What we tend to think of as distinctively Protestant concerns regularly show up in other streams of the faith. Matters such as total depravity and prevenient grace are central to this patient exposition, which will reward every minute of your attention. If I add that the cover of the book—framing a detail from a sculpture of a woman—is among the most enticing I have seen this year, you may wonder why you should care. To understand its relevance to the book's argument, you'll have to read the note on the copyright page identifying the sculpture and the brief bio of the author on the back cover.

Calvin's Ladder:A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension
Julie Canlis (Eerdmans)


This superb book by Julie Canlis, perfect for reading alongside Lawrence Feingold, is about union with Christ—"participating in Christ." Here the resonance is especially strong with the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of theosis, often construed by Western Christians as blurring the absolute distinction between God and humanity. And at the center of the argument is Calvin's high understanding of the Eucharist, which a visiting theologian from Mars could hardly be expected to infer from contemporary practice among Calvin's heirs.

Layover In Dubai
Dan Fesperman (Knopf)


If you enjoy stories of the North by Northwest variety—ordinary guy gets caught up in murderous intrigue—you'll relish Dan Fesperman's expert handling of the conventions. His latest thriller is one of his best, and it offers (apart from the twists and turns of the plot) several slices of life in the strange world of Dubai. Finally, like many novels with a Mideast angle these days, it offers hope for the future in the character of a resolutely independent young woman: ...

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