cover image SO MUCH MORE: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

SO MUCH MORE: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

Debra Rienstra, . . Jossey-Bass, $22.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-7879-6887-8

A Calvin College professor, memoirist (Great With Child ) and literary scholar, Rienstra offers an innovative introduction to Christianity. The first half of the book is a traditional overview of Christian doctrine—God, creation, sin, redemption, the Incarnation, the Trinity. The second half turns from belief to practice, as Rienstra invites readers to prayer, Bible study, corporate worship and Christian service. Three cheers for her ability to make abstruse doctrines like the Trinity not only intelligible but practical: "the Trinity gives us a way to organize and speak of our experiences of God." Rienstra doesn't shy away from hard questions (for example, drawing on both the Bible and recent scientific studies as she tackles the question of whether prayer works). Though spiritual seekers are clearly the primary audience, even mature Christians will be challenged and encouraged by this slim book. That's not to say it's flawless. The print is so tiny that it can be actually painful to read. And though most of Rienstra's prose is crisp, readers will have to plow through an overwritten first few pages. However, Rienstra's walk through Christian teaching is generous, sympathetic, clear and often funny. (Mar.)