- May 11, 2008
Believing many evangelical Christians have succumbed to the sloppy thinking of “folk religion,” Olson challenges his fellow believers to heed the guidance of the Apostle Paul, who praised the Bereans for examining his own message through the lens of Scripture.
In 10 chapters, Olson raises questions about 10 popular answers—simplistic sayings that ring true to many people. These supposed answers often resist scrutiny and cut off further thought on the subject.
For example, one chapter examines the idea that “all sins are equal.” But can this be true? Is reusing a stamp really on par with murder? Common sense tells us no, and courts of law agree. Olson’s book pushes us to reconsider such easy answers and offers compelling reasons why having a reflective faith is so crucial. The study questions at the end of each chapter will help guide the lively discussions this book is bound to create in group settings.
Kevin Collison, pastor
First Baptist Church, Eagle Lake
Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Alarming Words of Faith by Joy Jordan-Lake (Paraclete Press)
Each of the 10 chapters comments on an important biblical word such as “resurrection,” “community,” “blessedness” and “forgiveness”—concepts taught in seminary classrooms but more meaningfully understood as they have moved from antiseptic abstractions to vivid reality through the “refining fires of real life” experience and encounters with people. Whether describing what it’s like to be a transplanted southerner in Boston or directing a feeding ministry for the homeless, Jordan-Lake’s writing is sprinkled with humor and profound hope.
In the book’s foreword, Tony Campolo reminds us of the importance of story in the Old and New Testaments. God speaks and acts through stories—history. Campolo states, “In the end, all theologies are simply commentaries on the stories.” With this in mind, Jordan-Lake’s personal stories serve as earthy, modern-day reflections on strong theological words that express the grand story of God who continues to encounter us, leaving us a little unsettled, but hopeful.
Greg Bowman, minister to students
First Baptist Church, Duncanville
Connecting Women: A Relational Guide for Leaders in Womens Ministry by Linda Lesniewski (Baker Books)
Lesniewski divides her step-by-step guide into four multi-chapter sections: “Sharing God’s Vision for Women,” “Heading Forward in Faith,” “Enjoying Fruitful Leadership” and “Proclaiming His Message.” Each chapter begins with an appropriate Scripture and the description of a woman, moves through several pages of practical guidance and closes with reflection. The book also contains nearly 40 pages of helpful appendices, reference notes and an extensive bibliography.
Whether beginning a women’s ministry, building on traditional missions organizations, or breathing freshness into an already successful operation, Connecting Women provides thoughtful assistance born of experience.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, Waco