Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today by Gary L. McIntosh

Review: Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today
Gary L. McIntosh
Baker Books

After so many church growth books have been written, marketed, read, and whatever becomes of such material afterward, this book contains some information that reveals some of the results of a research project that measured what might be considered as the outcome of all the advice presented in the church growth books.  That’s the way I read it.  What really is working with whom is the gist of McIntosh’s results.
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Fear not, this does not read like a statistical report or a doctoral thesis.  He insured the results remained accessible to most readers.  Part 1 explores the biblical version of what church is and does along with some discussion of the current versions found in today’s culture, mostly Western culture.  I found it thorough and hard to argue against even if I didn’t agree with some of what he had to say.  
Part 2 reveals the results of his research work, bar graphs for those that want the information immediately and in discussion form for those with a bit more patience.  McIntosh looked at the results from the standpoint of gender, generational age, region, person most influential in choices made by the respondents related to faith, church attendance, and several other pertinent areas.  For those working within the church setting some of the information may be surprising and other information validation of what had been obvious, but pushed aside for a time.  

Part 3 covers suggestions for evaluation and/or change that the author felt could be helpful.  I will not spoil the book for you.  Instead, I will let you pick a copy and read it for yourself.  Do not start at the end.  The end is the conclusion of the prior work presented and needs to considered in light of that. 
I do recommend this book.  The research tool used has been included in the appendix for those that want to see the questionnaire and he included his research procedure for distilling the results in the early narrative portion of the book.   
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist’s Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing by Valerie L. Winslow

Review: Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist’s Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing
Valerie L. Winslow

I only wish I had this volume when I studied anatomy in college.  The basics are presented here so clearly they seem natural.  Knowledge of this sort helps to see what exists before you from the surface through to skeletal structure beneath.  
Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing 
The author examines the human body form by region and structure in order to facilitate the discussion of motion later for her reader.  An arm can move in a particular fashion and all the surface contours develop from that.  Visualizing the hip structure helps place joints and proportions appropriately.  A facial expression requires particular muscle groups contracting and jaw movements that involve other associated structures.  Intuitively, all this is obvious, but making the transition to the art surface can lose much of the intent of the artist, and the information contained in this book can raise awareness of form and function.  Does the more abstract form need this?  I think so just to know how to bend the reality without losing the identifying marks of motion and form.  

This book contains numerous drawings and sketches with the mediums used for each within the narrative. I found them quite helpful.  The author suggests several different exercises in the last chapter for those that wish to work on action poses.  She also includes a list of suggested readings that cover a variety of specialized information.   
An accomplished artist may not need this book, but the rest of us that are either on the way to that status or just wanting to improve our hobby skill could definitely benefit from this book.

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