Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys

by Richard Twiss

I've heard said that one measure of a good college education is one that challenges your beliefs. I was expecting that for my daughter as I sent her off to college. What I didn't think about was how my beliefs might be challenged as she started sharing ideas (and books to read) with me. Richard Twiss was an activist, author, and, most importantly, a Lakota follower of Jesus. In Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys, he shows how Christian missionaries served (either knowingly or unknowingly) as agents of Western colonization in North America. Consequently, most Native Americans want nothing to do with the religion. Dr. Twiss* calls for a freeing of his people and Christianity from the legacy of colonization by contextualizing Christian worship and teaching within indigenous culture and worship forms. It's a controversial idea. When you change religion, how much of the old one should you leave behind? As one raised in a religious tradition that likes to emphasize correct doctrine, I'm always a bit uneasy when people start talking of more than superficial innovation. But then again, as Dr. Twiss points out, the Western tradition is steeped in centuries of European culture. Who could stand as judge on issues of whether drums (or pipe organs, for that matter) are appropriate to use in the worship of the true Creator? In the end, I was inclined to agree with Dr. Twiss, though I would be interested in hearing the arguments of his opponents. Whoever I end up siding with, this book would be a good one to have on my shelf.
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* Richard Twiss earned a doctorate in missiology from Asbury Theological Seminary, but since he never bothered to get any of the intervening degrees after his high school diploma, he was not permitted to use the title. Since this blog is anything but scholarly, I figure I'm not under the same constraints. So there.

LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Ike: An American Hero

by Michael Korda

So next up on my Presidential Biography Reading Project was Dwight Eisenhower. I narrowed it down to two books available from the library: this one, which is more of a biography of General Eisenhower, and another, which focused more on his presidency. It caused me to stop and remember why I had embarked on this project--to get a better understanding of the sweep of United States history. While politics play a big role in that, I am just as interested in the events and life experiences that formed the leaders of our country. So I opted for Ike, the book that had more coverage of Eisenhower's life before World War II and his presidency.

The book was quite enjoyable to read. The narrative flowed smoothly. Like Harry Truman, Eisenhower grew up in a working class family. Tight finances and a desire for more education led him to the United States Military Academy. His success there led him to a variety of postings in training and administration. He found it frustrating, but those experiences equipped him to become the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe, where, in Mr. Korda's opinion, Eisenhower did a superb job of leading combat operations as well. (I learned that there is plenty of controversy over how well General Eisenhower did his job. Mr. Korda acknowledges that but then makes the case in Eisenhower's defense.)(I also learned that the first enemy American troops engaged in North Africa were the French! So much I need to learn...) After 352 pages of Eisenhower's war time exploits, Mr. Korda breezes through Eisenhower's campaign and eight years in the White House in a mere 83 pages. At that point, I was beginning to wonder if I should have borrowed both of the books I looked at. But brief as that section was, I did feel I got a sufficient overview of the decade. All in all, the book was well worth checking out.

LibraryThing link

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Food Rules

by Michael Pollan

Just had my annual check up and, of course, I need to eat better and exercise more. Regarding the former, my doctor actually recommended that I read a book! He obviously knew the best way to get me to follow directions. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book, Food Rules, was not some tedious tome of nutritional dogma filled with pedantic prose punctuated by the occasional chart. Rather Mr. Pollan serves up a selection of simple proverbs regarding food and eating, supplemented with light and amusing explanations and engaging illustrations by Maira Kalman. His rationale is that science really doesn't know as much about nutrition as book advertisements would lead you to believe. The culinary traditions of many cultures around the world, however, obviously know something since the human race hasn't died off of malnutrition. Of course, the folk wisdom of the ages does tell me to do a lot of things I know I should but don't want to do. But as scoldings go, it was very pleasant. Do check it out.

LibraryThing link

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Shadow Spinner

by Susan Fletcher

First read in November of 2005.

on my shelf
LibraryThing link

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Watching the Clock

by Christopher L. Bennett

I picked this one up to read on a flight from Chicago. It's been awhile since I read a Star Trek book. Alas, this one didn't make me want to pick up another anytime soon. Watching the Clock is not a tale of one of the TV series, but rather focuses on two characters from an episode of Deep Space Nine, who are agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations. It's a rambling tale consisting of various subplots that culminates in a shootout of sorts involving a variety of time travellers. Mr. Bennett managed to include a reference to every time travel episode from the franchise. I admire his research, but overall the book was unsatisfactory. I wouldn't necessarily toss it into the Elbe River, but I doubt if I'd fish it out if it happened to fall in.

LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Paul

by Walter Wangerin Jr.

First read in May of 2007.

on my shelf
LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas

Last read in August of 2003.

on my shelf
LibraryThing link

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