Reflections on the
Meaning of Home
By Jen Pollock
2017. 220 pages. $22
(audio $31, DVD $27)
AN AMERICAN with a Toronto address, Jen Pollock Michel follows
her debut, Teach Us to Want (
InterVarsity, 2014), with another about
longing – and belonging.
Her new work has two parts.
The Welcome of Home contains
chapters on our nostalgia for home,
the history of domestic roles, images of God as homemaker, complications of finding “home” in highly
mobile North America, and the
gospel’s homeward-bound answer
to death and loss.
The Work of Home tackles
housekeeping (as worshipful work
and loving service), the church as
missional home, marriage as mutual sacrifice, feasting and Eucharist as proclaiming “the gospel of
home,” Sabbath-keeping (our need
for rest), and a home-centred restatement of the gospel itself.
She concludes with study questions, primarily for use with a
companion DVD for group study.
She admits men are unlikely to
see themselves as “readers of a book
about home,” but insists “that a
book on home is for both women
and men alike,” as God’s creating
and saving work is characterized
with images drawn from “the work
In this welcoming read, even
slightly technical words (exegesis,
theophany) are explained by con-
text, with rare exceptions (I agree
“baptizing” housekeeping makes it
a “sacred duty,” but it’s unclear why
this makes vocation a “Christo-
This is biblical theology, personal and personable, for those who
might not think they can handle
theology. It asks us to listen closely,
to discern how our lives respond to
God’s homeward call.
–MAT THE W FORREST LO WE
and Nature Say Yes!
By Denis O.
196 pages. $21.00
THIS BOOK joins a growing list
written by Evangelicals convinced
the evidence for evolution is strong.
A professor at the University of
Alberta, Denis Lamoureux covers
a lot of ground here, including
relevant passages in Scripture,
evidence for evolution, his own
personal journey from six-day creationism, and Intelligent Design.
It may be misleading to suggest
the Scriptures say yes to evolution,
but he shows that at least they do
not say no.
He reminds us of Galileo who in
the 17th century argued the Bible
was not intended to be read as a
science text. For example, when
Jesus says people do not know
where the wind comes from (John
3: 8) or the book of Joshua says the
sun stopped moving, these aren’t
Lamoureux argues the Book of
God’s Works (nature) and the Book
of God’s Words (the Bible) convey
different kinds of truths that
together paint a complete picture.
His book doesn’t get to some difficult implications of evolution,
such as what to make of predation,
physical pain and extinction. If the
theory of evolution is correct, these
unhappy things existed long before
humans developed, which challenges the doctrine that all pain is the
result of human sin.
Instead of a digression from
God’s original plan for the world,
might pain be part of its unfolding
story – and why we need “the Lamb
who was slain from the creation of
the world” (Revelation 13: 8)?
Professor Lamoureux’s book is
useful for readers new to his theme.
His personal story and ongoing
witness show acceptance of evolutionary theory is not synonymous
with loss of faith. –PRESTON JONES
and personable, for
BOOKS & CULTURE
LAILA BIALI’S ASTOUNDING
vocal and piano chops have
received high praise in the past,
with a Juno-nominated jazz
album and touring work for the
likes of Sting among others.
House of Many Rooms is her
first entirely self-written and
arranged album (it’s coproduced
with her husband Ben Wittman).
All her classical, jazz, and pop
influences come together in
this adult contemporary record
as she pours out her heart and
She embraces themes of
commitment, loss and resilience.
While addressing some heavy
and painful experiences, her
lyrics are always infused with a
sense of undying hope and faith.
This album is full of surprises
and pleasantly arranged twists
and turns. “Shadowlands” is an
epic, joyful gospel anthem featuring the Toronto Mass Choir.
“Shine” is a richly orchestrated
reflection on the 2012 Sandy
Hook school shooting. “You” is
one of a few quirky, modern
pop “carnivalesque” numbers.
Then there are the poignant
yet simple piano ballads like the
heartfelt “Plainclothes Hero.”
There is a rich, cinematic
quality to these 49 minutes of
music that leaves you emotion-
ally raw – like you have just read
a classic novel or stepped out of
an incredible Broadway musical.
The dynamic range is huge,
diverse and colourful. Her jazz
sensibilities are always sneaking
into the arrangements with
intricate rhythms and sophisti-
cated melody lines.
Biali knows how to emote.
She sings her stories with a
soulful, soaring voice that
moves easily from a powerful
anthem into a playful, indie-pop
ditty and then on to a soothing,
almost whispered ballad. She
does it all – and the result is
a glorious tapestry of musical
brilliance. –ALI MAT THEWS
House of Many
By Laila Biali & The
$25 (digital $9.99)