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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Reformed Readers Summer 2011 Challenge
Looking for a break in the routine, this summer? Choose a book using one of the following challenges and post a review. Compete to win the completely imaginary, Reformed Readers Traveling Trophy, awarded strictly by whim of group members and moderators.

1. Attributes of God - Get grounded this summer by reading or re-reading a book on the attributes of God and post a review. Some titles include: Knowing God by J.I. Packer, The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink, God: As He Longs for You to See Him by Chip Ingram, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, etc.

2. Recommended Reading - choose a book from the recommended reading list of an organization you admire. Ex: your local church, desiringgod.org, 9marks, etc. Post a review and tell us how you found the title.

Here are a couple lists from Desiring God:
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-l...
http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts...

Here are a couple lists from 9marks:
http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/recomm...
http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/9marks...


The next 3 challenges were stolen from The Seasonal Reading Challenge Group because they sounded fun.

3. The Readers Have Chosen- Read a book that won or was nominated for any category of the 2010 goodreads Choice Awards. http://www.goodreads.com/award/show/4...

4. Pulling Weeds - Sort your "To Read" shelf by average rating ascending (lowest to highest) Read one of the 50 books on your "To Read" shelf with the lowest rating. If you do not have 50 or more books available on your Goodreads "To Read" shelf, you may read a book using your personal Goodreads ratings average as a guide. The book should have a rating at or below your average rating at the time you select your book. Your Goodreads average rating statistic can be found on your profile page beneath your avatar.

5. Great Minds Think Alike
For this task we will find out if this saying is true when in comes to reading preferences. Go to the individual page for the last book you gave a 5 star rating to. Scroll down to the section for other reviews and click on the link for 5 stars. Select a person. Visit that persons profile and select another book (one that you haven't read before) that they gave 5 stars to and that will be the book you need to read for this challenge task.


message 2: by Laura (last edited Jul 23, 2011 01:24PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
4. Pulling Weeds. I read and reviewed a weedy book here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... But don't bother clicking the link because the book is pure hooey. I'd use negative stars if they were available. Do NOT recommend.

What a waste of a hot summery day! Who had the bright idea to publish this challenge, anyway? =)


message 3: by Trice (new)

Trice I think I could very easily cheat on that one - I sorted my 'to read' shelf to see what came up and I actually have a few books that have a 0 rating b/c no one has marked them on here as read yet. or does that count as cheating? :)


message 4: by Laura (last edited Jul 23, 2011 01:34PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "I think I could very easily cheat on that one - I sorted my 'to read' shelf to see what came up and I actually have a few books that have a 0 rating b/c no one has marked them on here as read yet. ..."

I propose that there are no hall monitors in the Reformed Readers group. =) Judge your challenge selections and responses for yourselves and award your own points. Although I think group members can also award points to one another for various reasons (quality of review, use of humor, just because, etc.)

That said, I wouldn't be altogether surprised if the group leveled a few 'cheater, cheater, pumpkin-eater' remarks towards blatant nefariousness. =)

I hereby award myself 2 points for getting the weedy book off my shelf. Low total since I couldn't bring myself to finish it.


message 5: by Laura (last edited Jul 23, 2011 01:29PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
1. Attributes of God. Is there any better way to invest in summer learning than by getting re-grounded in the basics? I read R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God and loved it. 5 stars and 50pts.
Link to review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
2. Recommended Reading. My local church recommended a challenging read: The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross: Insights from an Arab Christian.

Link to review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

4 stars and 30pts.

I recommend highly to those who like to question assumptions and stereotypical beliefs. Those interested in cross-cultural ministry (or have been through the Perspectives curriculum) may find this particularly interesting. The content was challenging and 4-star worthy, but the writing style and choices could use some additional refinement.


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Think I'll give myself 8 pts for using 'pumpkin-eater' and 'nefariousness' in the same sentence (see message #4)...which brings my point total to 90pts. I'm on a roll now.... =)


message 8: by benebean (new)

benebean | 35 comments 2. Recommended Reading. So Coyle doesn't really qualify as "an organization I admire" (sorry Coyle), but The Reformation For Armchair Theologians really fits better under Recommended Reading rather than Pulling Weeds, even though technically it qualifies for the Pulling Weeds challenge in relation to my to-read bookshelf.

Anyhow, it's a great book: informative, easy to read, and even includes stories like an old mayor downing a 3 liter tankard of wine to save his city from being razed.

ummm, I didn't really write a review since I "liked" Coyle's review and had nothing else to add. So I'm going to blatantly cheat and link to his review.
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


I'm not sure how this points thing works, but I'll give 10 points to Laura for being the first to post a review and 10 points to Coyle since I stole his review.


message 9: by Laura (last edited Jul 26, 2011 06:42PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Thanks, Benebean! Points system is arbitrary. Wide-open to personal creativity.

Sort of like the driving game we played in high school where we awarded points for not hitting things...50pts for the grandmother in the crosswalk, 200pts for deer, 500pts for the crazy driver that cut you off, 25pts for completing a stoplight firedrill, etc. Or was that just an upper-midwest phenomenon?


message 10: by Coyle (new)

Coyle | 19 comments No, we had the point system in the farther West also, and they seem to have it on the East Coast as well.

And... I get points, but I'm not an organization you admire? I'm not sure if that's an insult or a compliment... :P


message 11: by benebean (last edited Aug 01, 2011 07:24AM) (new)

benebean | 35 comments hmm, well Coyle, maybe you can think of it as being placed on equal footing with "an organization I admire" since, in that instance, I took a recommendation from you instead of one from an organization. :D

I must've missed out on that driving game. This probably is related to one my closest hs friends having a habit of rattling off safety/accident statistics every time she got into a car followed by a "we're all doomed" expression. She always sat in the back, even if it was just the two of you in the car-- apparently it's statistically safer back there.

All that said, I'm giving myself 5 points for the following review since I'm still matching challenges to books instead of the other way around-- and I didn't really write a thorough review.

2. Recommended Reading. I'm assuming Don't Waste Your Life is on Desiring God's reading list since Piper wrote it. Mostly it was like a bunch of Piper's sermons on not wasting your life put into a book. So if you like listening to Piper's sermons, I'd recommend it. Here's my review and here's someone else's more detailed review.


message 12: by Trice (new)

Trice 1. Attributes of God - The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. I had picked this book off a friend's shelf a few years ago and this was my 2nd attempt at reading it - the 1st time I got frustrated at how it didn't seem to be going deep enough. This time I wasn't that much more impressed, though I think it has some good thoughts.

I am officially slacking on point assignment b/c I'm sick of any and all forms of grading right now :) - down with numbers! for another month anyway. Can I have a gold star instead? ;)


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "I am officially slacking on point assignment b/c I'm sick of any and all forms of grading right now :) - down with numbers! for another month anyway. Can I have a gold star instead? ;) "

Sick of grading...remind us is it because you're a student, a teacher, or both? Regardless...I say relish the gold star.


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
3. The Readers Have Chosen Finally finished The Help - the anchor of a book that I've been dragging around since Christmas. Not horrible / Not fabulous. Not sure how it won the Goodreads Award for Best Fiction. I'm hopeful the movie will be better than the book. Link to my review:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

It does give me the inkling to finish a great book that I've been dabbling my way through for over a year:
My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered which is an oral history of the Civil Rights movement that resonates with authentic voices.

3 stars and 300pts to me for releasing the anchor.


message 15: by Trice (new)

Trice Laura wrote: "Trice wrote: "I am officially slacking on point assignment b/c I'm sick of any and all forms of grading right now :) - down with numbers! for another month anyway. Can I have a gold star instead? ;) "

Sick of grading...remind us is it because you're a student, a teacher, or both? Regardless...I say relish the gold star. "


I teach English for university EFL students - it's awesome, but it is so very nice to be on vacation for a bit. Suddenly I've realized I have less than a month before we start up again and I have a ton of planning left to do.

What about you?

And wow, you're really ripping through this challenge! :)


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "I teach English for university EFL students - it's awesome. What about you?
And wow, you're really ripping through this challenge! :) "


Great gig! In a previous town, I got to tutor a little with EFL students pursuing GED, Citizenship, and college entry exams. Loved it! I'm an engineer for a major corporation - working mostly in project management/facilitation, and operations planning. Also love that. But it was great to get a break from spreadsheets and dive into practical english application with the amazing, interesting, diverse crowd of EFL classes.

=) I'm enjoying the challenge! I started a new job in October and finally have enough of my learning curve covered that I get to read again for fun! So the last few weeks have been a blast. The end of our fiscal year is approaching though, so I'm guessing the upcoming busy season will slow me down again. But I'm going to enjoy this late summer reading while it lasts!


message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "1. Attributes of God - The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. In the linked review: Having grown up singing the Psalms in worship, this seems another potential issue with the modern church, but then maybe I'm reading into things - it just seems like people are missing a common sense and very important resource, either in the Psalms themselves or in scripture as a whole. "

Hi, Trice - mind if I ask which worship tradition you grew-up in that had you singing the Psalms?


message 18: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
I'm awarding 200 gold stars to Trice for being amongst the uncommon 2% when rating The Knowledge of the Holy.


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
5. Great Minds Think Alike: This was a tough, but worthwhile read. All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life by Winona LaDuke. The book depicts struggles of Native American peoples while dealing with land, the environment, governance, spirituality, injustice, etc. Not a light read, but a thought-provoker. My review.

How I got to the title: I gave 5 stars to Blood Brothers, exp. ed., another 5 star rater had also given highest-rating to 'All Our Relations'.

4 stars from me and 75pts. Whew!


message 20: by Trice (new)

Trice Laura wrote: "Trice wrote: "1. Attributes of God - The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. In the linked review: Having grown up singing the Psalms in worship, this seems another potential issue with the modern church, but then maybe I'm reading into things - it just seems like people are missing a common sense and very important resource, either in the Psalms themselves or in scripture as a whole. "

Hi, Trice - mind if I ask which worship tradition you grew-up in that had you singing the Psalms?"


Hi Laura, sure - I grew up in the RPCNA. Based on the Regulative Principle of Worship (in which I am very far from an expert), we sing only Psalms in corporate worship, and always a capella


message 21: by Trice (new)

Trice and thankee for all those shiny stars! :)


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "sing only Psalms in corporate worship, and always a capella "

=) only a capella... I would have to find a good singer that I could stand close to for camouflage - otherwise my joyful noise might be all too evident and distracting.

Does that mean you've developed a knack for harmonizing? A skill I've always greatly adimired!


message 23: by Trice (last edited Aug 23, 2011 02:48AM) (new)

Trice Laura wrote: "Trice wrote: "sing only Psalms in corporate worship, and always a capella "

=) only a capella... I would have to find a good singer that I could stand close to for camouflage - otherwise my joyful noise might be all too evident and distracting.


lol I'm sure you'd do fine. And usually the melody line is pretty clear before anybody picks up the harmony lines. oh, and some of the tunes would sound familiar (e.g. in The Book of Psalms for Singing Psalm 3 is set to "Amazing Grace"; and in the new psalter (The Book of Psalms for Worship) Psalm 5 is set to Scarborough Fair - has to be one of my new favorites)

Does that mean you've developed a knack for harmonizing? A skill I've always greatly adimired! "

it's certainly helped, although I tend to do better if I either know it already or if I can join someone - not so good on the sight reading, although every once in a while I surprise myself :)


message 24: by Trice (new)

Trice All our Relations looks really interesting. Your review reminds me a bit of my reaction to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - really well written, but so very sad and incriminating all at once. I had to put it down about a third of the way in, but I'm still hoping to get back to it at some point soon.


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "Your review reminds me a bit of my reaction to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"
I'll have to see if the library carries this one...but not for a few months. Well, maybe next summer for the next challenge. =)


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
It's the last weekend to get your reading completed for the edge-of-your-seat excitement that is the 'Reformed Readers Summer Challenge'. The 31st is fast approaching. Will there be a surprise upset of the leader-board? Anything is possible. =)


message 27: by Laura (last edited Aug 27, 2011 10:04AM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Finally finished The Help - the anchor of a book that I've been dragging around since Christmas. Not horrible / Not fabulous. Not sure how it won the Goodreads Award for Best Fiction. I'm hopeful the movie will be better than the book.."

Just an update: I did like the movie much better than the book.


message 28: by Trice (new)

Trice Laura wrote: "Laura | 80 comments Laura wrote: "Finally finished The Help - the anchor of a book that I've been dragging around since Christmas. Not horrible / Not fabulous. Not sure how it won the Goodreads Award for Best Fiction. I'm hopeful the movie will be better than the book.."

Just an update: I did like the movie much better than the book. "


what made the difference?


message 29: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: "What made the difference?"

The voices. Sounded much more authentic when presented as dialogue. Some portions of the book the voices struck an odd chord - like the author was trying too hard to capture authenticity and just missed the mark.

Sort of like Tom Cruise in the movie Valkyrie. To enjoy the movie, you had to choose to suspend disbelief about the incredibly bad casting choice that put him in the role. With the book, I had to do the same. The movie dialogue played better.

Plus - there is less of it. =)


message 30: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Here's the Leaderboard:


Trice:



Coyle:



Benebean:



Laura:




message 31: by Trice (new)

Trice guess I need to work on my 'ribbit' ;)


message 32: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
=). Reminded me of Frogger. And Seinfeld. And Australian cane toads. Couldn't resist.


message 33: by Laura (last edited Aug 31, 2011 06:11PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
3. The Readers Have Chosen. Read Room. Not overwhelmingly depressing. Glad I read it. Glad I didn't purchase it. =)

Link to review is here.

3 Stars and 10 pts


message 34: by Trice (new)

Trice Laura wrote: "3. The Readers Have Chosen. Read Room. Not overwhelmingly depressing. Glad I read it. Glad I didn't purchase it. =)

Link to review is here.

3 Stars and 10 pts"


I have known books like that too - that one has sounded a bit strange and I've been debating about trying to find it. You got it in just under the wire - are you sure it's only worth 10 measly points? :)


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
Trice wrote: are you sure it's only worth 10 measly points?"
Yeah, easy read...not much investment. 10 sounds right. =)


message 36: by Laura (last edited Sep 08, 2011 09:15PM) (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
2011 RRSC Conclusion:
Thanks, all for indulging in the fun of another summer challenge! The first-ever Reformed Readers Traveling Trophy was going to look like this:
red stapler but ended up looking like this: gorgeous flowers


message 37: by benebean (new)

benebean | 35 comments Congratulations :D


message 38: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
benebean wrote: "Congratulations :D"
=) Thanks, Benebean - what did you end up doing to celebrate your points? Did you have an imaginary trophy in mind for yourself? A personal philosophy of mine is that celebrating the little things helps keep the monotony of life at bay.


message 39: by benebean (new)

benebean | 35 comments hmmm, I hadn't planned on celebrating-- but I'm a big fan of food, so maybe some peach cobbler or, more realistically, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts.


message 40: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
benebean wrote: "hmmm, I hadn't planned on celebrating-- but I'm a big fan of food, so maybe some peach cobbler or, more realistically, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts."
yummy...but over an hour to make peach cobbler? Guess it might be a bit more tasty than my old standby: dump can of peach pie filling into dish. dump cake mix on top. melt some butter and drizzle on top. then bake. Oh wait, it's a Paula Dean recipe. Yup - no guessing needed - bet it's delicious.


message 41: by benebean (new)

benebean | 35 comments I like your cobbler recipe. If I wanted cobbler as good looking at Paula Deen's, I'd probably have to pull off this:




expression in front of my mom along with a gesture to the cobbler picture. :)


message 42: by Laura (new)

Laura | 124 comments Mod
benebean wrote: "I like your cobbler recipe. If I wanted cobbler as good looking at Paula Deen's, I'd probably have to pull off this expression in front of my mom along with a gesture to the cobbler picture. :)"

Nice!


message 43: by Trice (new)

Trice hiya, so this is skipping back in the conversation, but if you like, here's Psalm 102 sung a capella in corporate worship: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcZQlm...

as for books, finally went back to and finished Luther's Bondage of the Will a bit ago and just today started on Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship (yay!)

Happy Fall of reading :)


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