Adele Gallogly

REFLECTIONS & REVIEWS


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Loving Mercy, Living in Prison

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The Sun Does Shine is the gripping memoir by Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongfully convicted of killing two men and sentenced to death in 1985 in Alabama. The case against Hinton, a 29-year-old black man, was clearly shaped by racism and rooted in insufficient evidence. He spent nearly 30 years in prison, until he was finally freed in 2015, after 16 years of working with Equal Justice Initiative.

As Hinton relives moments leading up to his conviction and his painful decades in 34964905prison, his voice burns with righteous anger at the systemic injustice at work. From the moment he is convicted, however, he finds great freedom is his ability to make choices that will shape his life for the better. Even in the depths of death row he chooses compassion over hatred, and forgiveness over bitterness.

Surrounded by sights and sounds of death and despair, Hinton finds strength in his faith in God and the love of his family and friends. He also relies on the liberating force of his vivid, playful imagination. His friendships with fellow inmates help him recognize their shared humanity and identity as children of God. He advocates for a prison library so he and the other prisoners can share in the transformative power of literature.

Hinton’s gritty yet triumphant memoir bears witness to the rewards inherent in “loving mercy” in one of the world’s most seemingly forsaken places.

{Originally published in Christian Courier)

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Seeing through the Lens of Personality

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the plethora of personality types and their corresponding measurements? Author and well-known book blogger Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) may be just the wise and gracious guide you need.

In Reading People, Bogel pulls from years of research and offers up her personal experiences with popular personality frameworks such as the Enneagram, Keirsey’s Temperaments, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. She compares understanding personality to “holding a good map” and positions herself as a fascinated “fellow traveler” in the quest to make sense of the complex layers of human identity through various typing systems.

Examining people through the lens of personality requires deep interior work—and Bogel notes that we may not necessarily like or immediately understand what we discover. She writes, “When it comes to understanding yourselves and others, wishful thinking will get you nowhere. If personality information is going to help you, you’re going to have to get comfortable with the true self that lies within you.”

As difficult as this soul-mining exploration may be, Bogel suggests that it is absolutely worthwhile work. We have much to gain by both “confronting our junk” as well as embracing our particular gifts and characteristics. These steps can equip us to improve our relationships, clarify our vocations, and refine our spiritual lives.

Reading People is an entertaining, astute, and actionable personality primer that can help us more fully understand how God has uniquely made us and those around us. (Banner review)


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Coming of Age in Post-Earthquake Haiti

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Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go opens in the chaos of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed over 230,000 people and displaced 1.5 million more. Describing the disaster that claimed both her home and the life of her beloved aunt, 15-year-old protagonist Magdalie says: “The sound and shaking become one sensation—I can’t separate the two—and the world collapses.” It is a description that fits the thematic heart of Laura Rose Wagner’s tragic novel of physical sensation, familial separation, and literal collapse.

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Chris Hoke’s Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders

Murderers. Drug addicts. Gang leaders. Thieves. The troubled men in this memoir by Chris Hoke, a gang pastor and jail chaplain, are known to society by these dark labels. To Hoke, however, these “men starved for kindness and care” are so much more than their criminal actions or statuses; they are his unconventional congregants and his true friends.

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Toni Morrison’s Haunting New Novel

Widely acclaimed African American novelist Toni Morrison is regularly praised for boldly writing about the grim realities of racial hatred, violence, sexual abuse, and parental mistreatment. Her protagonists are often women—mothers, sisters, and daughters—whose traumatic experiences shape their struggles to receive and give love. Morrison’s latest and 11th novel, God Help the Child, continues to explore this thematic territory—this time in the setting of modern-day America.

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Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things

16651_350_559_c1_c_c_0_0_1For many years, my dad Tom Konyndyk has been applying his incisive and thoughtful editorial eye to my book reviews and other creative pieces. He makes me a better writer. It has been a while since he’s published a review of his own. So it sure is neat to read his review of Michel Faber’s new novel The Book of Strange New Things. Here is an excerpt of this review–and you can read the full thing over at Christian Courier.

Well done, dad!

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The Unique Giftedness of Hannah More

TIN-124FierceConvictions_largeHannah More was an accomplished and gifted author and philanthropist best known for opposing the slave trade and promoting education for women in 18th-century British society. Karen Swallow Prior’s Fierce Convictions is a crisply written, rigorously researched biography that charts More’s “extraordinary life” through the events, works, and relationships by which her legacy was made.

From her youth to her elderly years, More devoted her gifts and talents to serving others. In tracing the various chapters of More’s life, Prior consistently highlights More’s admirable traits—her intelligence, wit, eloquence, and compassion. This is a woman who counted literary giants and historical icons such as Samuel Johnson and William Wilberforce among her closest friends and whose poetry, novels, and plays were praised for capturing “the vitality of the moral imagination.”

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