I share with you my annual book reviews on the five books I read as a part of our summer Divinity reading club.

“A Table in the Presence” by Lt. Carey Cash, a chaplain serving with the U.S. Marines. Lt. Cash was part of the Marine battalion that was first into Iraq and first to reach Baghdad in 2003. A quote – “After all the training, all the physical conditioning hikes, all the strategy sessions, all the intelligence briefs, all the live-fire rifle ranges, it had come to this – a decisive moment and a sincere prayer. We stood together in a circle, asking God for help, for strength, and for courage. As we bowed together on that afternoon, the ancient words of a familiar psalm came flooding into my mind… Even though I walk through the valley…”


“Martin Luther” by Eric Metaxas was published in 2017 and has some interesting insights into the man Luther. “Luther decries the name ‘Lutheran’ which was taken by many who sided with him. He asked that such people simply call themselves Christians. ‘What is Luther?’ he asked. ‘After all, the teaching is not mine. Neither was I crucified for you… How then should I – poor stinking maggot-fodder that I am – come to have men call the children of Christ by my wretched name.’ Of course, his plea was in vain.”

“Everything Happens for a Reason – and other lies I’ve loved” by Kate Bowler, a Duke Divinity School professor who specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God’s disapproval. At 35, everything in life seems to point toward “blessing”. She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son. Then she is diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. No amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live. Everyone who reads this book will laugh loudly and cry silently. I certainly did.

“Have a Little Faith – a true story” by Mitch Albom is a beautifully written story of an 8 year journey when he goes home to New Jersey to visit his 82 year old rabbi that he grew up with who has asked Mitch to write his eulogy. At the same time, closer to his current home, he begins visiting an inner-city Detroit pastor who is a reformed drug dealer and convict preaching to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a large hole in the roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, Black and White, poor and wealthy, Mitch observes how these very different men use their faith to fight for survival. I enjoyed the quotes from their sermons and so much wisdom shared. Check it out!

“Junga – the Dancing Yeti” By Stephen Tako, younger brother of Denise Kronenberger. Bob Golic, former Cleveland Browns and now sports commentator writes, “Growing up is sometimes a difficult path for many, especially when some have to deal with a bully that draws one’s ability to fully develop mentally because of low self esteem caused by continuous harassment. I have sat and talked with author Stephen Tako and appeared on “Tako Talk” with him. Stephen’s new book is a must read for parents and teachers alike”. Tanya Brown, youngest sister of Nicole Brown Simpson writes, “this book delves into the confidence and esteem building tools that are needed today to combat bullying and raise esteem on every level.” Personally, I liked the illustrations of Peter Gullerud who worked for Disney on movies such as Aladdin.

All five of these books from our Divinity library were enjoyable and instructive. Check out our library!

In Christ – Pastor Doug