Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life by Henri J.M. Nouwen




Review: Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Convergent
2016


Gabrielle Earnshaw spent fifteen years sorting through the correspondence of Henri Nouwen and has edited this first volume released to “commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Henri’s death in 1996.” (x), and since it is she that edited this book, that is the only thing I believe can be discussed since the letters themselves were written as just that---letters, private coorespondence.  Her explanations and insights are found throughout and help the reader understand the circumstances surrounding each set of communications that Nouwen wrote.  Her efforts were aided by a close friend of Nouwen, Sue Mosteller, to whom the book is dedicated. She called the book a “…spiritual autobiography.” (346)

I have enjoyed reading this book, and although I have not finished it totally I do recommend this one.  I’ve found collections of letters or published diaries help me understand their author so much more than any biography has.  For those that want to know Henri Nouwen better this is probably a great place to start.

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











Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: Alive in the Spirit: Experiencing the Presence and Power of God by A.W. Tozer



Review: Alive in the Spirit: Experiencing the Presence and Power of God
A.W. Tozer
Bethany House Publishers
2016

James L. Snyder has compiled and edited several of Tozer’s sermons related to the Holy Spirit that have not been published in the past.  He had been given the rights to do so by the A.W. Tozer estate based on his prior work on Tozer. He chose this selection from more than four hundred audio recordings of the author’s work, a rather daunting task.
Alive in the Spirit: Experiencing the Presence and Power of God 
The arrangement chosen for this book allows the reader to progress through Tozer’s teachings about the Spirit and His function within the believing community.  Even though the material comes from the the mid 1900’s it is as relevant today as it was then.  Maybe because the author does not venture into areas that are not well supported by the Bible itself.  

He does point out the differences between man powered efforts and Spirit empowered efforts that still hold true today as far as the efforts of the church and the individuals within the church are concerned.  There is no promotion of any particular form of worship or ministry, but a gentle exposition of what he sees within the Bible.  And, yes, he does cover the gifts of the Spirit briefly.

I would recommend this book for those wanting a more balanced and thorough approach to the material that pertains to the Holy Spirit.  I had very few objections or hesitations about his teaching, and those were not, in my opinion, worth disregarding this work. The language is conversational making the presentation simple, but enlightening.  Snyder has included some points for reflection at the end of each chapter that could be used for a personal study.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong by Leonard Sweet



Review: The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong
Leonard Sweet
Tyndale House Publishers
2016

The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong  -     By: Leonard Sweet
Leonard Sweet can be counted on to give his readers a good read.  I think so anyway.  May not like what he has to say or what he says, but the book will be very readable.  He can pour on the academic stuff from time to time, but he generally leaves that for others to do.  He has a way of sneaking up on the reader with a story or something that brings his point home.  Sometimes the point is sharp enough to make you uncomfortable with yourself.

The Bad Habits of Jesus he admits was written in record time, six weeks (ix), and some of it he gathered from a crowd-sourcing (x) event on his Facebook page. A new-fangled way of getting material for his book.  Yes, I do look at prefaces and acknowledgements.  Even introductions.

As you might suspect Jesus’ bad habits are determined bad only but some that oppose/d him.  His habits “reveal truths about God’s love and message that are vital for us.” (xv)  you know that but this is a little different twist to the content, one that is not so serious that it scares you off.  I want to say it’s more lighthearted in presentation without sacrificing the important nature of the content or the Person of Jesus.  Does that work?  Does for me. 
 
Some of the chapter titles will help maybe.  Jesus Procrastinated, Jesus Offended People, Jesus Hung Out with Bad People, and Jesus Thought He was God.  The chapters are not long, they held my interest, and some of them tread on my toes.  They’d make good discussion for a group and there are some questions at the end of the book to help get it started.  I wouldn’t read this straight through.  Instead read a chapter and chew on it for a while.  They will reveal more than you think.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes.  It’s not a Bible study though.  It relies on the readers’ prior knowledge of the Biblical text, but the references are available in the notes for you to use if you need it.  This is a food for thought book.

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