Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill (Zondervan)
If you're keeping a list of courageous Christians, add Wesley Hill's name. In Washed and Waiting, Hill presents a candid, insightful account of celibate homosexual Christians' agonizing dilemma: Remain pure and gut-wrenchingly lonely, or accept a partner and spurn the gospel as they have received it.
Hill stands exposed in a cultural battlefield. He has prayed and tried to change his orientation but cannot, he reports. That's enough to provoke the ire, or at least judgment, from the right. But "the option of same-sex, erotically expressive partnerships" is not faithful to Scripture, he also insists. And that draws criticism from the left.
Hill shares his spiritual and emotional struggle, explores the church's responsibility and examines God's love. This is a painful, personal book. And all Christians—particularly those for whom homosexuals are objects, not people—should read it. Understanding and empathy are available for believers who will consider the challenge faced by celibate gay Christians.
Marv Knox, editor
Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick (Tyndale House)
On Nov. 5, 2006, the life of vivacious, athletic, intelligent high school sophomore Jennifer Barrick changed forever. In Miracle for Jen, her mother, Linda, chronicles the difficult journey.
On their way home from Sunday evening services, Linda and Andy Barrick and their children, Jen and Josh, crossed paths with a speeding drunk. Eleven-year-old Josh woke to find his bleeding family unconscious. Trapped and critically hurt, the parents came to moments later. First responders found Jennifer near death with massive brain trauma and multiple injuries. If she lived, she never would be the same.
Jen eventually regained consciousness, forever changed—always fragile, sometimes confused, often in pain. But she developed exceptional perception and an extraordinary relationship with God. The teen might not be normal, but she could be a miraculous blessing.
Ultimately, Linda Barrick concludes that "blessed doesn't mean easy." Jen writes in her journal, "Trials give us new perspectives on life that increase our faith." The heart-wrenching, heart-rending, heart-warming memoir is not the story of a car accident but of God's grace and perfect will. Read Miracle for Jen, but only with tissues nearby.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas
Insights on Revelation by Charles R. Swindoll (Zondervan)
Insights on Revelation is part of Charles Swindoll's New Testament Insights book series. Swindoll combines his gifts as a masterful storyteller and deep theologian to make this a fresh and enjoyable book you will be glad to add to your library.
Swindoll sets the stage for each movement of the Revelation using the inspired story line. The text itself is from the New American Standard Bible. Swindoll takes the letters of the seven churches, adding photographs and descriptions from his own tours. He writes asides called "My Journal" to illustrate the drama from the Revelation, and he draws applications from the text to make the teaching of Revelation relevant to the reader today. Maps, photos, illustrations and graphs fill the pages, providing a visual look at the message of Revelation.
Swindoll pulls out specific subjects like "five marks of a dead church" and expounds on them, applying their truth. The author carefully takes key terms such as "hot," "cold" and "lukewarm" from the text and expounds on them, helping the reader to understand clearly. He writes about the many images like "the Beast," giving the literal identification of each and then adding an explanation and his interpretation.
Swindoll provides present-day views of the sites mentioned in Revelation and contrasts them with ancient views.
I found this book to be enjoyable reading with new insights and great illustrations, and I consider it doctrinally sound.
Leo Smith, retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men