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The Invisible Child: On Reading and Writing Books for Children

By Katherine Paterson
Dutton. 2001. 266 pp. $24.99. ISBN 0-525-46482-4

— Review by Freda Gardner, Princeton, N.J.


The subtitle could be: What Makes Katherine Tick? What are the thoughts, experiences, loves, concerns that make this author so prolific, so admired around the world; so ready to speak to and with children and to care about them with a passion that marks the decades of her life? Who are the people that called forth that passion and keep it burning today? And what of God, who continues to call Katherine Paterson to many ministries, to the use of the gifts that are hers?

Jesus of Nazareth

By Dorothee Soëlle and Luise Schottroff
WJKP. 2002. 160 pp. Pb. $14.95. 0-664-22500-4

— Review by Gary Collins, Newport Beach, Calif.


Jesus of Nazareth by German theologians Dorothee Soëlle and Luise Schottroff provides a fine introduction to the feminist/liberationist view of Jesus, as well as fresh insights for those who have already had that introduction. Twenty-four gritty poems — nine from Soëlle — are spread through the text to inject into the scholarly narrative the authors' deep concern for the Earth's overlooked and exploited ones.

The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need

By Peter Gomes
Harper. 2002. 388 pp. Pb. $23.95. ISBN 0-06-000075-9

— Review by Lewis F. Galloway, Columbia, S.C.


The Good Life by Peter Gomes is a fresh presentation of the challenge to live a good life by practicing virtue. His book will give rise to much discussion about the crisis of purpose in North American higher education, the meaning of virtue and the nature of the good life.

Abraham: A Journey into the Heart of Three Faiths

By Bruce Feiler
William Morrow. 2002. 224 pp. $23.95. ISBN 0380977761

— Review by James H. Gailey, Brevard, N.C.


Bruce Feiler's Abraham is not an attempt to solve the political problems of the Near East. Instead it is the personal journey of a sensitive Jew seeking understanding of the spiritual ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Feiler has literally walked over significant sites in the Holy Land, and he realized that no physical traces of Abraham could be found.

Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love

Marvin M. Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith, eds.
Pilgrim. 2003. 393 pp. Pb. $21.

Review by Isabel Rogers, Richmond, Va.

"Despite decades of debate, conflict over human sexuality continues to persist unabated in the church." So begins the last chapter in a book that has grown out of that long debate, Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice/Love.

When Religion Becomes Evil

By Charles Kimball
HarperSanFrancisco. 2002. 256 pp. Pb. $21.95. ISBN 0-06-050653-9

— Review by Gerald A. Butler, Eureka, Ill.


Religion can nurture and lead people closer to God. It can also destroy body and soul. Charles Kimball deals with that paradox in this book, which is timely, informative and easy to read.

Searching for Home: Spirituality for Restless Souls

By M. Craig Barnes
Brazos Books. 2003. 191 pp. $17.99

Review by John A. Dalles, Longwood, Fla.

In a society in which almost everyone is from somewhere else, and where they are likely to move on again before very long, how does one combat or respond to a profound longing for home? This is the problem M. Craig Barnes addresses in this timely book.

Showing Mary: How Women can Share Prayers. Wisdom and the Blessings of God

By Renita J. Weems
Warner. 2002. 194 pp. $12.95. ISBN 0-446-53066-2

— Review by Lillian McCulloch Taylor


In Showing Mary, Vanderbilt biblical scholar Renita Weems has claimed Mary, the mother of Jesus, for Protestants — and especially for women. Weems views Mary not as a pious, passive woman, but as a strong, vibrant individual. Following the biblical text closely, Weems lays out her portrait of the mother of the divine son.

Vital Signs: The Promise of Mainstream Protestantism

By Milton J Coalter, John M. Mulder and Lewis B. Weeks
WJKP. 2001. 137 pp. Pb. $16.95. ISBN 0-9724196-0-8

— Review by Lillian McCulloch Taylor



Pastors and church leaders will welcome the re-issue of this 1996 summary of 15 years of research concerning mainline Protestantism in America. Many will recall that the research was originally published in seven volumes under the general heading, The Presbyterian Presence, appearing between 1990 and 1992 from Westminster/John Knox Press. That research was aided by a significant grant from the Lilly Endowment.

What was needed upon conclusion of the seven-volum

The Ideal Seminary: Pursuing Excellence in Theological Education

By Carnegie Samuel Calian
WJKP. 2001. 137 pp. Pb. $16.95. ISBN 0664222668

— Review by C. Benton Kline, president and professor of theology emeritus, Columbia Seminary


Sam Calian, president of Pittsburgh Seminary and senior among presidents of PC(USA) seminaries, has written this book to mark his more than 20 years in that position. The book does not presume to present the ideal of a seminary, but it indicates some of the trail markers on the way to an excellent seminary. It will be of interest to any and all who are concerned about the role and influence of seminaries in the church and in the community.

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