The Lost Q&A Text–Dictionary of Christian Spirituality

Posted July 24th, 2011 in Books by Emily Varner

I’m sending review copies of Zondervan’s Dictionary of Christian Spirituality out presently. This is another one of those titles I’m delighted to be associated with. The general editor, Glen G. Scorgie, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me , which I edited and used for a media piece. The text of this piece is posted on Glen’s personal blog here. Below I’m posting the one question and response that didn’t make the final cut. I still think it’s worth sharing:

Some in the evangelical community might suggest that a reference work of this sort should be of one opinion on doctrine and Christian practice, but in the introduction you say the contributors encompass “the full spectrum of Protestants, including Calvinists and Wesleyans, Episcopalians and Anglicans, Pentecostals and Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and Dispensationalists; also some Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox; and even a few who are not going to church at all right now.” Why do you see this as making a stronger resource? What “core” beliefs are represented in the volume?

This book is not a polemical rejoinder in some intramural debate. We have no axe to grind. Instead, we have tried to produce a volume that represents a generous evangelical identity and voice. It has been gratifying to have already received appreciative emails from people who have sometimes been de-legitimized through exclusion from academic reference works of this nature. In times of great global challenge and opportunity, as we find ourselves as Christians today, much more is to be gained by solidarity and mutual respect than by partisanship. We are certainly not relativists, for not all views are equally meritorious, but our embrace should be as large as that of the Spirit of God.

What unites us, amid all the diversity of our backgrounds, is agreement on what Christian spirituality is all about— Continue Reading »

Off the Clock

Posted July 6th, 2011 in Random by Emily Varner

I don’t take on a PR project I don’t believe in, but every once in a while I can’t help sharing information about a book no one is paying me to publicize. This happened again over the weekend and today when I found myself recommending a book I learned about through working on Baylor University Press’s academic catalog (which I believe just went to press this week): Rhetorical Darwinism by Thomas Lessl. The language of religion and the language of science are profoundly involved subjects to tackle, but well worth the analysis Lessl provides in his book (at least the portions of it that I read). If you’re like me and noted the eschatological nuance in the writings and beliefs of historical figures like William Wilberforce and Christabel Pankhurst with curiosity, his analysis helps make sense of how that aspect of their message has diminished among Christian circles but increased within the scientific and pseudo-scientific community.