Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Dave Test

I happened to check out Google + just now, and found a post from a guy called Frank Viola.  The name sounds familiar, and apparently his two blogs are regularly in the top 10 of all Christan blogs on the Web today, but I can't place him particularly. 

Anyway, he's talking about a book with the rather odd title, The Dave Test, by someone who's equally unknown to me: Frederick W Schmidt.  Even Viola admits that Schmidt is no celebrity, though the bio on Amazon shows he's no slug either, and this isn't his first book by any means.  I'll quote the bio in full:

Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. is an Episcopal Priest, Director of Spiritual Formation and Anglican Studies, and Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas.

Prior to his arrival at SMU, he served as Canon Educator and Director of Programs in Spirituality and Religious Education at Washington National Cathedral; as special assistant to the President and Provost of La Salle University in Philadelphia; as a Fellow of the American Council on Education; and as Dean of St. George's College, Jerusalem. In addition he as served as a lecturer in New Testament studies at Oxford University, and as a Tutor in New Testament studies at Keble College, Oxford. He has been a guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas, Dallas.

He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, including entries in Doubleday's Anchor Bible Dictionary.
He is author of A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998); The Changing Face of God (Morehouse-Continuum, 2000); When Suffering Persists (Morehouse-Continuum, 2001); Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse-Continuum, 2005); What God Wants for Your Life, Finding Answers to the Deepest Questions (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); and Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009). Dr. Schmidt holds a bachelor's degree from Asbury College, the Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.

The Dave Test - its subtitle is A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times - gets its name from the author's brother, who found he had a brain tumour, and the book aims to give its readers tools on what to say and what not to say to those who are in a major crisis. Words that help, rather than hurt.  This is the main reason I'm mentioning it on this blog, because it has the potential to be of considerable help to those in ministry, especially in those difficult times when someone comes to you and says they're giving up on God, because why would God let them have a cancer in the middle of a promising career, or why would God let their son die in a senseless accident...and so on.  Read Frank Viola's review, and his commending of the book.  And check out the reviews on Amazon, where you can also read a bit of the book.

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