“The Message” (the Bible in contemporary language)

bibleI truly love the Bible, but for reasons different than one might think. While it is the narrative foundation for my convictions and beliefs, I love the Bible as an amazing work of literature, poetry, symbolism and world view. I continually find myself amazed by this compilation of 66 books written by at least 39 authors over a period of approximately 1,500 years. I know there are so many arguments about the missing books, potential contradictions, edits made by those in authority, credibility of authors, manipulated translations, et cetera. None of these discussions take away from my love for this work. Continue reading ““The Message” (the Bible in contemporary language)”

“Landmines in the Path of the Believer” – Charles Stanley

First, this is not among my favorite of Stanley’s books. I found it to be somewhat dull and overly simplistic.

Second, I do not like the title. The issues dealt with in this book are not isolated to the lives of Christians. The book could have been more appropriately titled Landmines in the Path.

Next, I’ll say that the book is filled with truth. The truth seems common sense to me, but may be of value to extremely naive people.

Finally, I will admit that I am being overly critical. Perhaps that is because the book touched on a few sore spots in my history that I should have been smart enough to avoid.

“Thank You Power” – Deborah Norville

This book is a collection of somewhat-interesting to not-interesting-at-all stories about people who have had some level of success in some area of life who, in retrospect, give some amount of credit for their accomplishment(s) to an attitude of gratefulness. The concept of the book is simple: A grateful heart leads to a better life than a bitter heart. There, I just said in one sentence what Deborah Norville took 200 pages to say. While I do not disagree with the subject principle at all, I think some things are more effective when simply stated and meditated upon than when they are endlessly elaborated upon. In fact, if I did not have such an insatiable desire to finish what I start, I would have put this one down after 20 or 30 pages. That’s all I have to say about this one.

“Love Wins” – Rob Bell

A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

While I like the book’s title, its subtitle is what actually caught my attention – along with the fact that the fundamental (and not so fundamental for that matter) “Christian” community has screamed out against it. Rob Bell lived up to the hype. His approach toward discussion of the plausibility of non-traditional biblical interpretations is worth the read. Be careful, though. If you have shallow roots, you just might be replanted in the fertile grounds of Unitarian Universalism – well not quite, but somewhere in a nearby field where the bible can still be found.

I actually loved the book. While my convictions don’t align with a great deal of what Rob presents, I actually hope he’s right. I am sure that God calls many to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ (a faith that is actually granted by God’s Spirit to begin with). I am not saddened, however, if I get to heaven and find that he had another set of plans for everyone else. Continue reading ““Love Wins” – Rob Bell”

“Till We Have Faces” – C.S. Lewis

“In this timeless tale of two mortal princesses – one beautiful and one unattractive – Lewis reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction. This is the story of Orual, Psyche’s embittered and ugly older sister, who possessively and harmfully loves Psyche. Much to Orual’s frustration, Phyche is loved by Cupid, the god of love himself, setting the troubled Orual on a path of moral development.

Set against the backdrop of Glome, a barbaric, pre-Christian world, the struggles between sacred and profane love are illuminated as Orual learns that we cannot understand the intent of the gods ’till we have faces’ and sincerity in our souls and selves.”

While the above is a summary of fact about the book, it’s impression on me was much deeper – questions of faith and trust, morality and character, truth and lies, black and white all messed into a cloud of grey. I have identified with this book through the fact that at least one other person in this world has struggled to identify things that others appear to see clearly.