Reflections on Books and Films

Every now and then a book or film captures my attention and stimulates me to write about it. When I do this, it’s usually because I want other people to like it or find it meaningful, too.

Take and Read
The Christian Century
October 16, 2013
This is an annotated list of ten books that will enhance one’s reading of the New Testament. All the books were published roughly between October 2012 and October 2013.

Sinners: An Accessible and Uncomfortable Read
April 21, 2011
When it was the featured book for the Patheos book club, I wrote a short review of a book by Greg Carey,Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers. The book is a great analysis of how Jesus lived within, and poked at, the social conventions of his age.

The Jesus We Follow, and Preach
Working Preacher
September 5, 2009
New Testament Scholar Dale C. Allison Jr. wrote an accessible introduction to research concerning what we can know about Jesus of Nazareth (The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus). Allison’s theological reflections on this topic are refreshingly honest. I wrote this review in hopes that it would encourage pastors and congregations to reckon with the vital issues that he raises.

Heavy Reading
Working Preacher
June 2, 2008
I love how certain books from the “juvenile fiction” shelf help young people think and speak about life’s biggest issues—meaning, hope, loss, love, and so on. Here I recommend a few books that pastors and families might want to know about, so adults can have conversations about these things with the children and tweens in their lives.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Working Preacher
May 7, 2008
I don’t have any solutions for resolving the conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians, but I was deeply moved and instructed by the book The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan.

Lars and the Real Girl
Working Preacher
April 30, 2008
This is a quirky, wonderful movie about a disturbed man (Lars) who purchases an inflatable doll named Bianca to be his girlfriend. (No—trust me—it’s not what you think! This is a clean movie!) The way that his family and community care for Lars—and Bianca—offers a great image of what it looks like to love and support the vulnerable and wounded in our midst.

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