April 27, 2016

Black Practical Theology, edited by Dale P. Andrews and Robert London Smith Jr. This excellent handbook on practical theology is structured by “trialogues” between black church leaders, practical theologians, and prominent scholars in Bible, theology, and ethics. The result is a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach to issues that concern all Christian communities, including education, poverty, gender, race, immigration, HIV/AIDS, and the justice system.

Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table, edited by the Catholic Women Speak Network. This volume brings together the voices of 44 Catholic women from around the world in a pointed response to the absence of women at the bishops’ 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family. With candor and passion, the authors address family-related issues from contraception and sexual orientation to poverty and migration.

A Reasonable Belief: Why God and Faith Make Sense, by William Greenway. Greenway argues that modern secularism is un­able to attend to the full range of human experiences of suffering and love. He tackles difficult topics in philosophical theology with a winsome clarity, making the case for a generous theism.

Quantum Shift: Theological and Pastoral Implications of Contemporary Developments in Science, by Heidi Ann Russell. Russell delves into new discoveries and theories in the physical sciences with a general audience in mind. Insisting that the conversation between science and theology is too important to be left to “fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist atheists,” she finds in contemporary science suggestive analogies to Christian beliefs about God, creation, and grace.

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way, by Richard Twiss. This posthumously published book written by a member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate community narrates the complex and contested process of developing an authentically Native contextualization of Christian theology and practice. A glossary and discussion questions open the book to a wide readership.

Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God, by Megan K. DeFranza. De­Franza appeals to the biological sciences, biblical exegesis, and theological anthropology to reject a simplistic binary model of human sexuality and forge a broader Christian vision of human identity. As the lives of intersex persons come more and more into the pastoral awareness of the church, this book is a theologically astute and compassionate guide.

Theology without Borders: An Intro­duction to Global Conversations, by William A. Dyrness and Oscar García-Johnson. Two Fuller Seminary colleagues from different cultural contexts challenge a pervasive “Western centrism” in Christian theology and seek to promote theological conversations that better reflect the hybrid, transnational character of contemporary Christianity.

Systematic Theology: Volume 1, The Doctrine of God, by Katherine Sonderegger. There has been a recent spate of multivolume Christian systematic theologies, all worthy of attention, and none for the faint of heart. Sonderegger’s stands out for its lively literary style and its closeness to the life of faith.

Hospitality and Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name, by Mona Siddiqui. Siddiqui, a British Muslim, explores the theological underpinnings of hospitality in Islamic traditions in an accessible way. In her concluding personal reflections, she commends interreligious hospitality as a primary task of our time.