Book Review: Between Heaven and Mirth

Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, SJ (New York: Harper One, 2011. 272 pp) Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America Magazine, and bestselling author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and Between Heaven and Mirth. Father Martin has written for many publications, including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he is a regular commentator in the national and international media. He has appeared on all the major radio and television networks, as well as in venues ranging from NPR’s Fresh Air, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, and PBS’s NewsHour to Comedy Central’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Young Pope: Season 1

The Young Pope

The Young Pope: Season 1 created by Paolo Sorrentino (Wildside, Haut et Court, Mediapro) Starring Jude Law, Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Scott Shepherd, Cécile De France, Ludivine Sagnier, and James Cromwell. Let’s Go to the Vatican! I have yet to traverse the globe. My wife and I want to travel; we plan to do so once the kids are out of the house. When we go, I want to see history. I look forward to walking along cobblestone streets in places where people have strolled for centuries before me. When I think about Rome, the Coliseum emerges as a destination. But I might consider the Vatican to be the highest target. The amount of history, the art, the… Read More →

Book Review: Moral Man & Immoral Society

Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr

Moral Man & Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001; originally published in 1932. 288 pp) Reinhold Niebuhr was a theologian, ethicist, and professor at Union Theological Seminary. Niebuhr attended Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, and Yale Divinity School. His views have influence countless leaders including Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, and Madeleine Albright. In 1964, Niebuhr earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 1971. Looking Back Review the 20th Century and you’ll find plenty to criticize. World wars. Genocide. Massive technological advances. For every slice of progress, it seems there’s an equal and opposite setback. Two steps forward. Two steps backward. With the benefit of hindsight,… Read More →

Book Review: The Accidental Executive

The Accidental Executive by Al Erisman

The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph by Albert M. Erisman (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2015. 202 pp) Albert M. Erisman is executive in residence and past director for the Center for Integrity in Business in the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Since 2011, he has been co-teaching classes on workplace theology and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is cofounder and executive editors of Ethix magazine, coauthor of several books in technology and mathematics, and co-chair of the Theology of Work Project. He was Director of Technology at the Boeing Company when he retired in 2001 after a career of thirty-two years. My Reading Policy As a policy,… Read More →

Book Review: Art in Action

Art in Action by Nicholas Wolterstorff

Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980. 250 pp) Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has also taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. He has received numerous fellowships and serves on the editorial boards for Faith and Philosophy, Topics in Philosophy, and is the general editor for the Supplementary Textbook Project of the Christian College Coalition. In Pursuit of Art One of my most favorite classes as an undergrad explored the philosophy of art. Why do we pursue art? What constitutes a work of art compared to just work? How… Read More →

Book Review: The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago; translated by Giovanni Pontiero (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 1991. 396 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize-winning author from Portugal. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Giovanni Pontiero was a British scholar and Portuguese translator. He studied at the University of Glasgow. He taught at Victoria University of Manchester and died… Read More →

Book Review: Strategy

Strategy by Lawrence Freedman

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 768 pp) Lawrence Freedman studied at Whitley Bay Grammar School, Victoria University of Manchester, University of York, and University of Oxford. Freedman has held positions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and currently as Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy, appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. What’s It All Mean Anyway? There’s a lot going on in the world. Be careful or you might get run over. With millions of people attempting to… Read More →

Book Review: Calling & Clarity

Calling & Clarity by Doug Koskela

Calling & Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life by Doug Koskela (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015. 136 pp) Doug Koskela is associate professor of theology and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. What Will You Do? I would argue the question of purpose represents one of the central conundrums in life. As a child, endless potential allows for dreams to span the universe. You can be that 7-foot center in the NBA, no matter your actual height, commandeering the driveway to practice your sky hook. But eventually, the dream fades to basic reality. At 5’11’’ with no hops, your professional basketball years are a mirage. No matter… Read More →

Book Review: Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson (New York: Picador, 2004. 247 pp) Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, Marilynne Robinson earned her B.A. at Pembroke College and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. She currently teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has received numerous awards, notably the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize, and a National Humanities Medal. Exploring Literary I often struggle to explain the kind of literature I enjoy. On one hand, my tastes vary. I want this variety because it’s some sort of cliché resembling the spice of life. But even more, I believe variety helps me to be a well-rounded… Read More →

Book Review: The Fabric of this World

The Fabric of this World by Lee Hardy

The Fabric of this World: Inquiries into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work by Lee Hardy (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 1990. 214 pp) Lee Hardy is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written articles in the areas of philosophy and the theology of vocation. Disengaged The latest Gallup poll on employee engagement, now a couple of years old, tells a dark story. 70% of the workforce is disengaged. Even worse, 30% of the workforce actively inhibits the productive means of industry. In other words, we hate work. The majority of people find work barely tolerable at best. But not something upon which you can build purpose and meaning. For some,… Read More →