How can the sanctified imagination become a powerful instrument for Christian witness? Timmerman and Hettinga have pulled together an unusual collection of 60 classic and contemporary writings (e.g., Augustine, Donne, Solzhenitsyn, Wangerin) to stimulate thinking and push us in new directions. 448 pages, softcover. Baker.
Good writing "doesn't just happen," say the authors. It takes work and a basic understanding of rhetorical situations. "Whatever our goals, we want readers to be affected by our writing," they assert. "The work of writing clarifies who we are in relation to both God and the world about us."
In the World equips readers to become better writers. It also introduces quality writing with over forty classic and contemporary selections from numerous writers, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, John Donne, Henri Nouwen, Walter Wangerin Jr., and Charles Darwin.
This second edition contains a completely updated and revised rhetoric section and added contemporary essays that represent a broad range of ethnicity, gender, and point of view.
John H. Timmerman (Ph.D., Ohio University) and Donald R. Hettinga (Ph.D., University of Chicago) are professors of English at Calvin College. They have won many awards for their essays, short stories, and poetry and each has authored several books.
The problem with writing a rhetoric text like In The World: Reading And Writing As A Christian, is that its core truths never change, but its examples and references can become dated and stale. Fortunately, the 1987 version of this book by John H. Timmerman and Donald R. Hettinga has been revised and re-released in 2004. Now, every contemporary topic from Harry Potter to abortion is covered with vibrancy and in-depth analysis.
This is not easy reading. The sample writings are penned by such essayists as St. Augustine, John Donne, Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Annie Dillard, and Philip Yancey. The subjects include grace, marriage, ecology, ethics, literature, art, history, and even advanced biology.
The chief purpose of this book is to offer 87 pages of intensive training in creativity, research, writing, and editing, followed by a collection of quality essays that showcase the very elements taught in the first half of the book. A lesson evolves from this: writers who feel they must stoop to using off-color language, lewd sex scenes, and graphic violence in order to attract modern readers will discover how a wide range of authors (found in this collection) have proven otherwise. Cream rises to the surface, and so does intelligent, insightful, finely crafted writing.
If the book has a flaw, it may be the depth of some of the writing. For example, the science essays are heavy with unfamiliar medical and technological vocabulary. Also, sometimes the tone of the writing can be critical or even caustic, like a lecture or reprimand. However, my favorite essay, "You're Still Failing" by I. M. Cross (actual name) has a justified bite to it. Cross presents a tirade against college students who lack discipline and are willing to do second rate work. He pulls no punches it telling them they are losers, and I found myself (regrettably so) saying, "Amen! Preach it, brother!"
This book provides examples of writers who practice what immerman and Hettinga advocate. Though not light reading, it leaves an intellectual impact. -- Dennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., Christian Book Previews.com
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