Reviews: December 2012

Andrew Francis, Community and Hospitality After Christendom

This book reflects on hospitality in Jesus-communities, giving consideration to the biblical and historical background to the significance of food and hospitality, with a view to appropriating these habits for missional effectiveness in a post-Christendom world.  Written by an Anabaptist who has spent a lot of time exploring these issues both in ministry and as part of doctoral research, the book is part of a wider series reflecting on what it might mean to live after the decline of Christendom.

I particularly appreciated the real-life stories of how congregations and communities have taken hold of some of these ideas – stories which are both from streams of radical Christianity in history as well as contemporary UK-based examples.  The consideration of leadership strategies which might help communities to engage with Francis’ thinking was helpful in my own reflection and I am excited to try out with small groups of Christians some of the ‘table liturgies’ which Francis presents in an appendix.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Gary Thomas, The Sacred Search

Christian singles everywhere are asking who they should marry and where they might meet that person.  Thomas challenges his readers to ask a different question: why should I marry?  No doubt there are as many different answers to that question as there are people but The Sacred Search suggests that unless a marriage is built around a shared mission in Christ it may not stand the test of time.

I enjoyed this book.  It’s definitely for singles rather than marrieds: if you were unhappily married whilst reading this, you would likely not find it uplifting.  In fact, as someone who is very happily married and who considered herself relatively well-prepared at the time through various pre-marriage counselling sessions, I still reflected multiple times on reading this book that I wish I had known some of its advice when I was contemplating marriage – it contains so much wisdom and it’s a little scary to think that we embarked on this adventure so many years ago without that kind of advice being given to us.  For that reason, if you are contemplating marriage or looking for a spouse, you would do well to read this book and take its advice seriously.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Nick Vujicic, Unstoppable

Despite having no arms or legs since birth, Nick Vujicic lives a full and active life as a Christian evangelist.  Unstoppable is the story of his life, newfound love with his wife and ministry.  Vujicic writes with the experience of someone who has faced trial and difficulty head-on and yet is prevailing and it is this which gives such authority to his encouragement to others in adversity.

I liked parts of this book very much but, after a while, I found the occasionally didactic tone a little repetitive.  But it is without doubt an inspiring story of the way that God can change a life when that person chooses to trust him and – in Vujicic’s case – also the lives of many many hundreds of thousands more.

I received a free e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in return for a fair review.

John Piper, Risk is Right

This short book is a republication of chapter 5 of Don’t Waste Your Life.  It didn’t take long to read but it did provide me with some food for thought and even some blogging fuel earlier this month.  You can, it appears, get it for free on the Desiring God website and it’s probably worth a look.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Ern Crocker, Nine Minutes Past Midnight

Dr Ern Crocker is an Australian doctor.  Though his Christian faith had long been significant in his life, he did not know how to reconcile it with his medical work.  Yet one night he experienced God working alongside him during an after-hours medical emergency, an experience which triggered a personal odyssey into the connection between the human and divine aspects in healing.  As well as his own stories, Crocker shares the accounts of many other medical professionals who have experienced the difference made by inviting God into their medical practice.

I liked the book and found much which was personally inspiring.  Though I found that the inclusion of other people’s stories was at times not smooth, they added colour and content to Crocker’s writing.  This one was faith-enhancing!

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

eds. J. Scott Duvall and Verlyn Verbrugge, Devotions on the Greek New Testament

I am enjoying this set of devotionals.  My only complaint is that I only have it on Kindle which means that it regularly slips down my book list and gets forgotten, something which would not happen if I had a physical copy of the book.  But this aside, I find this a useful way of keeping my Greek fresh as well as providing me with the opportunity to go deeply (yet briefly) into texts other than those which I am studying more regularly.  Though I hate devotionals with a bit of passion, I really like this one!

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

James Dobson, Fatherless

This fiction book was meant to be light relief from everything else I read and mostly it was.  As the first fiction book from well-known psychologist, James Dobson, I was not sure what to expect from it.  Set in 2042, this is the story of a world where older people outnumber the young, leading to a rapidly-deteriorating economic situation as the nation tries to pay for the health-care of the elderly whilst dealing with a debt mountain.  Law changes permitting voluntary euthanasia by the elderly and the disabled seem logical to some but others are not so sure.

Largely, it kept me entertained.  It is, I believe, going to be part of a trilogy and whilst I wouldn’t go out to buy the second and third books, I would probably read them if I got them on review for free!  That pretty much says it for me: it was ok and it held my attention while it was in my hand but I wasn’t desperately devouring it until the end.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

One thought on “Reviews: December 2012

  1. Pingback: Flash-mob community? « The Art of Steering

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