Thursday, March 8, 2018

Walking as Jesus Walked by Dann Spader

This is a good teaching resource for a classroom or small group.

The questions are not at all cliched Sunday School stereotypes. It causes you to dig deep into what you understand and believe.

The pages are thicker than normal so you can write in them, the spaces available in the answer sections are adequate to write out your thoughts.

This is a good workbook for anyone interested in exploring the discipleship process of following Jesus and using the Bible as the launching point as well as the support.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How Healing Works by Wayne Jonas MD

Do you need all those medications?

Dr Jonas write a book that does not feel as dry and you'd think it should be.

Clearly he isn't talking about thinking your way out of cancer or some serious illness. He is simply reminding readers how their bodies are designed to work when it comes to health and restoration.

I think it's safe to say the United States loves her pills. We love taking them and prescribing them and using them. This book explains there might be a better way than taking a pill for every little thing. And I have to repeat - little thing.

Don't read this book and assume you will cure yourself of some debilitating disease in a week's time. This isn't that kind of book at all.

This is a book reminding you of the important of rest and eliminating stress and eating right and he throws in some creative ways at getting the point across.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Lorena Jones Books.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP by Terry Heaton

Terry Heaton was a producer for The 700 Club back in it's heyday. He was a mix of media and faith and things were going great, until they weren't.

This book is his personal reflection and reasoning behind the rise the Religious Right and Pat Robertson's role in it with his show.

From the get-go, you understand that Heaton is no longer on the Robertson bandwagon. He was uncomfortable with some of the ethical/political activities beginning with Robertson's entry into presidential politics.

He was let go from his position and it certainly left an impression.

This book is a fun read if you like to read behind-the-scenes types of books. You will get an eyefull of information about The 700 Club program, the personalities behind it all and how things broke down.

Heaton despises the Religious Right and, with it, the Republican party. His reasons for hating these organizations is valid in how he presents what they were all about.

What I'm not sure I can agree on is what happens all the time - everyone who identifies as an evangelical Christian is stereotyped by the likes of Pat Robertson. I don't think every evangelical holds the same beliefs as him or the evangelical cartoons we see in the media.

I'm not a fan of lumping everyone under one status. Unless I'm totally off base and the evangelical movement has left me behind?

It's easy to make fun of someone like Pat Robertson and this book will provide plenty of additional fodder to use.

With his venom aimed at some of the Robertson family put aside, some of Heaton's thoughts are quite articulate when it comes to new media and how it has gotten in the habit of failing the viewer.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by OR Books.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The God-Shaped Heart by Timothy Jennings, MD

Psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Jennings wants to help Christians better understand this love that God has for us. It is a word that is often used vainly, and in Jennings opinion, needs to be connected with how much of the world understands laws.

What if we could mature out of our current understanding of rules. Dr Jennings calls them the seven levels of moral decision making.

1) Reward and Punishment
2) Marketplace Exchange
3)Social Conformity
4) Law and Order
5) Love for Others
6) Principle-based Living
7) Understanding friend of God

Jennings believes most people live around the 3-5 range most of their lives. Some can reach higher and a few stick to the lower numbers. The desire is to reach level seven.

Dr. Jennings often comes back to these levels as he explains certain ideas that have been confused or misunderstood by Christians.

I like a lot of what I read in this book. There was some great food for thought and challenging concepts that I wound up pondering and chewing on. But there are other times when his conclusions got me a little riled up.

He goes after the death of Jesus on the cross and the purpose of that pretty heavily. He challenges that belief of God demanding payment for sin. He challenges quite a lot of what most mainline Christians have held on to for their doctrine and beliefs.

He dives into how Christians should treat one another including those who identify as homosexual. It was refreshing to read a point of view that was hate-filled (for either position).

I really enjoyed how calming and enjoyable his writing style was. It felt like I was reading a deep book but it was not at all boring. If nothing else, this book gave me so much to consider and challenge by way of my own beliefs about God, Jesus, Sin, and humanity.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Baker Books.

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

I knew nothing about this book except for the blurbs saying how good it was. The fact that one reviewer used Alfred Hitchcock's name grabbed my attention.

That being said, this book is nothing like an Alfred Hitchcock film. Review words that are thrown around to describe this book are: noirish, very funny, scintillating, and thought-provoking.

It is possible that I don't know the definition of them, but I did not find this story to be any of those words.

A young lady get hired to be the nanny. The mother who hired the nanny is a narcissist. However, the nanny has some artistic quirks of her own and by the end of the book, it all comes crashing down.

How far will you take art for the sake of artistic experience/experiment?

When you throw around a name like Hitchcock, you'd expect some fine twists and unexpected developments. In this book, everything follows a straight path. Once you are introduced to everyone in this book's cast, you know what's going to happen. You know the nanny is going to make a horrible decision regarding the mother's older son. You know that mother is going to make bad decision after bad decision.

Maybe this is reflective of how people truly behave. Maybe Edan Lepucki has that inside track to what's going on in the high life in California.

I did not enjoy this book. The copy I received came with a reader's guide. Perhaps this book was designed to be a book club read?

It wasn't for me.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen

This book is simply fantastic.

Mr. Hansen has created such an enjoyable read. His words regarding those who believe in Jesus but are struggling with reacting with the same kind of fervor or feeling like they're missing something are so refreshing.

His personal stories and anecdotes strike the perfect chord and I found myself reflecting after reading each chapter before gobbling up the next.

There are twenty-one chapters that can fly by as he explains his own struggles, even when writing the book, and how, I'm sure so many other Christians feel whenever they're around other church-goers.

You have to read this book. You just have to read this book to be encouraged, uplifted, and humored.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith

This book has an interesting premise: dragons have pretty much decimated a sprawling city. While many of the residents have fled, there are many who have stayed and they have learned to live with the randomness of the beast.

It sounded similar to that dragon movie, Reign of Fire.

The execution of the story is just plain awful.

Between the horribleness of Ripple the fifth, the crazy Abby, and even Swan, I did not care one iota about any of the characters. Specifically with Ripple, I felt like I was watching some kind of X-rated content.

I plunged ahead and found myself shaking my head at just how filthy I felt reading the book. When you read promotional material saying "genre-defying" that typically means the critics have no idea what they just read. It's just a bunch of mush thrown together and hoping some sticks.

Sorry Ms Smith, I did not care for this book at all. It had my attention with the inside flap and then it just dropped a lead ball into my gut.

Some critics may say that the story is written in such a way that is not normal on purpose. You're supposed to take a while to get familiar with the world she has created and the verbiage that is used.

That may be but even after that (I get the "toob" and "fems") I absolutely hated the story.

Not for me. I don't really know who this story would be for.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Hogarth Publishing.