Sorrow & Blood:
in Contexts of
Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom
Editors: William Taylor,
Antonia van der Meer
and Reg Reimer
William Carey library,
2013. 568 pages.
$32 (e-book $9.99)
Most secular news out- lets ignore reports of Christians being
under attack, yet some Christians hyperbolize tragedy, either
because they misunderstand or
Sorrow & Blood
is a detailed
can help readers discern
by an Amer-
ican, a Brazilian and a Can-
adian (Reimer), and drawing
on a global array of authors, it
carefully leads readers through
the maze of one of today’s ma-
jor global news stories.
Reimer, known for his
leadership at World Relief
Canada, spent his adult life in
Southeast Asia, including years
in Vietnam. His knowledge of
that area is legendary, with
much of it devoted to alerting
the world to persecution.
This book lays out the scope
and details of what Christians
face around the globe in a gripping narrative. Three-quarters of
persecution based on religion is
against Christians. Although
many assumed persecution
would recede a few decades ago
when the Iron Curtain fell and
China opened its doors, the killing of Christians has not ended.
Part One of the book defines
terms such as martyrdom and
persecution to provide a lens
through which today’s assaults
can be better understood.
Part Two offers reflections
from Scripture and theology on
what to expect in our public and
private witness of the gospel.
Part Three immerses read-
ers in actual case studies fol-
lowed by guidelines on how
Christian mission might best
work in the myriad of religious
and cultural contexts where
suffering is a real factor.
Altogether the book offers
more than information – read-
ers will find it emotionally mov-
ing and also helpful in enabling
better discernment for their
prayers, advocacy and support
of Christians facing persecution.
Sorrow & Blood can be previewed and ordered at www.
sorrowandblood.com. It does a
great job at clarifying the often
murky waterway of persecution today. –Brian C. Stiller
Conspiracy of light:
by the legacy of
C. S. lewis
Author: d. S. Martin
Cascade Books, 2013.
122 pages. $15
There is creative reading as well as creative writing,” said the 19th-centur y
American thinker Ralph Waldo
Emerson. D. S. Martin’s new
book demonstrates the fruit of
his creative reading of C. S. Lewis.
Martin, a Toronto-area poet
and teacher ( www.dsmartin.ca),
takes readers in 77 poems through
explorations of the role of the
poet, riffs on ideas and lines from
Lewis’ writings, explorations of
Lewis’ fantasy novels, and mus-
ings about communication, our
final state and more.
From the first lines of the
first poem – “A glance over your
shoulder / assures you you can
always get back” – to the final
“Destination,” it’s a magical trip.
Do readers have to know
Lewis’ original writings from the
1940s and 1950s (such as The
Screwtape Letters, Mere Christian-
ity and The Chronicles of Narnia)
to understand these poems? No.
They stand on their own, though
Martin has included an end sec-
tion where he names the inspir-
ational source of each.
trigued by ques-
tions of truth and
reality will be
satisfied, as will
those who enjoy
lical echoes such
as “Better is one
day in his boats
/ than thousands elsewhere”
(from “The Sacred Fish”).
Martin effectively adapts
Lewis’ ideas to a new generation. In “On the Latest Impending Doom,” which was inspired
by Lewis’ “On the Atomic
Bomb,” Martin’s dooms are
21st century: “So you’ve found
a new engine of doom / running on fossil fuel.”
Most of the poems are free
verse and wonderfully crafted.
Martin uses lots of alliteration
and rhymes, perfect and imperfect, within and at the ends of
lines. These echo across stanzas,
unifying poems and making
them a pleasure to read aloud.
Conspiracy of Light reminds
Books&Culture n BooK & MuSIC REVIEWS
Writers from a wide range of Canadian churches won awards from the Word Guild, a national writers’ as-
sociation, in June. the annual Word Awards
drew more than 220 entries published last
year across 28 categories. Win-
ners were presented with cash
prizes at a gala event in Missis-
sauga, ont., on June 11.
this year’s $5,000 Grace Ir win
prize went to Carolyn Weber of lon-
don, ont., for Surprised by Oxford:
A Memoir (thomas Nelson). the
book also won the life stories cat-
egory. Another memoir by Weber,
Holy Is the Day, earned honourable
mention for the Ir win prize.
Several other authors were
multiple winners. Ken Shige-matsu of Vancouver, author of
God in My Everything (Zonder-
van), won the Christian living
category and honourable
mention for the Irwin
prize; Donald N. Bastian
of Brampton, ont., author
of The Pastor’s First Love
(BpS Books), won the
instructional category and
honourable mention for
the Ir win prize; and June Stevenson of Ajax,
ont., won for both song lyrics and poetry.
Faith Today readers may recall the win-
ning news article “Christian law School
proposal Raises Discussion” by Jeff Dews-
bury from our Mar/Apr 2013 issue; and a
recent essay by Weber, “Coming Home as a
Follower of Christ,” in May/Jun 2014.
A complete list of winners is available at
After ward 200 writers, editors, agents and
publishers met in Guelph, ont., for three days
for Canada’s largest Christian writers’ conference, also held by the Word Guild. –F T staff
Best Writing of the year Awarded