Christian Books

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Counseling and Confession by Walter J. Koehler

Who might this book interest? Since this book is from a conservative Lutheran perspective, I believe that this book would interest many Evangelicals, especially pastors and Christian counselors, of various denominations. It is a concise, well-written overview of pastoral counseling's relationship to individual confession and absolution.
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Summary: The late Walter J. Koehler was a Lutheran Church pastor as well as a professor of theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Canada (back cover). I generally like to give more biography of the author, but it was difficult to find substantial information on Koehler.
This new edition of the book contains several Forewords as well as Prefaces. Dr. Harold L. Senkbeil begins by discussing individual confession and absolution (ICA), and its resurgence in recent times (8-9). Dr. Rick W. Marrs continues with a new introduction to the work (10-13). He concisely identifies the loss and resurgence of ICA as well, but in addition, he addresses soul care from before the 1930s and after 1982. He mentions many of the recent psychological developments such as: physiological-pharmacological, CBT, attachment, and systems approaches.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner

Who might this book interest? This book would interest a reflective person, who desires to listen to their own life as they find themselves reflected in Buechner’s book. Buechner says, “My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all” (6). While the details of our personal stories diverge greatly, our existential questions are often very similar. In Buechner’s story, we find an, at times, embarrassingly honest account of ourselves.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Frederick Buechner is a well-known author and preacher. One of his most well-known works, Godric, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The Sacred Journey tells the story of Frederick Buechner’s younger years as he becomes slowly, subtly acquainted with God over more than two decades of his life. He says, “Something in me recoils from using such language, but here at the end I am left with no other way of saying it than that what I found finally was Christ. Or was found. It hardly seems to matter which” (110). I appreciate this expression because I’ve come to believe that the Christ of my own finding, actually found me first.

The Sacred Journey is a short, well-written account that highlights certain moments in Frederick Buechner’s life from birth till his later twenties. From his non-religious upbringing, it tells of his spiritual journey, and the people and circumstances, often not seeming important at the time, which rose to the surface in reflecting upon that journey. Using chapter titles inspired by Dylan Thomas’ poem, Fern Hill, The Sacred Journey contains three chapters: Once Below a Time, Once Upon a Time, and Beyond Time (9).