The Best Books of 1999

Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read (Zondervan)

While evangelicals argue, sometimes bitterly, over the merits of this or that translation, they seem not to notice that for all practical purposes they have stopped reading the Old Testament, except for the occasional reference to Genesis, Job, and the Psalms. (How many sermons from the OT did you hear last year?) Yancey's book reminds us why Israel's story still matters.

Friedrich Zuendel, The Awakening: One Man's Battle with Darkness (Plough)

The one man was Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-80), a pastor in Germany's Black Forest. A woman in his parish suffered from demon possession. Blumhardt called on God, and the result was a revival that has much to teach us today. This slim book is excerpted and translated from Zuendel's 1880 biography of Blumhardt, with the addition of a recent introductory overview.

Gary Hotham, Breath Marks: Haiku to Read in the Dark ( Canon Press)

Just as many children lose their unselfconscious pleasure in drawing by the time they are ten, so readers lose their ability to enjoy haiku, which the Court of Received Opinion has instructed them to regard as irredeemable kitsch. If you are not intimidated by such pronouncements, you may find yourself taking great delight in this little book.

William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology (InterVarsity)

Don't read this book unless you approach it with an open mind, and don't read it unless you are prepared to argue with the author. Best idea: recruit a group of people to read it at the same time, with plenty of discussion.

Judith Metz, S.C., A Retreat with Elizabeth Seton: Meeting Our Grace (St. Anthony Messenger Press)

You don't have to be planning a retreat to benefit from this ...

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