Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: When God’s Ways Make No Sense by Dr. Larry Crabb

Review: When God’s Ways Make No Sense
Dr. Larry Crabb
Baker Books
2018 chose this book because the title intrigued me.  When God’s Ways Make No Sense.   There have been plenty of times when that seemed truer than I’d like to admit.  Are we even allowed to say something like that?  Even if we think it.  So, an author willing to take on that topic had my attention. And mostly because I wanted his take on what to do about it?

As it turns out Crabb pretty much gave away his case very early on in his book with a single scripture quote.  The basic idea is God is GOD and we are not.  His motives and actions are incomprehensible to mankind and He owes no explanation for them either.  Crabb admits near the end of his book that he is not a theologian which I knew going into this book, but his arguments are theology.  Or at least I think so.  I found his repeated circling the topic a bit frustrating.

That said, the book does provoke thoughts from the reader.  Are his arguments and comments valid? Just Who is God?  What is He like?  (Yes, I’m old school and assign the masculine pronoun still.) What is my part in all that?  Or do I even have any part?  Crabb looks at the Biblical accounts of Jonah, Habakkuk, Saul/Paul and how they handle themselves when what they saw God doing made no sense to them.  He revisits their reactions in modern garb later in the narrative.   He sees their reactions as duck and run, reinterpret the word given, or acceptance with questioning trust. 

In the end this author decides that the actions and circumstances that make no sense in a person’s life as a means of deepening the relationship between the believer and God.   Hard pill to swallow, but in a lot of his examples I agree with his conclusions. 

The value of this book isn’t its narrative which repeats itself frequently, but the questions that it forces the reader to confront.  Based on that I’d recommend it.   
I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Review: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom

Review: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot
Mo Isom
Baker Books

I picked this one up after I’d seen a video promo by the author,  Sounded like she had something to say.  She does.  And even if you don’t think it applies to you it does in ways that aren’t necessarily related to sex, but just as a human being with desires.  
Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot  -     By: Mo IsomIsom subscribed to many of the conversations that govern relationships in general, and those with men, for her generation, the millennials.  This book is not her life story, but it does describe some moments that were important to her journey then and now.  Her openness to share those times surprised me.  Her point without spoiling the book is that she had not understood what linked sexual intimacy to ordinary life, the why’s, if you will.  Was it not taught, discussed?  Or was she not interested in hearing might be a valid question?  Either or quite possibly both ways, the end results aren’t very different.  She doesn’t try to hide the consequences or shift the blame onto someone else for her problems.  Now. 

She shares her victories and struggles as one messed person to another.  The narrative is direct, easy to read, and brightened with many insightful bits of hard won wisdom.  The Scripture passages she cites are not new.  There are no seven steps to success.  Just plain honest expression of her trek.  When Isom grasped the reality of her situation and the reality of the words she read from Scripture, she was enabled through the Spirit to live a healing way of life in all respects.  The healing has been progressive for her and she is honest enough to write that the road very difficult, but worth the result.  No sugar coating. 

Yes, as the quote on the front cover says, “This book is a must read.” 

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice by Patton Dodd, etal

Review: The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice
Patton Dodd, Jana Riess, And David van Biema

The title intrigued me, and I decided to look at this prayer wheel idea.  At first, I thought it was a gimmicky idea, but as it turns out it’s something more.  The wheel had been used long ago but forgotten until someone looked at the fly leaf of an old ceremonial type bible.  There was a copy of this wheel.  It’s related to an Augustinian guide from the 4th or 5th century.  Think a remix of the original that a Benedictine order had designed.  Now it’s rediscovered and back in circulation.

The Prayer Wheel book cover 
The authors of The Prayer Wheel have written a devotional book that uses the prayer wheel.  If a person is willing to work through the devotional, a knowledge of using the prayer wheel would be one of the outcomes.  I found their brief daily offerings could be used as prompts to deeper thought, however the reader must have some working knowledge of biblical texts like Matthew chapters  5 and 6 as a minimum.   A more complete knowledge would be beneficial, in my opinion.  

The book itself is a nice size, but the not very attractive.  Maybe if it makes it to a second printing the publishers will consider another design.

I received this book from the publishers in return for a review.