Review: Ordinary by Michael Horton

Michael Horton, Ordinary: Sustainable faith in a radical, restless world. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2014. 221 pages. Christ did not found a movement. He is building a Church. In Ordinary, Michael Horton argues that the ‘next big thing’ is not a radical endeavor, but the slow work of Christ in his church. While the situations faced…

Review: Ordinary by Tony Merida

Tony Merida, Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down, B&H Publishing Group: Nashville, 2015. 137 pages. Who wants to be ordinary? For much of the last few decades, the church has encouraged those devoted to Jesus to be radical and extraordinary, to be transformed, and to embrace the shocking message of Jesus. Tony Merida’s…

Review: The Parables

Brad H. Young, The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, 1998. 332 pages. A full one-third of Jesus’ teachings are in the form of parables–the Good Samaritan… the Prodigal Son…the Persistent Widow. These teachings are some of the most beloved and also some of the most confusing in the whole Bible.…

Review: Understanding Genesis

Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel, Schoken Books (New York), 1966. I first heard about the Jewish scholar, Nahum Sarna, on our trip to Israel last year. Our guide, Ray Vander Laan, referenced his work repeatedly and recommended that we read his books. After receiving Understanding Genesis (as well as Exploring Exodus) for Christmas,…

Review: My Bright Abyss

Though labeled as a memoir, Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer is not chronological jaunt through his life. Instead, as the subtitle indicates, it is a series of loosely connected meditations. He explores themes such as life, joy, faith, love, and Christ’s presence as well as death, suffering, disbelief, meaninglessness, and…

Review: Rejoicing in Lament

J. Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ. Brazos Press, 2015. It is a rare book that can hover between the academic and the personal in a way that enriches both realms. After he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 39, J. Todd Billings’ life took a surprising…

Review: A Taste of Torah

           Keren Hannah Pryor. A Taste of Torah: A Devotional Study Through the Five Books of Moses. Center for Judaic-Christan Studies, 2008. Since before the time of Jesus, it has been the practice of observant Jews to read the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, every year. This practice…

Review: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory

Jerry L. Walls, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: A Protestant View of the Cosmic Drama. Brazos Press, 2015. Interest in heaven, hell, and the afterlife have seen a dramatic increase in recent years. Myriads of books, movies, and articles have been published reporting both sensational experiences and profound skepticism. Yet what this resurgence has often lacked…

Review – Population: 485

Michael Perry. Population: 485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time. Harper Perennial, 2007. A little over a year and a half ago, my wife and I moved from a medium sized city to a small town in rural Iowa. Even before we stepped foot in the state, I received an email inviting…

Review: A Voice in the Wind

Francine Rivers. A Voice In The Wind. Tyndale House Publishers, 1993. I generally avoid any book categorized as ‘Christian fiction.’ In the past few decades, a lot of bad writing has tried to gain a market by slapping the label ‘Christian’ on the front of it. The ugly triad of boring characters, simplistic plots, and…