SERIOUS TIMES: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day

James Emery White, Author . InterVarsity $17 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8308-3211-8

This book by pastor and professor White (Embracing the Mysterious God ) is an antidote to complacency in the face of epochal change. Echoing church historian Christopher Dawson, White argues that we live "at the beginning of the seventh age" for the Christian church, a time of crisis that requires an innovative and determined response. After a brief survey of previous turning points, including the beginnings of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, White examines our "disenchanted world," which he characterizes as secularized, privatized and relentlessly pluralistic, mired in narcissism, relativism and hedonism. Yet even given this bleak picture, White sees hope in a renewed practice of Christianity that could still reshape and revitalize Western culture. The second half of the book, very different from the first, is devoted to exploring the essence of "serious lives." White draws on a commendably deep field of previous writers, from Teresa of Ávila to Parker Palmer, offering a concise survey of topics from prayer to vocation. Of particular value are his thoughts on developing a "rule" of life, and his two-page portraits of Christians like St. Benedict, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Mother Teresa. While White's cultural analysis is neither new nor particularly encouraging, the wisdom and clarity of these latter chapters make this book a valuable, and hopeful, starting point for Christians who want their lives to matter. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-59644-145-3
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