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Educating People of Faith: Exploring the History of Jewish and Christian Communities
Educating People of Faith: Exploring the History of Jewish and Christian Communities
by John Van Engen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.95
50 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good history if you have the time, March 20, 2005
Educating People of Faith is a fairly long and dry read about religious practices that spans from Ancient Judaism to the Christian reformation in the 16th-17th centuries. There is a vast amount of material here, which can be useful if you have ample time to wade through the chapters. The object of the essays is to provide a better historical understanding of religious practices, by trying to grasp the complex nature of religious life throughout the history of the church. Van Engen wants to seek a middle ground position by attempting to be true to both historic and personal experience. The best this book has to offer is insight and stories which help us enter into different timelines of history through more personal encounters with the formative communities. While there is certainly much else to be learned from these essays, I would recommend the book for academically oriented people only. However, one key insight that may make the book worth your time is Van Engen's assertion that those who attend to past beliefs and practices appear to flourish, while those who ignore the past often have more trouble in the present.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.25
774 used & new from $0.01

78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Raw, Real and Religious?, March 20, 2005
As a word of warning, this book is full of crass and offensive language and situations. You will not find someone pretending that everything is okay, but freely admitting the painful details of her life. Lamott has suffered through many trials in her past including early and frequent promiscuity and abortion, heavy drug use, financial problems, alcoholism, bulimia, and suicidal thoughts. Yet, because of this `hold nothing back' mentality, the book is very real, funny and sometimes insightful. We see a woman grasping for faith and hope in the midst of a crazy life full of heartache.

This book may help those who feel they are unacceptable to the church because of things they have done. Lamott reminds us that God's grace is for all people in all circumstances. It pushes us past the misunderstandings of Christians as people who have everything together. Here, we find a very non-typical `Christian' woman, who may help reach others with the Good News that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. I would recommend this book to friends and others who have been turned off by traditional Christianity, hoping that it may provide a door for them to reconsider what this Jesus stuff is all about.

Finally, the book serves as call for all of us in the church to live out the Gospel message through lives of love and service. Lammott says, "when I was at the end of my rope, the people at St. Andrew tied a knot in it for me and helped me hold on. The church had become my home" (100). I pray that her experience may describe all of our churches as we reach out and welcome in all types of people, so that they may know their true home in the unconditional love of Christ.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2013 9:14 AM PDT

Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church
Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church
by Maria Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.12
74 used & new from $1.96

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life-long, Bible-based learning, March 20, 2005
I found Fashion Me a People to be insightful, biblical and practical. Throughout the book, Harris lays out clear arguments, gives in-depth explanations and provides space for reflection and application. The basic premise of her book is that curriculum is "the entire course of the church's life, found in the fundamental forms of that life"(63). She explodes the tradition understanding of education, moving from the individual instruction of children, to the communal empowering and engaging of all people. Maria Harris gives us a much needed alternative to our limited, stale definitions of curriculum in the Church by taking us back to the key practices which have been central to the lives of Christians ever since the beginning of the church in the book of Acts. They are: kerygma (proclamation), didache (instruction/teaching), leiturgia (worship/prayer), koinoia (community), and diakonia (service). Harris argues that these practices or forms are the primary curriculum of the church, and that as we educate others to shape these forms, we are both shaping and being shaped by the curriculum. Here, we do not find learning for learning's sake, but see curriculum defined as a life-long practice which engages and fashions all of God's people. I recommend this book to all people who want to gain an understanding into the full depth of authentic Christian education.

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