I read books for many purposes. To amuse and to entertain me (I am an avid fan of the detective story). To inform me (I try to keep up with recent biblical scholarship) but, also, to enrich my spirit. As I seek a closer sense of God's intimate presence, I have been helped from several very different sources.
By Rosmary Radford Reuther and Herman J. Reuther Fortress. 2002. (2nd ed.) 320 pp. Pb. $18.00. ISBN 0-8006-3479-9
—reviewed by Daniel Durway, Raleigh, N.C.
Most Americans know what is going on in the Middle East, but few Americans know why it is going on. Indeed, according to Rosemary Radford Ruether and Herman J. Ruether, theologian and political scientist, respectively, "Much of the world does not know the actual history" (p. iv).
By John Leith, Charles E. Raynal,ed. Geneva. 2001. 363 pp. Pb. $29.95. ISBN 0-664-50151-6
— reviewed by Richard A. Ray, Bristol, Tenn.
In 1949, John Leith included these words in a sermon on race relations preached in Nashville:
"It is hard to be a Christian. But after all, it is about time that we should get into our thinking that this business of being Christian is and always will be an arduous and dangerous business. It is not made for cowards and for the weak."
By Joan M. Martin. WJKP. 2000. 190 pp. Pb. $24.95. ISBN 0-664-2580-0
— reviewed by Portia Turner Williamson, Durham, N.C.
What a well-crafted volume, significantly advancing the discussion concerning slavery in America! Joan Martin is a theological ethicist who employs womanist methodology to discover the meaning of work in this context.
"Discovery" is a technique that renders the internal as external. By means of this method, she examines the social, theological and political aspects of blackwomen’s antebellum work.
By Edwin S. Gaustad. Eerdmans. 1996. 246 pp. Pb. $18.00 ISBN 0-8028-0156-0
—reviewed by Herbert Meza Jacksonville, Fla.
No one, with the possible exception of James Madison, had a greater influence on the founding of the United States than Thomas Jefferson. Unlike many of the founding fathers, Jefferson’s name has not faded. The Declaration of Independence stands as an enduring witness to Jefferson’s religious, moral and political views.
By Mac N. and Anne Shaw Turnage WJKP. 2001. 136 pp. Pb. $12.95. ISBN 0-664-22567-5
— reviewed by William V. Arnold, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Since their own confrontation with cancer in 1973, Mac and Anne Turnage have focused considerable creative faith and energy, to our benefit, on the care of people affected by cancer. Since their first book, More Than You Dare to Ask: The First Year of Living With Cancer, in 1976, they have led countless support groups, formed and led organizations of cancer survivors to provide support and encouragement, and, in the process, modeled pastoral care at its finest.
By Richard Lischer. Doubleday. 2001. 243 pp. Pb. $$23.95. ISBN 0-385-50217-6
— reviewed by Agnes Norfleet, Decatur, Ga.
Richard Lischer is a Lutheran pastor who teaches preaching at Duke Divinity School. Open Secrets: A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church is a wonderfully engaging memoir of his first experience as a parish pastor. It reads like a novel with character development, plot, intrigue, pathos, humor, conflict and sometimes even resolution. And yet it is more than a good story.
By Frederick Buechner. Harper San Francisco. 2001. 160 pp. $22.00 ISBN 0-06-251752-X
—reviewed by Blue Calhoun Wood, Watkinsville, Ga.
A month after the August 2001 publication of this anticipated new work of Frederick Buechner reverberated with particular poignancy. Its title, from Shakespeare's King Lear, expresses the necessary response to "the weight of this sad time."
By Wesley A. Kort Oxford. 2001. 208 pp. $25. ISBN 0-19-514342-6
— reviewed by Daniel L. Durway, Raleigh, N.C.
If you last read something written by C.S. Lewis during your student days, or if you have never read anything at all by him, you may want to pick up C.S. Lewis Then and Now by Wesley A. Kort, professor of religion and member of the graduate faculty at Duke University.
By Thomas G. Long Alban. 2001. 115 pp. Pb. $16. ISBN 1-56699-240-0
— reviewed by Art Ross of Raleigh, N.C.
Because, suddenly, we live in a world at war, the title of the book is unfortunate; but so too is the spirit of the debate over worship in the life of many churches. The opening words of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Common Worship, "Worship is at the very heart of the church’s life. All that the church is and does is rooted in its worship" are true.