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Faith

Faith - Bryson Smith I am always thankful when someone can express what is most profound in a manner that appears so simple. This book is just that - straightforward in immense depth. Good for long-time Christians, good for someone investigating faith in Christ for the first time.

Here You Have My Story: Eyewitness Accounts of the Nineteenth-Century Central Plains

Here You Have My Story: Eyewitness Accounts of the Nineteenth-Century Central Plains - Richard E. Jensen I can read 'you' like a book. Because it is a book! I've always liked Michael Jensen's writing style, and this is no different. I'm not quite sure, however, where 'you' is aimed. Some material seems to explain Christian views on humanity to an interested outsider. At other times some material sounds like it's assuming an insider is reading. Maybe it's a thought-provoker for those on the fringes: heard a bit of Bible, not really for or against, whatever. That's a good aim - if I have it right - because most people come to the centre through the fringe.

Joshua: A Parable for Today

Joshua: A Parable for Today - Joseph F. Girzone Great devotional (as opposed to technical) commentary. It shows great love for and sensitivity to the text. It does not fall into the terrible Old Testament trap of turning God's actions into little moral tales. Instead it's a Christian book, seeking to honour Christ in reading Joshua today.

The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (Veritas Books)

The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (Veritas Books) - 'Alister McGrath',  'Joanna Collicutt McGrath' 'The God Delusion' is a strange rant, but this small work picks out some of Dawkins' most serious errors. The McGraths don't aim to undermine Dawkins as a populiser of science, but as a man with any semblance of real understanding about (a)theism. 'The Dawkins Delusion?' is very good - not to convince you one way or the other, but to know what the actual arguments are.

The Two Cultures (Canto Classics)

The Two Cultures (Canto Classics) - Anetta Albinowska,  Renata Czekalska,  Aleksandra Gaj,  Barbara Lauba,  Joanna Matczak,  Anna Piecusiak,  Joanna Sosnowska I'd heard about this a long time ago & wanted to read it. It laments the mutual ignorance between science/technologists and traditional learning/humanities. Snow bridged both, as scientist and author, but saw that each culture simply did not comprehend the other. What surprised me was how much Snow was actually interested in fairness, in bridging the world gap between rich and poor. Helping the two cultures work better together was, he argued, essential for reducing poverty. This edition contains an extra essay from Snow, written four years after the original lecture, in which he reflects on the reactions and reinforces his points.

Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential

Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential - John C. Maxwell Lots of tips

The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything

The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything - Brian D. McLaren Some great insights into parts of the Bible, but missing some foundations too. The coming kingdom is un-hitched from its arrival on the cross. The secret/mystery does not lead to considering revelation. The eternal divide is not brought about through God's judgement but by our obedience. There are great hopes for the world - but it's ultimately semi-pelagian.

Finding Faith

Finding Faith: Getting In Tune With God - Nick Baines Some good reflections & use of popular songs to illustrate biblical themes. Yet I got sick of the constant belittling of this Anglican bishop's Baptist-Evangelical past.

A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics

A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics - James W. Sire This could have been great - & it is good - but I found it a let down in one significant way, the definition of apologetics. Chapter 1's definition sounds to me like apologetics=evangelism. Confirmed in chapter 2, 'One could say that apologetics is simply evangelism done with the intellectual sophistication necessary for a specific situation.' (p.32) (How awful! There's smart evangelism called apologetics, & presumably dumb evangelism remains as evangelism.) Then a counter definition (p.98), 'effective apologetics is primarily focused on clearing away objections to Christian faith ... In many cases apologetics is preevangelistic'. So which is it? In a short book, a primer, better precision is required.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard "This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it." I disagree with Eeyore!

The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success - Rodney Stark Fascinating, with a huge sweep - too huge for me to assess, really. It's about Christianity, but not. Better, it's a sociologist looking at societal effects of cultures affected by Christians. The theology is in the background, so it's hard to know how well Stark 'gets' theology. He says Christianity has been necessary (if not sufficient) for freedom, the freedom that produced the modern world.

Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls

Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls - Melinda Tankard Reist, Noni Hazlehurst Certainly worth reading to consider what kinds of pressures are on children, especially girls, that twist & distort a healthy view of the body, sex and relationships.

Your Ministry's Next Chapter (Pastor's Soul Series)

The Pastor's Soul Series No 8: Your Ministry's Next Chapter (Pastors Soul) - Gary Fenton Someone from church gave me this. That felt a bit odd! But it's a good book to think about pressing on in ministry & life once past the first decade of enthusiasm (also the decade of being given more slack).

Numbers Homeward Bound (Reading the Bible Today)

Numbers: Homeward Bound - Martin Pakula, Paul Barnett This is a good short commentary, to get into the overall meaning of each chapter and section. Numbers is a part of the Bible that's very significant but not very well known. It's also interesting to read the author's occasional reflections from before being a Christian, when he was an Orthodox Jew.

A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture (New Studies in Biblical Theology)

A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture (New Studies in Biblical Theology) - Mark D. Thompson It is good to be familiar with the overall doctrine of scripture, but this book helps in a different way: by investigating one aspect of this doctrine at depth. What does it mean - and what does it not mean - that the Bible is a clear word from God? There are many contemporary challenges, and these are not glossed over. Yet these challenges are far from new. The centuries of thought about scriptural clarity are helpfully plumbed in this book.

Yakety Yak: Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle

Yakety Yak: Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle - Russell McGilton Crass. Any fleeting successful evocation of the places the author visited was swamped by awful attitude. Some amusing subediting mistakes, though. First error like this on page 2 when he ironically commends his own writing ('My writing was fairing well'). Don't miss the cows eating 'bails of hay' or discussion of Indian 'social morays'. Otherwise, keep away.

Currently reading

Against the Day
Thomas Pynchon
From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew
Robert B. Chisholm Jr.