Review of ‘A Spirit-Empowered Life’ by Mike Clarensau

This review first appeared at Mike Clarensau, A Spirit-Empowered Life: Discover the World-Changing Journey God Has Designed for You (Springfield, MO: Vital Resources, 2015). This past Sunday—May 15, 2016—was Pentecost. In the Old Testament, Shavuot occurred on the fiftieth day after Passover and celebrated the firstfruits of the harvest. When Jews translated Scripture into Greek, they chose the word Pentecost (“fiftieth”) to translate Shavuot (“weeks”), for obvious reasons. In the New Testament, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit recorded in Acts 2 occurred on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death (which coincided with Passover), resurrection, and ascension into Heaven. … Continue reading Review of ‘A Spirit-Empowered Life’ by Mike Clarensau

Review of ‘Why Redistribution Fails’ by James Piereson

James Piereson, Why Redistribution Fails, Encounter Broadside No. 45 (New York: Encounter Books, 2015). According to American progressives, economic inequality is a social-justice problem for which income redistribution is a necessary political solution. In this Encounter Broadside, James Piereson sets the moral question about income redistribution to one side and focuses on a more practical question, whether government can do it well. He answers that it cannot. “[T]he progressive case is based upon a significant fallacy,” he writes; “it assumes that the U.S. government is actually capable of redistributing income from the wealthy to the poor. For reasons of policy, … Continue reading Review of ‘Why Redistribution Fails’ by James Piereson

Review of ‘Strong and Weak’ by Andy Crouch

This review first appeared at Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2016). “Two questions haunt every human life and every human community,” writes Andy Crouch. “The first: What are we meant to be? The second: Why are we so far from what we’re meant to be?” (emphasis in original). Strong and Weak offers an answer to that question which focuses on “the paradox of flourishing,” the necessity of pursuing “greater authority and greater vulnerability at the same time” (emphasis in original). Crouch defines authority as “the … Continue reading Review of ‘Strong and Weak’ by Andy Crouch

Review of ‘The Ideal Team Player’ by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues: A Leadership Fable (Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2016). Effective organizations—whether they’re multinational corporations, professional sports franchises, or local churches—practice teamwork. When people work together on a common goal, they achieve more than they could do individually and experience a measure of personal satisfaction. When people work against one another, however, the result is organizational ineffectiveness and personal frustration. In his 2002 bestseller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni outlined five ways teamwork goes awry: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance … Continue reading Review of ‘The Ideal Team Player’ by Patrick Lencioni

Review of ‘The Porn Phenomenon’ by Barna Group

This article first appeared at Barna Group, The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age (Ventura, CA: Barna, 2016). “Thirty years ago, pornography arrived in the mail wrapped in discreet black plastic.” So begins The Porn Phenomenon, a new report from Barna Group, the well-respected evangelical polling firm. “Today, porn slips invited or not onto every screen with an Internet connection. For that matter, much of it originates in regular households with a wireless signal.” The ubiquity of porn has changed attitudes about it, for the worse. According to Barna, “Only one in 10 teens and one … Continue reading Review of ‘The Porn Phenomenon’ by Barna Group