Looking Into the Abyss, and Finding a Way Toward Hope

Review of My Bright Abyss by Christian WimanMy Bright Abyss, the spiritual memoir of Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, has received the highest praise from literary critics and many of Wiman’s fellow poets. Written after Wiman was diagnosed with incurable cancer, My Bright Abyss is, indeed, a new classic, but what is its spiritual perspective? How does it adhere to, or depart from, orthodox Christian belief?First, if you’re looking for traditional language about God and theological … [Read more...]

Gates Unhinged

Review of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. GatesAccording to the rules of an old Washington parlor game, there is only one thing to do upon the release of a memoir by a former high-profile official: search the text for the most salacious, damning, or quotable put-downs of other officials and shout them over Twitter at your political opponents. Thus, if you have heard anything about former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, you k … [Read more...]

My Beef With a Delicious Read

A Review of Recipe for Joy, by Robin DavisBy Jennilee MillerI like personal interest stories and I love to cook.  And eat.  So it wasn’t a tough sell for me to pick up “Recipe for Joy” when my husband encouraged me to check it out. “It’s a memoir about a woman’s journey of faith and it has recipes in it” he told me.I took the book with me to the salon for entertainment during my spring primping.  Coffee in hand, book in lap, expert stylist in position, I dove into the pages of Robin D … [Read more...]

Slain in the Spirit: An Author’s Journey and a Pentecostal Promise

A reflection on Mark Richard’s House of Prayer No. 2By CHRISTIAN HAMAKERHere at Schaeffer’s Ghost, we’re all about “watching books, reading films.” Mark Richard’s House of Prayer No. 2 walks the line: It’s a book about a writer who’s authored a screenplay (2008’s war drama, Stop-Loss, which I reviewed here). But it’s much more than that.House of Prayer No. 2 is not a book about movies, nor does it focus on screenwriting, although Richard’s screenplay plays a key role late in the memoi … [Read more...]

Untangling God and Caesar

Review of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics and Learned to Start Living the Gospel by Alisa Harris.By COYLE NEALI am always pleasantly surprised to be reminded that there is such a thing as the “evangelical left.” Not that I’m much of a lefty myself (as anyone who’s read more than two words of anything I’ve ever written knows), but I’m always nervous when something that is not the Gospel is overly connected with Christianity in the mind of the popular culture. Whether i … [Read more...]

Angels Among Us?

Review of Ghost Brother Angel by Grant SchnarrBy COYLE NEALGhost Brother Angel by Grant Schnarr is utterly without redeeming spiritual value. (And no, that’s not a phrase I throw around very often. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve only used it once.) To be fair, never in the book does he claim to be a Christian, though he does so on his blog. Nor does he ever crack a Bible or speak with a Christian about what is going on in his life, which may explain why there are so many the … [Read more...]

The Banality of Angst

Review of Faith and Other Flat Tires by Andrea Palpant DilleyBy COYLE NEALAnother entry into the ever-growing “memoir” category, Andrea Palpant Dilley’s Faith and Other Flat Tires chronicles her journey from being a missionary kid to being a sort-of agnostic back to being some kind of theist. Using Pilgrim’s Progress as a (very) loose outline for her own journey, Dilley walks through the various stages of her own spiritual and intellectual travels and existential crises. And that is probabl … [Read more...]