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Check Out Spring Reads From Faculty Authors

North Park University spring faculty books

God Does Not:  Entertain, Play Matchmaker, Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness

Brent Laytham, associate professor of theology at North Park Theological Seminary, recently contributed a chapter and edited God Does Not:  Entertain, Play Matchmaker, Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness. Each chapter is written by a different theologian.

“The book deals with some of the distortions that creep into our understanding of how God works in the world,” Laytham says. “Clearing up false understandings should help us live more faithful lives."

The book is a follow-up to God Is Not: Religious, Nice, "One of Us," An American, A Capitalist (Brazos Press, 2004). Laytham says that book was a response to one of North Park University’s first Campus Theme questions, which annually tackle weighty issues from “What is truth?” to “What is justice?” to “What is a life of faith?” Discussions among the planning committee members that year led Laytham to ask six friends to give lectures at the school on what “God isn’t.” Those lectures became chapters for the book.

“For the second book,” Laytham says, “I had six more friends to ask.”

Lincoln’s Land: The History of Abraham Lincoln’s Coles County Farm

North Park University professor Kurt Peterson says his new book about Lincoln’s farm in Illinois is about more than just property; it provides new insight into Lincoln as a person.

The 90-page paperback, Lincoln’s Land: The History of Abraham Lincoln’s Coles County Farm, is intended for a general audience. Rockford, Ill., businessman Dan Arnold, who purchased some of the property in 2007, enlisted Peterson to research and write the book.

The book provides a fresh look at a little-known part of Lincoln’s life and offers a different perspective on other aspects that have been more widely discussed, including Lincoln’s relationship with his father.

Thomas Lincoln paid $50 for the land in 1840 but was forced to sell a year later after suffering financial setbacks. Abraham Lincoln bought it for $200— four times what his father paid—and gave his parents right to use the property for the rest of their lives.

Although the relationship between the two men was difficult at best, Peterson says, “I think historians overstated his relationship with his dad to make his rags to riches story more profound.”

Lincoln never sold the property, and it remained in his family until the early 1900s when some was sold to the state and the rest to private owners.

Arnold purchased four of the 40 acres, which are located next to the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, the location of Thomas Lincoln's home. He formed the nonprofit Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Historical Farm, selling penny-sized portions of the land. Funds will go largely to help that organization.

Strange Trades

Strange Trades is the first full-length collection of poems by Kristy Odelius, assistant professor in the English department.

“The poems in the book are largely about the ways that women negotiate domestic, intellectual, and relational experiences, and the ways that imagination and perception aid us in navigating the demands and blessings of those multiple identities,” Odelius says.

“The poems are playful, though not always easy,” she adds. “They are driven forward and find their shape more by association and image, than by story or exposition. They hope to awaken you, and sing you a song.”

Odelius is the mother of a five-month-old, and the experience of sleeplessness is inspiring her current poetry, she says. “I've just begun a series of poems about waking, dreaming and liminal states of consciousness!”

Odelius's reviews, articles and poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Notre Dame Review, ACM, Versal, Combo, Moria, Diagram, Pavement Saw, La Petite Zine, and others. Strange Trades is published by Shearsman Books.