Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist by Alicia Britt Chole (Bethany House)
Alicia Britt Chole (pronounced Show-lee) shares her personal story as an atheist who eventually found faith in the God of the universe. In the process of relating this whimsical and humorous journey (much of it in Texas), Chole gives interesting insights about atheism and the philosophies that often guide those who do not believe in God, reminding the reader that, just as in other belief systems throughout the world, there are those who are disingenuous in their claim to atheism: “Some pretenders don the cloak of atheism to feed their addiction to argument.”
She also helps Christian readers empathetically appreciate that many atheists are people who, like us, are trying to understand their world and the human condition “realistically.” She recounts her personal atheism as “somewhat of a balm for my fiercely realistic soul” and not believing in God temporarily “liberates” because it actually seems to help resolve “a host of spiritually problematic issues.” But Chole was excited to discover that the God of the Bible does not avoid but welcomes questions about the tension of living in a fallen world of struggle.
Greg Bowman,minister to students
First Baptist Church
30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God by Peter Lundell (Revell)
The author brings a varied background of prayer as a former missionary and teacher. He shares throughout the book his own personal experiences of struggles in becoming a person of prayer. He adds simple suggestions on how to carve out a special place to pray in your home and suggestions of praying Scripture. He handles the touchy subject of spiritual warfare in a very biblical and sound way. The book contains six groups of five chapters, each with a prayer thought starter at the end.
Lundell writes as though he is sitting in your presence giving personal illustrations and quoting from a host of praying giants like A.W. Tozier, Brother Lawrence, Mother Teresa and George Muller, to mention a few. He adds a tool at the end of the book called “Growth Gauges” to help the reader see where they need to be focused to move deeper into praying with power.
For those who want to improve their prayer walk, this book will be a valuable resource. It is very biblical, practical, instructive and enjoyable. Anyone will enjoy and benefit from this book by Peter Lundell.
Leo Smith, executive director
Texas Baptist Men
Holy Change: A Systemic Approach to Transforming a Community by Joseph C. Parker Jr. (Trafford)
In Holy Change, Joseph Parker examines community transformation from the inside out and from the outside in. As pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Chestnut, a neighborhood well acquainted with “racism and socio-political neglect,” he ministers to people impacted by segregation and discrimination in East Austin. As a theologian, attorney and student of urban planning, he comprehends the complex systems that impact communities and the difficult, nuanced efforts required to turn neighborhoods around.
Holy Change provides a case study of the Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative and David Chapel’s engagement in it. Parker’s book is both theoretical and practical. He explains community systems, sociological developments and the “hexagon technique” for evaluating complex problems. But he also shows what all that means in the real world of an impoverished, often-ignored neighborhood.
Holy Change offers helpful insights and useful advice for ministers and community planners, as well as laity who care about the people who live in their communities’ most challenged areas.
Marv Knox, editor