Review: Little Prayers for Ordinary Days

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Little Prayers for Ordinary Days,Katy Bowser Hutson, Flo Paris Oakes, and Tish Harrison Warren, illustrated by Liita Forsyth. Downers Grove: IVP Kids, 2022.

Summary: Twenty-eight prayers, with illustrations, written for children covering the events of the day from getting up to going to bed and all the ordinary and not-so-ordinary things that can happen in a day.

A few years ago, Tish Harrison Warren introduced us, in The Liturgy of the Ordinary to the idea of encountering God and being aware of God’s presence throughout the ordinary events of our days, from getting up, to making our beds, searching for our keys, brushing our teeth, and ending the day. In this children’s book, Warren is joined by Katy Bowser Hutson and Flo Paris Oakes and illustrator Liita Forsyth in a very different looking book that helps children (and parents) develop the same awareness that our days are filled with…

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Close to God

Reflections from the Pew

Poetry and silence are cut from the same bolt of cloth
Both (when thoughtfully sewn) are prayer

    Where else could the Psalms have come from?
    Why else would Jesus retreat to pray?

          I think when we are most alone
          Consumed by verse within silence
          We are closest to God

And poetry and silence can help us see
    And listen
          And know

We are His

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Review: The Last Mapmaker

Bob on Books

The Last Mapmaker, Christina Soontornvat. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2022.

Summary: Sai, a girl from the Fens, daughter of a conman, manages to find a place with the last mapmaker of Mangkon just as he is enlisted on a voyage of discovery with great possible rewards, risks, and Slakes!

Sai was a twelve year old growing up in the Fens, a slumlike area of Mangkon. Her father, Mud, is a no-account conman in and out of prison. She longs for better things than working in a market. Yet she has no hope of receiving lineals on her thirteenth birthday, the mark of status. One day, she happens by the shop of Paiyoon, the foremost and last mapmaker in the land, just as he is lamenting his need of an assistant. She volunteers and he accepts and she does whatever he says, coming in earlier than he does.

Sai is…

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Review: The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis

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The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis, Jason M. Baxter. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2022.

Summary: An exploration of the great medieval writers whose works helped shape the mind and the works of C. S. Lewis.

Many of us who are Inklings lovers have heard the rule C. S. Lewis proposed that “after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in-between.” This was not mere scholarly pontification on the part of Lewis. As Jason Baxter observes, when asked about recommendations, Lewis would turn to a Kempis, Hilton, Theologica Germanica, Lady Julian, Dante, Spenser, Boethius, Milton, and the poet George Herbert. Rudolf Otto was the one relatively contemporary exception. Surprisingly, he read little or nothing of what many of us consider the great modern theological writers like Barth, Brunner, Tillich, or Niebuhr. This was Lewis the medieval scholar, the…

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Review: The Glory of God and Paul

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The Glory of God and Paul(New Studies in Biblical Theology #58), Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson. Downers Grove and London: IVP Academic and Apollos, 2022. (Link to UK publisher)

Summary: A study of the theme of the glory of God in scripture, with a particular focus on the writings of Paul.

At an Urbana Missions Convention, I remember being provoked to thought by a statement of John R. W. Stott to the effect that the highest motive for the church’s mission in the world was neither obedience to the Great Commission nor concern for those who did not know Christ, but rather zeal for the glory of Christ (a remark reproduced on p. 230 of this book). It didn’t make sense at the time but it has increasingly over the years. In my university work, I walk through hallways with displays of research posters and…

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Review: My Body is Not a Prayer Request

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My Body is Not a Prayer Request, Amy Kenny. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2022.

Summary: A description of the physical, emotional, spiritual, and verbal barriers disabled people face generally, and especially in their encounter with churches and what can be done to make them welcoming and inclusive places to the disabled.

The title and opening chapter sets out one of the ways “ableism” expresses itself among Christians. We seem desperately fixated on cures and treatments to “fix” the disabled rather than beginning with accepting disabled persons as they are. Instead of taking time to learn how God has encountered the disabled person and how they may be a gift to God’s people, they are treated as a problem to be solved, a condition to be healed. And try to imagine for a moment that this is you (if it is not already you). Wouldn’t that make you more than…

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