Faculty Authors Release New Books


CHICAGO, IL (February 18, 2009) – Recent books by North Park University professors will give readers a guided tour through Athens, raise issues about mission work in Asia, and provide a different perspective on the spiritual discipline of fasting. All of them are rooted in understanding other cultures.

Angelyn Balodimas-Bartolomei recently published Footsteps Through Athina: A Traveler's Guide to Athens. But beyond the title, it is far from a typical tourist manual.

“This book is more than a travel guide—it is part of me,” says Balodimas-Bartolomei, who was born to Greek parents and grew up in Chicago. “I have so much love and passion for Athens that it came out through my writing.”

Balodimas-Bartolomei has taught at the University since 2005 and coordinates the ESL teacher endorsement program. She also imparts her enthusiasm to North Park students who have traveled with her to Greece on educational trips.

“It was very important to show the reader how beautiful this city and culture are,” she says, “so I needed to write as if I were taking someone by the hand on a guided tour of Athens.”

She spent two summers traveling around Athens, photographing the sites, and verifying all of the information in the book. It took two additional months to write it.

Balodimas-Bartolomei couldn’t be more pleased with the result. “I have had several Athenians tell me that they learned so much that they didn't know about their city,” she says.

Understanding a different culture is also the focus of the newest book edited by Paul De Neui, although it is not a travel guide. Communicating Christ in Asian Cities: Urban Issues in Buddhist Contexts is the sixth volume in a series produced from papers delivered at the annual SEANET Missiological Forum held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

De Neui, professor of intercultural studies and missiology, says that people doing evangelistic missions work must be keenly aware of specific issues related to urban life among Buddhists, a group comprised of a myriad of complex cultures.

The book is divided into three sections focusing on foundational issues of ministry within Asian Buddhist cities, issues specific to peoples within that context, and strategic means of evangelization.

Finally, Scot McKnight addresses the cultural understandings—or misunderstandings—of fasting in his book, Fasting: The Ancient Practices.

McKnight, the Karl A. Olsson Professor of Religious Studies, places fasting within Judeo-Christian contexts throughout history. He expresses his concern that people today fast for personal gain, and thereby turn the practice into a technique. Although fasting may produce various results, it is really the body’s response to grief over life’s circumstances and sin, he says.

McKnight is the author of more than 25 books and an authority in historical studies of Christ. Fasting is the fourth volume in the Ancient Practices series released by Thomas Nelson and edited by Phyllis Tickle.