Monday, October 28, 2013

Bonehoeffer: Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Mataxas

I wont lie to you.  This one's a biggie.  I reluctantly checked it out from the library, wondering if I would possibly find time to finish.  As I began reading, I was immediately swept away into a pseudo Sound of Music world recounting the childhood of a great man and a great mind. 

My 11 year old read the first child and was delighted with the charming boyhood stories.  As the details of Dietrich's unfold and WWII draws nigh, the content becomes more and more challenging to process.  Perhaps it was the thought of how so many alleged believers could stray so far from the gospel and subscribe to Nazi doctrine.

I quit reading mid book for two reasons.  First of all it was due at the the library.  My account had accumulated a few fines (or enforced charitable donations as I prefer to call them) and it was amnesty week.  I could clear my fines by returning the book.

Secondly, I was saddened deeply by the book and kept drawing too many parallels between America now and Germany then.  Unthinking, Americanized Gospel has swept across our nation.  The Bible is misused and abused to advance politics.  I could go on and on.  Nevertheless, I became a bit of a doomsayer to my friends and family making constant analogies between Rome and America.

On lighter note,  there are references to farts.  And there are many personal letters, which I happen to love.

Purchasing and finishing Bonehoeffer is on my to-do list.  So is lightening up a little bit. 

Check it out on Amazon

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Do you wonder why you do what you do? Why do your kids do what they do?

Duhigg explores the fascinating power habits have in our lives.  This book has a little something for everyone.  Brain research, sports, weight loss, addiction and heart warming human interest stories covered in
 this book. 

It's a must read.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ministry of Intercession by Andrew Murray

It's no secret I like to read and I like free things.  The Ministry of Intercession  is another freebie from the Kindle Store.   Andrew Murray lived in South Africa from 1828-1917.   His passion for prayer is evident in his writing.

I particularly enjoyed the style of his chapters.  Each chapter is titled with a description of how we should pray.  The chapters open with a scripture and close with a prayer.  Both experiential and scriptural teaching is included in each chapter.  It's a nice balance. 

I warn you, this book will challenge you spiritually.  It also uses lots of  "-eths."  If there is a verb, you'll likely see an -eth attached.  I grew up reading the KJV Bible and loved Shakespeare, so the language didn't trip me up too much.  One of my favorite lines from the book comments on the importance of prayer in our work:

Let us acknowledge how vain our much work has been owing to our little prayer.  Let us change our method, and let henceforth more prayer, much prayer, be the proof that we look for all to God, and that we believe that He heareth us.  

That's deep stuff, Andrew.  Deep stuff. 

Organizing Magic: 40 Days to a Well Ordered Home and Life by Sandra Felton

Magic.  I like Magic.  I bought this book in hopes I would magically become organized.  This book did not magically organize my home or life.  It seems an awful lot like false advertising.

The most magical thing about this book was the fact it enabled me to magically evade housework under the guise of reading about it.  

On a serious note, I did enjoy the format.  One task to complete a day seems very doable.  Like most things, it's simply a matter of doing it.  Many practical, hands on tips are helpful to someone who needs a place to start. 

Mrs. Peter Rabbit by Thorton Burgess

It's no secret that I love Thorton Burgess.  We often "check on our little forest friends"  around the table during snack time.  My oldest son was 3 when I was introduced to his writing by the Blossmans.  We've been enjoying them for 8 years.  Just recently I discovered the books for my kindle for FREE.  That's right, FREE.

Right now we are in the middle of reading Mrs. Peter Rabbit.  So far we're on chapter three.  All of Thorton's chapters are short, making them perfect for a before bedtime read aloud.  Thorton Burgess laces his writing with humor and tid-bits of wisdom.

"Of course if Peter had really stopped to think the matter over thoughly he would have known that running away from one kind of trouble is almost sure to lead to other troubles.  But Peter is one of those who does his thinking afterward.  Peter is what is called impulsive. "

Though I haven't finished this one yet, I'm sure we'll enjoy it just as much as we enjoyed Grandfather Frog, Peter Rabbit and the many other stories we've read.

When Home is No Haven by Solnit, Nordhaus and Lords

Heartbreaking.  Informative.  Illuminating.  What an intriguing read for anyone who has ever wondered how foster care works in our country.  Cases are described and then interpreted by the authors.  The book brings great insight to what the state views as the "least detrimental" choice in child placement.  The emphasis is placed on putting the needs of the child first and foremost.  Overcoming obsolete laws and practices to make this happen for the sake of the children is a central theme.  Additionally, there is a strong reflective element.  The authors examine not only the children, biological parents and foster parents, but also case and state workers in an effort to push forward in child protection issues.