Recent Posts

#9 – Out of Darkness, Shining Light: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

As we continue the countdown of best reads of 2019, we come to Out of Darkness, Shining Light by the Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah. It’s a vivid imagining of the company that escorted the body of Dr. David Livingstone, the famed explorer and missionary, back to the coast following his death in central Africa. Gappah’s novel […]

It’s Time for the Heartlands Best Reads of 2019! #10 – Uncommon Prayer

This is the 3rd year for the highly-anticipated Heartlands Best Reads list. If you want to check out previous years you can look here (2018) and here (2017). How does a book make the Heartlands list? Well, the main limiting factor is that Alex Joyner has to read it during the year. It’s been another […]

The Rough Beauty & Devotional Poetry of Kimberly Johnson

About halfway through Kimberly Johnson’s 2002 poetry collection, Leviathan With a Hook, you find yourself face-to-face with the themes that have since come to characterize much of her work: a moment that opens the world, a rich encounter with nature and transcendence, and a little hint of disturbing fire. It’s all right there in “Up […]

Love And Fire Children: Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here

I don’t know why it’s the late spring of 1995 when Nothing to See Here begins. Perhaps it’s because it’s a time blessedly free of cell phones and texting and the narrative complications they introduce. Maybe it’s because politics had a few more norms such that a main character who is a senator could imagine […]

An Antidote to Gutless Prayer: Dreaming Like Jesus with Rebekah Simon-Peter

The wonderfully-named Rebekah Simon-Peter looks around at mainline Protestantism, including The United Methodist Church of which she is a part, and sees some problems. It’s not just that the church is competing for attention in a post-Christian world with Sunday morning soccer practices. It’s not even the eight maladies she lists that include shrinking numbers, […]