Hearts & Minds BookNotes

annotations, blurbs and ruminations

to enlarge the heart & stimulate the mind

and to happily generate mail order business for Hearts & Minds bookstore

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Location: Dallastown, PA

My lovely wife Beth and I own and operate--proprietors makes us sound more classy than we really are--a cluttered, diverse and independent bookstore in Central Pennsylvania. After well over 20 years, we are still not sure what to say when people ask if our shop is a "Christian bookstore." I do a monthly book review column over at our website; we hope that these new blogged bits will afford friends and customers the chance to see other books I happen to be reading, wishing to read, pretending that I read or at least believe that others should, if not read, know about. We have three children, attend a Presbyterian church in York, PA and have no hobbies.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Quick Hooray for Kelly Monroe Kullberg: Finding God Beyond Harvard

I wish I had time to describe for you the various nifty aspects of this long-awaited sequel to Kelly Monroe's marvelously done, very important (and, in my opinion, not mentioned nearly enough) edited volume, Finding God at Harvard: The Spiritual Journys of Thinking Christians. The new one tells the story of Ms Monroe's humble but dogged efforts to help the evangelical presence at Harvard earn respect among their secularized peers and professors, and to take the renowned model of Veritas Forum on the road to colleges and universities across the land.

You may not know this grand story, but the first collection, Finding God at Harvard is an anthology of various speakers that spoke at Harvard, with luminaries and dignitaries, lesser known but wonderful Christian scholars and spiritual leaders as diverse as Nicholas Woltersdorff, Lamin Sanneh, and Mother Theresa. These thoughtful and commited Christian scholars addressed Harvard's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group, or the campus at large, offering real-world examples of Christian conviction in the arena of higher education and illustrations of followers of Christ giving witness to their vocations in the world. It is a great resource since it covers such ground, with lectures on science and economics, politics and apologetics, gender and racial justice. Philosophers are there, public servants of all sorts, and a few theologians; most however share a Christian view of their work in fields other than theology proper. Some are teachers at the nation's oldest university and many hold high degrees from other prestigious hallowed halls. It is a useful gift for a youngster going off to college who wants to integrate her faith into her collegiate experience.

After her experience at Harvard, Kelly worked hard with literally hundreds of volunteers throughout the country to set up debates, forums, lectures and conferences which presented Christian claims amidst secularly spirited views at other universities. Her Veritas Forums---Veritas is the Latin phrase for truth, of course, and still stands in the motto for Harvard---have been held in remarkable locations, almost all to great acclaim. (We've even sold books at one or two over the years, and can testify to their thoughtful approach, their fruitfulness in sharpening the Christian mind and their boldness in presenting gospel claims in ways those in the modern university can relate to.) This brand new book, Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas (IVP; $20.00) tells that story in dramatic and inspiring ways and we are thrilled about it.

We will surely talk about this in weeks and months to come. If you've ever helped arrange a Veritas Forum at your campus, your name is most likely listed here...weeeee! It is a warm and interesting book, easy to read. Blurbs on the back illustrate Kelly's great reputation; Mark Noll calls her "peripatetic" and while I do not know what that means, I suspect it is pretty darn great. Armand Nicholi, esteemed Harvard Medical School prof (himself author of A Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life) says "This deeply moving story of her personal journey gives the reader new insight into her remarkable achievements."

If you know anybody that does campus ministry, if you know anybody who works on a campus, if you know any students going off to school, either of these two books---the collection of essays and lectures or this more memoristic story of the Forums---would make great gifts.

Finding God At Harvard: Spiritual Journys of Thinking Christians Kelly Monroe (Zondervan) $12.99
Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas Kelly Monroe Kullberg (IVP) $20.00