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Dordt College News

James C. Schaap publishes new book, Sixty at Sixty

September 8, 2008

Schaap

 A newly released book by James C. Schaap uses the inspiration of the Psalms as a springboard to lose the La-Z-Boy and pump up the prayer life, rejoicing in the faithful presence of God in everyday details of life.

Schaap’s newest release is a book of devotionals, written like one-a-day vitamin capsules to offer a daily boost of praise and prayer. “The psalms are an incredible benefit to the human soul,” says Schaap. “They help you realize that no matter what happens, other people have been through this.”

Sixty at Sixty: a Boomer Reflects on the Psalms is a collection of personal observations from Schaap’s own 60 years of life, which tie into similar emotional and spiritual responses penned by ancient psalmists.

Author and theologian Eugene Peterson calls Schaap’s work a “timely antidote,” and says in the forward, “A pause at any age in the storytelling and praying company of Jim Schaap is enough to recover a fading memory, revive sagging hope, or simply sink more attentively into what is going on with the people around us this day, and what is going on with God, who is always with us.”

Published by Faith Alive Christian Resources, each page features the storytelling style Schaap is noted for. He is a professor of literature and writing at Dordt College, and has published more than 20 books, including the novels Romey’s Place, The Secrets of Barneveld Calvary, Home Free, In the Silence There Are Ghosts, and Touches the Sky, an Award of Merit winner with Christianity Today. Schaap’s work has been awarded five top Evangelical Press Association fiction awards and four Associated Church Press Awards. He also wrote the original film script for The Reckoning, an award-winning documentary featuring the Dutch Resistance story of Diet Eman and other WW II survivors.

A previous devotional book, Intermission, was written for the junior high age level and published in 1985. Every Bit of Who I Am is a more recent effort, written at the high school level. He’s also written a half dozen smaller children’s devotionals.

Schaap said he began writing devotionals based on the Psalms about four years ago, inspired by the work of Abraham Kuyper in his book, Near Unto God. Though his original focus was nature’s imagery, Schaap’s pastor (Herm Van Niejenhuis, of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center) noted a second theme while reading through the original assemblage of 365 devotionals: meditations that dealt with the topic of getting older.

“Honestly, I wasn’t aware of that being a theme in the collection I’d been writing; but I wasn’t surprised that it was,” says Schaap. Sixty at Sixty relates God’s companionship during a lifetime as we walk through every aspect of human emotion. As noted in a devotional based on Psalm 37:18, “the picture of open, warm and loving hands extended to us each morning is the assurance, simply stated, that God knows. God’s not off on a cruise or so wrapped up with the crisis in Iraq that he has no time for our problems.”
Sixty at Sixty is available locally at the Dordt College Bookstore, at True Vine, and from the website of the publisher (where a sample chapter is posted).

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