The True Story of Canadian Human Trafficking (Paul Boge). The Story of all Stories: Genesis 1-11 (Darrell Johnson). Modern Tech & the Human Future (Craig Gay). Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover). Art by Melissa Townsend
The True Story of Canadian Human Trafficking
By Paul Boge
Castle Quay Books, 2018. 336 pages. $29.95 (e-book $9.99)
THIS BOOK is as gripping as a fast-paced movie. Action flashes, chapter by chapter, between three stories which develop independently, then converge in cliff-hanging drama.
Abby is a 16-year-old in the throes of first love with Jake, whose deep pockets and red Mustang take them for a weekend out of the province within a short time of their online meeting. Dave is a happily married businessman whose discovery of a seductive website showing girls available for immediate use begins a path of addiction to sex. Joy Smith, MP, politicks with toughness, resilience and great persistence to introduce private member’s Bill C-268, which would amend the Criminal Code to include a minimum sentence of five years for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of 18.
The True Story of Canadian Human Trafficking opens a window to a world where girls, perhaps your neighbour, niece or even your daughter, who may be socially insecure, who may feel unaccepted by friends and family, are groomed by charming men with plenty of cash. The girls are made to feel attractive. They fall in love, then are isolated and introduced to alcohol and drugs. Once they accept the role of paid sex provider, they are kept obedient through fear, deprivation and brutality.
The most striking thing about this book is that everything written in it has happened – to Canadians in Canada! It really is the true story of Canadian human trafficking.
The Story of All Stories: Genesis 1-11
By Darrell Johnson
Regent College Publishing, 2019. $24
DARRELL JOHNSON has preached widely in B.C., California and the Philippines, and has taught preaching and pastoral theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey College and Regent College. He sees Genesis 1–11 as introducing the whole panoramic message of the Bible.
In ten helpful chapters he considers The Creator Creates Creation; The Glory of Being Human; Fourfold Relational Harmony (relationship with the earth, others, self and God); Only One Command ("from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat," Genesis 2:17); Messing With Our Minds (temptation in which he looks at a three-step process that involved isolation, questioning and twisting); Grace Outside the Avalanche; Grace Outside the Garden; Keeping His Word; Starting Over; and God and the City.
His section on the Lessons of the Genealogies in Chapter 8 is particularly insightful where he highlights four key words – begat, died, rest and took. His treatment of Noah and his family (Chapter 9) is illumined by comparing the biblical account with the Epic of Gilgamesh and by his theological reflections in the section A Covenanting God.
In sum Johnson views Genesis 1–11 as The Story That Makes Sense of Our Stories, and prepares for the rest of the Bible. "The cycle did not break. Grace, rebellion, judgment, new grace, Jesus of Nazareth. ‘The Lord came down.’ He is the grace for the city" (see Revelation 22:1–4).
Here is a fresh attempt to offer an exposition of these foundational chapters against the background of the message of the whole Bible. A sincere effort is made to relate Genesis 1–11 to the burning issues that face our contemporary world in the abiding conviction that "The Lord has more light and truth to break forth from his Word." –ALLISON TRITES
Modern Technology and the Human Future: A Christian Appraisal
By Craig M. Gay
IVP Academic, 2018. 254 pages. $33 (e-book $18)
THIS BOOK provides a timely and thoughtful resource on how modern technology impacts the way we think and live. Craig Gay grew up in Silicon Valley as the son of an early technology entrepreneur, and is now a philosophy professor at Regent College, making him well suited for authoring a book on this topic.
Modern Technology and the Human Future introduces the notion of the "mechanical world picture," which views nature as a mechanism to be optimized. Gay then highlights the incarnation of Christ and suggests, "Taking the incarnation seriously puts an entirely new spin on what we ought to use our technologies for." This theme recurs throughout the book as Gay grapples with the implications of technology.
The book begins by describing the kind of thinking that accompanies technology, and how money and economics provide the momentum for technological development. Next the technological world view is described and contrasted with a biblical world view drawing on the themes of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation.
The last chapter titled "What on Earth Should We Do?" suggests if our technologies are not helpful in enhancing ordinary embodied existence, we should "reform that technology or refrain from using it." As someone trained as an engineer, I noted little practical advice for reforming technology, but still found Gay’s overall framework helpful.
Although somewhat philosophical at times, the book makes a helpful contribution to Christian thinking about modern technology. It will appeal more to an academic audience, but I would also recommend it to thoughtful lay readers interested in thinking more deeply about the impact of technology today. –DEREK SCHUURMAN
Reading the Bestsellers
Educated: A Memoir
By Tara Westover
HarperCollins, 2018. 329 pages. $22.99 (e-book $11.99, audiobook $27.99)
THIS CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED book is a coming of age story and much more. The thought-provoking life journey of Tara Westover, from birth to Cambridge PhD, is one few can rival and fewer still have written about. It is a story that presents a different version of the America I thought I knew. And it is a story of resiliency and overcoming adversity against all odds.
The youngest of seven children born to fundamentalist Mormon parents, Westover didn’t go to school, wasn’t vaccinated and never visited a doctor.
A survivalist her father stockpiled guns, ammunition, fuel and food in preparation for the "end of days." He also operated a junkyard and his children, including Tara, worked for him hauling scrap.
Her mother was a midwife who studied alternative healing. Her salves, tinctures, and essential oils proved necessary when treating the many accidents Tara and her siblings endured as they worked for their father.
Despite the injuries and lack of real world exposure, Tara pursued her studies. She taught herself algebra and scored high enough on the ACT to gain admission to Brigham Young University. So began her journey to a PhD at Cambridge and ultimately the decision to tell her story.
Reading Educated: A Memoir is like watching a movie in which you see the action through the main character’s eyes. You are pulled along, watching each scene with fascination and, at times, shock and disbelief. While you may question some of the character’s choices, ultimately you celebrate her successes and wish her well. –DANA ANTAYA-MOORE
Look How the Wild Flowers Grow (4′ × 4′, oil on board) by Melissa Townsend www.MelissaTownsendArt.com
"All my life I have wanted to be an artist and know God. But it wasn’t until I met my Jesus-loving husband that I began discovering how God had actually been dreaming with me all along, and encouraging me to pursue a career and life as an artist.
"Creating with God gives me permission and the ability to explore both art and His heart. Painting has become this space where I learn to press into His heart further and deeper. I love that I get to say Yes! and partner with the Father on art projects. Let me encourage you to go after the deep things the Father has placed within your heart."