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The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder

Lisa Gungor. Zondervan, $16.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-310-35043-9

Gungor, cocreator (with her husband) of the Grammy-nominated music collective Gungor, directs this moving, extremely personal memoir to her mother. “We see things differently because our histories or circumstances give us differing view points,” she writes, before detailing her young marriage at age 19 and how her divorced parents were both wary and skeptical of her decision to marry. Over the course of three years, the Gungors’ music collective found a global audience and Gungor found herself estranged from her mother after a falling out over her faith. Years later, when the Gungors’ second daughter was born with Down syndrome, Gungor began to reflect on her past and deeply consider the importance of perspective in a way she hadn’t since she quarreled with her mother about getting married: “her first few moments... she was purely perfect. Then in minutes she was given a definition. We were given a lens for viewing her.” Gungor’s story fluctuates between an address to her mother and an open exploration of her past, and she also writes about her struggle to find peace after her husband tells her he is an atheist. Music fans will be enthralled by Gungor’s generous spirit as she confronts her life’s most trying moments. (June)

Reviewed on 07/20/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Homeland Insecurity: A Hip-Hop Missiology for the Post–Civil Rights Context

Daniel White Hodge. IVP Academic, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8308-5181-2

Hodge (Hip Hop’s Hostile Gospel), associate professor of Youth Ministry at North Park University in Chicago, provides a solid overview of white Christian missiology and its application to urban communities in the post–civil rights era. Hodge believes that “race, gender, and class are lost within the current narrow definition of ministry and mission” and that “hip-hop theology” could “help create community, church context, and a stronger relationship to the Trinity in a wild context.” He locates the nexus of hip-hop theology in the song “No Church in the Wild,” written by Jay Z and Kanye West, which asks: “What’s a god to a nonbeliever / Who don’t believe in anything?” and then lays out his view of the decline of Christianity in the 20th century due to white supremacy, passive racism, and stodgy practices of ministry. He then explores ways that theological themes found within hip-hop can help Christians reconnect to a vibrant, multicultural American society. Hodge bolsters his position with meticulous peer research and interviews with minority youth who participated in mission programs initiated by White’s evangelical outreach organizations in Chicago. While many Christians will find the book controversial, the historical and anthropological elements make this essential reading for missionaries serving emerging adult populations. (June)

Reviewed on 07/20/2018 | Details & Permalink

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