The coronavirus challenged compassion-providing ministries in new ways
Culture Notable Books
Ben Bernanke, appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve just before the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, penned his 600-page memoir to highlight the drama of the 2008 crisis from his vantage point. He’s proud to say that the Fed brought us back from the brink of disaster when world financial systems were collapsing amid a housing and credit market implosion. The victory lap he takes for those efforts, though, feels premature. As long as interest rates remain near 0 percent, it is too early to know how the “unwinding” of Fed efforts will play out.
Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
Press coverage of the powerful and influential Koch brothers generally depicts them as self-serving, conspiratorial cronies who are politically active for business reasons. This refreshing narrative from a liberal writer at a liberal magazine thoroughly refutes that flawed narrative. This fine work leaves no doubt that what drives Charles and David Koch each day is their heartfelt commitment to free markets and limited government: Koch supporters and Koch opponents will both benefit from reading it.
Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative who Changed America
Given the present political environment, some will be surprised to learn that in recent history a political ideologue could proclaim his case without being belligerent and could seek to enact change without being obstructionist. Jack Kemp died in 2009, but his legacy in driving the tax reform of the 1980s remains with us. Kondracke and Barnes do a splendid job here showing us not just Kemp’s political effectiveness and policy impact, but the heart from which Kemp’s work came. Today’s political right would do well to pay attention!
America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Few organizations engender more controversy than the Federal Reserve. The Fed has fans who believe it is the panacea for all that economically ails us, and it has detractors who believe it to be part of a sinister global conspiracy to enrich bankers and suppress the middle class. Somewhere between wild conspiracy theories and statist fawning lies the truth. Lowenstein’s book unpacks the history of the central bank’s formation, the concerns that preceded it, and the Jacksonian heritage of a country that has always been, and perhaps always will be, skeptical of central banking.
In Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do (Crossway, 2015), Paul David Tripp argues mankind has an awe problem. We substitute awe of self for awe of God. Tripp’s counseling background shows up in the street-level examples he gives of people having awe for something other than God. Sins like fear of man, doubt, materialism, need for control, and workaholism grow out of this misdirected awe. His clunky terms for the condition—awe wrongedness or AWN, and awelessness—are unlikely to catch on. His helpful antidotes—passages like Isaiah 40—should.
Rebecca Manley Pippert’s slender Uncovering the Life of Jesus (The Good Book Company, 2015) focuses on six encounters with Christ taken from Luke’s Gospel. It includes the relevant passages and asks probing questions based on the text. Pippert’s book is meant for “anyone who is genuinely seeking; who has honest questions and who wants to find out about the real Jesus.” Come, she writes, “with an open mind and heart, and see what you find.”—Susan Olasky