"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jesus on Every Page - 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, by David Murray

Jesus on Every Page - 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament is a thought-provoking book that links the New and Old Testaments in a way that is not often done in the modern church.

I will say, this is not the book I was expecting to read. When I first opened this book, I thought that it would be about specific Messianic verses in the Old Testament - those verses that specifically refer to Christ on earth. I am always interested when one of those verses pops up in my reading, and so I was looking forward to reading Jesus on Every Page.

However, the book turned out to be much more than a simple discourse on specific verses. Murray delves into the theology that links the Old Testament with the New. He discusses the New Testament writers and what they had to say about the Old Testament. The majority of the book is then spent on teaching the reader how to find Christ throughout the Old Testament. It is not just about specific verses, although many verses are given. It is about teaching the faithful how to read the Old Testament from a different perspective - with a mind toward finding Christ.

Is Jesus in the Old Testament? Absolutely. He didn't just pop up unexpectedly, and this book will help the Christian find Jesus, so to speak, in a new way.

The book tends toward the academic side, and be prepared to read passages from the Bible concurrently with this book. At times, I felt that the book would be better for a pastor or a seminary student, but I stayed with it and was rewarded for my time. The discussion questions at the end are suitable either for group or individual study. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an intellectual Biblical experience.

Disclaimer - I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Saving Beauty From the Beast: How to Protect Your Daughter From an Unhealthy Relationship

           I found this book quite by accident, and I'm glad I did!  Saving Beauty from the Beast: How to Protect Your Daughter from an Unhealthy Relationship, by Vicki Crompton and Ellen Zelda Kessner, is a must-read for any parent.  Whether you have a daughter or a son, the information in this book is vital.  It was written from the perspective of a mother whose daughter was killed as a result of an abusive relationship.  She spent quite a bit of time researching unhealthy relationships in young adults and teens, and this book is a product of that.  I wish I'd read it as a teen.

          The authors identify the different kinds of abusive relationships - emotional, sexual, and physical - and discuss each one in great detail.  They give tips on how to tell if someone you know is being abused.  Even better than that, they help the reader understand what an unhealthy relationship looks like in the early stages, when it's still relatively easy to leave.  They also discuss what happens to a victim's mental state that allows her to continue in a relationship that's bad for her.  Contrary to popular belief, most victims don't remain in that situation by choice. 

          The authors also discuss how to help your child leave an abusive relationship.  They also give information on how to raise your child so that she is less likely to become involved in that relationship in the first place. 

          Out of the several books I've read on this subject, this one is one of the best.  I highly recommend it.

          And for those of you who think it can't happen to you or your child, think again.  You'd be surprised at the kinds of personalities that are likely to be in the victim's position.  If you've trained your daughter to be helpful toward others, or if your child is the strong, save-the-world type, then becoming informed about abusive relationships can be one of the best parenting decisions you can make.

          Five out of Five Stars

Saving Beauty from the Beast: How to Protect Your Daughter from an Unhealthy Relationship

Get Out of That Pit, by Beth Moore

     In my search for a good women's Bible study program, I ran across the writings of Beth Moore.  Get Out of That Pit is the first book of hers that I've read.

     The book ostensibly is about what to do when you realize that you have sunk down into a mire of troubles with no foreseeable way out.  I've been both inside and outside the "pit," and so I thought this would be a good introduction to Moore's work.  But in part because I have had this experience, I can't recommend this book.  I'd also be hesitant to read any of Moore's other books. 

     Her writing style is difficult to follow.  She wanders all over the place before she makes her point.  About a quarter of the way in, she makes the statement, "[t]hat analogy may look like a random comparison...."  All I could think was, Honey, this whole book has been a random comparison.  Considering that many people reading this book are themselves in dire straits, lengthy stories about IHOP or frogs seem less than helpful and even inappropriate.  A person with the wandering mind that is sometimes caused by extreme depression, for example, would find this book confusing.

     Second, Moore twists Scripture to suit her needs.  I understand there has been controversy over this, but I do feel it's true.  Very early in the book, she discusses that many of us fall into a pit innocently, not as the result of our own sin.  Certainly, that's true.  But in the next paragraph, she quotes a verse about being trapped in a pit.  When I looked the verse up and read the whole chapter, that verse is actually about being trapped in a pit because of sin.  How harmful is that to someone who is looking for reassurance that sometimes we really are innocent victims?  And this was only the first time I noticed that she sometimes chooses verses that contradict what she's trying to say.  She contradicts herself at times, as well.

     Is she well-meaning?  Yes.  But there are much better resources to help people in despair.

Two out of Five Stars