Help My Unbelief, by Fleming Rutledge

Fleming Rutledge's second collection of sermons (her first, The Bible and the New York Times, appeared in 1998) is presented as a thoughtful and sustained response to the plea expressed in the book's title, "Lord I believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).

Rutledge's preaching is eloquent without being virtuosic. Her sermons contain equal measures of intensity and  humility, and this is part of what makes even the sentences themselves so lucid. (In the preface Rutledge aptly describes her sermons as like "the narrow beams of a flashlight shining briefly first in one dark place, then another.") Her use of language is skillful, encompassing major themes but never becoming ponderous. Her sermons are grounded deeply in scripture and are well versed in the events and culture of our time. Both persons and doctrines are treated with absolute respect.

But I think it is Rutledge's adeptness at opening the Word of God to people while at the same time opening people's hearts to the Word that is especially remarkable. This achievement is both simple (what the best preaching has always done) and profound (such preaching now seems harder to come by than before).