Book Briefs -- By: Jonathan Armstrong

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 13:2 (Spring 2004)
Article: Book Briefs
Author: Jonathan Armstrong

Book Briefs

John H. Armstrong

Gluttony: The Seven Deadly Sins Francine Prose New York: Oxford University Press (2003) 108 pages, cloth, $17.95

This is both a fascinating and profoundly important book. Based upon a lecture series sponsored by the New York Public Library and Oxford University Press this particular volume is rich with history, spiritual insight and just good counsel for those who struggle with food. (Who doesn’t in modern America?) Prose shows how our notions of gluttony have evolved along the lines of salvation and damnation (thus, the seven deadly sins tradition from Leo the Great to the present), health and illness, life and death. Along the way she provides a great deal of helpful insight into the working of the modern mind regarding the enjoyment and misuse of food.

Prose writes, “The broad, shiny face of the glutton has been—and continues to be—the mirror in which we see ourselves, our hopes and fears, our darkest dreams and deepest desires.” Her treatment is not one of Christian spiritual appreciation but it is one that will open the exploration of this sin to serious readers.

Mudhouse Sabbath Lauren F. Winner Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press (2003)
161 pages, cloth, $17.95

Lauren Winner is a convert from Orthodox Judaism to evangelical Christianity. She is also one of the finest young writers on the scene today. Her much acclaimed book, Girl Meets God, tells her conversion story. Here, in Mudhouse Sabbath (named such because of her favorite coffee house in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she found herself thinking about the subject of this book one Sunday afternoon), she takes up the quest to reconcile her Judaism with her present faith and practice as a thoughtful Christian.

Winner shows, in a fun and very engaging way, how her life as a Christian is shaped by the spiritual practices of her background. In her desire to retain her rich spiritual tradition she develops the story of eleven practices that can help us transform the way we live in this present world. She considers Sabbath-keeping, the life of prayer, lighting candles, and fitting food (as examples). The style is so good that almost any reader will profit from her helpful autobiographical treatment. Her honesty is compelling.

Sexuality And Holy Longin: bracing Intimacy In A Broken World Lisa Graham McMinn
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2004) 204 pages, cloth, $23.95

Our perceptions about sex are confused and broken. Christians do not always offer satisfactory responses to the

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