Having read this, I'm now surprised that all the kerfluffle has been about Aslan writing about Jesus although he's (gasp!) a Muslim.
I think the conten...moreHaving read this, I'm now surprised that all the kerfluffle has been about Aslan writing about Jesus although he's (gasp!) a Muslim.
I think the content itself is more than a bit gasp-worthy.
I've never been up on the Historical Jesus research, so I don't know how much of Aslan's writing is new or controversial. But to me, it packed a wallop. He doesn't sensationalize, and his goal isn't to disprove anything. He uses historical evidence as a lens through which to examine the stories we have of Jesus. What he finds is the sort of stuff a thoughtful Christian might be almost aware of - when Aslan lays it out, it's easy to recognize many of the inconsistencies of our stories. I found it interesting and compelling reading; Aslan is both a fine researcher and a strong writer.(less)
One of the things that I appreciate most about this book is that it makes me think a lot. About what a book is versus a blog, about whether or not I a...moreOne of the things that I appreciate most about this book is that it makes me think a lot. About what a book is versus a blog, about whether or not I agree with Glennon, and about whether or not I like her.
Overall, I like her, I like what she has to say, and if we consider this a collection of short pieces of writing, it works as a book. It works especially well if the book reader is not a regular reader of Glennon's blog, Momastery. And of course, as a collection of short pieces of writing, this is best consumed in small chunks over the course of time.
Glennon writes well. She writes about being a mom, a wife, a sister, and most of all, a person who struggles. She shares what is at once a very positive and also very realistic, acknowledging-the-hardness viewpoint. I can definitely appreciate her outlook, even though I'm no longer the mother of a small child, and am neither a wife nor a Christian. A good deal of what she writes is applicable to most of us, whether we struggle with the same issues she does or not. It seems rather wonderful that she can write about her very personal, specific issues, and yet make them so accessible.
So this is a pretty glowing review so far. There are certainly areas in which the book will disappoint some readers. She's Christian, and might alienate some people. But she tends to write more about struggling with faith than about things specific to Christianity, so to me it's sort of a 50-50 chance that you'll hate it. Take it for what it is, or leave it.
She's also primarily a blogger. Again, it's best to take these pieces in small chunks. My final thought on possible drawbacks is that Glennon can be a bit high maintenance, but without the personal insight and humor that someone like Jenny Lawson - The Bloggess brings to her writing about herself. She has lots of good points, but some readers might be a bit turned off.
I'm going to recommend reading this one with an open mind, and taking from it what works for you. (less)
Anne Lamott writes so personably. She brings us in close, shares a cup of tea with us, and invites us into her world. And it's a wonderful world to be...moreAnne Lamott writes so personably. She brings us in close, shares a cup of tea with us, and invites us into her world. And it's a wonderful world to be part of. She writes about her faith journey from start to struggle. She's real, and also filled with faith and joy in her faith.
I'm not Christian, so I appreciated her focus on God rather than Christ.
Rob Bell is enthusiastic, funny, forward-thinking, and generally a right on kinda guy. He has a lot of interesting, hope-filled things to say. I like...moreRob Bell is enthusiastic, funny, forward-thinking, and generally a right on kinda guy. He has a lot of interesting, hope-filled things to say. I like his message.
A little disappointed with the book because after a while it felt as though he was padding - going over the same bits too much. He had lots of good points, but it was a little hard to find them. I found myself skimming in order to not get bogged down. He struck me as very earnest; the message came across that he really, really, really wants to explain this wonderful thing about God, and is willing to go to great lengths to explain what he means but gets so caught up in the wonderfulness of his ideas that he gets a bit lost but it's all good because everything is just so exciting and tremendous...and rather exhausting.
I have to admit that I was hoping for something like what I hope Fluent in Faith: A Unitarian Universalist Embrace of Religious Language will be. I'm hoping that it's about how to talk across religions about what we believe. Rob Bell remains firmly in the Christian tradition. A lot of what he writes has to do with Jesus and the resurrection. The book might have been more accurately titled, "What Christians Talk About When We Talk about God."
Last thing. Never, ever, ever print a book in a sans-serif font. Never.(less)
Wright's book seems as balanced as possible. And by that I mean that anything negative about the church will be aggressively den...moreThis is really scary.
Wright's book seems as balanced as possible. And by that I mean that anything negative about the church will be aggressively denied, and people who speak against the church will be hounded and sued. So it can be difficult to write anything that isn't glowingly positive. As a result, what you read about the church is going to be either very positive or very negative. This book falls into the negative category, while not going into the "they're flipping madmen! Stay away!" hysteria.
L. Ron Hubbard was a paranoid, narcissistic crazy person. His successor, David Miscavige, is a scary psychopath. They've created an incredibly powerful and extremely wealthy organization. You should be very scared.
Part of me appreciated Wright's efforts to tell us about Scientology. The book doesn't come across as an exposé. It comes across as an attempt to tell the story about the history, development, and current state of the church.
The other part of me was horrified and hated the story (but not the book). I think the book is important and worth reading - the more we know about Scientology, the better. Seriously - they're having a major impact on legislation especially tax laws. But it's not for the faint hearted. As LRH and Tom Cruise would say, this will blow your mind.(less)
The Mahatma's collected works run to about 100 volumes. Having never read them (obviously) I can't address whether this slim volume is a good sampling...moreThe Mahatma's collected works run to about 100 volumes. Having never read them (obviously) I can't address whether this slim volume is a good sampling. I can say, however, that Gandhi's writing style is wonderful. Clear and powerful, but also very personal and compelling.
The book is divided into two sections. The first contains writings related to satyagraha or nonviolent resistance. The second is devoted to swaraj: freedom or self-rule.
Tolstoy is brilliant, of course. I just wish this book were better edited. The various pieces Tolstoy wrote are given no context; no dates, only occas...moreTolstoy is brilliant, of course. I just wish this book were better edited. The various pieces Tolstoy wrote are given no context; no dates, only occasional information on why a piece was written, and a dearth of information on where pieces were originally published. Very frustrating for a researcher. Lots of writing on nonviolence, though more on resistance to the state, and the perils of patriotism. (less)