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Book Review "The Island in the Confluence" by Marc Engelhardt

This spring has been marked by numerous floods in the Midwest. Having lived there one becomes aware of the importance and the danger of the river. Milwaukee was founded at the junction of three rivers. The Kinnickinnic comes from the south; the Menomonee flows from the west; and the Milwaukee surges from the north. The point where they meet is a confluence. Each river contributes its uniqueness to the confluence. In fact Milwaukee is also a confluence of communities. It is from this perspective that Pastor Marc Engelhardt, then pastor at Reconcile Church, writes. He now serves as pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Oceanside.

Pastor Engelhardt describes the historical development of individualism by Locke, Hume, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, plus Manifest Destiny, then the transition to modern era of thought. The brief review lays the foundation of confluence as a description of the diversity in thought and behavior we presently are experiencing. He then identifies the Church as the island in the confluence, not the shoreline, but in the midst of the swirling waters. Using fictional characters who are experiencing the confluence of life and exploring the island, Pastor Engelhardt describes the process of dealing with life and its influences.

The topics in this book are vital to young adults who live in both the confluence and the island. A cross-generational study setting would be interesting as mutual respect becomes the adopted norm for the participants. It would be the Church at its best exercising as the Body of Christ. Of particular note in the Appendix is an excellent guide to witnessing titled “How to engage other in the confluence: foundational elements.” This reviewer found the book to be engaging and especially useful when interacting with younger generations.

The Island in the Confluence is published by West Bow Press, 2012, and is available on Amazon:

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