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Going to the Dickens

My friends -- both of them -- have just read Evelyn Waugh's weird little short story, "The Man Who Liked Dickens" with the hope of understanding my latter day enthusiasm.  Although I have absolutely no desire to become any kind of expert on Dickens' 14 great novels, I find, to my surprise, that I enjoy immensely an hour a day in his company.

Kissed by the Coach’s Wife

I don't tell many people I quarterbacked my high school football team because I do not like the incredulous look that appears on their faces just before they laugh out loud.  However, there are a few living witnesses, albeit with fading memories, who could testify to the fact that I never received the athletic glory I so richly deserved.

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant

By Walter Brueggemann
Fortress. 1999. 148 pp. Pb. $18. ISBN 0-8006-3176-5

Reviewed by Paul K. Hooker
Executive Presbyter, St. Augustine Presbytery


Anyone who has read the work of Walter Brueggemann knows that he is a radical, in the true sense of the word. Impatient with worn-out ideologies (either liberal or conservative) that have lost touch with the text, Brueggemann is eager to confront his readers with the transforming power of Scripture.

The Divided Church: Moving Liberals and Conservatives from Diatribe to Dialogue

By Richard G. Hutcheson Jr. and Peggy L. Shriver

InterVarsity. 1999. 224 pp. Pb. $12.99 ISBN 0-8308-2223-2

Reviewed by Lewis S. Mudge


This is a rich and nuanced study of voices on both sides of the well-known right-left division of American Protestantism, with special emphasis on the PC(USA). Richard Hutcheson and Peggy Shriver personally represent the "evangelical" and "liberal" wings of the church, respectively.

Praising God: The Trinity in Christian Worship

By Ruth C. Duck and Patricia Wilson-Kastner
WJKP. 1999. 207 pp. Pb. $22. ISBN 0-664-25777-1

Reviewed by Gene Huff
San Francisco


"The Trinity are a grammar problem," according to an answer once noted on a theology exam. The authors of this remarkably useful book suggest it has too often also been a worship problem and they assume the task of showing how we can more adequately speak to and about the Trinitarian God in worship.

Sundays Down South: A Pastor’s Stories

By James O. Chatham
University Press of Mississippi.1999. 248 pp. $25. ISBN 1-57806-175-X

Reviewed by Louis Weeks, Richmond, Va.


"Exegete the biblical text, exegete the congregation, and exegete the community in which you serve." This profound advice for pastors and others who would lead the church I have heard constantly from seminary professors and from wise old hands in presbytery.

Good News in Exile: Three Pastors Offer a Hopeful Vision for the Church

By Martin B. Copenhaver, Anthony B. Robinson
and William H. Willimon

Eerdmans. 1999. 116 pp. Pb. $12. ISBN 0-8028-4604-1

Reviewed by Angela L. Ying, Seattle, Wash.


In a word, it is a gift. Martin B. Copenhaver, Anthony B. Robinson and William H. Willimon's book, Good News in Exile: Three Pastors Offer a Hopeful Vision for the Church, is a genuine gift to the church. Unlike other "gifts" where we get exactly what we ask for, where there are no surprises, and where we know what to expect, Good News in Exile offers the church -- and thus offers us, as people of faith -- one of those rare gifts.

Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope

By Kathleen D. Billman and Daniel L. Migliore
United Church. 1999. 174 pp. Pb. $18.95. ISBN 0-8298-1353-5

Reviewed by Fane Downs
Midland, Texas


We live in a time of increased interest in things spiritual -- practices, techniques and theologies -- many sincere, some shallow. Our days are marked, moreover, by suffering and awareness of evil in our midst -- manifested in ethnic cleansing, wars, school shootings, family violence, etc.

Home By Another Way

By Barbara Brown Taylor
Cowley. 1999. Pb. 212 pp. $ 11.95. ISBN 1-56101-167-3

Reviewed by Elisabeth Lunz


When I first met Barbara Brown Taylor more than 20 years ago, she was becoming a writer. We were both at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where Barbara worked in administration during her postulancy for the Episcopal priesthood.

The Millennium Myth: Hope for a Postmodern World

By N. T. Wright
WJKP. 1999. 128 pp. $12.95. ISBN 0-664-25841-7

Reviewed by Michael D. Bush


While too much of the Christian world is coming off the rails in expectation of a divine cataclysm on Jan. 1, 2000, N. T. Wright offers us a challenge to celebrate the millennium as a Christian festival, rather than standing by passively or ex-citedly, waiting to see if the world will end. He issues the challenge in few words, with the clarity and good sense we have learned to expect from him in his New Testament scholarship.

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