The Reformation for Dummies

Review of Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary Edited by Matthew BarrettIn a year that has seen (and no doubt will continue to see) many, many books on the Reformation released to the public, Reformation Theology is certainly going to be one of the most thorough. It is a systematic theology that walks through the thought of key Reformers on topics ranging from predestination to baptism to the Trinity. (And of course, while it is for laymen, it's not really for dummies.) Here are a … [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...]

‘Death at the Movies’ is a lively read

Review of Death at the Movies by Lyn and Tom Davis GenelliA confession: I know little about Buddhism. Other than Death at the Movies, the only other Buddhist texts I've read are the Dhammapada (reviewed here) and a number of decidedly non-religious books by Buddhist scholar Irving Babbitt. So if I miss anything, get something wrong, or fail to do proper justice to a tenet of Buddhism, kindly drop me a note in the comments section—I'm happy to be corrected.With that caveat out of the way, … [Read more...]

The Boys in the Boat

Review of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James BrownBy JONATHAN KEIMThe 1936 Berlin Olympics foreshadowed the coming European war. Because no shots had been fired, however, the soon-to-be antagonists looked for symbols and propaganda victories. The Nazis, for instance, co-opted the Olympic heritage to reinforce the notion that the world had come to pay homage to the greatness of the Third Reich, and made every … [Read more...]

Eyes of the Heart in Photography

Review of Eyes of the Heart by Christine Valters PaintnerBy JENNY BOSAKEyes of the Heart, by Christine Valters Paintner, is about using photography to see images with the heart, rather than just “seeing” them in a technical sense.  As a professional photographer, I was very interested in reading how I could both better my creative view of my work and also draw closer through photography to my Great Creator who lovingly put all things on this earth for us to enjoy.I had a shoot the ver … [Read more...]

An Absentee Father’s Legacy to His Movie Critic Son

Review of Try to Tell the Story by David ThomsonBy CHRISTIAN HAMAKERThe worldview of most well-known movie critics is anything but Christian. While that doesn’t invalidate their opinions about how art works, it raises the question about the presuppositions those critics bring to their analysis of films and filmmakers. David Thomson has written about motion pictures for the New Republic and other publications, but he may be best known for his books about movies, most notably A B … [Read more...]

Introverts, Extroverts, and the Gospel: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Shut My Cake Hole

Review of Quiet by Susan CainBy COYLE NEALDo you prefer your own company to that of others? Do you prefer a quiet evening at home to a drunken kegger? Do you wish that in addition to blocking sight the walls of your office blocked sound and other evidences of human existence? If so, you are an introvert, and probably also a sociopath on the way to becoming a full-fledged serial killer. Or at least, that’s what the culture would have us believe with its “extrovert ideal.”On the contr … [Read more...]

Reforming Hollywood: The Ups and Downs of Protestant Film Engagement

Review of Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies by William D. RomanowskiBy CHRISTIAN HAMAKERAs religious film criticism has carved out a niche in the broader world of the arts the past two decades, so has the literature on Christian film criticism and involvement. One of the better writers on the subject of Christian engagement with film is William D. Romanowski, whose books Eyes Wide Open (Brazos Press) and Pop Culture Wars (Intervarsity Press) … [Read more...]

Finding Your Soul-Mate

Review of The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, but Why?, by Gary ThomasBy ALEXIS NEALI’ve read a lot of marriage books. Not all of them, mind you, or even most of them. But as someone who tends to believe that there is no obstacle you can’t study your way over and no problem you can’t think your way out of, I have devoured marriage books like a chubby kid eats cookies the day before fat camp. The results of this literary quest have been middlin’ at best. There have bee … [Read more...]

When Religion Goes Bad, Turn to Paul

Review of Bad Religion by Ross DouthatBy CHRISTIAN HAMAKERYes, that’s the Apostle Paul referred to in the title. I can already hear the objections. “No! When religion goes ‘bad,’ turn to Jesus!” “Turn to God!” or even “Turn to the Bible!”There’s nothing wrong with any of those approaches, except that none of them addresses the problems laid out in Ross Douthat’s recent book, Bad Religion: the paradigm shift that has sent the Christian church into a “bad” period. Douthat builds the … [Read more...]