Take & Read: Practical theology

Longing for Home: Forced Displace­ment and Postures of Hospitality, by M. Jan Holton (Yale University Press, 240 pp., $40.00). This timely volume explores the experiences of refugees and other displaced persons in four distinct contexts: refugees from conflicts in the Sudan and the DRC, Batwa tribes­persons in northern Uganda forced from their forest homelands, U.S. soldiers returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and chronically homeless persons in the United States. Holton says forced displacement carries with it the loss of meaning, belonging, relationship, and “safety and security.” She urges Christians to adopt postures of hospitality “towards those in our midst who are longing for a place called home.”


Christian Practical Wisdom: What It Is, Why It Matters, by Dorothy C. Bass, Kathleen A. Cahalan, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, James R. Nieman, and Christian B. Scharen (Eerdmans, 368 pp., $30.00 paperback). How do we come to know and love God, neighbor, and self? This engaging collection of essays shows how embodied practices such as spooning, swimming, camping, dancing, and rocking can reveal God’s presence. The volume begins with reflections on each practice before making the case that practical, situated wisdom is needed to balance abstract, theoretical knowledge of God. The authors show how the “rough ground” of experience sparks the emergence of shared wisdom for the interpretation of scripture and the practice of holy love.