Friday, April 20, 2012

Speaking of Jesus

by Carl Medearis

Y'know, I have a policy about books and movies. Well, it's more like a discovery, really. I've found that it's generally better to watch the movie first and read the book second. (assuming you're doing both) In my experience, books are superior to their cinematic counterpart, so it's better to enjoy the film on its merits and then delve deeper into the tale via the book. That policy/discovery has served me well over the years. But now I think I should adapt a similar policy for books and live speakers. Y'see, a few weeks back I went to a seminar on Understanding Islam and heard, among others, an interesting and entertaining speaker named Carl Medearis. He had a lot to share about his years living and working in the Middle East, relating to Muslim folks and generally talking about Jesus. I was so impressed that I went to the bookstore at the lunch break and bought one of his books that were available. After reading Speaking of Jesus, I'm pretty much satisfied with my purchase, though one of the book's main appeals is that it captures a number of anecdotes he shared at the conference. So now I wonder: Is the book good because it adds depth to what was said in the lecture? Or is the book so much better because I had a chance to hear Mr. Medearis speak and can flash back to his presentation as I read? A great mystery to ponder.

Oh, I should probably talk about the book. It's subtitled "the art of not-evangelism". In other words, it's not supposed to be part of a program or a way to win converts. Instead, if you want to get people excited, or at least interested in Jesus, Mr. Medearis says you should just talk about Jesus. Don't get caught up in talking about doctrine, your church or even Christianity--just keep talking about what Jesus said and did. It's a quick, enjoyable read. But for me it was challenging as well. I can be quite a nitpicker and would love to get off on a good doctrinal argument. (at least as long as I was winning) As I did with Moishe Rosen's book, Demystifying Personal Evangelism, I have to muse over if this is the way we all should be, or merely the way that works best for Carl Medearis... and possibly you as well.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Chronoliths

by Robert Charles Wilson

The review for this book in the Unshelved Book Club intrigued me so I had to give it a read. What if you got a message from 20 years in the future? What if the message was bad news? In The Chronoliths, the message is from a guy named Kuin--it's a large monument that pops up in Thailand, commemorating Kuin's victory in a battle there. Freaky. But then another monument, or chronolith as they're soon dubbed, appears. Then another. People and governments, especially in Southeast Asia, are suitably concerned. The story follows the mystery from the perspective of an American ex-pat, who happened to be nearby when the first chronolith pops up. Did I say happened? Actually, there seems to be some connection between his life and these chronoliths. Overall, I enjoyed the book. The story didn't grab me like Robert Sawyer's Flashforward* did, but Mr. Wilson did a commendable job of taking the idea of the chronoliths and showing how their very presence would affect people around the globe.
*Just reread my review of Flashforward. Not very original, am I? Maybe I was just channeling this review from the future. Yeah, that's it....  

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J.K. Rowling
(first read in November 2007.)

A fun read. I noticed this time through that Harry and his friends do act like young teenagers, or, at least they have their moments of youthful stupidity. Nice touch, Ms. Rowling.   

Do check it out, if you have the inclination.
LibraryThing link

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Ezekiel 1-20

by Horace D. Hummel

This one's a good solid commentary. It's a bit dense, but then so is the book of Ezekiel. I liked how Rev. Dr. Hummel didn't sanitize the vulgar bits, letting the coarse language have its full force. (I'll also have to thank him for adding the phrase "fecal deities" to my vocabulary.)

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Highlanders

by Gerry Davis

A novelisation of the Doctor Who episode of the same name. A fun, easy read.

Waiting room material
 LibraryThing link

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character

by Alyn Brodsky

This is not a bad biography of our 22nd and 24th president. It's a bit light on the coverage of his pre-presidential life, but Mr. Brodsky provides enough information to reveal Cleveland's character as he progresses from lawyer to mayor to governor to president. That character, according to this book, is one of integrity during a time when that quality was sorely lacking in Washington. What struck me about the era was it seemed to be the time when the Democratic party transitioned from being the conservative, lassiez faire party to that of the working man. (Well, the white immigrant working man, anyway.) (Mr. Brodsky mostly glosses over the racism of the day, addressing it in a couple of appendices.) One interesting thing about Mr. Brodsky's style is that he doesn't always keep within the "story" of Cleveland's life. He'll often refer to similar situations later in Cleveland's career or even events in the 20th century, showing either how some things have changed or how other things tend to repeat themselves. It's not something I've noticed other biographers doing. It was a bit odd, perhaps even annoying, at first, but eventually I began to appreciate it.

Go ahead and check it out.
LibraryThing link

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