I loved this book! It’s the story of a small Southern town in Georgia that (reluctantly) becomes home to thousands of resettled refugees. It's also about the tomboy from Jordan who organizes the youth into a soccer team (“The Fugees”). This book provides a great balance of good sports writing and a solid sociological exploration of what was going on in the town. It also tells the stories of the boys who played with The Fugees, how they came to America, and what life was like for them and their families when they arrived. Highly recommended. (Although, I'd say it's destined to be made into a movie. So if you’re feeling lazy, you could wait and see it on the screen.)
In the Valley of Mist - Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World, by Justine Hardy
Hardy’s book explores, primarily through the eyes of one Kashmiri family, how the beautiful region around Srinagar, India became radicalized and divided and the toll this has taken on the people who live there. It was not an easy read, and would have been harder without some background in the local history and current regional issues. Still, it was evocative and interesting and I’d recommend it for anyone interested in this part of South Asia and seeing it through the eyes of local people. One thing that was hard to figure out: Who is Justine? What makes her tick? I know she's a journalist, but she writes more as a friend-of-the-family. Why did she spend so much time in Kashmir?
Agape Leadership: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership from the Life of R.C. Chapman, by Robert Petersen and Alexander Strauch
Robert Chapman was a 19th century pastor among those who would come to be called the Plymouth Brethren, and his life was marked both by holiness and a gracious attitude towards others. This little book misses hagiography by a fairly narrow margin but provides inspiring examples of a life devoted to service, hospitality, love, and nurturing others. Chapman was a true shepherd. I wrote about one section of this book here.
Ask A Missionary: Time-Tested Answers by Those Who Have Been There, ed. John McVay
John and I have become friend-ish in recent months, and he sent me a pre-release copy so I could endorse it. I think the book will be available in early 2010. Here’s what I wrote:
“John McVay and the Christian workers behind Ask A Missionary do the Kingdom a great service: they share their hard-won wisdom with future missionaries, answering their questions as well as the questions they might not think to ask and providing multiple points of view.”
“Ask A Missionary is a great resource for mission mobilizers, pastors, Christian leaders, and anyone coaching people interested in missions through the confusing process of getting from ‘here’ to ‘there.’”