So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

Overview

What are the mysteries at the heart of Christian faith? Why do they matter? How can they transform our lives? Debra Rienstra answers these questions and many more in her evocative exploration of Christian life and faith. So Much More is a gesture of welcoming friendship for people who are new or newly returned to Christianity—those who are searching, lurking, longing, or learning.  Anyone who wishes to understand Christianity better will welcome this genuine, heartfelt account of basic Christian beliefs...

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Overview

What are the mysteries at the heart of Christian faith? Why do they matter? How can they transform our lives? Debra Rienstra answers these questions and many more in her evocative exploration of Christian life and faith. So Much More is a gesture of welcoming friendship for people who are new or newly returned to Christianity—those who are searching, lurking, longing, or learning.  Anyone who wishes to understand Christianity better will welcome this genuine, heartfelt account of basic Christian beliefs and practices. Readers will find fresh explorations of Christianity’s foundational themes, such as incarnation, grace, suffering, and hope.  Throughout this encouraging and passionate book, Debra Rienstra connects ancient articles of faith to contemporary concerns: our longing for transcendence, our desire for integrity, and our hope for intimacy with God. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Unlike many authors reviewed in this column, Rienstra is not religious by profession but a professor of English at Calvin College. Her faith is serene, but she is not shy about acknowledging the difficulties of the deep spiritual life: "The Christian faith rests on great pillars of certainty; yet these pillars are mysteries [that] do not require that we shut down questions but that we open ourselves to greater answers and perhaps to questions we have never asked." Written with unobtrusive skill, Rienstra's work satisfies both the heart and the mind and should find an appreciative audience. For most collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787968878
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/4/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the author of Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness, and Becoming a Mother.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Imagining the Christian Way

1 Something More:Transcendence 3

2 The Divine Dance: God with Us 19

3 Alienation from God:The Human Condition, Sin, and Repentance 39

4 Rescue and Restoration: God’s Saving Grace 61

5 Not the Last Word: Suffering and Hope 88

Living the Christian Life

6 Seeking the Heart of God: Prayer 115

7 Words of Life:The Bible 138

8 Shaping Our Souls Together:Worship 162

9 Companions on the Journey:The Challenge of Christian Community 183

10 The Work of Our Hands: Serving God and Others 208

Epilogue: Mystery 227

Notes 233

Suggestions for Further Reading 243

Acknowledgments 251

The Author 253

Index 255

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