Making Time for God

Making Time for God
by Susan R. Garrett and Amy Plantinga Pauw '81, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2002, 384 pp.

Amy Plantinga Pauw is used to writing academic pieces on theology. In fact, the Henry P. Mobley Professor of Doctrinal Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary recently published a book on the Trinitarian theology of Jonathan Edwards. That accomplishment makes writing a book of children's devotionals sound simple.

"Actually, I found it difficult to write for this audience," said Pauw, of her newest publication, which is intended for children ages 8-12. "In academic writing I can get away with technical terms and jargon. In this book I was trying to get a good balance between being very clear and direct and not oversimplifying."

Yet Pauw wrote from experience as the mother of three children, ages 14, 11 and 8.

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"As a parent of young children, I felt the direct relevance that this book could have in the lives of children," she said.

What Pauw and co-author Susan Garrett purposely avoided in the daily devotional was a predictable moral lesson.

"We thought that too often the Bible is used for kids as a moral tool," said Pauw. "It's portrayed as a whole lot of 'do this' and 'don't do that.' That doesn't do justice to what the Bible is about. We made an attempt to welcome children into a broader sense of faith. We wanted to go beyond 'good girls and boys do this.'"

Therefore, Making Time for God includes entries about sin and hope and doubt.

"Sometimes life is hard to understand, and we wanted kids to know that the Bible is where to go when you have questions," said Pauw. "What makes this book unique is that we were not afraid of passages that acknowledge the doubt that believers feel."

For instance, the July 16 entry is based on Psalm 88 in which the psalmist writes, "Lord, I cry out to you for help. In the morning I pray to you. Lord, why do you say no to me? Why do you turn your face away from me?"

"In that writing we wanted children to know that sometimes all believers doubt and wonder if God is listening," said Pauw. "That is a departure from the message of most children's devotionals, which is always one of assurance."

The book is written for children, but families are encouraged to use it together.

"We think that a lot of people want to share the Bible with their children but are intimidated by their own lack of biblical knowledge," said Pauw. "This is a friendly way of getting into it, and we hope that it will also engage those adult readers."

Dutch Chicago by Robert P. SwierengaDutch Chicago: A History of the Hollanders in the Windy City
by Robert P. Swierenga '57, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002, 857 pp.

Internationally renowned immigration historian Robert Swierenga presents here a colorful, comprehensive history of the Dutch churches, schools and communities of greater Chicagoland since the 1840s. Dutch Chicago features 250 photos and illustrations as well as detailed appendixes and an index.

Serving in Your Church Music Ministry by Randall D. EngleServing in Your Church Music Ministry
by Randall D. Engle '87 MDiv'92, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing Co., 2002, 96 pp.

This book is designed to provide practical orientation to church members who volunteer to serve both vocally and instrumentally through choral groups, instrumental groups and special music in their churches. Chapter questions and an opening chapter on the theology of worship also make this ideal for worship committee, council and small group discussion.

Song of Saigon by Anh Vu SawyerSong of Saigon: One Woman's Journey to Freedom
by Anh Vu Sawyer '79 and Pam Proctor, New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, 2003, 287 pp.

As one of the last people evacuated from the rooftop of the American Embassy during the final hours before the fall of Saigon, Anh Vu Sawyer brings an authentic voice to this moving historical family saga. She describes everything from her daily challenges to the events leading up to the day Saigon fell, to a woman's harrowing exodus to freedom.

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition catalog - click to enlarge imageThe Dead Sea Scrolls: Catalog of the Exhibition of Scrolls and Artifacts from the Collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority
edited by Ellen Middlebrook Herron, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 200e, 144 pages; 56 color photographs

This title is available for $25 from the Calvin Alumni Association by emailing or calling 616-526-6142.

This exhibition catalog features photos and descriptions of the twelve scroll fragments and over 80 artifacts from the collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority on display at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids in spring of 2003. Allowing everyone to experience this stunning exhibit firsthand, this catalog contains a mix of striking visual images, basic information on the scrolls, and outstanding original essays by leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. Bastiaan Van Elderen introduces the history of the scrolls. Pnina Shor and Lena Libman describe the describe the conservation of the scrolls. James VanderKam discusses the importance of calendars in the life of the Qumran community. And significantly, Emanuel Tov documents for the first time in his own words the history of the publication of the scrolls, including the controversy surrounding their release, the reasons behind the delays in their publication and other provocative stories.