Bookshelf

The Miracle of KindnessThe Miracle of Kindness: Changing the World One Act at a Time
by James R. Kok ’56 BD’62, Garden Grove, Calif.: 2005, 263 pp.

“They’ll know we are Christians by our love” is a refrain that was popularized in the 1970s; pastor James Kok wishes the lyrics rang truer.

“We, as Christians, should do a better job of care and kindness,” the longtime pastor said. “Christians ought to be famous for being outstanding in this way, and we’re not.”

It is for this reason that Kok wrote The Miracle of Kindness.

“It has become a passion for me,” said Kok, who is director of care ministry at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., and founder of the cathedral’s annual Conference on Care and Kindness.

The book is about the little things, he explained. “You don’t have to be an expert; everybody can do it. When you go into the grocery store, you can make the person who waits on you more hopeful about humanity just by a smile or a few words that you say.”

Kok shares many kindness examples in his book, ranging from brief moments of thankfulness to many hours of caring. He also outlines the “five key essentials to encourage and motivate.”

“The strong motivating conviction behind the five keys is that people are needed,” he writes. “They do not need to be skilled helpers or highly qualified caregivers. But they do need to ‘show up.’”

Among the five keys are recognizing that each person has the ability to brighten another’s life; that everyone needs encouragement; that care and kindness build hope and happiness; that care and kindness to anyone is care and kindness to the Lord; and that care and kindness are infectious.

“About 60 to 80 years ago, ‘good works’ got a lot of bad press,” he said. “Now, it’s all about grace. I think that needs to be rebalanced with a few more good works.”

More Online
Calvin Campus Store
Purchase these titles online or call 1-800-748-0122

The Alumni Collection
Books and CDs published by the Calvin Alumni Association

Learn more about Jim Kok's Care Ministry at the Crystal Cathedral.

“They’ll know we are Christians by our love” is a refrain that was popularized in the 1970s; pastor James Kok wishes the lyrics rang truer.

“We, as Christians, should do a better job of care and kindness,” the longtime pastor said. “Christians ought to be famous for being outstanding in this way, and we’re not.”

It is for this reason that Kok wrote The Miracle of Kindness.

“It has become a passion for me,” said Kok, who is director of care ministry at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., and founder of the cathedral’s annual Conference on Care and Kindness.

The book is about the little things, he explained. “You don’t have to be an expert; everybody can do it. When you go into the grocery store, you can make the person who waits on you more hopeful about humanity just by a smile or a few words that you say.”

Kok shares many kindness examples in his book, ranging from brief moments of thankfulness to many hours of caring. He also outlines the “five key essentials to encourage and motivate.”

“The strong motivating conviction behind the five keys is that people are needed,” he writes. “They do not need to be skilled helpers or highly qualified caregivers. But they do need to ‘show up.’”

Among the five keys are recognizing that each person has the ability to brighten another’s life; that everyone needs encouragement; that care and kindness build hope and happiness; that care and kindness to anyone is care and kindness to the Lord; and that care and kindness are infectious.

“About 60 to 80 years ago, ‘good works’ got a lot of bad press,” he said. “Now, it’s all about grace. I think that needs to be rebalanced with a few more good works.”

Besides “changing the world one act at a time,” Kok believes his methods will also give Christians a sense of purpose in the world. “It gives Christians a sense of making this world a better place, and even when you’re 90 years old, you still have something to do. You make it your goal to contribute positively to someone else’s life.”

Kok wrote The Miracle of Kindness for all Christians, but he hopes church leaders will use it in small groups and educational programs as a teaching tool.

“From what I’ve heard so far, it’s been effective in getting people to try a little more,” he said.

Pulpit and PoliticsPulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium
edited by Corwin Smidt, Calvin political science professor, Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2004, 365 pp.

Pulpit and Politics presents a comprehensive examination of the religious beliefs and political behavior of American clergy at the advent of the new millennium. Based on data gathered through a cooperative survey, this study features a cross section of African-American, Baptist, Jewish, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic and other religious groups. This book offers an understanding of the clergy comparatively, historically and statistically.

Tres Mures CaeciTres Mures Caeci: A Moral Tail in Latin
by David Noe ’95, Purcellville, Va.: Patrick Henry College Press, 2005, 48 pp.

Three Blind Mice in Latin serves the needs of parents who want their youngsters to hear Latin, teachers who hope to liven up the routine of parsing and paradigms, and grandparents who studied Latin in their youth and now want to read it to their grandchildren. Intended for ages 3 to 8, the whimsical tale affords children the opportunity to begin learning their first foreign language.

Cruel ParadiseCruel Paradise
by Hylke Speerstra, translated and abridged by Henry Baron ’60, Calvin English professor emeritus, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, 224 pp.

This book weaves together the firsthand stories of men and women who emigrated from the Netherlands throughout the 20th century. Common themes of personal identity and family, uprootedness and loss, nostalgia and bittersweet joy run throughout the book. These stories provide a moving tribute to those who left their homeland with little more than uncertain hopes for their children.