My goodness, this book is terrible. It's loaded with bad stereotypes, unreal plot devices and a ridiculous, impossible Cinderella-type ending. This boMy goodness, this book is terrible. It's loaded with bad stereotypes, unreal plot devices and a ridiculous, impossible Cinderella-type ending. This book is an illustration of everything that's wrong with modern Christian fiction....more
In general, I have a bit of a problem with Christian fiction of the romance/chick-lit variety. I get tired of the wooden, stereotypical characters, thIn general, I have a bit of a problem with Christian fiction of the romance/chick-lit variety. I get tired of the wooden, stereotypical characters, the unrealistic holiness, and the too-good-to-be-true heartthrob. (And let’s not even get started on that other creature, Amish fiction. Ugh.) So I’ve vowed a hundred times that I’ll never read Christian romance/chick-lit again. Well, let’s just say I’m very glad I broke my own rule with this one.
I puffy cartoon hearts adored this book. I know, that doesn’t sound very professional or Book Reviewer-ish, but it’s true. Start to finish, every single word, I loved Save the Date.
Lucy has had some hard knocks in her life. She grew up poor, the only child of a house-cleaning single mom. She worked her way through college and has been on her own since her mother’s death. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and runs Saving Grace, a home for young women who have aged-out of the foster system but still aren’t quite ready to be out on their own. Her best-friends are a group of self-described science fiction nerds. Things seem to be going okay for Lucy. She’d been dating Matt, a reliable but boring accountant. Just when Lucy thought Matt would propose to her, he broke up with her and moved away.
Fast-forward and Saving Grace loses most of its funding. Lucy is lonely and worried about Saving Grace, wondering how she’s going to keep it all afloat. But then Alex Sinclair comes along. He’s an old classmate from Lucy’s childhood, a former NFL quarterback, and a congressional hopeful. He also happens to be irrevocably tied to the foundation that’s just cut Lucy’s funding.
What happens next seems implausible but is completely believable in the hands of Jenny B. Jones and her gift for storytelling. And I’m not going to tell you what that something is, because the book is so good you should read it yourself. It’s often laugh-out-loud funny, incredibly sweet and endearing, and more than just a little romantic.
What I love the most about Jones’ writing is her characters. She has quite a knack for creating fully-formed folks you think you could know. I want to be friends with Lucy. I want her to be real! And call me crazy, but I had a hard time not picturing Eli Manning as Alex. I mean, come on.
Save the Date strikes that perfect balance between secular and Christian romance/chick-lit. It’s not profane as some secular offerings are, and it’s not at all sickly-sweet as some Christian ones are. It’s instead a delightful read full of delightful characters from an author whose other books I’ll now seek out and gobble up. ...more
Deeply troubling from a theological perspective. Quite often mystical, with a near wringing-out of a thesis (eucharisteo), repeated multiple times perDeeply troubling from a theological perspective. Quite often mystical, with a near wringing-out of a thesis (eucharisteo), repeated multiple times per page. Quotes pulled from all over, various denominations (and even other religions!), all mashed together in the to-her radical notion that life should be lived in thankfulness. Why is this notion so life-altering for Voskamp and the hoards of women nearly breathless in awe at this book? Is Scripture not full of God's people giving thanks in all things, no matter the circumstance? What is missing from the pulpit for these women, I wonder? Why is this so shocking in its revelation?...more
Abby Johnson grew up in a Christian home, raised to be kind and honest, to work hard, and to always do her best in school. She excelled in her Texas hAbby Johnson grew up in a Christian home, raised to be kind and honest, to work hard, and to always do her best in school. She excelled in her Texas high school and excitedly went on to college at Texas A&M University. While there, she felt overwhelmed, as many young college students often do, and her choices began to affect her negatively. Abby began dating an older guy and became pregnant. She was confused and lost, unsure what to do or how to handle the situation. Her boyfriend wasn’t supportive and simply assumed Abby would have an abortion. He drove her to an abortion clinic in Houston, and the deed was done. She would later become pregnant by him again, and that pregnancy resulted in another abortion.
Abby met Planned Parenthood staffers at a campus volunteer day at A&M and was taken in by their promises of health care services for women. She worked as a clinic escort and later as a counselor for them, thinking she was helping women, all while knowing that her parents didn’t approve of her choices, and knew she wasn’t doing what they’d raised her to do.
She rose through the ranks of Planned Parenthood, eventually becoming director of the office she’d first volunteered at. She married a longtime friend, gave birth to their daughter, Grace, and worked on her master’s degree in counseling. Even though her parents and husband did not support her career, she forged ahead, certain what she was doing was right.
But, just outside the clinic’s fence, there were always pro-lifers praying. There were the typical loud and harassing ones, with the large photos of mangled baby bodies, but the ones that caught Abby’s attention were the quiet ones who just stood there praying. One, named Elizabeth, struck up conversations with Abby and over time won her trust. Elizabeth prayed for Abby, and one day gave her flowers with a Bible verse and promise of prayer attached. Abby thought this gesture was odd, but kept the card and never forgot Elizabeth.
Abby’s life changed in October 2009 when a doctor visited the clinic to do surgical abortions while using an ultrasound machine. Abby was called from her office to assist, and as she watched the horror of what unfolded before her on screen, her mind and heart were changed. The ultrasound was so similar to the ones she’d experienced during her pregnancy with Grace, and when the baby looked frightened and in pain and tried to get away from the doctor’s abortion instruments, Abby knew she could never again be partner to abortions.
She went down the street to the local Coalition for Life office, and in tears, asked them for help. Abby left her job at Planned Parenthood immediately, and has since become a Christian pro-life activist, eager to counsel women away from the horrific and painful choice of abortion and toward choosing life for their babies.
Abby’s new book, Unplanned tells her story in riveting detail. The accompanying DVD offers a glimpse into her story, in her own words and through interviews with her family and Coalition for Life members who prayed for her. ...more
Originally published in 1987 and now updated with new text and all-new photos, It Couldn’t Just Happen is a little boo. . Review posted here on my blog.
Originally published in 1987 and now updated with new text and all-new photos, It Couldn’t Just Happen is a little book packed with lots of information proving Creation of the Bible over the theory of evolution. Richards starts with the Creation event itself and follows with amazing facts about the human body, animal and plant life, fossil records, weather events, and nature’s impossible-to-ignore reflection of its Creator. Throughout, he uses Scripture proofs and without hesitation says the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, and that there is no room for doubting its validity when it comes to Creation, historical Adam and Eve, and the proof of God’s handiwork in humans and nature.
If the book falls short for me, it’s that it doesn’t state definitively how long Creation took. Richards leaves the door open for the day-age theory, which states we cannot know how long a “day” in the Creation story is. Perhaps it is a strict 24-hour period, as we know a day to be, or perhaps a “day” could have been millions of years long, which would allow for gradual changes we collectively call evolution. Myself, I’m a strict six-day Creationist. The word for “day” in Genesis, in the Creation story, is the same Hebrew word used for a 24-hour period elsewhere in the Old Testament. God is not a god of confusion or doubt, leaving us stranded without critical pieces of information. We know all we need to know in this life on Earth about Jesus, heaven, miracles, prophecies, and so forth, so why would He keep from us the full truth of our very origins?
Despite this personal quibble, which is easily a teachable moment for my son once it’s time to teach him in-depth about these things, It Couldn’t Just Happen is an invaluable resource for Christian parents. The Scripture texts used throughout are appropriate for the topic at hand, and each chapter ends with a “Just for Fun” page of questions and activities designed to challenge thinking and look at Creation in a fun and imaginative way. I would not use this as the primary text for teaching my son or a class about Creation, but I will certainly keep it around and use it as a supporting text....more
Phenomenal. It's really astonishing how good this is. Recently, we started reading straight through it, one story a night, with our son who will be fiPhenomenal. It's really astonishing how good this is. Recently, we started reading straight through it, one story a night, with our son who will be five at the end of November 2012. His questions and understanding of our covenant faith have matured a lot during this family time. He wants to start it over from the beginning. I can't recommend this highly enough for parents of small children, and even for new Christians. I've benefited greatly from it myself, and I've been a Christian my whole life. Get this book....more
Excellent collection of blog posts on motherhood from the Desiring God web site. I felt challenged, convicted, and uplifted reading these. It's good tExcellent collection of blog posts on motherhood from the Desiring God web site. I felt challenged, convicted, and uplifted reading these. It's good to be reminded that my child's heart is the most important mission field I'll ever have.
I was rattled by Carolyn McCulley's piece. She connected the decline in respect for motherhood to Darwin's view of women being less than men, and how that view directly led to a rise in abortions (thanks in no small part to Margaret Sanger). In today's culture of worship of self and "freedom," being a mother is the most radically pro-life thing any woman can do....more
I'll start by saying that Dr. Gordon says many things I agree with. It's his approach that bothers me. His argument wouldOh, goodness. Where to begin.
I'll start by saying that Dr. Gordon says many things I agree with. It's his approach that bothers me. His argument would have been far better suited to a series of blog posts or a chapter in an anthology than an entire book. His work is extremely repetitive and he seems to get more smug with each passing chapter.
Dr. Gordon's main thesis seems to be that modern churchgoers physically, literally cannot sing traditional hymns because pop culture and pop music are so, well, popular. This falls flat, because there is always "popular" music in every generation, but you don't always see churches tailoring their services to what's on the radio like you do now. He barely covers theological reasons for churches having rock bands and praise choruses on video screens. It's their weak *theology* that leads them to this musical gibberish, not the fact that Katy Perry is on the radio a lot.
He says countless times that he's not a musician, and by golly, I believe him. I am a musician insofar as I sing in a choir that sticks to rigorous classical music and modern pieces that require much work and practice. I can read music, find the alto harmony by ear, and have played a couple instruments. I also have a father who made sure I had a deep education in listening to many different musical forms and that I learned music history and theory. Dr. Gordon has a limited experience with classical (Brahms is mentioned more times than I could count) and is stuck in the 70s as far as popular music is concerned (The Who, Eric Clapton). His limited musical knowledge is awkward and cumbersome when he tries to fit his argument in. It's nearly offensive that somebody with such limited knowledge would write a whole book about how lousy popular music is. If you're going to make such assertions, you'd better have the chops to back it up.
I don't like rock bands and praise choruses on big screens in Sunday morning worship because it's the laziest, cheapest thing a church can do. I don't believe that people can't learn how to read music and can't follow written music in a hymnal. I don't believe that people won't come to church if they're not rocking out to the latest Hillsong release on KLOVE. I know for certain that if you do the hard work of teaching your church's children traditional hymns, they will continue to learn more as they grow older. If you have music opportunities for different talent levels in your church, the singers and players will come, hungry to improve their craft while honoring the Lord. But music is hard to learn. If the preacher is in jeans and giving a 15-minute talk where he references his "smokin' hot wife" at least once, how could we expect that church's music to be any better? The music a church sings starts from the top and trickles down.
I'd like to challenge Dr. Gordon to step out of his "popular music is bad because it's popular" rut and learn something. He credits Stuart Townend a couple times but never once mentions the backbone of the operation, Keith Getty (or Keith's wife, Kristyn). He needs to hear Rend Collective and Shai Linne and NEEDTOBREATHE. How about some Indelible Grace, Andrew Peterson, Beautiful Eulogy, Red Mountain Music, or Drew and Ellie Holcomb? All "popular," all doing theologically-sound, Christ-honoring work. Appropriate for Sunday morning worship? No. But terrific nonetheless, and perfectly acceptable for personal worship or entertainment. "Popular" does not mean "bad," and it's a shame Dr. Gordon wrote a whole book pushing that....more