Madeline L'Engle's Walking on Water is a must-read for any Christian who writes or feels the draw to create. The thoughtful meditations this book cont...moreMadeline L'Engle's Walking on Water is a must-read for any Christian who writes or feels the draw to create. The thoughtful meditations this book contains generate a lot of food for future thought. Filled with quotations and interactions with ideas from a variety of theologians, Christians will understand better their call to create and the discipline it takes to do things well. Those who are mothers or who appreciate L'Engle's other work will enjoy this even more. (less)
This hilarious book was a fun read for a Tar Heel in the Diaspora. If you are a Carolina fan, you are sure to enjoy it. The longer you've been a fan a...moreThis hilarious book was a fun read for a Tar Heel in the Diaspora. If you are a Carolina fan, you are sure to enjoy it. The longer you've been a fan and the more time you've spent in Chapel Hill, you'll like it all the more. I giggled constantly while reading. The stories about his mother, a transplanted yankee-turned-Carolina fan, were priceless. I had been trying to be less hateful towards particular former dookies (love the sinner, hate the sin?) such as J. J. Reddick and Wojo, but this book really did not encourage me in that pursuit. If you don't care about college basketball or obsessions in general, don't read it unless you are trying to understand a Tar Heel loved one.(less)
This book is more of a 3.5 starts for me. Parts of it lag on a bit, but overall, it's a good read. I knew a lot of the major ideas, but it laid them o...moreThis book is more of a 3.5 starts for me. Parts of it lag on a bit, but overall, it's a good read. I knew a lot of the major ideas, but it laid them out in a way that lead to maximum impact for me and made me consider what food I buy and why. (less)
Before I was married and a mother, keeping the sabbath was easy. I read Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn to remind myself why I need to press...more
Before I was married and a mother, keeping the sabbath was easy. I read Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn to remind myself why I need to press on towards making my Sundays the way they ought to be, even in the midst of all of my busyness.
I really appreciated Keeping the Sabbath Wholly. Dawn works her way through four elements of sabbath keeping: ceasing, resting, embracing and feasting. As Christians, when we cease, we don’t just run away from everyday life, we assert that the things that drive our everyday lives don’t have ultimate authority over us. We mustn’t just take a nap or avoid exerting ourselves, we have to let our rest extend from the physical to the emotional and the intellectual so that it can renew our whole beings. By our ceasing and resting, we have room to embrace the values that we ought: intentionality, the Christian community, our callings, time instead of space, people instead of things and giving instead of requiring. And then, after the ceasing, resting and embracing, our feasting is that much sweeter.
Dawn makes sabbath keeping to her readers more than just a sound theological practice, but something that is inherently necessary for them to be all that God made them to be, and remarkably, does all of that without making the book one big guilt trip. “Sabbath keeping is not a dry duty or an oppressive obligation. It is a delight, a feasting on that which is eternal rather than a scrambling after the ephemeral success, the amassed wealth, the ceaseless activities, the elegant refinement that Americans think will grant them permanent happiness. Instead of trying to create our own security, we worship the one who is our security.”
I enjoyed Keeping the Sabbath Wholly a great deal and it was a wonderful reminder of truths that I used to know for myself but have lost along the way. My only major objections to it lie in Dawn’s practical application. She puts far too much emphasis on Jewish traditions of Sabbath keeping, which are extra-biblical. I do not think that lighting candles or saying the Kiddush and Havdalah are wrong. But her emphasis on them in her own practice might make readers feel that is the right way to keep the sabbath and there is certainly freedom to take or leave those practices. Personally, we are adapting prayers from the Christian tradition that fulfill the same purposes for our family. Overall, it’s an excellent book that I have and would recommend highly. (less)
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 read...moreI 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.)(less)
This is easily the best contemporary Christian parenting book I’ve read. Clarkson writes about a model of family discipline that harkens back to the t...moreThis is easily the best contemporary Christian parenting book I’ve read. Clarkson writes about a model of family discipline that harkens back to the true meaning of the word: disciplemaking. His ideas fit well with the view that our children are also our brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism, and deserve to be treated as such. Unfortunately, he does rabbit trail into Harry Potter bashing in his attempts to explain the importance of filtering what media content goes into the home, but nobody’s perfect. (Borrowed from the library.)(less)
I was excited about reading Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher because we’re crunchy and ideologically conservative, and the subtitle intrigued me. We got on...moreI 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.(less)