Once I got into All the Light We Cannot See, the plot and the writing had me hooked. There was a great deal to appreciate about all the narrators andOnce I got into All the Light We Cannot See, the plot and the writing had me hooked. There was a great deal to appreciate about all the narrators and situations. But I was surprised that in the end, I didn't love it quite as much as I had hoped along the way. Overall, it was a very satisfying read, and I would recommend it, but I had moments where I thought it could take a spot in my top 25 lifetime reads and that certainly did not materialize....more
What can I say? Robinson is one of my favorite living authors and this book is as magnificent as the others in this trilogy. I know I will return to GWhat can I say? Robinson is one of my favorite living authors and this book is as magnificent as the others in this trilogy. I know I will return to Gilead and her people over and over....more
How did I make it this long without having read The Bronze Bow? A vivid and powerful story set in Galilee during Jesus' ministry, it's worth a read onHow did I make it this long without having read The Bronze Bow? A vivid and powerful story set in Galilee during Jesus' ministry, it's worth a read once in your life. ...more
Love Does is a memoir of sorts, stories and vignettes from the life of author Bob Goff. Goff is an extraordinary man, full of whimsy and heart. Some oLove Does is a memoir of sorts, stories and vignettes from the life of author Bob Goff. Goff is an extraordinary man, full of whimsy and heart. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, others made me tear up. The premise of the book is that love does, love is about action. And I believe that to be true and an encouraging message.
What is a little troubling about the book is that doing for Goff often costs more than time and energy. It costs money, and lots of it. I really struggled with the lack of acknowledging that 99.9% of Christians worldwide could not live as Bob does because they could never spend as Bob does. I have noticed that evangelicalism lately is all about living lives of service and doing amazing things, and I worry that might marginalize those for whom taking a year off to ”minister” just isn’t financially possible. If you struggle with contentment, this book might not be for you.
Another concern was the lack of connection to a local church and the skepticism towards typical Christianity. A lot of this is a good thing — I love the idea of a “Bible Doing” group rather than a Bible Study — but the sum of it felt like a lone ranger, individualistic faith rather than the true and deep community of faith that I believe to be the most biblical model.
I enjoyed this book, but it made me want wads of cash so I could do the sorts of things Bob does. And that’s not really the point. I’d love to see someone live an extraordinary, whimsical life of sacrificial love on a budget of $50,000 a year or less. I’d read that book in a heartbeat. Goff’s stories are really interesting and the profits are going to Restore International, so if you are intrigued, I’d say go ahead and read it....more
One of the most disorienting things in life is suffering. Even when we know all the right things about how the world is fallen and broken in every wayOne of the most disorienting things in life is suffering. Even when we know all the right things about how the world is fallen and broken in every way, pain jars us, and makes us question who God is and our relationship to him, in part because "we are not often told that once we've been delivered into freedom, the hardest times may still be ahead" (pg 75.) As we journey through life and its inevitable suffering, we need to be reminded of the truth, and Leaving Egypt is an able and welcome guide.
By using the Exodus narrative as a structure, author Chuck DeGroat guides us through four parts of the Christian life. (1) Egypt: Facing Our Fear, (2) Sinai: Receiving Our New Identity, (3) Wilderness: Entering the Furnace of Transformation and (4) Home: Experiencing New Identity and Mission. Though each part is essential, well-written and helpful, I felt most drawn to the third section. As the subtitle declares, we often find God in wilderness places, and it is good to be reminded of how God is at work in the midst of suffering and how he uses our suffering teach us.
Though DeGroat shows the hopefulness and promise in suffering, he is also very honest about its difficulty. There are no formulas for quick fixes, but a deep and real acknowledgement of the pain and darkness we all grapple with and a helpful framework for lament.
Though theological and thoughtful, this is a very practical and applicable read. DeGroat draws from many years of experience as a counselor, pastor and professor to help readers understand how this Exodus narrative intersects with their own lives and struggles. There are also questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflection or group discussion.
The Exodus story "invites us to look back at where we've been and remember God's relentless love for us despite our many failures" (pg 154.) Even though we may feel like we prefer the safety and familiarity of our own Egypts and enslavement, God longs for us to move forward. As we journey through our own difficulties and pain, Leaving Egypt reminds us of the truth of who we are, as believers united to Christ. I know I will read it again (a rarity among Christian books for me) and appreciate its simple, clear wisdom. I have already recommended it several times, and would commend it to anyone in the church. (9.5/10)...more
The Starboard Sea is a well crafted story, ably written, about a young man's Senior year at a New England prep school. Jason is a boy born into privilThe Starboard Sea is a well crafted story, ably written, about a young man's Senior year at a New England prep school. Jason is a boy born into privilege who is struggling to make sense of the world as his life falls apart.
His best friend and sailing partner is dead, his parents are divorcing, and he is unable to return to his previous school to finish out his high school career, so he's off to somewhere new, a school for the misfits who are cast or kept out of the most elite prep academies. As he tries to navigate his circumstances, he befriends Aiden, a California girl with her own dark past.
I enjoyed the story, but the writing really set this apart for me. I was very drawn to the descriptions of sailing and found myself thinking of sailing apart from when I was reading. I was also moved by the way Dermont described relationships. I felt Jason's losses and pain acutely, because she did a good job portraying them (and not just informing us of how he felt.)
It's a coming of age story and set at at boarding school, but I wouldn't classify this as young adult. Not because the themes are mature and sometimes graphic (even though they are), it just feels more geared to adults. (8.5/10)...more
Tullian Tchividjian's Jesus + Nothing = Everything examines the fundamental truth of the gospel and how to embrace Christ's finished work for believerTullian Tchividjian's Jesus + Nothing = Everything examines the fundamental truth of the gospel and how to embrace Christ's finished work for believers. I would not describe it as an exposition of Colossians, but Colossians features prominently. I would not describe it as a spiritual memoir or a particularly personal work, but occasional details of Tchividjian's difficult year transitioning through a church merger and feelings of inadequacy provide a thread for readers.
Readers can think of Tchividjian's Jesus + Nothing = Everything as a way to recalibrate and assess our functional beliefs and ask ourselves if we are adding anything to the gospel. There are many good books in this stream right now, and I find that a good thing. Like this book asserts, the gospel is not the first step of the Christian life, it's the hub. We must constantly remind ourselves of the fundamental truths, we never grow out of them. And so reading this book and others like it (Steve Brown's Scandalous Freedom comes to mind) from time to time is a good exercise for all of us, because we are prone to "think of the gospel as God's program to make bad people good, not dead people alive" (pg 116.)
Though Jesus + Nothing = Everything is focused on fundamentals, there is a great deal of meaty content to ponder. For example: "Our performancism leads to pride when we succeed and to despair when we fail. But ultimately it leads to slavey either way because it becomes all about us and what we must do to establish our own identity instead of resting in Jesus and what he accomplished to establish it for us" (pg 46). "The gospel alone empowers and emboldens us to press on and strain forward with no anxiety over gaining other people's sanction or good opinion--even God's! All the care and love and value we crave--full and final approval--we already have in Jesus" (pg 92.)
The book moves backwards from Everything to Nothing to Jesus, and then forward again. The structure is not bad in itself, but Tchividjian is fairly repetitive. This is a good trick for preaching, to repeat sentences that summarize your point well, but in writing it can feel poorly edited, (e.g. he said that exact same thing three pages ago.) It wasn't a huge distraction, and it did help me not to miss any critical points, but it was quite noticeable.
Overall, Jesus + Nothing = Everything is a helpful read for any Christian. I'd particularly recommend it for those coming out of more legalistic traditions and trying to overcome those tendencies. As we walk in faith, it is easy to stray into moralism. This book is a reminder of the simplicity of the gospel - that Jesus himself, his life and his work, are worth everything. Nothing in our hands we bring, simply to the cross we cling. May we not forget. ...more
I enjoyed this a great deal, and am looking forward to discussing it in book club this month. It was gripping but simple, and the spirituality felt veI enjoyed this a great deal, and am looking forward to discussing it in book club this month. It was gripping but simple, and the spirituality felt very genuine, even though I am pretty sure that the author is an atheist. It gave me a lot to consider.
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. The lack of half-stars is my least favorite thing about goodreads....more