This is possibly the longest I’ve had a book sitting on my desk waiting for review.
Living Spirituality is written by Gregory Laughery, who lives and teaches at the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. Laughery attempts to capture the popular quest for spirituality and shape it, emphasizing the need for Scripture and the Holy Spirit. He does a good job of taking major Christian doctrines and explaining how they shape our spiritual lives today. Applying doctrine so that it shapes life is desperately needed. This is a good book, but I found myself wishing I could have heard Laughery teach the contents of this book in person at L’Abri. I have the sense that the book doesn’t fully capture his voice.
Tending to Eden is a book about environmental stewardship for God’s people. I know that half of you tuned out after reading that sentence, but you shouldn’t. It’s an important theme. If you’re still with me, you may have more doubts when you see that Brian McLaren wrote the foreward. But hold on. The book provides some theological justification for creation care. It spends most of its time on issues like deforestation and globalism. But it also talks about the need to share the Gospel and see hearts and lives transformed, realizing that we can save the environment but still lose our souls.
I have questions and issues – about confusing the role of Christians with the role of the church, for instance – but overall I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Let’s not leave this issue to the Christian left. See Plant with Purpose for more.
Putting Jesus in His Place makes the case for the deity of Christ. The book is simply solid. It deals with a complex subject, and yet it’s clear and readable. It’s split into five sections:
Jesus shares the honors due to God.
Jesus shares the attributes of God.
Jesus shares the names of God.
Jesus shares in the deeds that God does.
Jesus shares the seat of God’s throne.
This is my favorite type of book. It makes good theology clear and relevant, and it’s anything but dry. You couldn’t pick a more important subject. Get this book. Highly recommended.
A Primer on Worship and Reformation runs only 72 pages. The author, Douglas Wilson, proposes that true change begins, not with a process or an idea, but through faithful worship. Wilson confronts problems such as cheesy and threadbare worship and pietistic individualism. He believes that the contemporary Church is in pathetic condition – not because we lack the right techniques, but because we have sinned our ways into this condition. When Wilson says that we need to repent, “specifically of our man-centered gospel and our man-centered response to that gospel,” I add a hearty amen. Wilson is a gadfly. May his tribe increase.
When Answers Aren’t Enough is written by Matt Rogers, pastor of a church at Virginia Tech when 33 students died in the Virginia Tech massacre. It’s a series of meditations and reflections on tragedy, and how we can experience God when the answers don’t satisfy. It explodes some shallow Christian cliches and makes room for struggling in pain. It reads like a messy set of reflections under some broad theological categories rather than a structured treatise. In that sense, it reminds me a little of the psalms. If someone you know is struggling and needs more than theological answers, this book may be useful.