Book Review: A Generous Orthodoxy

A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional + Evangelical + Post/Protestant + Liberal/Conservative + Mystical/Poetic + Biblical + Charismatic/Contemplative + Fundamentalist/Calvinist + Anabaptist/Anglican + Methodist + Catholic + Green + Incarnational + Depressed-Yet-Hopeful + Emergent + Unfinished Christian by Brian McLaren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. 352 pp) Brian McLaren, born in 1956, graduated from the University of Maryland with B.A. and M.A. degrees. He taught English before serving as the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church. Apart from his church duties, McLaren is known for his contributions to the emerging church movement. Time has named McLaren as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals. He is married to Grace McLaren and they have four adult children. A Seminary Kind… Read More →

Book Review: The Orthodox Way

The Orthodox Way: Revised Edition by Bishop Kallistos Ware (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995. 164 pp) Kallistos Ware is an English bishop within the Greek Orthodox Church. Born Timothy, Ware went to Westminster School in London and later to Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1966, Ware was ordained to the Greek Orthodox priesthood and received the name, “Kallistos.” Ware lectured on Orthodox Studies for 35 years at the University of Oxford, retiring in 2001. Ware’s most popular publications are The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way, both intended for lay people. Burn the Heretics Whenever my grandfather discusses Greece, he mentions his singular experience in the Greek Isles. Visiting an Orthodox Church with my grandmother, an Orthodox priest graciously administered… Read More →

Book Review: Spiritual Enterprise

Spiritual Enterprise: Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch (New York: Encounter Books, 2008. 300 pp) Theodore Roosevelt Malloch is Chairman and CEO of Global Fiduciary Governance LLC, a leading strategy and thought leadership company. Ted founded Spiritual Enterprise Institute in 2005 and serves as a research professor at Yale University. The Rabbit Trail It endlessly frustrates me when an individual soils a valid argument by injecting needless rabbit trails. For example, someone could contend that they dislike country music as a whole because they don’t favor the drums. Yes, drums exist in country music, but it doesn’t mean that quality of country music is defined by the drummer. In a similar manner, Ted Malloch ruins an interesting argument in… Read More →

Book Review: Listen, America!

Listen, America! The Conservative Blueprint for America’s Moral Rebirth by Jerry Falwell (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1980. 237 pp) Jerry Falwell was an evangelical, fundamentalist preacher. He founded Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg Virgina, Liberty University, and the Moral Majority. Falwell attended Baptist Bible College and became an outspoken voice for conservatism in the United States. Falwell died in 2007. Thank You, Sir Well-behaved children do not find trouble. If they speak kindly in a crowd, no offense is taken. If they covet nothing, no jealousy or harm of property could ever occur. To a certain extent and from the condescending tone of the title, Jerry Falwell’s Listen, America! flows from this reasoning. If a person, community, or country acts… Read More →

Book Review: Acres of Diamonds

Acres of Diamonds: All Good Things Are Possible, Right Where You Are, and Now! By Russell H. Conwell and Robert Shackleton (Lexington: Feather Trail Press, 2009; originally published in 1915. 92 pp) Born in Massachusetts, Russell Conwell attended Yale University and Albany Law School. Conwell founded Temple University and pastored The Baptist Temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An Inspiring Story  For some reason, the simplicity of the standard “success story” conjures the hopeful sentiment that such accomplishments could occur in any life. Truthfully, most successful stories begin with an idea, a notion of which all human beings are equally capable. In Acres of Diamonds, Russell Conwell utilizes positive and negative narratives in order to inspire productivity in his community. In Defense… Read More →

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 352 pp) Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision (US) and former chief executive officer of Lenox Corporation, a luxury tableware company. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. The Hole in Our Gospel won the 2010 Christian Book of the Year. The World versus the Pulpit A few years ago, my theological convictions about the world shifted. Born and raised in a conservative evangelical church, I found the things I observed in the world to differ… Read More →

Book Review: Wise Blood

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O’Connor (New York:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1962. 248 pp) Born in Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor attended Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University) graduating in 1945 with a degree in Social Sciences. A year later, she enrolled in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she studied journalism. While at the Workshop, O’Connor first drafted her seminal novel, Wise Blood. Later, she published the novel, The Violent Bear It Away, and two books of short stories: A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge. Her writing is informed, often paradoxically, by her devout Catholicism and the grotesque. She died in 1963, at the age of 39,… Read More →

Book Review: Flickering Pixels

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith By Shane Hipps (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. 208 pp) Before committing to professional vocational ministry, Shane Hipps held a position with Porsche Cars North America working on communications strategy. After a stint in the corporate world, he received a master of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Hipps pastored Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Arizona, before he became teaching pastor of Mars Hill Grand Rapids in 2010. Little Dots Comprise the Image Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a pixel as any of the small discrete elements that together constitute an image. The pixel is a building block, a portion of the larger whole. Without pixels, no image exists. Similarly, people are the building blocks of culture… Read More →

Book Review: Tortured Wonders

Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, Not Angels by Rodney Clapp (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004. 278 pp) Rodney Clapp is the executive editor of Brazos Press. Previously, he was employed as an editor at Christianity Today and InterVarsity Press. Clapp has written countless articles on the church and culture as well as seven books. I hate Spirit 105.3. If you like that radio station and I hurt your feelings, I apologize. In all honesty, I really do not want you to have hurt feelings, but I find Spirit 105.3 less wholesome and family friendly (as they advertise) and more vomit-inducing otherworldly fakery. Of course I am painting this station in broad strokes and I have no special insight regarding… Read More →