Archive for July, 2012

Patriot on the Kennebec

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , on July 24, 2012 by seguewm

Throughout history those who have spoken the most often and the loudest have always defined ‘truth’. It is always refreshing to read a book that reviews all the available information from a particular period in history and presents a more accurate picture of the times. This book does just that.

If you have a fascination for late 18th century American Revolutionary War history, don’t miss this book. York captures details from one notable incident of period that deepens our insights into the various characters involved and the reality of the circumstances they had to wrestle through.

The key figure in this particular story is Major Reuben Colburn. As is often the case throughout history, an individuals competence and faithfulness – the very traits that attract the attention of a nation’s leadership – can become the very traits that end up tarnishing their reputations. Colburn’s reputation earned him the respect of those upon whose shoulders the success of the American revolution depended. Unfortunately, wisdom and common sense did not always rule the day among some lesser personages. In the quest for glory, Benedict Arnold rushed forward against the strong counsel of Major Colburn, turning a hope into a predictable tragedy. Colburn did as ordered, under protest. His loyalty to General Washington, though, was eclipsed by the incompetence and impetuousness of Arnold.

For the rest of this story, written with incredible attention to all the details still available to us today, don’t miss this book.

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Viral Jesus, by Ross Rohde

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , on July 22, 2012 by seguewm

Why isn’t Christianity spreading as it once did? Why does exponential church growth seem to have been characteristic of the early church, but has been curiously absent from most of the rest of Christian history? What has been missing and how can we get it back? Is it even possible?  If so, what would be the essential ingredients to duplicate the explosive growth of the first century in our twenty-first century?

Rohde meticulously investigates the why and why nots of a ‘viral’ Jesus. There is, as a result, much to commend in his research, much to prayerfully consider and to wrestle through. If the gospel is the ‘power of God for salvation’, why don’t we see much more power and a whole lot less of the mere perennially ineffective talk?

The manner in which the author approached this topic presents with a double edged sword. Though I was blessed by the content of Rohdes book, I found his pervasive and sometimes even abrasive assertiveness strangely resonate with the very problem he identified.  In other words, Christendoms doctrinal exactness and unwavering religious certainty left little room for the power of the Spirit to work, yet this same spirit of exactness and unwavering certainty was duplicated in the authors style of presentation. How does one, then, critique the structures that lie at the root of the ‘anti-viral’ problem within Christendom, without utilizing similarly life-extinguishing ‘structures’ in the process identifying the problem? Does it ‘take one, to know one’? I would be curious if others detected this same process-paradox.

That being said, if you take seriously the command to go forth and make disciples, you won’t want to miss the many gems of thought within this book. I particularly appreciated this statement:

This is all about Jesus. The important thing is not that Christians have gathered, but that Jesus the King is among them. If Christians gather, you have a group of Christians. When Jesus shows up, you have a church.” p. 5.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Confessions of a Bible Thumper, by Michael Camp

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by seguewm

I’ll be honest. The title for this book didn’t grab my attention. It still doesn’t. What did was the recommendation of a friend. Unless you hate reading, never doubt your belief system, or dislike anyone who challenges your status quo – this book is well worth your time and effort.

Why do we believe the things we do? Do we know the origins of our contemporary evangelical doctrine? Have we assumed some things as ‘true to scripture’, yet they are not? Are you game to find out? Are you willing to spend some time thinking about your thinking?

Camp takes us along on his own journey of faith from a decidedly religiously fundamentalist orientation to a more compassionate and gentle Christian faith. His journey, not unlike my own, has changed his whole life.

This book takes us, via conversations with pub friends, through his search to know the truth. Many of the key areas of theological dispute current within American society are forthrightly addressed: sexual orientation, last-day events, hell, universalism, and evolution. Camp doesn’t attempt to provide difficult theological argument, nor does he brush over these topics lightly presenting merely his unsubstantiated opinions. There is much food for thought. Whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions, you ought to be aware of his arguments.  Enjoy!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.