New Books for the Week of October 14, 2013

christian faith & ScholarshipChristian Faith and Scholarship: An Exploration of Contemporary Developments by AEHE Staff; Perry F. Glanzer and Todd C. Ream. (Wiley, 2007).

This monograph addresses the history of secularization in American higher education and scholarship; the historical and resistance by dominant religious traditions to that secularization; the contemporary ways that individual scholars, networks, and institutions approach the question of religious faith and scholarship; the concerns such a question raises for academic freedom; and the relationship between religious faith and scholarship.

leaders codeThe Leader’s Code: Mission, Character, Service, and Getting the Job Done by Donovan Campbell. (Random House, 2013).

“What does it take to be a great leader? In a word: character. This unique book by decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran Donovan Campbell, the New York Times bestselling author of Joker one, draws on his years of training and combat experience to reveal the specific virtues that underpin effective leadership–and how anyone can stand up, serve others, and make a difference in the world by bringing out the best in a team”–Dust jacket flap.

Minds, BrainsMinds, Brains, Souls and Gods: A Conversation on Faith, Psychology and Neuroscience by Malcolm Jeeves. (IVP Academic, 2013).

The field of psychology, and especially neuropsychology, can be daunting for Christian students trying to find their way. In the face of surprising new research and radical new theories, it is tempting to limit the integration of Christianity and psychology to relatively “safe” topics that one can easily differentiate from matters of faith. In Minds, Brains, Souls and Gods, the highly esteemed professor of psychology, Malcolm Jeeves, insists on addressing the difficult questions head-on.Do I have a soul? How free am I? What makes me uniquely human? Does my brain have a “God spot”? In this hypothetical correspondence with a student, Jeeves argues that we must avoid false choices in the relation between Scripture and science. Christians need not choose between a “God of the gaps” that competes with science, a “neurotheology” that bases our understanding of God on the latest scientific theory, or a scientific reductionism that claims to have explained God away as a mere function of the brain. Students encountering the brave new world of neuroscience need not view such research as a threat to the faith. With the wisdom of a seasoned scholar, Jeeves guides us down the road less-traveled–the way of integration.

Power of musicThe Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song by Elena Mannes. (Walker & Co., 2011).

The award-winning creator of the acclaimed documentary “The Music Instinct: Science & Song,” explores the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain this impact. One remarkable recent study, analyzing the cries of newborns, shows that infants’ cries contain common musical intervals, and children tease each other in specific, singsong ways no matter where in the world they live. Physics experiments show that sound waves can physically change the structure of a material; musician and world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim believes musical sound vibrations physically penetrate our bodies, shifting molecules as they do. The Power of Music follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture, to discover: how much of our musicality is learned and how much is innate? Can examining the biological foundations of music help scientists unravel the intricate web of human cognition and brain function? Why is music virtually universal across cultures and time-does it provide some evolutionary advantage? Can music make people healthier? Might music contain organzing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself?

Memoirs of the Way Home: Ezra and Nehemiah As a Call to Conversion by Gerald M.Bilkes. (Reformation Heritage Books, 2013). (no image available)

Author Gerald Bilkes explains that in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we have two first-person accounts, or memoirs, of Israel’s return from exile to the Promised Land. In this winsome Bible study, with questions for individual or group reflection at the end of each chapter, the author introduces readers to the lesser-known Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah and helps us understand that these are not the records of historic feats but rather the confessions of a humble prodigal on a profoundly spiritual journey home. With pastoral warmth, Bilkes demonstrates these biblical memoirs’ relevance for us today as they challenge us to consider whether we are in the far country or, by grace, on our way back home to God.

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