I picked this book up because I am growing weary of listening to fellow church members portray God as some tyrant-type person who picks random peopleI picked this book up because I am growing weary of listening to fellow church members portray God as some tyrant-type person who picks random people to go through horrible things because He has some lesson to teach them. They ignore a basic tenet of our Christianity - sin exists in this world. The majority of the bad things that happen in this world happen because of sin - not because God has decided He needs to teach us some lesson.
Why would God need to teach me a lesson by giving me a disabled child? How does that help the child? That's cruel to the child. We know that God is love. Those two things are not congruent. Disabled children are born because the genetic combinations needed to produce a non-disabled child mutated. That happens because sin exists. Not because God pointed His finger and said, "You! You need a lesson in patience." Someone walks into a church and shoots people because he doesn't like the color of our skin - that's not God teaching a lesson to anyone. What lesson did the dead people have to learn? The man who shot them was evil. He was a racist. He is that way because of sin. It had nothing to do with God teaching anybody anything. We go to church for years and years but don't really seem to understand or apply the things that we say we are learning about God.
So off my rant and to the book review. Lol. Rabbi Kushner does an awesome job of a couple of things. He drives home the point that bad things don't happen to us because God wants to teach us some lesson. Bad things can happen because of decision we make, but the school bus accidentally running over your neighbor's child? Yeah, don't give God credit for that. He also tries very hard to teach us to stop saying silly things to people who are going through suffering. Our purpose is not to explain or defend God, or to explain why the person is suffering - our purpose is to be there and provide support and love. And the majority of the time that means shutting up.
It is a very powerful book that I would have given four stars except for the fact that he gives no acknowledgement to sin in the world. He chalks things up to random happenings, or the evolutionistic nature of our world. He also, as Skylar Burris eloquently reviewed, does not accept the fact that "God exists, is good, and is all-powerful, but for reasons we cannot now fully comprehend, chooses to allow suffering". He chooses instead to believe that God is not powerful enough to stop bad things from happening.
Despite that, I would recommend this book to someone who is going through a difficult situation, and to anyone in general. If you overlook the theology issues, it provides sound, powerful advice for dealing with suffering. The question isn't "Why did God do this to me?" (He didn't; sin did), but "How will God help me to get through this?"...more
Giving 4 stars because of the excellent job she does in Part I showing how America has come, from it's early days as a colony, to the place it is todaGiving 4 stars because of the excellent job she does in Part I showing how America has come, from it's early days as a colony, to the place it is today where we have to have #blacklivesmatter hashtags....more
Excellent little book about empowering those we are trying to help, not just putting band aids on societal problems. Quick read. Good examples. ThoughExcellent little book about empowering those we are trying to help, not just putting band aids on societal problems. Quick read. Good examples. Thought provoking. ...more
Practical suggestions and strategies about how to increase giving in churches. I especially like the idea of the giving continuum. I have also long thPractical suggestions and strategies about how to increase giving in churches. I especially like the idea of the giving continuum. I have also long thought that one of the reasons that more people,don't give in their churches is because they're not educated, and he drills this home in the book. He also gives loads of examples and samples. This is probably one of the best books I have read as far as the author providing examples and samples of the material he uses. It was great. The book is intended for pastors, but I think the leaders of the treasury / stewardship departments in a church would benefit greatly from reading it as well. Lay people can also benefit from it, though they probably might not be so interested in the strategies for increasing church growth...more
Why do churches die? Pastor Rainier lays out se points he pulled together after analyzing and doing research on 14 churches that no longer exist. TheWhy do churches die? Pastor Rainier lays out se points he pulled together after analyzing and doing research on 14 churches that no longer exist. The reasons are very simple. The reality that your church might be dying and you not know it is sobering. Fortunately - checking yourself against Rainier's "symptoms" may help you before you become terminal, assuming you're not already there. I'd say this book should probably be read more by members than leaders, because the actions and attitudes of a dying church are things the members are/aren't doing. It's a short book and a quick easy read. ...more
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I will be forever grateful. It's an easy to read book that's really powerful. Pastor Hybels reminds uThis book was recommended to me by a friend, and I will be forever grateful. It's an easy to read book that's really powerful. Pastor Hybels reminds us why we need to pray, and gives practical illustrations of things we can do to make prayer a consistent part of our lives. His real-life examples work well. I liked that you were able to start implementing the ACTS method of prayer relatively early in the book, so that you could start working on your prayer life as you continue reading through the book. The last chapter of the book is an indictment about how we need to be conscious of how we treat the poor among us - not directly prayer related, but definitely something we don't focus on enough and that needs our attention. I think that if you try to implement some of the things he talks about in the book, you most likely will notice a positive difference in your prayer life. ...more
This is the first book I'm reading by Andy Stanley. He presents some material that I've heard already, but they way he presents it, and the new materiThis is the first book I'm reading by Andy Stanley. He presents some material that I've heard already, but they way he presents it, and the new material he shares, makes for an enjoyable reading experience. We are rich. I am rich. Don't believe me? Read this book! I need to choose to make better decisions about what I do with the money God has given me, and one of the things that the "true rich" do is give - in the same way that Jesus gave to us....more
This is a little book with a powerful message. You'll get through it in a short period of time, but you'll probably need to re-read it several times tThis is a little book with a powerful message. You'll get through it in a short period of time, but you'll probably need to re-read it several times to let the message sink in. As others have able said, Keller takes one of Paul's passages in Corinthians and expounds on it, showing us that unless we accept the verdict that Christ has done all for us, we will spend our lives concerned with our ego - either being over inflated or deflated. True gospel-humility means we stop thinking about ourselves, stop connecting ourselves and how we look and feel to every experience. Instead, we accept that God loves us and that we are valuable to Him - and we can then do what we have to do, without worrying whether others accept or criticize us....more
I have to facilitate a discussion on conflict resolution for a group I'm a part of (have no idea why as that is definitely not my background or area oI have to facilitate a discussion on conflict resolution for a group I'm a part of (have no idea why as that is definitely not my background or area of expertise). Anyway, I needed to quickly find some stuff to talk about and came across this book. It does a great job, in only 100 pages or so, of laying out reasons why we argue, why arguing without resolution is unhealthy for marriages, and provides a plan for dealing with conflict. It echoes some of the other information I've found as I've been frantically attempting to pack my brain with enough details to speak 'knowledgeably' about this topic. Solutions/steps Mr. Chapman mentions like empathetic listening, re-stating what you've heard until the other person agrees that you have understood his/her viewpoint, asking clarifying questions and so on all seem to be common 'you need to do these things if you really want to resolve conflicts' across the information I've been reading.
I really liked the idea of rating an issue - on a scale of 1-10, how important is this issue to you. I think that can help you/your spouse see whether you are truly passionate about something or whether you really could just let it go. He also doesn't insist that every conflict has to be resolved through compromise - though that is presented as one of the resolution methods. (I liked his suggestion of calling it "meeting in the middle" as opposed to compromising, so that you focus on what you've gained, as opposed to what you had to give up something.)
I think every marriage can benefit from the ideas presented in this book - I know I'm planning to put them into practice in mine. Also, although the book is Christian-based (and I am as well), that doesn't detract from it at all. I think the ideas presented would work well for Christians and non-Christians, as the solutions presented don't require that one be a Christian to implement them. ...more
A tough read - not because the material is difficult or poorly written; it's actually very well done - but because what he suggests a wife do to influA tough read - not because the material is difficult or poorly written; it's actually very well done - but because what he suggests a wife do to influence her husband often goes against the grain of how we think naturally. Definitely written for those who believe in God and in His power to change people (both wives abs husbands) and to bless marriages.
He gives lots of practical advice and has lots of examples from real marriages. The contents definitely will make you think about your marriage and how you are supporting your husband.