Timely and timeless
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Timely and timeless

“Reading the morning newspaper is the realist’s morning prayer,” quipped the philosopher Hegel. If he’s right, what does this reveal about my own heart when I groggily reach for my smartphone upon waking up, scrolling through headlines before even a word of prayer to God or a verse of Scripture? Jeffrey Bilbro’s Reading the Times…

Jubilant play!
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Jubilant play!

Author and illustrator Julie Flett attributes her love for the land, animals, and all of nature to the gentle heart of her Cree-Métis father, Clarence Flett (1936-2019). In an author note, she explains, “When I was growing up, my dad shared a lot about our relationship to animals and to each other, including the land,…

A glimpse beyond what we think we know
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A glimpse beyond what we think we know

“As far as Papa knew, we canned a dozen jars of asparagus. He carefully added to his ledger and carried the preserves to the cellar. What was the harm of setting aside the thirteenth jar in the back of my wardrobe, behind the bolts of fabric leftover from Mama? I didn’t know what compelled me…

Deconstructing biblical womanhood
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Deconstructing biblical womanhood

What if? My kids love “what if” questions. What if you had two extra arms? What if you could turn yourself into anything you wanted? These types of questions stimulate their imaginations and get them thinking about what life would be like if things were different. In her new book The Making of Biblical Womanhood,…

Life, death and what comes after?
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Life, death and what comes after?

J. Todd Billings’ End of the Christian Life is the most profound, challenging and comforting book I’ve ever read about death and life. As well it pulled me back to my grandfather’s death decades ago. Soon after immigrating to Chicago in the early 20th century, Jacobus Cornelis Dekker changed his Dutch name to James Cornelius;…

Helping us find the words
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Helping us find the words

Sometimes books appear when they are needed, and the timing of Christiana Peterson’s new book is particularly apt. With the world living through a global pandemic and the realities of mortality prominent in new and frightening ways, Awakened by Death: Life-giving Lessons from the Mystics offers to accompany us as we look our fears of…

Extravagant love in the face of finitude

Extravagant love in the face of finitude

Kate Bowler’s new memoir, No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear), is written in typical Dr. Bowler style. A history professor at Duke, she approaches this memoir with facts from her medical records, journals, and interviews that made up her diagnosis of terminal cancer at age 35. Yet it’s not…

Wolterstorff’s Wonderful Account of Living in Learning and Wonder
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Wolterstorff’s Wonderful Account of Living in Learning and Wonder

In the first paragraph of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s preface to In This World of Wonders, he admits his long reluctance to write about himself as a legacy of his southwest Minnesota Dutch immigrant community’s ethos of self-deprecation, “…[N]ever toot your own horn,” he writes.

Lenses and Ladders
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Lenses and Ladders

I spent one day last week tidying our bookshelves because they needed it. They were a jumbly, unstable mess of books and papers, everything balanced horizontally and pushed in the wrong spaces. The poetry shelf threatened to collapse. The travel books had found their far-flung ways everywhere, appropriately enough, and the novels were on the march.

Written into the Story

Written into the Story

TOWARD THE END OF The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Frodo and Sam, on their way to destroy the Ring, take a rest “in a dark crevice between two great piers of rock” on the stairs of Cirith Ungol. As they rest, Sam gets to wondering: “‘I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?’”

From Artisanry to Creation Care
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From Artisanry to Creation Care

BRITISH AUTHOR Robert Penn writes fascinating, unique explorations of common artifacts, which, coming from less adroit hands and minds, would be cliche.

‘Who was the guilty?’
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‘Who was the guilty?’

On the surface, this is a story about lost innocence, betrayal and shame, but at a deeper level it is a haunting study of post-WWII German guilt about the Holocaust. By the author’s own admission, the book asks, “Who is to blame for the Holocaust?”