The inner voice of love: A journey through anguish to freedom by Henri Nouwen (1996)

Not surprisingly, Henri Nouwen and Parker Palmer were contemporaries. Their books coordinate well with one another, and The Inner Voice of Love is a 118-page book compiled from journal entries written during one of Nouwen’s severe bouts with depression. Similar to Parker Palmer, Henri Nouwen’s writings approach life and faith with no pretense but rather raw honesty. Each chapter he wrote is brief (1 to 4 pages) and contains an imperative that he focused upon during that dark season. Some chapters I found particularly impactful were: “Enter the New Country,” “Go into the Place of Your Pain,” “Live Patiently with the Not Yet,” and “Live Your Wounds Through.” I enjoy this author for his gravity and his respect of the mysteries of life, healing, and faith; with Nouwen, there are no easy answers.

– JF, Emerging Leader 2016-17

n.b. Campus Edge does not yet own this book.

Let your life speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer (1999)

Since I first encountered this 116-page book 3 years ago, I have returned to it at least twice. Parker Palmer gently reveals how he learned to listen to his life throughout his life as an academic turned civil activist and Quaker. He writes with profound simplicity and wisdom about career transitions, mental illness, and a holistic approach to one’s vocation. If you are in need of an honest and deep read, consider Let Your Life Speak.

– JF, Emerging Leader 2016-17

note: Campus Edge does not yet own this book.

Life after Grad School (2010)

Jerald M. Jellison’s Life after Grad School (Oxford University Press, 2010) is a good resource for those considering leaving the pursuit of a tenure track job in order to follow another career. While he acknowledges that there remain some positives in staying within the standard academic career, he argues that there is significant in pursuing a career outside of academia, whether that be support staff at the university, work in government or in business.

It is a helpful book to pick up and glance through in order to do any of the following:

  • Pick up networking tips, including describing yourself (and/or your research) using words that leave the listener responding with curiosity instead of “that’s nice.”
  • Consider what leaving academia might look like;
  • Get resources for finding a job outside of professor and research positions;
  • Re-marketing the skills that you picked up doing a master’s or PhD;
  • Determining what non-academic things it might be helpful to do in order to get experience and a picture of life outside of the academic world.

More book reviews by Campus Edge.

Angry like Jesus (2015)

Sarah Sumner’s book, Angry like Jesus (Fortress Press, 2015) is helpful for thinking more about both anger and Jesus. She explores how Jesus expresses anger through rebuking. The examples she gives point clearly to the authority that Jesus had, a godly authority that we as Christians also share. Because of this Christians must be open to correction by others and have a duty to rebuke (gently) those who claim to follow Christ but choose to sin. As Christians often adopt a tolerance of another person’s inappropriate conduct, mistaking niceness for love, her point should be taken to heart. Her discussion on anger related to death and demons/evil is also something worth contemplating.

However, because of how she talks about anger only in terms of how it is expressed, especially in terms of authority, this then leads to some hermeneutical jumping jacks. She doesn’t identify the times when the Bible talks about Jesus being angry, but instead only when he rebukes, which is more of an interpretation of the text than an analysis of what is actually written. With regard to anger focused on God, her theological bias that this is not appropriate leads her to conclude that Jesus wasn’t angry on the cross and that the anger expressed by Jeremiah in the Confessions was sinful. I’m more of the opinion that anger simply is – it is primary a signal. Anger is not in itself sinful but instead is an indication of something else (oftentimes this is sin or evil, although not necessarily one’s own).

A book that does a better job of contemplating the role of anger in one’s own personal life is Harriet Lerner’s The Dance of Anger.

Link to more book reviews from Campus Edge.

Generous Spaciousness (2014)

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter’s book Generous Spaciousness (Brazos Press, 2014) is focused on making space for gay Christians within the church. The author has experience within ex-gay ministries, and the beginning focuses on how these have often been hurtful to those struggling with their religious and sexual identity.

What I’ve read of it makes it sound like it’d be a very helpful book, although she has become a bit of a controversial figure within the Christian Reformed Church.

-Brenda

A list of all the book reviews related to Campus Edge

Spiritual Friendship (2015)

Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship (Brazos Press, 2015) is a wonderful short book on the importance of friendship and community. The focus that many Christian communities have on the joys and significance of marriage tends to push friendships to the margins. This brings a lot of loneliness, especially to those who feel that God is calling them to a celibate life. At the end, the author raises the question of whether (celibate) gay Christians might be uniquely gifted to help the church have a healthier view of friendship, so that we might better encourage and build each other up.

-Brenda

A list of all the book reviews related to Campus Edge.