Local books: Riches of Grace, Drama of Scripture, Two Paths, Mizo Discovery . . .

This is my third round-up of 2024, covering 10 newly published books from the local Christian community.

Again there is a range of topics. The write-ups are primarily from Amazon and publisher / author sites.

  • Julie Lane-Gay: The Riches of Your Grace: Living in the Book of Common Prayer (IVP Formatio)

This book won’t actually be on sale until next month, but it seems that many are looking forward to it with anticipation. For example, poet Luci Shaw writes:

‘Something deep and sturdy’ is how Julie Lane-Gay characterized the power resident in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer when she was first invited to make it a part of her daily life.

As a mother of children and editor at Regent College, her times of devotional reading and prayer were limited. But in this glowing new book she details how the seminal ancient prayers and responses of the prayer book began to sink into her spirit, becoming as warm and powerful as glowing coals as they fed her burgeoning spiritual life.

As we race to work in the morning, have coffee with a friend, or fall into bed exhausted, we want to feel God’s presence, to sink into his grace. Yet too often he feels aloof, absent. Our prayers feel trivial. But as Julie Lane-Gay discovered, the Book of Common Prayer is designed for just this purpose: to root Christians in the riches of God’s grace.

Lane-Gay has written The Riches of Your Grace to share the treasures she has found in the Book of Common Prayer. It’s not a history of the prayer book nor a guide (though it will certainly help readers get their bearings). Instead, using stories from her own life, Lane-Gay shows what it means to live in the prayer book: to allow its prayers and patterns to shape an ordinary Christian life. Discover how the Book of Common Prayer can anchor us – our prayers, our daily lives, our hearts – in Christ.

Julie Lane-Gay is a freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in a range of publications including Reader’s Digest, Fine Gardening, Faith Today, Anglican Planet and The Englewood Review of Books. She teaches occasional courses at Regent College and also edits the college’s journal, CRUX.

  • Michael W. Goheen & Craig G. Bartholomew: The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Baker Academic)

Two overarching themes – covenant in the Old Testament and kingdom in the New Testament – tie the biblical story together. Throughout, the authors suggest, God is revealed through the story and calls us to participate in his drama.

The third edition of The Drama of Scripture has been updated and revised throughout. Additional resources for students and professors are available through Textbook eSources.

“I am delighted to see solid scholarship made easily accessible in this splendid fashion.” – N.T. Wright, University of St. Andrews; former bishop of Durham

Michael Goheen (PhD, University of Utrecht) is professor of missional theology and director of theological education at the Missional Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including The Drama of Scripture, Living at the CrossroadsA Light to the Nations and The Church and Its Vocation. He splits his time between Vancouver and Phoenix. Craig Bartholomew is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, England. 

  • Craig W. Douglas: Two Paths: Discover the Way that Leads to Life (Word Alive Press)

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”Proverbs 14:12

As terrifying as it is to get lost in the wilderness, it’s much worse to lose your way in life. But God has not left us alone to figure it all out. He’s given us everything we need to find our way.

Two Paths provides a biblical map to find the best trail, stay on it, and experience a fantastic journey with Jesus. Inspiring, riveting true-life stories and biblical teaching will encourage you to make choices that bring joy and success, regardless of circumstances.

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14

If you want to discover the fulfilling life God intends for you, this book can help you find the way – his way!

Craig Douglas, MTS, has been discipling young adults for over 30 years. He is passionate about helping people grow in their faith, live out the gospel and use their gifts to serve God. He has served as a Executive Director at Timberline Ranch in Maple Ridge since 2005. He also sits on the boards of Christian Camping International-Canada and British Columbia Camps Association, and enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling and spending time with his wife and family. 

  • Kyle Jackson: The Mizo Discovery of the British Raj: Empire and Religion in Northeast India, 1890 – 1920 (Cambridge University Press)

High in the eastern Himalayan foothills, people had a unique vantage point on the British Empire. The Mizo Discovery of the British Raj presents a history of Mizoram in Northeast India told from historical Indigenous perspectives of encounters with empire from the 1890s to the 1920s.

Based on a wide range of research and enriched by sources newly digitised by the author through the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, Kyle Jackson sheds new light on the complex and violent processes of how and why diverse populations of highland clans in the Indo-Burmese borderlands came to redefine themselves as Christian Mizos.

By using historical Indigenous concepts and logics to approach early 20th century imperial encounters, Jackson guides readers into a decolonial history of Northeast India, demonstrating the value of thinking not just about the histories of colonized peoples and concepts but also with them.

Kyle Jackson teaches at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey. He completed a PhD (Warwick, 2017) on the environmental and religious history of Northeast India under the supervision of Professor Emeritus David Hardiman and Professor Roberta Bivins. His thesis was a finalist for the Royal Asiatic Society’s Bayly Prize and was awarded the International Convention of Asia Scholars’ ‘Ground-breaking Subject Matter Accolade.’

  • Wil Rogan: Purity in the Gospel of John: Early Jewish Tradition, Christology and Ethics (T&T Clark)

Wil Rogan argues in Purity in the Gospel of John that, contrary to 20th century interpretation, the Fourth Gospel did not replace purity with faith in Jesus. Instead, as with other early Jewish writings, its discourse about purity functions as a way to make sense of life before God in the world.

He suggests that John’s Gospel employs biblical and early Jewish traditions of purity associated with divine revelation and Israel’s restoration to narrate how God’s people are prepared for the coming of Jesus and enabled by him to have life with God characterized by love.

After evaluating different theories of purity for the interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, Rogan explores John the Baptist as an agent of ritual purification, Jesus as the agent of moral purification, and the disciples of Jesus as ones who are (or are not) made morally pure by Jesus.

While purity is not one of the Fourth Gospel’s primary focuses, Rogan stresses that the concept figures into some of its most significant claims about Christology, the doctrine of salvation, and ethics. Through purity, the Fourth Gospel guards continuity with the past while placing surprising conditions on participation in Israel’s future.

Wil Rogan has been the Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (New Testament) at Carey Theological College since 2020. He has a PhD in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary, and has articles published in New Testament Studies, Currents in Biblical Research and Journal of Theological Interpretation.

  • Joy Rudder: Untangled: Caribbean Tales of Hope and Lament (Resource Publications)

Untangled takes the reader on a swirling tour of some of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean but also of the region’s gruesome history. The eye of love searches the landscape in the wake of colonialism and the grim traffic of bodies and souls across the Middle Passage.

Evoking everything from birdcalls to colorful festivals, missionaries’ blunders to tasty traditional feasts, Joy Rudder is intimately knowledgeable of her home, which spans the entire Caribbean. She voices heartbreaking questions that most do not venture to ask.

But her pain is transformed into poetry, her outrage into prayer. She finds that Christ has preceded her and is very present in her multi-ethnic, multi-religious native Trinidad. Christ is also present in her adopted home, politically correct and trendy Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada.

She discovers love in unusual places, delights in friendships with strangers, and kneels to worship in a frat house bathroom. She muses on the grandeur of natural places she has been privileged to see in North America and the Caribbean, yet she unearths disturbing visions.

In the end, she finds peace at the last, beyond her troubled quests, in the lived reality of hope.

Joy Rudder was born in Trinidad and has traveled throughout the Caribbean, Europe and North America. She is a writer, gardener, chaplain and chef. She is author of The Old House and the Dream: The Story of the Asa Wright Nature Center (2009); Glimpses of the Blue Caribbean: Oceans, Coasts and Seas and How They Shape Us(2000); and Our Native Land (1991). She attended Regent College and lives in Richmond with her husband, Charlie.

  • Ron Unruh: Vintage of My Years: A Collection of Satisfying Verse (independently published)

The poems in this collection are whimsical, amusing, romantic and sometimes solemn. They are honest and uncomplicated. Vintage is a suitable term for this compilation.

Whereas a wine maker uses the term ‘vintage’ to specify the year in which grapes are harvested and turned into an appealing wine, Ron Unruh uses the word ‘vintage’ to define from his long life, a variety of sensations he has experienced.

Yet many poems contain themes with which you will identify. Like a wine, life within his poems is refined, graceful, and well-balanced. Unruh is a romantic, an artist and an author.

In Vintage of My Years, Ron’s first published poetry collection, themes from 81 years of life are gathered in four sections: Life As It Is, Life As I Like It, Life As It Was and Life As It Will Be. A back story accompanies some poems to provide a context for the ideas expressed within.

Ron Unruh drives an MX5 sports car often with the soft top down. He and Christine live in Surrey. He is an artist, a storyteller and a Bible scholar. As an author, Ron imaginatively fashions fiction for children and adults. He also writes devotional commentaries to encourage the casual reader as well as to inform the studious Bible teacher. He earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees related to his altruistic service to people as their spiritual shepherd. 

  • Joel Korytko: Death of the Covenant Code: Capital Punishment in Old Greek Exodus in Light of Greco-Egyptian Law (Brill)

Many laws in the Old Greek translation of the Covenant Code do not say the same thing as the Hebrew text. In the past, various idiosyncrasies in the Greek translation of laws that involve the death penalty had been glossed over and considered stylistic variations or grammatical outliers.

However, when the text-linguistic features of the Greek translation are compared to contemporary literary, documentary, and legal Greek sources, new readings emerge: cursing a parent is no longer punishable by death; a law about bestiality becomes a law about animal husbandry; the authority of certain legal commands is deregulated.

Death of the Covenant Code explores these and other new readings in comparison with contemporary Greco-Egyptian law.

Joel Korytko is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies / Program Manager, CBTE at Northwest Seminary & College in Langley. He earned his PhD in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Septuagint) at the University of Oxford (2022), following an MTS at ACTS Theological Seminaries in Langley and a BA at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford.

His great passions in life include studying and researching biblical texts within their ancient contexts, spending time with his family, growing vegetables in his backyard / greenhouse and playing tabletop board games with his wife.

  • Robert J.V. Hiebert, Jonathan Numada, Dongshin Don Chang and Kyung S. Baek, editors: Themes and Texts, Exodus and Beyond (T&T Clark)

This volume of essays is focused on the significance of the book of Exodus for studies in the Septuagint, Second Temple Jewish literature, the New Testament, and Christian theology.

A diverse group of scholars from various parts of the world, many of whom are well-known in their fields, employs a range of methodologies in the treatment of text-critical, linguistic, literary, historical, cultural, exegetical, intertextual, and theological topics.

Parts of the relevant literary corpus that are dealt with in relation to the book of Exodus include Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Zechariah, 3 Maccabees, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, the Epistles of 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews and 1 Peter, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The distinguished contributors include Emanuel Tov, Albert Pietersma, Daniela Scialabba, Craig A. Evans, James M. Scott, Martin G. Abegg Jr. and Wolfgang Kraus.

Robert Hiebert is a retired Professor of Old Testament at Trinity Western University. Jonathan Numada is Academic Dean at Northwest Seminary / College. Don (Dongshin) Chan is Associate Professor, Biblical Studies at Northwest Seminary / College. Kyung Baek is Instructor of Religious Studies, Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University.

  • Gerry Turcotte: The Sum of All Things: Collected Essays – Old and New

President of St. Mark’s College Dr. Gerry Turcotte has collected a volume of his award-winning columns written for The Catholic Register, which also appear in The B.C. Catholic.

In the author’s words, the essays concern anything and “everything under the sun.” They offer a sprawling array of topics, including positive thinking, guardian angels, and paralyzed chickens.

Ultimately the essays “are a call for all of us to recognize the magical in the ordinary, the light in the darkness, and the Divine in the mundane.”

“If any of these essays strike a chord, then I am humbled and delighted. Enjoy the small things, the big things, and all things great and small. The strength of a healthy humanism, and a dynamic faith life is found, after all, in the sum of all things.”

Go here for links to earlier articles on local books.
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