be unequivocally celebrated (“boosters”) nor unflinchingly opposed (“knockers”) but instead to be critically examined so…

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1964 by Taylor Branch (Review)

Who Should Read This Book - People who are REALLY into American history and want a DEEP DIVE into the story of the Civil Rights movement. What’s the Big Takeaway - Branch stays focused on the story and avoids drawing lessons for today, so any take-always are up to the reader. That said, I’d say…

Jesus Loves Canaanites by Randall Rauser (Review)

Who Should Read this Book - Christians who are uncertain how to understand the violent parts of scripture, especially the conquest of Canaan in Deuteronomy and Joshua. While definitely a good read for pastors, Rauser’s writing style is welcoming and approachable to lay Christians as well. What’s the Big Takeaway - Christian faith is rooted…

White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White by Daniel Hill (Review)

Who Should Read this Book: White folks - specifically Christians but really anyone - who want to honestly examine and wrestle with what it means to be white, how whiteness shapes us, and how we can become aware. What’s the Big Takeaway: Our culture shapes how we see everything and western culture, for centuries, has…

A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World; Edited by Joanna Harader and A.O. Green (Review)

Who Should Read This Book- Anyone interested in Anabaptist Christian tradition, especially Christians disillusioned with the nationalist bent of the faith and looking for a different tradition rooted in the nonviolent teaching of Jesus. What’s the Big Takeaway - As the west becomes an increasingly post-Christian culture, the Anabaptist tradition may be uniquely poised to…

The Bill Hodges Trilogy – Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch (Review)

Who Should Read This Book - Stephen King fans (obviously) but especially readers of fiction who might not like horror but want to read some King. This whole series (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and this one) would be a fine entry into the non-horror side of King. What’s the Big Takeaway - King is known…

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr (Review)

Who Should Read this Book - Christian men and women who were taught that women should be submissive to men . What is the Big Take Away from this book - Rather than being rooted in any sort of counter-cultural narrative of scripture, Biblical womanhood (complementarianism) is a recent invention more in line with the…

Circling the Elephant:A Comparative Theology of Religious Diversity by John Thatamanil (Review)

Who Should Read this Book - Readers interested in religion, theology and especially inter-religious dialogue from a Christian perspective. What is the big take-away from this book: American Christians are already part of multiple religions, once we recognize the modern definition of world religion needs redefining and we then include consumerism, nationalism, capitalism and other…

Lovers in the Wilderness by Stephanie Rutt (Review)

Lovers in the Wilderness: Awaken Mystical Unity and Create a Joyful Life with Mantra Prayer by Stephanie Rutt Who Should Read this Book - People who pray and are looking for new methods of prayer; more progressive Christians or others interested in learning prayer methods from other religious traditions.What is the Big Take-Away from this…