Historical fiction by Scott O'Dell, decent, but certainly not his best work. If you need historical fictional about Sacagawea for some reason, it's aHistorical fiction by Scott O'Dell, decent, but certainly not his best work. If you need historical fictional about Sacagawea for some reason, it's a good choice. ...more
I like reading about the Schaeffers. It got me thinking about ministry, family and hospitality and for that I am very thankful. I probably won’t readI like reading about the Schaeffers. It got me thinking about ministry, family and hospitality and for that I am very thankful. I probably won’t read it again, abut I appreciated it for what it was (a rosy memoir.)...more
I was excited about reading Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher because we’re crunchy and ideologically conservative, and the subtitle intrigued me. We got onI was excited about reading Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher because we’re crunchy and ideologically conservative, and the subtitle intrigued me. We got on the list at our local public library and waited it out. From the preface, the book caught and kept my attention. Dreher is a gifted and personal writer who is easy to read. Because crunchy cons are my kind of people, I often wanted to cheer as I read along.
Many of the ideological emphases of the book are ones we value in our family. We care about more than just the bottom line when we shop and are willing to pay more for products we “believe in” such as locally grown and organic foods, things that are well crafted, beauty and not just utilitarian function, etc. The process is important to us and not just the end result. I enjoyed reading the book because the many anecdotes reminded me that there are others out there who care about the things that we do, which can be hard to find the suburban South.
However, when I finished the book I was disappointed with it on several levels. First, it wasn’t very persuasive and it relied on ad hominem attacks and emotionalism to make points. If I didn’t already agree with Dreher, I probably would not have been swayed by him. Some of the chapters were weaker than others, for example, the chapter on home was mostly about buying a smaller, older house. Even though our first house was small, 70 year old bungalow and we are looking to buy that sort of home again when we can, it may not be the most crunchy thing to do for every family. Older homes aren’t as energy efficient, for example. Some aren’t laid out well for entertaining and building community with others. Also, the chapter on homeschooling wasn’t very grounded in reality and I think it might have been better tackled if he had emphasized that crunchy con families realize that education isn’t neutral and emphasized the many crunchy choices out there (alternative schools, coops, Christian schools, etc) along with homeschooling.
I think what disappointed me the most about the book is that Dreher didn’t fulfill the subtitle which reads: “How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party.)” How are we saving America? I’d like to know that, myself. I’ve seen that the paperback version that will be released in the fall has a new subtitle, according to Amazon, and I’d suspect it’s for that reason. If you are looking for anecdotal, warm writing about those in the Republican Party who “act lefty,” Crunchy Cons delivers. But I think I was expecting just a little bit more....more
This book really annoyed me and reminded me of all the things that did not reach my heart as a kid. For example, memorizing scriptures to correspond tThis book really annoyed me and reminded me of all the things that did not reach my heart as a kid. For example, memorizing scriptures to correspond to my sins. I recited them, I smiled but it turned my heart against scripture. I still cannot read some of them without growling inside. The Bible is not a weapon, particularly when you hurl one verse at a kid and don't take the time to really study passage in context. There were several other big issues I had with it, basically, I did not find it encouraging, uplifting or helpful. ...more
I was by no means excited about having to read this for a class in college, but i found it to be a phenomenal, page-turning piece of non-fiction. ThouI was by no means excited about having to read this for a class in college, but i found it to be a phenomenal, page-turning piece of non-fiction. Though it is dated (over 25 years old now!) it still has a lot to offer readers. More than any textbook, Oz describes the people and places of Israel so vividly you begin to feel as if you are visiting yourself. It was undeniably helpful to me, an American Christian who never really studied Israel, in understanding the complex world of Israeli politics. Moreover, it helped me to see the extent to which Judaism was present in Israeli life. He did a great job of giving Arabs a fair portrayal and a voice. Occasionally I had a hard time believing Oz didn't make these characters up!...more
The writing in this series isn't wonderful, the romance is cheesy, and it pales in comparison to Harry Potter... and yet, I kept reading. It's compellThe writing in this series isn't wonderful, the romance is cheesy, and it pales in comparison to Harry Potter... and yet, I kept reading. It's compelling on some gut level. I wish the characters were more likable, I found the main characters nearly unbearably annoying. But just nearly......more
My sister adored this book, and I picked it up to appease her. I am very glad I did. Well-woven tale of loneliness, love and the things that tie peoplMy sister adored this book, and I picked it up to appease her. I am very glad I did. Well-woven tale of loneliness, love and the things that tie people together. Written with multiple narrators and perspectives, the book feels in turn like a number of different genres, but it is well done and a good example of how the novel may evolve in the 21st century....more
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith is the first book by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids and featured speaker in tVelvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith is the first book by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids and featured speaker in the NOOMA videos. I read straight through it and was genuinely surprised at how much I liked the book. It is an excellent call for Christians to think outside the box of cafeteria evangelicalism and to live a life that fully embraces God in all its aspects.
My prejudice against the book was based on my limited exposure to Bell. I saw one NOOMA and I wasn’t that impressed and I recall hearing faint rumors about his “bad theology.” Honestly, I didn’t find his theology to be bad upon reading. Arminian at points, but certainly within the bounds of orthodoxy and also more precise than most emerging writers.
Velvet Elvis is not a memoir. It does include a lot of personal stories and has a personal tone, but it has a flow and purpose. It’s a book that wonders about the vastness of God, how little we can understand. It’s a book that encourages readers to reflect about their own faith. It discusses the main points of the Christian faith in a way engaging to a postmodern generation, particularly those who grew up in the church, both the accepting and the cynical.
Rob Bell is not a messianic Jew, but he has a healthy obsession with setting the Bible in its original context. I think many readers will glean interesting insights from what he writes about Jesus’ world. Bell certainly wants to be relevant, but he also demonstrates a commitment to the truth. Personally, I enjoyed his endnotes because I love seeing what books authors like enough to cite, Bell certainly passed my test in that department.
I wouldn’t say Velvet Elvis was life-changing for me, I’ve read enough from the emerging church that I am over that bubble in some respects, but I certainly think it is helpful and would recommend it to people who are curious about the emergent church, suddenly aware of their obsession with systematics and apologetics and also young people who are wondering about the faith they grew up with and the culture they are discovering in the rest of the world. ...more
Parenting in the Pew is part memoir and part practical theology as a pastor’s wife grapples with issues regarding children and the public worship servParenting in the Pew is part memoir and part practical theology as a pastor’s wife grapples with issues regarding children and the public worship service. For individuals and churches who are questioning participating in children’s ministry programs through elementary school, Parenting in the Pew will provide food for thought and conviction that it is good, right and worthwhile for children to worship with their parents.
For those who already worship as a family or have minimal children’s programming, Parenting in the Pew provides encouragement and helpful reminders that the point of having children in worship is to worship, and not to have them sit perfectly still so everyone knows you are the best parent in the room. That can be very important to hear.
Castleman believes that children can be expected to sit through the whole worship service at about age four and everything but the sermon by about two and a half. She does not advocate having children color or look at other books during the worship service. So, if you are looking for practical advice on how to keep your toddler quiet and busy, this book will not meet that need!
I’m glad this book was written and I think it’s helpful for the church as a whole. It may or may not be a must-read for your family. I don’t think it was a waste of my time, but I admit, I was looking for toddler tips! ...more
Not a bad book, but more rah-rah then substance. Also much more applicable to those in a corporate environment than those of us who don't. I am a selfNot a bad book, but more rah-rah then substance. Also much more applicable to those in a corporate environment than those of us who don't. I am a self-employed photographer and found little that really spoke to me. As many work situations move towards contract work (which is so flexible by nature, and really goes with a lot of the values they are trying to promote) I was flummoxed that so little of what they said applied to those who aren't taking on the man, or an idiot boss. I did find some of their advice and stories inspiring, but others downright silly. If you are in a big office environment, with a boss that doesn't take kindly to any flexibility, and you don't know where to start to take control, this book might be right up your alley. For most of us, it's not a must-read, or even a great read. (read for a book club.)...more