Friday, January 23

Trial and Triumph

I want to share a book that we've been enjoying ever so much as a family!  I was at a coffee shop a couple weeks ago to work on a talk on Children's Spirituality that I shared at church last night, but before I began, I browsed a couple favorite blogs.  I came across a review of Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History on Aslan's Library (which I highly recommend as a place to look for good kid theology books).  Before I was done with the review I had spent my Christmas Amazon gift card and the book arrived two days later.  I was thinking maybe we'd read it in the season of Pentecost... but well, the boys saw it and they were eager and I was eager (and there was a chapter on Athanasius), so we are already half way through and they keep begging for more!

Each chapter highlights the life of one historical figure.  Hannula does a wonderful job of telling the story of each person, gives a sense of a larger historical narrative and highlights significant theological ideas of the time.  He doesn't overly simplify the men and women in his stories, showing both the good and the bad of their lives.  Best of all, there are lots of the historical figures' own words worked into the narrative, we aren't just hearing about Augustine, Ambrose and Athanasius; we are also hearing from them.  Jim and I are enjoying the writing and I would highly recommend this book for family or classroom reading.  Rowan thought the story of how Ambrose became bishop was hilarious and has recounted it for me a couple times a day this past week.  And what mama doesn't want to hear her preschooler recounting church history!

I recommend reading a fuller review over at Aslan's library and you can find the book here.  Enjoy!

Note: And because I know someone will ask, the icons are from this site.  Athanasius (right) was a gift for Athan and Augustine (left) was Jim's Christmas gift.  I thought it was fitting as Jim has taught The Confessions four times in various contexts over the past two years.  I'm dreaming of a whole collection of icons on this wall above our collection of historical church writings.

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