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Niebuhr and His Age: Reinhold Niebuhr’s Prophetic Role and Legacy

By Charles C. Brown

Trinity Press International. 2002. 333 pp. Pb. $20. ISBN 1-56338-375-6

Review by Robert Dunham, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A decade after publishing the acclaimed hardback edition of Charles Brown's appreciative intellectual biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, Trinity Press International has made this important work more widely available in a paperback edition, updated by the author. The timing could not have been more auspicious (nor, perhaps, intentional), given the turn of world events in recent years.

The Power of God at Home: Nurturing our Children in Love and Grace

By J. Bradley Wigger

Jossey-Bass. 2003. 224 pp. $19.95. ISBN 0-7879-5588-4

Review by Joyce MacKichan Walker, Princeton, N.J.


"The large conviction and concern of this book is that faith empowers family life and parenting" (p. 19). So states Brad Wigger in the first chapter of The Power of God at Home, and just so does he clearly summarize the purpose and usefulness of this book for ministry to, for and with families. Who, as a Christian parent, has not struggled with how to bring into our daily conversations and living our belief that God is the ground of who we are and why we exist; that this trust is one we want our children to witness in our homes and experience for themselves?

Grace: A Memoir

By Mary Cartledgehayes
Crown. 2003. 203 pp. $23. ISBN 0-609-60834-7

Review by Mary Lib Phipps, Cary, N.C.


Grace is an exciting story of the path one woman chose at a point in her life when it was neither easy nor logical. Mary Cartledgehayes shares an honest and beautifully expressed impression of a few different, yet exhilarating, years in her life.

Teaching Preaching: Isaac Rufus Clark and Black Sacred Rhetoric

By Katie Geneva Cannon

Continuum. 2002. 184 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-8264-1441-9


— Review by Lonnie J. Oliver, College Park, Ga.

Teaching Preaching is a creative, fresh approach to teaching and learning preaching form a perspective that integrates the Word of God with everyday challenges and opportunities. The book's style helps the reader to affirm the African experience in America through sound theology and with a clear methodology.

Ministry Loves Company: A Survival Guide for Pastors

By John T. Galloway Jr.

WJKP. 2003. 168 pp. Pb. $16.95. ISBN 0-664-22584-5

Review by John D. Dalles, Longwood, Fla.


Want a long conversation with a venerable pastor reflecting on 37 years of ministry, innovative mission and congregational renewal? It's here in John Galloway's Ministry Loves Company. This is theoretical and practical advice on how congregations work and how pastors can help them work better without losing their religion.

The Cost of Moral Leadership: The Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

By Geffrey B. Kelly and F. Burton Nelson

Eerdmans. 2003. 317 pp. Pb. $25. ISBN 0802805116

Review by James L. Mechem, Santa Fe, N.M.


There are a lot of people who know something about Bonhoeffer; many know a lot about him; two men who know a great deal about him, Kelley and Nelson, have produced an excellent study of the relation between Bonhoeffer's life, and the theological and ethical dimensions of his thought.

Life of David Gale

'The Life Of David Gale' is a polemic against the death penalty. It raises, and then answers, the question of 'What if someone executed by the state is actually innocent?' But the viewer finds out all the information only in bits and pieces, that is, at the same rate as the main character, Bitsy (Kate Winslett). She's a big-time magazine reporter who gets chosen for the exclusive rights to interview former philosophy professor David Gale, during his last three days on Death Row.

We, the viewers, get to witness her initial skepticism about the innocence of someone who was accused of rape and murder, and then convicted by three courts. She agrees to do the interview because they have appealed to her pride, as someone suitably high-profile who has proven that she will maintain confidentiality of sources (by going to jail). So she listens to the Gale (played by Kevin Spacey) unfold his story, and it's not pretty.

Reconciliation: Restoring Justice

By John W. de Gruchy

Fortress. 2002. 255 pp. Pb. $29.95. ISBN 0800636007

— Review by Aurelia T. Fule, Santa Fe, N.M.


John W. de Gruchy, professor of Christian studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is known and esteemed by many Western readers because of his earlier works. In Reconciliation he writes:

The relatively peaceful ending of apartheid and the transition to democratic rule in South Africa did . . . take the world by surprise. It also set in motion . . . the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established to seek the truth about the past in order to facilitate national reconciliation (p. 10).

Soaring Where Christ Has Led: Innovative Worship Ideas for the 21st Century

By Richard Avery and Donald Marsh

CSS. 2002. 180 pp. Pb. $29.95. ISBN 0-7880-1906-6

— Review by Mary Ann Lundy, Santa Fe, N.M.


Many of us cannot remember a time when we did not know and sing what came to be a noun, "Avery-and-Marsh." "Let's do an 'Avery-and-Marsh,'" we'd say, or "I'll look in Avery-and-Marsh and see what there is for Easter." Going to national meetings and conferences meant that we could see them "do their thing" in the flesh, which meant arousing passive, stone-faced Presbyterians to move and clap and dance and, yes, sing with gust.

Bend It Like Beckham

'Bend It Like Beckham' is this year's 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' It's about a girl growing up in a very ethnic family, and how she struggles to honor her roots and yet find some independence. She's not perfect, but she's likable because she's so passionate. And she tries so hard. And while she cannot bend the world to her point of view, she can at least decide what to embrace and what to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3), and in the process discover something of who she is.

There are several refreshing elements to this film for the American moviegoer. First, it does not adhere to some of the silly Hollywood rules about what is glamorous. The lead character, 'Jess' Bhamra (Parminder K. Nagra), is neither tall nor skinny nor blonde nor blue-eyed; though her friend, Jules Paxton (Keira Knightly), is all those things. What the two girls have in common is a gift for soccer. Jess has just been playing 'football' with (guy) friends in the public park near her house. Jules is playing on a women's team. When she spots Jess' skill, she invites Jess to be on the women's team, as well. The coach, Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), is skeptical until he sees Jess play. And then he is ecstatic. And so is she, because she didn't realize how good she was until now.

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