Book Review: “Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry Into the News”(Jeffrey Bilbro)

As we believers view the media landscape of our times, we get a certain sadness of what mess we are looking at. Some of us their gets turn off of the ugliness or get caught up fighting against its currents. We comment sharing but it spills over to became debates on either the news itself or the media outlets. As the digital age progress it seems that the news has turned into this monster that we Christians want to get rid off or should we? Maybe we should get a little bit of boost on how we deal and navigate the news. Perhaps learning to read it with the lense Jeffrey Bilbro wants us to wear?

Will a book on helping us make sense of the news for our neighbors give us insights on what mess we have? Does it really matter? Will the advice of Bilbro’s friend on writing a book on reading the news becomes a reality that the author “just ignore” it?

Getting on Reading the Times is a bit rough, with this kind of issue being discussed in this book you’ll turn to every page. There are jargons and a few concepts that are not easily digested but as you push through you’ll catch up. As you go on all the discussions that are turning a bit academic. The length of the book got me hooked to get this one, thinking that it’s easy read (well what do you expect from a book by InterVasity Press ACADEMIC). Then again, I know I can handle this type of book. Towards the end of the chapter, I’m a bit disappointed with the practical applications that makes you say “So that’s it?” because of its “common senseness”. I’m expecting the author to take us to the next level. So by now, you’ll say that Bilbro’s friend is right to drop this issue? Well we are not yet finish with the review.

The section on Time is much better than Attention. I like the chronos and kairos discussion (which I also picked up on another book, Hinge Moments). References and citations are solid but I think the author rely too much to them. Don’t know if its a wise move but to end the section with a story about a painting is okey for me but still I’m looking for the author’s own stories. That will truly make the author really own this book by not getting too much stuff from other sources.

The finale of this book makes me love it despite of the things I see. What he promise in the beginning of the book, Bilbro satisfyingly gave it here. As I meditate on what I have just read, I think what lacks in this book is his own story. I think it will solidify what he is trying to push and I might give it a five on my rating. It took me a long time to think about what will be my verdict and I think it’s fitting to give this book that rating. Given that Reading the Times, is well researched and short, that something to consider. But I didn’t just sit down and just enjoyed the ride. The book left something on me to think of and reflect. I hope it will do that to you too.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

Purchase the book by clicking here.

Read my favorite quotes from the book here.

Get some quote cards to share quotes from this book by clicking this link.

(Review copy of this book was provided by IVP Academic.)

(Did you like what you read? Did this article helped you? Then you can share some love by buying me a coffee).

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