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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.

Steps Along the Way: A Spiritual Autobiography

By Diogenes Allen
Church. 2002. 134 pp. Pb. $13.95. ISBN 0-89869-352-7

— reviewed by Ed White, Washington, D.C.

This book recounts Diogenes Allen’s search for the providence of God. He begins by describing the shock of witnessing the overwhelming poverty in India in 1955: “I was not prepared for the horror of seeing people dying in the street” (p. 3).

Struggling with Scripture

By Walter Brueggemann, William C. Placher and Brian K. Blount
WJKP. 2002. 80 pp. Pb. $9.95. ISBN 0-664-22485-7

— review by David W. A. Taylor, Cary, N.C.

This little book of 80 pages is an immensely useful resource for interpreting the Scripture within the cultural context of our time. These three biblical scholars of unimpeachable reputation take the Bible with utmost seriousness, yet not as fundamentalists. They insist that we must struggle with Scripture if its word is to be “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.”

The Sprituality of Men

Philip L. Culbertson, ed.
Fortress. 2002. 282 pp. Pb. $22. ISBN 0-8006-3447-0

— review by J. David Wiseman, Cary, N.C.

A story is told of several Americans traveling in Africa, who had hired a native guide to lead them up a mountain. As they climbed, the guide stopped for rest more frequently than the hikers desired. Growing impatient, one hiker finally posed the question, "Why are we stopping so often?" The wise guide responded, "We need to give our souls time to catch up with our bodies."

Pursuing Peace

By Albert N. Wells
Rainbow. 2002. 264 pp. Pb. $14.95.ISBN 1-56825-082-7

— reviewed by Albert C. Winn, Winston-Salem, N.C.

The year 2002 does not appear to be a good time for publishing a book on the pursuit of peace. But Al Wells has done it, despite the widespread approval of national policies of war and retaliation which has followed the horrendous breach of peace on Sept. 11, 2001. On the cover of this book, the subtitle "It’s the Thing to Do" is altered by an insertion that makes it read, "It’s still the Thing to Do."