Archive for September, 2009

The Search for God and Guinness, by Stephen Mansfield

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2009 by seguewm

GuinnessI do not believe that the average Joe would expect a biography about beer to uplift one’s spiritual being. Yet a more than ordinary man, Arthur Guinness, was full of surprises – as you will discover in this book.

Mansfield takes us, as usual, on a delightful journey. He prepares us with a rather comprehensive, yet intriguing, tutelage on the history of beer. From the Fertile Crescent fields of barley, washing down Roman roads, into the hands of papal beer saints, and all the way north into the mug of Irish reverends – beer has delighted and distracted humanity for millennia,

Monasteries, Wittenberg, Institutes, the Awakening, and Cape Cod miracles were not unusual shared drafts between brewers and the faithful. Christians have consistently favored a moderate consumption of malted barley as part and parcel of vibrant faith – as a gift from God. Arthur Guinness took this art to newly appreciated heights, teaching the world how faith in God, good business principles, love for fellow man, and ethical living is always a win-win blessing to community.

The Guinness family has been, over several centuries, an incredible example of the good that god-fearing people of wealth can do for the less fortunate. The Guinness family has produced not only excellent leaders in business, but also many influential clergymen, legislators, and servicemen. Their steadfastness to tried and true principles as well as a willingness to do the research necessary to lead in new ventures has enlightened our whole world.

Whether you like beer or not, whether you are a teetotaler or not, Mansfield’s story of the Guinness family will uplift your soul and offer the reader a set of principles worthy of the attention of all.

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Called to Worship, by Vernon M. Whaley

Posted in Book Review on September 5, 2009 by seguewm

Called 2 WorshipWorship wars are an all to frequent reality among Christians – despite the fact that this should be an oxymoron.  Whaley’s book is an attempt to address the various issues regarding worship by surveying the biblical testimony on the topic from Genesis to Revelation. 

The reader will discover many useful insights into the history of worship practices.  I appreciated the author’s emphasis and evidence for looking at the principles of worship, rather than preferences in worship styles.  Worship is portrayed as heart-felt adoration the is our gift to God rather than a specific manner. For those who are wading through worship wars, you will find this book well written, informative, and organized in a manner that is easy to grasp and to share with others.

There were a few things about this book that I found questionable.  Having come from a very different worship context I encountered several expected  novel perspectives of scripture.  Interestingly, I also found interpretations that seemed clearly anachronistic in nature.  There were some, in my opinion,  inconsistencies in logic where an argument for interpreting one text was not used for another. 

Additionally, I found the author’s appeal to old testament scriptures to inform new testament practice lacking the usual re-interpretation through the knowledge of a risen savior.  In other words, the worship practices prior to the cross cannot be directly applied to today without some careful re-examination.  New covenant, kingdom existence by necessity changes worship practices.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand how believers have worshipped God throughout time.  I would recommend that a second edition address the issues raised above and include an addendum listing critiques and the authors responses.