Books too good to keep for myself

Sometimes books are so good and so important that I can’t see not sharing my copy with a friend. This is what happened this year with two books I received in on review.


Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith In A Culture Of Displacement

By Steven Bouma-Prediger, Brian J. Walsh

Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008

ISBN 0802846920, 9780802846921

361 pages


The first book, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian J. Walsh is a close look at our sense of home and place in North America and the ramifications for the way interact with the environment and those people who society calls dis-placed, or homeless. The authors illustrate that that homeless have much to teach us about what a sense of home should be. Through personal involvement in homeless shelters and relationships developed over time they try to bridge the virtual gap between those who seem to have everything, living in condos and gated communities, and those living on park benches or in the woods. They show us how the disparities we perceive and that we allow to separate us, seen rightly, can point us back to a deeper soul sickness that we’re inclined to cover up with everything in reach. Our culture is displacing us all, moving us further and further from any sense of home, place, or rest.

Beyond Homelessness is packed with cross-disciplinary tools: socio-economic, theological, ecological, and hermeneutical. It offers a wealth of material for those who will take the time to work through it slowly, and preferably, with a group of people excited to act it out. I passed my book onto others who work regularly with homeless people and formerly homeless people who are learning about renewable energy. They’re doing the work already, but this book helps connect the dots creatively in new ways.


Being Consumed: Economics And Christian Desire

By William T. Cavanaugh

Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008

ISBN 0802845614, 9780802845610

103 pages


The second book I shared was Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire by Bill Cavanaugh. This book has already seen a lot of attention in the theoblogging world. In my own writing I’ve picked up the topic of consumerism as it concerns Evangelicalism, so I wasn’t surprised by some of Cavanaugh’s other author source material like Naomi Klein, Vince Miller, and Tom Beaudoin. What Cavanaugh brings to the discussion that is unique and refreshing is the way he weaves the theological with the practical. He moves beyond the problem with what we’ve become to how we can think and act differently, citing specific local examples such as Church supported agriculture. There’s something about talking about faith and economics that immediately sounds elitist. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Cavanaugh gives us just enough education to demonstrate the impact on our faith, and then he shows how our faith is meant to consume us, changing our desires in keeping with our transformation into the image of Christ. There is no better time to read and share this book in your church. (If you’re protestant like me, don’t be alarmed by Cavanaugh’s appropriation of the Eucharist. God’s work can be applied in all of the ways we celebrate Christ together.)

Being Consumed is applied Christianity, in a social area where we’re too often tempted to ignore God, the market. Maybe this hour of financial crisis is the best time to share the good news that there is another way. We need not be slaves to money. Jesus’ resurrection is for godless places like Wall Street as well.


1 Comment

Filed under books

One response to “Books too good to keep for myself

  1. I really enjoyed Being Consumed (and thanks for the link). I think I’m going to have to take a look at Beyond Homelessness. I interned with a rescue mission and unfortunately discovered that the issues and “fixes” surrounding homelessness are even more difficult than I anticipated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s