Review of The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans by Almeda M. Wright

God has taken suffering out of the world through the resurrection of Jesus. Because God loves humanity, God gives all people the opportunity to embrace the victory of the resurrection. The resurrection moves the oppressed past suffering to pain and struggle and from pain and struggle to new life and wholeness.

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Review of The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

The Next Right Thing includes wisdom of spiritual direction along with great insight of discerning one’s call or even a big decision your facing through Freeman’s gracious and practical insights, yet lacks much direct Biblical exegesis and leans more heavily on tradition. Freeman has crafted a beautiful read with memorable quotes and insights on the journey of soul searching and decision making including engaging practices and insightful prayers.

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Review of Learning to Speak God from Scratch by Jonathan Merritt

Learning to Speak God from Scratch offers a dialogue on linguistics, highlighting how uniqueness in our language shapes our very perception of concepts of faith and even our concept of God.  Merritt offers his own experience of somewhat deconstructing his understanding of God through a battle with his health.  He exhorts believers to remove their notion of God as one who meets our expectations and to rethink how we see God, ourselves, and the Church in light of what the language of Scripture actually says for itself.

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Review of Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri

A lover of all things girl power, this subtitle pulled me in.  I found Palmieri’s letter to the girls who will lead our future, especially in the political realm to be practical, insightful, and interesting.  Author served on the staffs both of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  She was the individual to share with Hilary that her “secret e-mails” were coming under scrutiny.

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Review of Growing Healthy Churches by Daniel R. Sánchez and Ebbie C. Smith

Statistics and examples of church growth described in Growing Healthy Churches are not solely centered on American church traditions, but offer a global perspective.  For example when describing challenges to church growth, Sánchez and Smith quote McGavren’s findings in Uruguay of the cultural tension between Roman Catholicism and Christianity.  In prescribing methods of church growth, the authors further benefit readers by providing and understanding of cultural competence.  The authors explain the great value in church health and growth of cultural awareness in practice, environment, and expectations.  The authors greatly describe practices that may take different forms in different cultures with great awareness and expertise.  They explain some missionaries might feel drawn to encourage individuals to stop swearing and dancing, or encourage the females to wear shirts but may need to come to understand the culture in order to avoid appropriation or offending for the sake of longevity. 

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Review of Nine Marks of a Health Church by Mark Dever

Dever sets out his metrics of healthy churches by naming elements integral to the Christian faith which should be present in a Christian church such as Expositional Preaching, Biblical Theology, and the Gospel.  Dever exhorts pastors to teach from Scripture rather than seeking Scripture that affirms the message they want to preach.  He posits that Scripture should serve a the authority in the church both in the life of believers and the pastor. 

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Review of Afraid of All the Things by Scarlet Hiltibidal

I read Afraid of All the Things in two short plane rides. Scarlet is an engaging author who invites you in through her honest, funny stories, and keeps you to bless you with some truth of how the gospel meets us in our deepest and craziest fears. As I sat on a small plane very close to the passenger next to me (who really smelled like beef jerky at 9am) I had to keep from laughing out loud at many of the stories she told.

Anxiety, though, is not the focal point of Afraid of All the Things, rather God is and His perfect love that casts out all fear. Scarlet honest in on the Truth of who God is and how he meets us in all of our fear and wondering with patience and faithfulness that is so radical and intimate.

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Review of It's Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst

I was overjoyed to start this read. I came to know Lysa through the Chick-fil-A world and soon came to know her story was not one she would have ever written as she learned of her husband’s unfaithfulness. I followed their story through social media and was eager to read Lysa’s It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way because there just seems to be this banner those of us who have walked through unexpected trauma carry- a refining, earth shattering banner that causes you to explode grit, authenticity, and depth like never before.

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Emily Katherine Dalton
Hope.

I remember when hope felt a lot like fairy tales, like a girl sitting by a beautiful lake peeling flower petals counting, “He loves me.  He loves me not.”  Hope felt like dreams that were sure to come true and plans that were sure to prosper.  But I’ve learned to see hope much less like flower petals and much more like really hard work.

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18 Books I read in 2018

This year I felt compelled to add some diversity to my reading list.  In the spaces I fill, I often find myself advocating for diversity, yet my 2017 reading list looked a little too unified.  So this year, I mixed it up.  I read some fiction on the beach, read an autobiography over Christmas, and read many a Christian living along the way.  I wanted to read books by both men and women of various races and ethnicities.  And I have many to recommend for your 19 books of 2019.

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Review of "Becoming" by Michelle Obama

I have always loved all things first lady.  When given the decision of which museum to visit in Washington D.C. I always have a hard time choosing any other than the Museum of American History to admire the dresses and pearls of each first lady.  I love the way their clothing embodies that era, both the economy in its elegance and the role that women played in the culture of our nation.  I grew up admiring Laura and Barbara’s poise, Jackie’s fashion, and Michelle’s courage.

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An open letter from a woman sitting in your service

I sit in your services every Sunday. I listen to your sermons and read your books. I am a woman in your seminary classes, pursuing equal education and reading the same textbooks. I attend the same conferences, taking notes under the same speakers. And on Sunday mornings I almost always wait in line to use the restroom, while at ministry conferences I have almost never waited in line for a women’s restroom.

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Review of "Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human" by John Mark Comer

Garden City narrows in on the line we often draw between the "sacred" and the "secular."  Placing one on a pedestal, demoting the other to menial.  Yet, John Mark Comer juxtaposes this predisposition with the life of Jesus who entered intimately into the secular and mundane in the fullness of the sacredness and glory of God.

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