Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI

Published in: on November 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Mormon History

While reading The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture by Stephen Mansfield I was interested in the way Mormonism is currently shaping America.  Unfortunately there is little about Mormon’s influence in American life.  Instead the book spends most of the time dedicated to the history of Mormonism, while opening each chapter with a personal story of a Mormon’s life.

Overall the book is a great, easy read and the author restrains from judging the Mormon faith.  Instead he tells their history as researched while bring up certain issues that Mormons will face due to their history.  Stephen Mansfield builds upon the history of the Mormon faith to show how it brings forth success in American life.  Without giving away the thesis of the book, the author states that Mormonism is “the underpinning of the American dream.”
 
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning, not only about the Mormon force in America, but as a Mormon history as well.  It opens the eyes of the reader to just how a Mormon thinks in regard to everyday life.
 
Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on September 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quiet with Volume

Quiet by Susan Cain is brilliantly done in explaining the introverted self.  She starts the book by giving a brief history lesson on the rise of “the extroverted ideal”.  At the turn of the 19th century the “rise of the Culture of Personality” took hold among the American population.  Infatuation of movie stars, and advertising only hastened the change from the “culture of character” to that of personality.

The author delves into the different aspects of life where the extroverted ideal reigns.  She shows how the ideal touches on the entire school life from pre-school through college.  Also, how the ideal is prevalent in the work place.  After showing examples of the ideal and how it touches most every part of our life, she goes into the biological studies on the introverted mind.

Author Susan Cain stays away from the in depth medical terms, which makes this portion an easy read.  She includes studies that are not only short term in nature, i.e. brain scans, but also long term studies that started  with infants and concluded when they were college students.  She then devotes a chapter on how the introverted mind can go beyond itself and stretch its boundaries.

The final part of the book the author offers suggestions on how to love and how to work.  She offers some advice on both personal relationships and work relationships.  The biggest point she drove home was for an introvert to find their quiet time.

This book is wonderfully put together, Susan Cain touches on so many different aspects of the introverted life/mind while not getting too technical in her descriptions.  This book is excellent for both the extroverts as well as introverts we all meet.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position.

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Long Laugh

Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis by Terry Lindvall PH.D. is a comprehensive look at the humor of C.S. Lewis.  I have always been curious about the life of C.S. Lewis, what a better place to start then a surprising dissertation on his humor.  Terry Lindvall has pieced together the various aspects of Lewis’ humor by sorting them into six different categories; The Idea and the Legacy, Joy, Fun, The Joke Proper, Satire and Flippancy, lastly The Laughter of Love.

The author warns us that by dissecting laughter there is a fear of removing the heart of laughter, leaving the joy found removed, thus negating laughter itself.  He does a wonderful job going into length each of the aspects without losing the purpose of laughter.  By doing so, however, the book is not for the leisurely reader.  At times it can be slow to read and will take on aspects of a textbook.

The saving grace of the book is that each section incorporates C.S. Lewis’ works as well his relationships with those close to him, the biggest character being G.K. Chesterton.  By incorporating Lewis’ works the author further exemplifies the type of man Lewis was by his humor.  Nothing could go by Lewis, Chesterton for that matter, without him finding some type of humor to extract from the situation.

Upon conclusion of Dr. Lindvall’s book, I am compelled to read/reread Lewis’ works to recognize his differing styles of humor in each and hopefully come away with a different perspective.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on May 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Good, until the Last drop

America: The Last Best Hope Volume III by William Bennett takes the reader through America’s most recent history, “from the collapse of Communism to the rise of Radical Islam”.  William Bennett shows the reader the political side of history during this time span.  Being that he was part of the Reagan administration, and had insight into the political workings of Washington D.C. during this time span, it is only expected that the history would be more politically inclined.

In the introduction, the author explains that he “believe(s) more time needs to pass for us to fully and completely digest the history of the past two decades.”  One reason for this is that the feelings for these events are still current.  As a human being, we can tend to be biased one way or the other.  William Bennett recognizes this fact, but due to the demand caused by his first two volumes, he set out to complete America’s history through 2008.

He does a fine job of summarizing the past 20 years, 1988 to 2008.  While reading the book, each event brought back memories of seeing those events unfold for O.J. Simpson, the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton’s impeachment, September 11th, and the 2008 elections.  The author reminders the reader that of his and his brother’s involvement in some of these events in order to eliminate any type bias that may show.

Overall this is a nice book to relive the last two decades through the author’s eyes as well as your own.  Being a history book the end is always left open.  William Bennett completes the history with the 2008 elections, throughout the book he stayed as unbiased as one could for being part of the history.

Unfortunately he ends the book with his own epilogue.  He is allowed to express his thoughts on the current events, but these thoughts are what sticks with the reader.  He ends saying how race no longer is a matter of concern but how America has now moved on to judge someone by the content of their character.  How is this so, when throughout the 2008 campaign there was little question about the President’s character?  How is this so, with politics being played that any criticism of the President is racist?

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Scroll – An Archaeology Adventure

The Scroll by Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky is an adventure that is staged in a little known field of Biblical archaeology.  The novel starts out with Dr. David Chambers giving up on his passion for archaeology in the Holy Land.  He had become famous for finding King Herod’s tunnel and was living the popular life for an archaeologist; talk shows, writing and teaching.  It is not long into the book that he is called back to the Holy Land for an important project, one dealing with the Copper Scroll.

Throughout the book the writers keep you intrigued with possible danger around every corner using the religious tensions between the Jewish and the Islamic communities.  All the while, they fill in Dr. Chambers back story and lead you on a personal and spiritual journey.  Will Dr. Chambers find his faith?  Will he resolve the issues that arose for him to lose it in the first place?

The Biblical archaeological aspect of the story I found interesting, even to the point of researching some of the topics online.  The author’s kept the spiritual side of the story going along with the archaeological facts and was never over powering to the reader.  The story telling needs some work though.  The book ends with the expected apocalypse and a scene which leaves the reader with more questions than answers.   Overall this book was a good read, one worth reading over a rainy weekend.

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

A call to “Be the People”

Be the People by Dr. Carol Swain touches on some hot topic items in today’s current political environment.  Dr. Swain starts the book out by contrasting our current national identity with the founding principles.  Each following chapter then touches on key topics such as abortion, immigration, and racism.

Behind each of these topics, Dr. Swain points out an underlining theme with the culture today, a moral disintegration.  The one topic she spends some significant time on is abortion.  This topic holds a deep significance for her.  She explains how she fell into the trap of believing that an abortion was the right thing for her family.  Through the chapter she outlines the history of abortion, the history behind the laws and the different consequences caused by the procedure.

Each chapter ends with a review of the Biblical principles behind each moral issue and how to return to the founding principles.  Overall I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an insight to current issues.  The author does a wonderful job of a covering each topic in detail while bringing the topic full circle to Biblical principles.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Moral People

In God’s Promises for the American Patriot by Dr. Richard G. Lee and Jake Countryman they show through various historical American stories how “God’s Word and America’s story are inseparable.”   This little book does not cover every major point in time of America’s history, but instead uses small stories that were significant throughout all of America’s history.  Each story is one page long with Bible verses on the mirrored page that correspond with the stories’ moral meaning.

Not being meant to be read as a typical history book, the book is best used as a daily inspirational read.  The stories vary greatly from the Mayflower Compact to George H. W. Bush but each has their own significance to America’s past.  The author’s do a wonderful job tying the stories they choose with Biblical passages to show the significance of being a moral people.

As its own read, the reader needs to be mindful of the book’s title.  The author’s are not saying that an American Patriot is, in and of himself, blessed by God.  Instead they use Biblical verses to show God’s promises to those who recognize Him as the Divine Being and Ruler of man.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a spiritual “pick-me up” while learning about brief stories of American history.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on August 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Third Person explained

The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris had one goal which was to show “how real friendship with the Holy Spirit can change your life.”  The author further explains that his ultimate goal is to “stimulate you hunger for God.”  Both of these goals were met and exceeded.

Robert Morris explains the who, the what and the how of the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the book he uses biblical references to show the promise of His coming and how He works through us once received.  He also uses personal reflections and experiences regarding the Holy Spirit.

The author makes a clear distinction between the two ways of receiving the Holy Spirit through baptism and confirmation.  Most Christians regard baptism as a necessary sacrament to be received, however confirmation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, is disregarded.  Robert Morris is thorough in his explanation about the importance and need for baptism of the Holy Spirit.  At the end of each chapter he challenges the reader to reflect on his/her baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Overall, Robert Morris is successful in inciting the curiosity of the reader to learn more about the Holy Spirit and His work.  This book will definitely open the eyes of the reader while leaving him/her wanting more.

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Published in: on July 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Amish Money Tip – Do Not Waste

Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker tries to find “true abundance in simplicity, sharing, and saving” by interviewing the Amish about their monetary habits.   The author uses her family roots, being of Mennonite roots, to connect with the Amish.  Following hard financial times, the author wants to share how the Amish were able to weather the financial downturn.

The appeal of the Amish money habits drew my eye to the book.  Is there something they were doing that I could learn from?  If so, how could I apply it to my life?  It is safe to say that I did come away with a few tips but the book itself was poorly written.

The Amish money secrets are mostly common sense ideas, to never waste.  The book spends very little time on the Amish and the theories/reasons why behind their habits.  Instead the author tries to instantly relate the “secret” to something in her life and assumes that her way of living is exactly like the readers.  This was played out throughout the book and made it difficult to read at times.

This approach made the author come across as condescending to not only the reader but also the Amish.  She mentions the Amish money “secret” but then articulates to act contradictory to the idea.  As an example, one should splurge every now and then, an idea the Amish did not understand.  Also, her idea of money “saving” by using the Amish “secrets” was backwards to the Amish philosophy.  Her saving calculations were not based on need, but rather on how much would the item have cost if she bought it full price.

Overall I would not suggest this book.  There were a few ideas that I did glean from the author, barter websites and locating local farmers for goods, but I would suggest a different book on financial ideas; most notably Dave Ramsey, of whom the author mentions a few times.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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