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Summer 2009
Special Edition Vol. 1 of 5

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Meet the winners of our 2009 Summer Reading Contest

More than 60 readers entered the Fifth Annual Summer Reading Contest, and ten winners were drawn at random to receive one of the books featured in the spring issue of The Bridge. Meet our winners here and find out about some of their favorite books...


Frey recommends:

The God of Small Things, a brilliantly told story of both terror and beauty in communist India in the 1960s. While examining the complexities of colonialism, revolution, childhood scars, and the imagination, this debut novel by Arundhati Roy offers a brutal but lush narrative of what happens when the "Love Laws"—which govern "who should be loved, and how"—are broken.

Kristine (Harvey) Frey Kristine N. (Harvey) Frey '07 of Columbia, Pa., was an English major at Messiah College. She received a copy of Ethan Frome.


Sarah McKoneSarah McKone '07 of Lempster, N.H., was a biology major. She received a copy of The Hiding Place.

McKone recommends:

Chopsticks Only Work in Pairs shares with us the research of
Professor Shanshan Du, as she studied the life and culture of the Lahu people of southwest China. Despite being written in an academic format, Du's writing is friendly and descriptive, not assuming the reader to have a working knowledge of anthropogenic or ethnographic jargon. I would recommend the book because it describes to us a culture where gender equality is displayed while each gender maintains roles that are distinct from each other. Du's work presents a challenge to the typical western perspective that equality means sameness, and opens our eyes a society that will stretch our worldview.”

Gross recommends:

Stereotypically speaking, it’s not often that you truly love reading a book that was recommended to you by your mother-in-law. I was sure when my own recommended Francine Rivers’“Redeeming Love,” thatI would find a self-help book on how to be a better wife or something to that effect. I was pleasantly surprised when I devoured this novel in just a few short days, and it quickly became one of my favorite, easy-to-read works of fiction.

At first glance, one would assume this book to be a generic romance novel of the tackiest kind. Don’t look at the outward appearance; look to the heart of this book. Rivers was an established romance novelist when she became a Christian, and this book was one of her first novels after her conversion. It has been a bestseller for nearly a decade.


“Redeeming Love” is set in the time of the California Gold Rush. It follows the difficult lives of Michael Hosea and Angel. The story is actually based on a true story…that of the story of Hosea and Gomer from the world’s best selling book, The Bible. I think many of us do not realize the truly exciting and original works of war, romance, poetry, self-help, history, miracles and magic, and even humor that exist in the overlooked books of the Bible that sits in over 90% of American homes.

In addition to being a great story and quick read, “Redeeming Love” serves as a reminder that there is a love that we can never escape, found only in our Savior, even and especially when we feel most unlovable. My suggestion? Dust off the family Bible and peruse the little-known book of Hosea found in the Old Testament, read “Redeeming Love,” and then pass it along to your mother-in-law.

Corri (Pearson) Gross '98 of McKeesport, Pa., was a communication major. She received a copy of  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone .


Corri Gross


Rachel MoffettRachel Moffett '09 of Lancaster, Pa., was an elementary education major at Messiah College. She received a copy of Philadelphia Chicken .




Moffett recommends:

This past spring, I read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider.  As I reflect on the address Dr. Sider gave at graduation this year, I see many of the same thoughts that I was challenged by as I read his book.  At graduation, Dr. Sider challenged us as graduates to think critically if we will be any different from preceding generations that have claimed Christian ideals but often not lived out Jesus’ call to take care of the poor and defend the oppressed.  This question followed me throughout my reading of Rich Christians.  Will I be any different than my culture; will I be able to move past the comfort of affluence and materialism to consider the needs of others, particularly the poor?  In his book, Sider takes his challenge a step further by stating that it is not that we as Christians have failed to live out our theology, it’s that at its core, our theology itself is ignoring God’s call to concern for the poor.  Sider’s book and challenge causes me to examine my own theology and our call as Christians to humble ourselves and look for creative and simple ways to care for others.  Our offering back to God in gratitude for his grace to us ought to be a pursuit of justice for all, to “loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke, … to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.”

Harding recommends:

I would recommend reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.  It is an easy read, but the principles spelled out in the book are far from easy. The book transformed my thinking about my Heavenly Father and his desire for a love relationship with me. The author describes how we were created by Love, to be with Love and to live in relationship there, to be in the center of a relationship instead of a religion. 

Tracy Harding

Tracy (Arnold) Harding '01 of Middletown, Pa., was an athletic training major. She received a copy of Gone With the Wind

Patricia and Roger Coiner of Lititz, Pa., are the parents of a Messiah College student. Patricia received a copy of The Hidden Persuaders . Roger received a copy of The Sun Also Rises .


Patricia and Roger Coiner

Mrs. Coiner recommends:

The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Jerry Bridges is very bold about stating the importance of spiritual principles and helping me to understand that every day of my Christian experience should be based on his grace alone. As a committed believer, the trial is set before me in assessing the need for a humble realization of my own sinfulness, yet being so grateful for the acceptance of God's grace. The book left me with a need for personal evaluation, not in a judgmental way, but to what it means to look at your sinfulness, how to pursue holiness, and if I am not firmly rooted in the gospel and haven't learned to preach it to myself DAILY, I will soon become discouraged and will slack off in the pursuit of holiness (which is a life long endeavor!).

Other winners:

Carlos Centeno '06 of Lebanon, Pa., was a studio art major at Messiah College. He received a copy of Reforming Fundamentalism.

Sharon (Shuey) Ryan '82 of Mechanicsburg, Pa., was an accounting major. She received a copy of Purple Decades .

Melissa (Kuhn) Watts '00 of Hopewell, Va., was an mathematics major. She received a copy of The Name of the Rose .


These resources are recommended by readers and do not represent materials endorsed by Messiah College.  
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