Unlike many authors reviewed in this column, Rienstra is not religious by profession but a professor of English at Calvin College. Her faith is serene, but she is not shy about acknowledging the difficulties of the deep spiritual life: “The Christian faith rests on great pillars of certainty; yet these pillars are mysteries…[that] do not require that we shut down questions but that we open ourselves to greater answers and perhaps to questions we have never asked.” Written with unobtrusive skill, Rienstra’s work satisfies both the heart and the mind and should find an appreciative audience. For most collections.
- Library Journal, March 1, 2005
A Calvin College professor, memoirist (Great With Child) and literary scholar, Rienstra offers an innovative introduction to Christianity….Three cheers for her ability to make abstruse doctrines like the Trinity not only intelligible but practical: “the Trinity gives us a way to organize and speak of our experiences of God.” Rienstra doesn’t shy away from hard questions (for example, drawing on both the Bible and recent scientific studies as she tackles the question of whether prayer works). Though spiritual seekers are clearly the primary audience, even mature Christians will be challenged and encouraged by this slim book….Rienstra’s walk through Christian teaching is generous, sympathetic, clear and often funny.
- Publisher’s Weekly, Jan. 24, 2005
“So Much More is a radiant manifesto for the fully realized Christian life. Rienstra speaks to the heart without mawkishness, speaks to the mind without logic-chopping, and speaks to the doubtful without patronizing. With good humor, and with erudition worn lightly, Rienstra provides a compelling Christian account of sin and grace, reason and revelation, the longing for God, the mystery of suffering, and the pathways of love and service.”
- Carol Zaleski, professor of religion at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. and author of The Book of Heaven: An Anthology of Writings from Ancient to Modern Times
“Unlike many introductions to the Christian faith, which seem to be driven by a barely suppressed anxiety, as if the writer was trying to convince himself by answering every conceivable objection, Debra Rienstra’s So Much More radiates a serene confidence that is persuasive precisely because it is willing to acknowledge unsettled questions. All we absolutely need to know, she’s convinced, is given to us with assurance as trustworthy as the hand of a loving father or mother.”
- John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture and series editor, The Best Christian Writing
“So Much More is indeed so much more–more than your typical book on apologetics or theology or spirituality. Debra Rienstra is a gifted writer who imparts much wisdom in all of these areas–and more. This is a fine book for a person who is beginning a Christian pilgrimage. But it is also gives much guidance and encouragement to those of us who are well along in the journey.”
- Rich Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, Author of He Shines in All That’s Fair: Culture and Common Grace, and Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World