2020s Foresight (Sine and Friesen); Laugh Like a Kid (Callaway); Small press roundup; Online meetup with author Mark Glanville; Espoir artwork by Lisa Hanash
2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change
By Tom Sine and Dwight Friesen
Fortress Press, 2020. 200 pages. $25 (e-book $14)
THIS BOOK urges Christian leaders to face the changes happening at an increasingly accelerated rate in our culture. This is particularly important in an era of declining church attendance. We need to know how cultural changes require us to rethink neighbourly outreach and community engagement.
But as the authors note, "Many Christian leaders today are surprised by change much more than they should be. A critical reason is that leaders in churches are seldom trained on how to forecast before they plan."
Therefore the authors’ goal is to help leaders capture the imaginations of younger generations with a vision of being "whole-life disciples of Jesus." (Coauthor Tom Sine has written many Christian magazine articles and ten books, while Dwight Friesen is a Mennonite raised in Canada who now teaches at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.)
They see reaching such a vision as a dance with three steps – anticipation, reflection and innovation. Anticipation means identifying issues churches will have to face in the next five to ten years. The next step is reflecting on the theological and ethical values which ought to permeate any planning for the future. This in turn can lead to seeing anticipated cultural changes as opportunities for innovation.
Immensely practical 2020s Foresight includes questions for group discussion and prayers related to the themes of each chapter. Sine and Friesen want to inspire churches and their leaders to face reality honestly but hopefully. They tell stories of people seeking to turn challenges (especially those of technology, climate and housing) into opportunities to refocus on Jesus and His Kingdom. It will be of great benefit to church leaders looking to do likewise. –DEREK MELANSON
Laugh Like a Kid Again: Live Without Regret and Leave Footsteps Worth Following
By Phil Callaway
Harvest House, 2020. 208 pages. $19 (e-book $10, audiobook $15)
THIS BOOK is a sweet surprise. Looking for a laugh, smile or encouragement in your faith? You’ll find all three in the anecdotes of Alberta humourist Phil Callaway. He writes about family life in a way that resonates profoundly.
Laugh Like a Kid Again is relatable and refreshing. Callaway depicts what most people see as an ordinary event and then injects humour and scripture, combining both depth and comedy.
You’ll find yourself laughing at the situation and pondering the love of God at the same time. Currently, when the world needs more laughter, understanding and inspiration, this book delivers all of these.
Each easygoing chapter is written like a devotional. Callaway includes playful personal accounts along with his insight into God’s workings. He unfolds laughable stories about his kids, grandkids and his own childhood. Each silly story could be about all the kooky kids we know. He brings us together into the times when we or our own children said crazy quips.
He uses groaning puns, poignant quotes and relatable tales to show us gratefulness for what we have and to see God’s love. Readers will find themselves looking afresh to God as our provider, sustainer, comforter and healer, encouraged in our call to love and share our laughter.
Laugh Like a Kid Again will rekindle your warmth for the human spirit and reignite your childish giggle. What a gift to be reminded so poignantly we are loved and known by a God who smiles with us. –ADENA LOWRY
Longer versions of most reviews are available at www.FaithToday.ca/Books. You can view sample chapters of most books at Books.Google.ca and at Amazon.ca.
Small Press Roundup
- Though I Walk: A Novel by Dale Harris (Word Alive, 2020). Love, longing and loss along with archaeology, mythology and theology all set against the coastlines of Nova Scotia and the Aegean Sea. Author pastors in Oshawa, Ont.
- Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship and Suffering by Heidi McLaughlin (Castle Quay, 2020). After the loss of her husband and then her second husband, this British Columbia author writes of discovering how pain and joy can coexist (www.HeartConnection.ca).
- Advocating for Peace: Stories from the Ottawa Office of Mennonite Central Committee 1975–2008 by William Janzen (Pandora Press, 2020). Memories from a veteran Christian liaison between church and government.
- Decolonizing Discipline: Children, Corporal Punishment, Christian Theologies and Reconciliation, ed. Valerie Michaelson and Joan Durrant (University of Manitoba, 2020). Theologians, clergy, social scientists and Indigenous leaders explore calls to repeal Section 43 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
- Farm Family Coach Insights: Seeds of Encouragement for Success in Farm Transition by Elaine Froese (Self-published, 2020). By a Manitoba Christian who consults on farm family transitions (www.ElaineFroese.com).
- Christian Higher Education in Canada: Challenges and Opportunities, ed. Stanley Porter and Bruce Fawcett (Pickwick, 2020). Papers from the Toronto 2018 Symposium on Christian Higher Education.
- Dear Younger Me: Wisdom for Family Enterprise Successors by David Bentall (Castle Quay, 2020). Vancouver business prof explores the nine most important character traits he wished he had been wise enough to develop when he was a young executive in the family real estate business.
Meet the author
Join our next online discussion with one of the authors of Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics (IVP Academic, 2021). Coauthor Mark R. Glanville will join book lovers Bill Fledderus of Faith Today and Ilana Reimer of Love Is Moving on January 26, 2022 at 4 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. EST.
Sign up at www.TheEFC.ca/MeetTheAuthor. Read Faith Today's review of Refuge Reimagined from our May 2021 issue.
Espoir (36″ × 24″, acrylic on canvas) by Lisa Hanash www.LisaHanash.com
"I have found great delight in the unfurling process of flowing paint and wet paintbrushes. The experimentation of combining colours and forming shapes can instill a posture of childlikeness and truth. There’s something restorative about nurturing our artistic side. I have sensed God’s heart as a master artist through my creative journey and have desired for others to come into the fullness of His revelation that we are God’s masterpiece. God made us beautiful, in the image of our Creator, giving us the wisdom and ability to share our hearts with Him, refine our craft and invite others to participate in the joy and goodness of God’s Living Hope."
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