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Inventing the Kingdom

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

WHEN The Kingdom landed on my desk with a thud, I could tell that it would pose a challenge—that it would be a book I had to contend with. In addition to being a substantial tome, it comes with the cultural imprimatur conveyed by its publisher, the venerable Farrar, Straus and Giroux, whose backlist includes…

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Atheist Bodies

By Camellia Freeman Book Review

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press, 2015) A Body, Undone: Living on after Great Pain by Christina Crosby (New York University Press, 2016)   SON,” HE BEGINS. “LAST SUNDAY the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to…

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Mystery at Work: Three Novels in Review

By Jenny Shank Book Review

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel (Spiegel & Grau, 2016) Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) Wilberforce by H.S. Cross (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2015)   STRONG NOVELS IMMERSE READERS in distinct worlds, with their own rules, cultures, and belief systems. The best novels refuse to supply pat answers or…

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Through the Ear

By Lauren F. Winner Book Review

The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible by Aviya Kushner (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) The Art of Listening in the Early Church by Carol Harrison (Oxford, 2013)   God’s “I” remains the root word that sounds like a pedal note through all of revelation; it resists all attempts…

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Being Shown the Way

By Sarah Ruden Book Review

Bible Road: Signs of Faith in the American Landscape by Sam Fentress (David and Charles, 2007) I GREW UP outside Portage, Ohio, on an acre with corn fields on three sides and the county highway on the fourth. On our disused barn was a painted advertisement: CHEW MAIL POUCH TOBACCO TREAT YOURSELF TO THE BEST. The enduring letters…

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Racism Lives Here. Does God?

By Lisa Ampleman Book Review

The New Testament by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon, 2014) Lighting the Shadow by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (Four Way, 2015) Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis (University of Pittsburgh, 2015) THE YOUTUBE VIDEO starts abruptly. Two Saint Louis symphony-goers stand at their seats, singing “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all” to the tune of…

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The River Rises

By Brian Volck Book Review

Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces Robert Clark Doubleday, 2008. AT THE END of Robert Clark’s nonfiction account of the 1966 Arno flood, an American expatriate artist offers what he calls “a puzzle, a labyrinth”: “The river’s flooding. And there’s a baby and a Leonardo painting floating down it. Which do I…

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Young-Adult Fiction Comes of Age

By Hannah Faith Notess Book Review

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2008) Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes (Hyperion, 2005) Trouble by Gary Schmidt (Clarion Books, 2008) Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr (Little, Brown, 2009) AS A TEENAGER, I was given several novels in a series of inspirational young-adult (YA) books. On their pastel covers, modestly sweatshirted girls with big hair and…

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Hiatus of Unbelief

By Christopher Benson Book Review

Believing Again: Doubt and Faith in a Secular Age by Roger Lundin   THOUGH BURIED in an avalanche, Brand continues to be buried by epitaphs. He is the pale, intense, somber priest of Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem about possessing “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). Few characters from nineteenth-century literature…

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