A succinct but thorough analysis of the Christian faith that raises thought-provoking questions in a personable voice.


God So Loved...

An investigation into the foundations of Christianity through one of its most popular verses.

Ink, an attorney with experience in full-time and lay ministry positions, brings careful, precise analysis to one of the Bible’s most well-known lines: John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”). Citing quotes from a range of cultural figures, such the Rev. Billy Graham an Christian author Max Lucado, Ink discusses the impact of simple, profound phrases on our conscience as a society. For him, though, nothing compares to the depth and profound nature of John 3:16: “One could dwell and meditate for a lifetime on this one sentence.” Ink offers a thorough probe into the words of the verse, including an insightful retelling of the Gospels for context. He deconstructs its words and phrases to find the engaging subjects they represent by blending historical references, personal anecdotes, biblical analysis, and figures of popular culture. The components of the verse—including “God,” “the world,” “believes in him”—become springboards to discuss myriad issues and ideas pertaining to modern Christianity. In the section on the phrase “his one and only Son,” which covers both notions of parenthood and Jesus as “a historical figure,” Ink shows his true powers as a researcher, bringing together information from varied sources and making it all accessible to a wide audience. He often shows skill at filtering complexities and making them relatable. He often inserts clever takes on classic ideas, as when he refers to John as having been “a strange desert creature” before finding Christ, or when he breaks down the complicated theological study of sin into layman’s terms. Overall, Ink has produced a very close textual reading that’s academic in its approach but clearly intended for a wide audience. His inclusion of “Thought Questions” at the ends of chapters make it ideal for personal or group Bible study, but his accessible tone and obvious knowledge may appeal also to other readers who are curious about Christianity.

A succinct but thorough analysis of the Christian faith that raises thought-provoking questions in a personable voice.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4908-7688-7

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.


New York Times columnist Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, 2011, etc.) returns with another volume that walks the thin line between self-help and cultural criticism.

Sandwiched between his introduction and conclusion are eight chapters that profile exemplars (Samuel Johnson and Michel de Montaigne are textual roommates) whose lives can, in Brooks’ view, show us the light. Given the author’s conservative bent in his column, readers may be surprised to discover that his cast includes some notable leftists, including Frances Perkins, Dorothy Day, and A. Philip Randolph. (Also included are Gens. Eisenhower and Marshall, Augustine, and George Eliot.) Throughout the book, Brooks’ pattern is fairly consistent: he sketches each individual’s life, highlighting struggles won and weaknesses overcome (or not), and extracts lessons for the rest of us. In general, he celebrates hard work, humility, self-effacement, and devotion to a true vocation. Early in his text, he adapts the “Adam I and Adam II” construction from the work of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Adam I being the more external, career-driven human, Adam II the one who “wants to have a serene inner character.” At times, this veers near the Devil Bugs Bunny and Angel Bugs that sit on the cartoon character’s shoulders at critical moments. Brooks liberally seasons the narrative with many allusions to history, philosophy, and literature. Viktor Frankl, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Tillich, William and Henry James, Matthew Arnold, Virginia Woolf—these are but a few who pop up. Although Brooks goes after the selfie generation, he does so in a fairly nuanced way, noting that it was really the World War II Greatest Generation who started the ball rolling. He is careful to emphasize that no one—even those he profiles—is anywhere near flawless.

The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9325-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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