Every now and then I post a brief review of books that I simply can’t give a lengthy series to — and they often deserve it. But, I can only do so many books on the blog and we’ve got several going right now. The following books are deserving of more space and so I apologize to the authors now.
1. I first met Michelle Van Loon at an emerging event — in Park Ridge when we had a conversation about Mary. I did not know at the time that she was an author, but she’s got two books I’d like to commend to you: ParableLife: Living the stories Jesus told in real time and Uprooted: Growing a Parable Life from the inside out. Full of wit, stories, and rock-solid insight, these two books are worth your efforts — good for conversation-starters too. If you are preaching or teaching on parables, I promise these books will help. Excellent prose is not just a bonus — it lifts these books off the desk at times.
2. Anyone who writes a clever introduction to the New Testament has my attention, and that’s just what William Loader has done in The NT with Imagination: A Fresh Approach to Its Writings and Themes. If you are a college professor or a university professor and need a book that doesn’t do the old-fashioned thing of telling you date and setting and provide an outline and that, instead, gives some clever historical settings through imagination and sorts out major issues — like parables and letters — and also works through representative passages, then this book is for you. I will reconsider my textbook for NT in my Bible survey class because of this book.
3. A recent book to come across my desk is by Fred Peatross, Missio Dei in the Crisis of Christianity. I would describe this as an informal, suggestive primer on what “missional” means in the American church. It distills the work of Frost and Hirsch and makes use of both Bosch and Newbigin, but it remains a primer — a book for the person who wants to begin today to understand “missional” but needs first of all a brief treatment.