Review: Answering God

Answering God

Over the past few months I’ve been reading through the Psalms and Proverbs each day. As I’ve read, I’ve become more interested in the book of Psalms. I picked a used copy book up by Eugene H. Peterson hoping it would give me some insight into the Psalms. What it did was give me desire to read the Psalms more, but also a desire to pray through the Psalms.

If you have ever read The Message¬†you already know Peterson has a flowing style of prose. You will find that same style here. Every so often you run into a nuggets such as, “Human beings are in trouble most of the time. Those who don’ t know they are in trouble are in the worst trouble.”

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Jesus Died for This? Review (Kind of)

A couple of months ago I saw Becky Garrison offer her new book (Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ )to

anyone who was willing to blog about it. I try
to get a free book anytime I can. That’s how I roll. Anyway, I didn’t know much about Becky Garrison other than for some reason I had friended her on Facebook. She was friends of some of my friends (mostly authors I like) and I figured I might as well add her to the mix. At the time I didn’t know that she was a writer for the The Wittenburg Door (or simply, The Door) or a religious satirist.

Since I didn’t know much about Becky, I knew she knew absolutely nothing about me. So I sent her a message on Facebook along with my address, she responded, and graciously sent me a book a few weeks later. What I didn’t know was how chaotic my life would become. What I had hoped would be a couple week turnaround to read the book and blog about it has taken me a couple of months. Nevertheless, here is the review.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the book. To be honest, I didn’t like it at first. I guess it was the satire that was rubbing me the wrong way. Garrison says what she thinks and sometimes it isn’t inline with cultural Christianity sensitivities. Now, I have no trouble with satire and I expected it based on the front cover (it is also what caused me to want to read the book). But sometimes I had to pause wondering if she didn’t take things a bit too far. At times it seemed like she had a chip on her shoulder or was a bit angry…but who isn’t a bit angry when it comes to how we, as Christians, sometimes live out out faith.

Another issue for me was the chapters didn’t seem to be leading me anywhere. I kept thinking it was some type of travel log. I tend to read non-fiction books and I think I simply wasn’t use to the genre being used. A couple of times, because of my schedule, I didn’t want to continue reading it.

That being said, I’m glad I stuck with it. The issues I had with the book were my own issues. As I continued reading the book I realized this book was different from most of the ones I usually read. She was leading me somewhere, but I couldn’t see it. As I continued traveling with her my heart started being touched. By the end of the book my heart was burning with the desire to discover the journey God calls me to. The book, it seems, is an attempt to paint a picture of what it looks to authentically follow Jesus.

Throughout the book Becky introduces to various aspects of living the Christian life. She does this through the story of her travels. In the book she recounts individuals she meets on her journey. Some of these are well known individuals, but the power of this book is in the unknown individuals. People who are living expressions of the love of God. They do what they do not for glory or notoriety, but because the love of God is burning within them and has to be made incarnate in some way.

I highly recommend this book, however, it could challenge you and the way you live your Christian life. Garrison says what she thinks and sometimes it can have a bite to it…although you might be chuckling as you get bit! In the end, if you have ears to hear what she is saying, you might just discover the heart of God for the least and the lost.

Review: Coming Home to Your True Self by Albert Haase

Coming Home to Your True Self: Leaving the Emptiness of False Attractions by Albert Haase

Not too bad of a book. I wasn’t real impressed at first, but he does a good job of discussing the true and false self. Fairly easy to read.¬†Perhaps the best part of the book was the last chapter which had to do with growing spiritually.

He does a pretty good job of breaking down the characteristics of the true and false self which is helpful. The book is very accessible, more so that Thomas Merton or others. Perhaps this is because he is a spiritual director and he is writing the book to people who simply want to grow in their faith.

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Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are some books that after you turn the last page, you know you will be different. You can’t always explain why, but in the course of reading it, you know something deep within you has been changed. This book has had that effect on me.

I only read it because Amazon suggested it, and it did go along with some of my dissertation research. A couple of times, in the beginning, I thought about reading something else instead, but I continued on and I’m glad I did.

Crouch discusses “cultures” and how Christians interact with the cultures around them. Instead of calling Christians have postures of being against culture, critiquing culture, consuming culture, or transformation culture, he calls them to create culture (which according to Crouch is what God calls us to do).

For me, the best part of the book was Part 3 where he eloquently invites all to be culture makers for the sake of the Gospel.

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