Listening for the Soul: Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction

By Jean Stairs
Fortress. 2000. 213 pp. Pb. $20.
ISBN 0-8006-3239-7

Reviewed by William V. Arnold, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

In clear language, with no appeals to academic jargon, Jean Stairs undertakes a balancing act that brings pastoral care and spiritual direction into collaboration with each other. She wisely makes no attempt to have one discipline subsume the other. Rather, she recognizes and describes the gifts of each and the need of each for the perspective of the other.

Politics, Religion and the Common Good

By Martin E. Marty
Jossey-Bass. 2000. 240 pp. Hb. $22.50.
ISBN 0-7879-5031-9

Reviewed by Edward A. White, Washington, D.C.

This is a refreshing and clear-thinking description and analysis of the place of religion in the public life of our nation. Martin Marty sets forth six theses:

1. Public religion can be dangerous. It should be handled with care.

2. Public religion can and does contribute to the common good.

Education, Religion and the Common Good

By Martin E. Marty and Jonathan Moore
Jossey-Bass. 2000. 164 pp. Pb. $23.
ISBN 0-7879-5033-5

Reviewed by Allan E. Strand, Oxford, Miss.

The thrust of Martin Marty's work in this volume is captured most succinctly in this: "In the midst of global, national and local change affecting world views and public action, religion is too widespread and too deep a phenomenon not to be reckoned with in primary, or at least secondary, schools and thereafter, no matter under what aegis or auspices" (p. 139).

Godviews: The Convictions That Drive Us and Divide Us

By Jack Haberer
Geneva. 2001. 192 pp. Pb. $19.95.
ISBN 0-664-50190-7

Reviewed by Brent Eelman of Houston, Texas

This book should be mandatory reading for all commissioners to this year's General Assembly. Jack Haberer, who is well-known as an evangelical leader in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has written a thoughtful book that challenges the reader to rethink the easy categories that we often use to describe theological differences.

A Journey into Christian Art

By Helen de Borchgrave
Fortress. 1999. 223 pp. $35. ISBN 0-8006-3240-0

Reviewed by Sam Stone, Raleigh, N.C.


On this journey into classical Christian art, readers will not find themselves laden with the baggage of an in-depth history of art nor a catalogue of the greatest works from around the world. Helen de Borchgrave's book rather invites the reader to join her knowledgeable, guided tour of art treasures in sites close to their origin.

Praing Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song

By Brian Wren
WJKP. 2000. 422 pp. Pb. $22.95. ISBN 0-554-25670-8

Reviewed by Melva Costen, Atlanta


There are many who will identify immediately with the title of this book because of the familiar pairing of "prayer and song," attributed to Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.): "Whoever sings [to God in worship] prays twice." Some will be reminded of John Calvin who considered sacred song in worship an "act of prayer."

Disruptive Grace

By George Hunsinger
Eerdmans. 2000. 375 pp. $39. ISBN 0-8028-4644-0

Reviewed by Robert C. Bankhead, Wilmington, N.C.


George Hunsinger apparently proposes an ambitious agenda for his book early in the introduction, declaring that he dreams of forging a merger between the classical theology of Karl Barth and the compassionate Christianity of Martin Luther King.

Fit to be a Pastor: A Call to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Fitness

By G. Lloyd Rediger
WJKP. 2000. Pb. $14.95. ISBN ISBN 0-664-25844-1

Reviewed by Cathy C. Chisholm, Vandalia, Ill.


Lloyd Rediger is on a crusade. He has written his latest book, "Fit to Be a Pastor: A Call to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Fitness," as a challenge to the church to join the quest for healthy leaders. The book is a summons issued to all of us in church leadership, particularly pastors, to seek body-mind-spirit fitness and to do it now.

Naked Before God: The Return of a Broken Disciple

By Bill Williams with Martha Williams
Morehouse. 1998. 328 pp. Pb. $ 14.95.
ISBN 0-8192-1878-2

Reviewed by John Sniffen, Richmond, Va.


Bill Williams has written a very good book for those who wonder why, if God is all-powerful, there is imperfection and suffering in this world. He had good reason to ask such questions. He was one of three children in one family who were born with cystic fibrosis. Noting that the odds of such an occurrence were one-in-four, no wonder Williams asks, "Why?"

The Singer and the Song: An Autobiography of the Spirit

By Miriam Therese Winter
Orbis. 1999. 180 pp. Pb. $15. ISBN 1-57075-279-6

Reviewed by Judy Haas Acheson, Kansas City, Mo.


M. T. Winter, widely known as a "singing nun," is also widely appreciated as a friend of God and of all God's children. This book, as the subtitle indicates, is the story of her own faith journey from the blind belief of childhood to the mature faith of a medical missionary as Sister Miriam Therese.