Thursday, July 31, 2014

Loved Walked Among Us


Love Walked Among Us is a re-release that was originally published in 2001. Miller has become quite popular lately thanks to his recent books A Praying Life and A Loving Life. This is your chance to become familiar with another work of his that hasn’t gotten as much press because it came out before he became a bestseller.

 

Based on content alone, this book offers insightful reflection on the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ love. Miller is engaging and very personal, discussing how Jesus’ example affected his relationships at home with his wife and children, particularly his daughter with special needs. He then challenges his readers to be likewise affected by the example of Jesus in their interpersonal relationships. The book has an ecumenical feel, as Catholic figures (like Mother Theresa) are praised for loving like Jesus without any discussion of the theological differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

 

If you’re considering getting the book, do yourself a favor and avoid the audio book. The narration of this book is performed by the author, and I suspect this is his first time doing so. He reads quickly, not pausing at appropriate moments for dramatic effect like someone does when speaking naturally. He sometimes pauses mid-sentence, likely trying to find his place, and then zips from one sentence into the next with no break at the period. He stumbles over words, mispronounces then repeats words, and I am certain that he skipped a line a few times based on how it sounded. At one point his voice cracked because of a particularly emotion story. Although he has a pleasant voice, there’s a reason why some people earn a living as professional narrators. It’s not a Pinterest project that just anyone can do. Narration alone, this is probably the worst quality audio book I’ve listened to in a long time.

 

I received this audio book from christianaudio for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reading Theologically

Reading Theologically serves as an introduction to seminary reading for new students and seminary prospects. The goal of the book is to encourage seminarians to read in various ways in order to most benefit from all the reading that necessarily goes along with seminary. By using different authors for each chapter, readers of this book get a fresh perspective on reading within an institution of higher learning.

Although the book includes authors from a variety of seminaries, they are all at least moderately liberal, and some even more so. By liberal I mean that tacitly endorsing women as church elders, validating homosexual lifestyles, and affirming multiple interpretations of any given Bible passage as equally valid. Only one contributor, a female professor from Wheaton College who is a candidate for the priesthood within the Episcopal Church, wrote about reading and interpreting the Bible in a way that understood the Bible as having meaning rather than us assigning meaning to what we read in it. The general feeling I took away from the book is that we should read widely and be open to everything we read.

Admittedly, I enjoyed much of what I read, and the tips on reading and evaluating what we read are valuable for new students, especially if they are going to be analyzing what they believe for the first time. Someone planning on attending a more liberal or ecumenical school would likely benefit more from this book than someone going to a school affiliated with a particular denomination. However, the book could have benefitted from a few more conservative voices and a chapter on exercising discernment and on a healthy diet of orthodoxy. There’s a place for reading literature from a vast array of theological positions, but we also need a healthy diet of reading that will encourage us in our faith, not merely challenge us.

I received this book from Fortress Press for the purpose of review.