Reviews

A glance at recent non-fiction releases.

Appears in Spring 2010 Issue: The story
 
March 1 st 2010

The New Conspirators :
Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time

by Tom Sine
IVP Books, 2008
Review by Lt. Col. Maxwell Ryan

In his latest book, The New Conspirators, Tom Sine leads his readers through a 304-page survey and evaluation of many emergent church practitioners and dreamers. Sine’s near-encyclopedic knowledge of new global church ministries is a valuable asset to believers who are lost amidst conflicting views of how to do church. Case studies are blended with prophetic words to present a powerful apology for four streams of contemporary church life: emerging, missional, mosaic and monastic. Though one might reasonably question the assertion that the traditional church is on life support, and an index would have aided in the book’s accessibility, The New Conspirators will ensure you are a wide-awake and informed Christian.

Subverting Global Myths:
Theology and the Public Issues Shaping Our World

by Vinoth Ramachandra
IVP Academic, 2008
Review by Stephanie Hung

Are there ideas in our culture whose acceptance is so widespread that they are no longer subject to scrutiny? In Subverting Global Myths, Vinoth Ramachandra engages Scripture in a critical examination of many commonly-held viewpoints that substantially affect the way we interact with the world, both locally and globally. Through chapters on science, religious violence, multiculturalism, human rights, terrorism and post-colonialism, he highlights the selective memory of our cultures, and rebukes the insular tendencies of modern media and public education.

Deciding Well:
A Christian Perspective on Making Decisions as a Leader

by Peter Shaw
Regent College Publishing, 2009
Review by Mark Meehan

We all make hard decisions, and are often left wondering if we did the right thing. Peter Shaw will help reduce the worry. Written in an engaging and approachable style, Shaw’s book succinctly combines solid decision-making theory with thoughtful biblical insight, carefully weaving the two together with wisdom from an array of Christian thinkers.

Reason, Faith, and Revolution:
Reflections on the God Debate

by Terry Eagelton
Yale University Press, 2009
Review by Sam Martin

Terry Eagleton’s wonderfully accessible critique of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great is written with his characteristic wit and erudition. It not only provides a learned rebuttal to Dawkins and Hitchen (conflated as “Ditchkins”), but it also challenges Christians to re-read the Gospels in terms of Christ’s love for the anawim or “the scum of the earth.” This leads to a challenging discussion of the importance of “political love.” Eagleton writes very much from the Catholic Left, but his arguments will both enrich and challenge neocalvinist thought in politics, theology and international relations.

Desiring the Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation
by James K.A. Smith
Baker Academic, 2009
Review by Ray Pennings

The mall, stadium and academy are three examples that James K.A. Smith uses to explicate the cultural liturgies that engage humans as embodied lovers, often to idolatrous ends. With insight and clarity, Smith shows how Christians often fail to resist this idolatry because they misdiagnose what is at stake, accepting the perverse as if it were benign and relying on an over-cognitive confidence. He challenges especially those of us committed to “worldview education” to understand that this is not simply a process of sharing information, but ought to be more properly understood as an ongoing process of character formation—something that impacts our bodies, minds and spirits.