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Showing posts from October, 2011

Book Review: The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality

Thanks to Zondervan for supplying me with a review copy and a slot in their blog tour.

Christian spirituality is an interesting topic to devote a dictionary to (and Zondervan isn't the first to do this). The church has historically pursued spirituality with intellectual vigor. Unfortunately, it seems to me that this is not the case as strongly as it was before. We have a bifurcation, spirituality as dissected in the academy and a pragmatic spirituality of the churches (at least in American low-church Evangelicalism). The goal of The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is to provide an accessible resource that draws upon the rich spiritual history of the church as well as the advances in understanding that academic study of Scripture, theology, science, and other disciplines have brought.

The dictionary is split into two main parts. The first part contains thirty-four essays from four to seven pages in length covering major topics in Christian spirituality. These are wide ranging,…

Pannenberg on Risk, Community, and Spirituality

My review copy of the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality arrived in the mail Wednesday. I was flipping through it and the entry for Wolfhart Panneberg caught my eye. I'll quote a paragraph:

He recognized that those who seek to control their lives and to protect themselves from hurt inflicted by others or by the way the world works actually close themselves off from what God is seeking to do in their lives. Here Pannenberg built on the foundations laid by Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher, and Karl Barth, a Reformed theologian. Living as we do in a dangerous world, Pannenberg discerned that safety, or at least the offer of safety, is a great temptation to compromise. However, it is only in "risking oneself outwards" toward the world, and ultimately toward God, that human beings find anything meaningful or worth living for. His writings help to frame the promise of Jesus, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it&q…