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This is one of those posts in which I write some reviews about books you might like.

For me, reading a book is like a private audience with the author. As you will see, I have recently spent an enjoyable time with Malcolm Guite of Oxford, Grant Macaskill of Aberdeen, Barry Gibson, Steven Garber, and David Benner.

There are five reviews on the varied topics of recovering imagination, what it means to be “in Christ,” repentance, integrating your faith in all of life, and desiring God’s will.

Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book. No book is worth reading that isn’t worth re-reading. (Susan Sontag)

Oh, and let me know what recommendations you have for me.

Now let’s dig in.


Lifting the Veil: Imagination and the Kingdom of God by Malcolm Guite (2021)


This work is a result of the 2019 Laing Lectures at Regent College. Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest, brilliant academic, and accomplished poet.

  Guite states his two-fold purpose (11):

This book is a defense of the imagination as a truth-bearing faculty, and more than that it is an appeal to artists, poets, sculptors, storytellers, and filmmakers to kindle our imaginations for Christ, who is himself the kindling imagination of God, who brings all things into being.

This thesis is expounded, analyzed, and illustrated throughout by visual art, poetry, and insights from Coleridge, Blake, Chesterton, Lewis, and others.

In a culture that often prioritizes facts, reason, and rationalism, Guite’s work stands as a powerful challenge. It advocates for the “recovery and reintegration of the imagination together with reason” (16), a call that is particularly relevant for our ‘enlightened’ society.

I highly recommend this delightful and exciting read to any creative person.

Here is a link if you want to purchase this book.


Living in Union with Christ: Paul’s Gospel and Christian Moral Identity by Grant Macaskill (2019)

What does it mean for a Christian to be “in Christ”? I am exploring this question more deeply.

Grant Macaskill is a professor of New Testament at the University of Aberdeen. The core aim (41):

This book will explore the theme of Christian moral identity, with particular reference to Paul.

Here is one significant insight (112) that he reinforces several times:

Our new moral life, then, is a matter not of becoming better versions of ourselves, whatever gender we might be, but of participating in him. It is sonly identity, and this is what the Spirit works to realize within us.

Macaskill carefully nuances this “sonly identity” by explaining that we maintain our identity as individuals (56). In the context of Galatians 3:28, he writes:

The differences are not obliterated, but they are no longer considered to be the most basic elements of identity. … We are redefined, re-identified, by our incorporation into Christ. … [A]n incorporation into a person whose relationship with God is perfect.

This is an excellent and readable treatment of the Christian’s identity “in Christ.” I will be reading it again.

Here is a link if you want to purchase this book.


The Power of Repentance: How God Changes Lives by Barry J. Gibson (2023)

The promise of this title drew me to read it. The author is a former pastor who teaches education at Boyce College in Kentucky.

For too long, our culture has avoided or dismissed “repentance” as negative and judgmental, whereas it is a rich gift inviting us to wholesome, grace-filled, and restorative change. (See: “‘R’ is for Change” and “4 Dynamics of Repentance”)     

Gibson introduces his purpose (xii):

… it is my goal and desire to lay out for you what repentance means, what repentance looks like, and how to live a life of repentance for the Lord Jesus Christ.

He then lays out his short book in five chapters:

  • What is repentance?
  • What does repentance look like?
  • Portraits of repentance
  • Repentance in the life of the believer
  • A posture and prayer of repentance.

The book is easy to read and presents the basic theology and practice of repentance in an understandable and useful way.

Repentance is described helpfully using various writers such as the Puritan, Thomas Watson (6), J. I. Packer (7), Kevin DeYoung (37), and others. However, he does not present or examine the Hebrew or Greek words of the biblical text translated as “repent*.” Such an examination would have provided further insights and illustrations.

I found the writing style somewhat wordy, and it seemed to read like lightly edited sermon notes.

Despite the book’s limitations, I welcome its voice as it speaks into popular culture on an important, often ignored, and misunderstood topic.

(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Here is a link if you want to purchase this book.


The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior, Steven Garber, 2nd ed. (2007)

Are you grappling with integrating your Christian faith with your education or vocation? This book is a rare gem, not just for Christian teachers but for all Christians who are striving to live faithfully.

Garber, a seasoned educator and the director of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture, brings his wealth of experience to this book. He opens with a thought-provoking question (18):

… is there a spirituality of learning that grows out of the gospel of the kingdom? Or to press the point: if the Christian vision of life and the world is true, what ought learning to be like?

A key to a wholesome answer to this question lies in another question (22):

… do I have a telos [an ultimate goal] that is sufficient to meaningfully orient my praxis [practice as distinct from theory] over the course of life?

While this book is primarily aimed at faculty and students in the learning environment, its principles are not confined to those settings. They are transferrable and can empower you in all aspects of life.

Garber’s quotation of Stanley Hauerwas resonates with the thesis of this book (160):

The story of God does not offer a resolution of life’s difficulties, but it offers us something better—an adventure and struggle, for we are possessors of the happy news that God has called people together to live faithful to the reality that he is the Lord of this world.

I recommend this book to all Christians, especially those who teach or are wrestling with how to live faithfully in our modern (or post-modern) culture.

Here is a link if you want to purchase this book.


Desiring God’s Will: Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God, David G. Benner, expanded edition, (2015)

Have you ever struggled with trying to discern God’s will for you? If so, like me, you will probably wish you had read this book much earlier.

David Benner is a Christian who is trained and practices as a psychologist and transformational coach. This book is the third of a trilogy, which can be read profitably as a ‘stand-alone.’

If you have read the previous review of Steven Garber’s book, here is a reinforcement from Thomas Merton (77):

Life is shaped by the end [telos or ultimate goal] of your life. You are made in the image of what you desire.

The big question is how do we desire what God desires?

Benner examines various spiritual disciplines that assist us in aligning our hearts and desires with God’s heart and desires. One of these disciples is prayer—prayer that follows an awareness of God’s presence. On that subject, here is a sample of what we read (83):

Prayer sorts out our desires. Notice that I did not say that in prayer we are able to sort out our desires. No. The sorting work is God’s, not ours. Our job is to sit in God’s presence and allow God to purify our desires. If this does not seem practical enough, you have not spent enough time sitting in silence in God’s presence. Words may be coming between you and God.

Again, how do we desire what God desires?

God longs to give us our heart’s desires. But to receive them, we must allow God’s heart to become ours. We must learn to desire as God desires. This is choosing life. (84)

Reading this book is a warm challenge that speaks to your soul and invites you to align your heart with the heart of God. Highly recommended.

Here is a link if you want to purchase this book.


I hope you enjoyed these reviews.

As a heads up, if you choose to purchase one of these books, there are Amazon affiliate links available. These links result in a small commission being paid (without any cost to you), which helps support this website. Just sayin’.

Here’s the link to the book review resource where you will find other reviews.

Again, do not forget to let me know your recommendations. You can reach me using this link.


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