Like many writers, I’m a bibliophile! I’ve always got more than one book at a time going, including the one that I’m writing. While I won’t take the time to do a complete book review on everything I read, I will at least share my general thoughts.
Here is what I’m reading presently. You are warmly invited to suggest books in the comment section below. If you do, please share the reason(s) for your recommendation.
Genre: Non-fiction, Religious Studies, Gender and Sexuality
Synopsis: In Bible, Gender, Sexuality James Brownson argues that Christians should reconsider whether or not the biblical strictures against same-sex relations as defined in the ancient world should apply to contemporary, committed same-sex relationships. Presenting two sides in the debate — “traditionalist” and “revisionist” — Brownson carefully analyzes each of the seven main texts that appear to address intimate same-sex relations. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the biblical text. Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson’s in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.
Synopsis: Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Living
Synopsis: Slavery didn’t end in 1833, when William Wilberforce’s decades-long campaign finally resulted in the Slavery Abolition Act. It didn’t end in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It didn’t end in 1949, when the United Nations declared trafficking “incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person.” The sad truth is, slavery never ended. It just went underground, where it continues to exploit powerless men, women and children in horrific ways throughout the world.
Now for the good news: you have power.
In Refuse to Do Nothing, ”Abolitionist Mamas” Shayne Moore and Kimberly Yim share their stories of coming to terms with the power available to them in their normal, everyday lives to
- illuminate the shadows where those who traffic in people hide
- compel corporations to fight slavery in how their products are made
- motivate politicians to fight for human dignity
- mobilize friends and strangers alike to fight slavery at home and throughout the world
Slavery doesn’t end without a fight. But get to know Shayne and Kimberly and their abolitionist friends, and you’ll find the power God grants to all who fight for the powerless, and the joy awaiting those who refuse to do nothing.
Karen Swallow Prior
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me
(Ossining, NY: T.S. Poetry Press, 2012)
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Synopsis: A life of books. A life of soul. Professor Karen Swallow Prior poignantly and humorously weaves the two, until you can’t tell one life from the other. Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.
Permission Granted: And Other Thoughts on Living Graciously Among Sinners and Saints (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013)
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Living
Synopsis: Ordained as a Presbyterian pastor, and wife of a former pastor, Margot Starbuck had a hunch that authentic love for those who’ve traditionally been marginalized by the Church looked diametrically different than the placard-waving Christians in the media spotlight had made it appear. She wanted to catch a glimpse of the kind of grace that would actually be received by those in bars, strip clubs, a tent community, and at drag queen bingo. Scouring the Gospels for the Jesus who felt as uncomfortable as she did around disreputable sinners, Margot was surprised to find no record of him there. And though she set out searching for a warm and fuzzy kind of “love,” she ended up encountering the person of Jesus in a way she’s not known him before.
Permission Granted is a passionate and liberating call to believers to truly love sinners as Jesus does. With wit and clarity of insight, Margot shows readers that there are no “special sinners” who are worse or more deserving of contempt and judgment than others, and challenges them to a radical acceptance of sinners.