cover image Joyful Exiles

Joyful Exiles

James M. Houston, Author IVP Books $20 (206p) ISBN 978-0-8308-3324-5

Having mentored many a scholar, pastor or counselor who went through the college he founded-Regent in Vancouver-Houston now passes along to the rest of us some of the wisdom he's gleaned from living the Christian life in constant dialogue with culture watchers, literary authors and theologians. Two of his supreme interests are lifting the idea of personal calling outside the walls of religious institutions and warning institutions against courting the idea of worldly success, noting that ""success is a public and cultural rating, whereas faithfulness to God remains hidden and divinely evaluated."" He covers these topics well. His rhetorical method is to dialogue about his faith with some of the great minds of Christian history-Augustine, Dante, Kierkegaard, Jonathan Edwards and Dostoyevsky. Houston's section conversing with Dante's Inferno will be illuminating, even to those not intimately familiar with the original work. At times, Houston's fascination with historical figures and philosophical themes lends the book a highly academic tone, but at other times it reads like a rich spiritual memoir. Houston is sharing his life with us here, and those wishing to peer into the long life of a highly respected, intellectual Christian mentor will find a rich feast.