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Speaking of Sin

By Barbara Brown Taylor
Cowley. 2000. 104 pp. Pb. $10.95.
ISBN 1-56101-189-4

Reviewed by Scott Dalgarno, pastor,
First church, Ashland, Ore.

"In the age just past, nationalism has brought us Hitler, science has brought us the atom bomb and religion has brought us some really awful television programming." So quips the inimitable Barbara Brown Taylor in a new book on a topic most of us think we've heard quite enough about already: sin.

Christian Worship: Glorifying and Enjoying God

By Ronald P. Byars
Geneva. 2000. 96 pp. Pb. $11.95.
ISBN 0-664-50136-2

Reviewed by James G. Kirk, Glen Burnie, Md.

Much to the satisfaction of those of us who serve in parishes, Geneva Press, in conjunction with the Office of Theology and Worship, has initiated a new series of books called the Foundations of Christian Faith.

Bridges to Intimacy

By Robert W. Herron
Thomas More. 2000. 188 pp. Pb. $15.95.
ISBN 0-88347-460-3

Reviewed by Margret Barnes Perry, a pastoral counselor
in Asheville, N.C.

Yet another book on marriage? Yes, and this one is a worthwhile read in large part because it has a particular focus: making it through midlife with your spouse. In writing this book, Robert W. Herron claims his hope: that he will help couples "navigate this transitional period in life and marriage and feel better about themselves as they do."

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.