The Beatles, the Bible, and Bodega Bay
Broadman & Holman, 368 pages, $24.99
The author was the United States manager of Apple Records during the most feverish days of Beatlemania, and he has written that most rare document: a memoir about life with celebrities that avoids bile and score-settling.
What the publishers call the "fabwhitebook" is a beautiful work of printing, alternating between Mansfield's extensive memorabilia and color beachside photography evoking his adopted town of Bodega Bay, California.
The book also goes back and forth between Mansfield's days at Apple and his post-Beatles life in California, which makes for a herky-jerky narrative. Still, Mansfield's story is a helpful reminder that even a life backstage with The Beatles—a fantasy of many a baby boomer—proved empty apart from a relationship with God.
Caryl Stern-LaRosa and Ellen Hofheimer Bettmann
Scholastic, 332 pages, $9.95
Hate Hurts is part of a "Close the Book on Hate" project cosponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Barnes & Noble chain. One hesitates to find fault with such an earnest project, but Hate Hurts defines hate so glibly that it trivializes the horrifying real thing. So, for instance, this book assumes that homosexual orientation is innate and immutable—which constricts any orthodox religious voice on the question.
Similarly, one will not learn from Hate Hurts that extremist groups have harassed evangelical Protestants and Catholics in their houses of worship.
Because Christians are the majority in the United States, at least in the popular imagination, this book portrays them as more likely the perpetrators of hate, rather than its occasional targets. (One woman recalls her childhood "sense of exclusion" because the Catholic girls in her neighborhood were dressed up for first Communion and she was not.)
To the extent that it decreases name-calling and ostracism, Hate Hurts is worth the financial generosity of the ADL and Barnes & Noble. But it has little to teach people already familiar with even the most basic concepts of compassion and dignity.
The Gospel with Extra Salt
edited by Joseph B. Modica
Judson, 144 pages, $14
This is an engaging fest schrift—a tribute to Tony Campolo through essays on his frequent themes as a sociologist and preacher. David Fra ser's "Focus on the 'Biblical Family' " is a calm defense of traditional church teaching on sexual morality.
Duffy Robbins offers the most personal and affectionate words about Campolo before administering some "Wounds of a Friend" regarding the shortcomings of youth ministry.
Ronald Sider's "Why Would Anybody Ever Want to Be an Evangelical?" is a lively example of cross-cultural apologetics—in this case, to a mostly secularist audience that would find Hate Hurts revelatory and bold.
Engage Publishing, 244 pages, $12.95
Imagine the turmoil that would break out in Christendom if an archaeologist discovered the bones of Jesus Christ.
Kevin Bowen's novel portrays the despair and "post-Christian" revisionism that surely would break out if a person could some how demonstrate that Jesus did not rise from the grave.
Bowen also wrestles with the question of how much authority Christians should entrust to science and the professionals—fallible human beings, nevertheless—who practice it.
Bowen develops a good back story for his protagonist, Wil, who grows to hate the faith of his hypocritical father, a churchgoing drunk and wife-abuser.
Bowen also creates an admirable character in Steve, an evangelical pastor and Wil's closest friend, despite their many years of pointed religious disagreements.
As with the early John Grisham, the self-published Wil's Bones is sometimes too colloquial in tone, but it is an entertaining page-turner.
Read more about Ken Mansfield , author of The Beatles, The Bible, and Bodega Bay.
Barnes & Noble offers online classes with the authors of Hate Hurts.
Read an article taken from The Gospel With Extra Salt, " Why Would Anybody Want To Be An Evangelical " by Ronald J. Sider.
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