I have lived here in China for the past 2 years and can relate to many aspects of Chinese life that Hessler describes. What I find most fascinating, h...moreI have lived here in China for the past 2 years and can relate to many aspects of Chinese life that Hessler describes. What I find most fascinating, however, is his ability to share facts of historical importance in the midst of his narrative. Quite a good read and a real eye-opener for those who are not too familiar with Chinese culture, history, and politics.(less)
As most people have already commented, this is probably one of the few biographies that I will pick up and actually enjoy reading. I found that all of...moreAs most people have already commented, this is probably one of the few biographies that I will pick up and actually enjoy reading. I found that all of the mathematical and psychological jargon added depth to the story even when I didn't completely understand it.
That being said, I did come away from this biography with a less-than-rosy view of John Nash. Apart from his God-given genius, there doesn't seem much left to admire about this man - or at least to write a book and make a movie about. Instead I found this biography to be a celebration of the trials that Alicia, his wife/ex-wife/wife again had to endure as well as the loyalty of colleagues who had no obligation to act as the incredible friends they were.
It is well-written book about the tragic, confused life of a man who was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who cared about him.(less)
This story is as gripping as it is infuriating. Grisham does a great job joining his talent for writing with a new-found ability to incite the reader...moreThis story is as gripping as it is infuriating. Grisham does a great job joining his talent for writing with a new-found ability to incite the reader to anger over that which is unjust. It is a shame that anybody, insane or otherwise, has been incarcerated and put on death row for crimes they did not commit. I would also like to echo my agreement with many who believe the storyline of Dennis Fritz would have made better reading material.
That said I have one observation I would like to make about this book. I enjoy Grisham and have no qualm with an author promoting his or her opinions through their work, but I left this book with one simple question in mind. Isn't it strangely ironic that in an effort to shed light on the errors of our judicial system and share his opinion of the death penalty (that being against) Grisham gives his best effort to hand down a death penalty on the career of district attorney Bill Peterson? Most any reader walks away from this book loathing Mr. Peterson and I have read more than a few public forums related to this book where readers have berated both Peterson and the town of Ada.
Discovering the truth of whether Peterson is as corrupt as Grisham claims is beyond the time I am willing to invest in this story, and I would bet the same could be said for most readers. I just don't care. But is it fair to destroy the name and reputation of this man? If he is corrupt, then sure. But if he isn't? Peterson is convinced, just as Ron Williamson was, that he is innocent of these charges and in an effort to clear his name has sued John Grisham and set up a website to exonerate himself. Unfortunately, because of Grisham's popularity and the fact that the film rights to this book have been bought by George Clooney, his efforts are and will always be futile. As of last year he resigned his office.
Again, I personally don't care who's right or wrong in this, I just found it a bit contradictory on Grisham's part to write one thing while acting out the complete opposite. I think this story could have easily had just the same impact, if not more, had the story focused more on how the system failed these innocent men instead of a single human being. I finished this book furious about corrupt officials as opposed to the death penalty. Grisham accomplished his goal to incite me to anger, unfortunately I wasn't angry at what he wanted me to be.(less)
This is a quick read that is so full of beautiful insights that you either must force yourself to slow down or to read it a second time. Some say that...moreThis is a quick read that is so full of beautiful insights that you either must force yourself to slow down or to read it a second time. Some say that Zacharias relies too heavily on the Bible, but I think he does a masterful job of combining a modern intellectual approach to apologetics without abandoning the historical significance that the Scriptures can and do provide.
At first I was disappointed that he didn't go into more details about Buddhism or Hinduism, both of which I am not very familiar with. I remembered, however, what Ravi once said in a lecture - I am wasting my time if I spend it all discrediting other beliefs instead of defending the truth that I believe. This book does a commendable job of this.(less)
This is an enjoyable story for what it is. I still wonder, however, how so many grammatical and spelling errors can be made in one publication. Is tha...moreThis is an enjoyable story for what it is. I still wonder, however, how so many grammatical and spelling errors can be made in one publication. Is that the fault of the author or his publisher?(less)
1) I really like Bell's enthusiasm and passion for helping people break out of a religious system that many times can be boring and basically anything...more1) I really like Bell's enthusiasm and passion for helping people break out of a religious system that many times can be boring and basically anything but alive. Sometimes I think that I myself am far too intertwined with this system which, although good in many ways, is still man-made.
2) Bell's call to "test it. Probe it." is good advice. I have the awful tendency to read books, accepting most everything that I read as long as I trust the author or person who recommended the book to me.
3) I think that the way we respond to testing and probing is what can separate believers from non-believers, but unfortunately it doesn't. As you'll see below, there are some very big disagreements I have with Bell, but some of the things I've seen written and done in protest of his teachings is unbelievable. Protesting outside Bell's fellowship telling people they're going to hades isn't much of a disagreement, it borders on hatred.
4) All that being said, I have some very significant problems with some of Bell's theology. The first is his use of the trampoline analogy. Now obviously no analogy can be perfect, but the statement that all tenets of faith outside of Jesus are springs, and therefore we must be willing to allow them to flex, is very unBiblical. Now I agree with him regarding the man who said that if you don't believe in a 24-hour day creation, you don't believe in the cross. If by springs he means that we need to be open to various interpretation, I am all for that. It is when he wants my foundation to flex that I have a problem. Speaking of the virgin birth he says, "What if that spring was seriously questioned? Could a person still keep jumping?" My personal answer is that if I found that the virgin birth was untrue, the gospel writers knowingly putting a myth into their writings and thus compromising the inspiration of the Word, yes I would have some serious questions. But my personal answer doesn't carry as much weight as Paul's in regard to the resurrection saying, "...if [the Son] is not risen...then your faith is also vain." (I Cor 15:14). That doesn't sounds like a spring to me. I believe there are certain things which are bricks, or if I may add to Bell's analogy, maybe the stands on which the trampoline is raised. You take that away and you'll find that jumping on the trampoline is no different than jumping on the regular ground.
5) There was something that bothered me all through the first half of the book which I couldn't put my finger on until he basically wrote it out. Although I admire Bell's passion, I'm wary of his focus. Although he's not fully a "saved by works" preacher, he gets far too close in my mind by not emphasizing the power of the cross. Like I said, I couldn't put my finger on it until he got to his theory about Peter walking on water. That just blew my mind. Bell states, "Who does Peter lose faith in? Not Jesus; Jesus is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself." The idea that the Son willingly gave up His life so that people like me could realize how great I already am and all of the things I am capable of borders on blasphemy. In response to that I want to ask Bell what happened when Peter got back into the boat. Did he apologize for not meeting his potential? Did he promise that next time he would be more confident in himself? Of course not. He worships the Son. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I think those two words were missing in too much of Bell's ideology.
6) Bell far too often portrays the Word as full of metaphors. Yes, we desperately need to find the relevance for today, to apply it to our lives. I agree that this might be why so much of our "system" seems dead. However, what gives me hope in the life to come is not a personal, very subjective "...experience of [the Son] that transcends place and time" as Bell says, but rather the fact that the Son died and rose again on my behalf. I think the writers themselves make it clear that their purpose wasn't to provide metaphors, but to give us the story of our existence. Luke says, " Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught" (Lk 1:3-4).
To conclude my thoughts, I think that Bell is very well-intentioned and should serve as a wake-up call for many people, including myself, to see how much of what I consider to be my faith is in actuality just my system or culture. While I think that I should stand against what I believe to be foundational errors in Bell's theology, I think that the best reaction I or any person can have to objections is to expend my energy not on combative arguments but on being just as passionate for what I hold to be true. I hold that in Him, and not of myself or anything that I can do, grace is given as a gift through the sacrifice of the Son for our justification - but more importantly for His glory.(less)
Enjoyable book for what it is. Why do so many people expect John Grisham to be classic literature? It's like expecting a James Bond movie to win an Os...moreEnjoyable book for what it is. Why do so many people expect John Grisham to be classic literature? It's like expecting a James Bond movie to win an Oscar - it's called entertainment, so enjoy it.
My only complaint is this - why does McDeere get away with adultery? I like how the movie portrays it better. Living with a secret like adultery is about as big a burden as working for a mafia firm. I left feeling sorry for the main character, not relieved.(less)