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2019 Reading, Compendium #3

A few added to my list…

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Somehow I’d not read this before, and with all the buzz on the Amazon TV series, figured it was worth giving it a try. I find Pratchett an acquired taste… one which I’m not totally on board with yet. Still, a fun read.

Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ by Cynthia Long Westfall
Dr. Westfall brings her incredible expertise in Greek to bear on the Pauline texts about gender and gender roles within the church. Thorough and scholarly yet readable, she makes a strong case for an egalitarian position. Worth a read if you’re interested in this area of debate.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
Continuing my read of Cather’s Great Plains Trilogy… a nice change of pace.

God in the Rainforest: A Tale of Martyrdom and Redemption in Amazonian Ecuador by Kathryn T. Long

Say the names Jim and Elisabeth Elliot to anybody who grew up in the evangelical church and you’ll almost certainly get quick recognition of the story of missionaries trying to reach a remote Ecuadorian tribe, and of the five men who were killed by that tribe after initiating contact. Elisabeth Elliot’s account of their efforts in Through Gates of Splendor became a bestseller the year after their deaths.

In God in the Rainforest, Dr. Long (Professor Emerita of History at Wheaton College) gives a historian’s critical eye to the long story of missionary contact and involvement with the Huaorani people in Ecuador. She manages to be incredibly evenhanded, avoiding the hagiography of Through Gates of Splendor and its follow-ups and examining the effects (both positive and negative) of the introduction of Western culture and Christianity to a previously unreached people group.

This one got particularly interesting for me because my wife’s parents served for decades with one of the missions organizations involved there and know those people, to the point that at least one of the people named in the book attended our wedding.

Separating missions work from our Western impulse to colonialize is an ongoing struggle. God in the Rainforest gives a fair view of how that struggle played out in the jungles of Ecuador in the second half of the 20th century.

How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir by Kate Mulgrew
I don’t remember who recommended this one. Turns out it was a short but not easy read. Mulgrew (probably best known as an actress for playing Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager) didn’t have a very happy childhood or very good relationship with her parents. Mulgrew uses uses the story of her parents’ final years to frame her reflections on her childhood and younger life, and grapples with how to deal with the realities of her youth as she looks back.

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