Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Wait No More" by Kelly and John Rosati

This book is excellent for those either thinking of adoption or just those that want to learn more about the process.  What I love about this book is that it is brutally honest.  Seeing the "Focus on the Family" logo posted on the book, one would think this book would just be some sugarcoated tale of fairy-tale adoption to make other Christians want to adopt children...because that's what "good" Christians are supposed to do.  However, this book has no such forceful demeanor and does not embellish details to make adoption seem like some Hollywood movie.  Kelly narrates the story as she shares the struggles of adopting.  She discusses financial issues, as well as coping with the side-effects present in children whose parents were abusive (either physically, emotionally, mentally, or just in the sense that they took drugs before, during, or after pregnancy).  Sprinkled throughout the book, Kelly mentions how this is what God wanted her family to do.  She says that she knows adoption is not for everyone but that everyone should support adopting families without judging them.  I could go on and on about this book.  The writing flows very well, and it is a clear picture of the struggles of adoption.  What makes this book different is that the author is a lobbyist.  With her knowledge of law, she clearly discusses issues of adoption that other families may not have been able to convey.  Great book.  There is even an insert with family photos in the middle of the book.      

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Heaven is Now" by Andrew Farley

My feelings about this book are mixed.  1 Thes 5:21.  There are some excellent aspects of this book.  However, there are other parts that are quite questionable.  I liked how the author spoke about being new in Christ and living in the freedom of grace.  I like he spoke about Christ's sacrifice being a once-and-for-all-time deal.  The parts that I did not like were small things here and there.  Speaking about how a will comes into affect after someone dies was fine.  However, I did not like how much hand-waving Farley did with some verses.  Some things Yeshua said were dismissed as "not counting"  because they were said when Yeshua was alive and that the New Covenant didn't start until Yeshua died.  This is dangerous territory when we start putting down the Words of Yah.  Also, some verses were said to "not count" due to context.  For the notion of us confessing our sins in 1 John, Farley insists this is for unbelievers because with Christ, there is no more forgiveness necessary.  While Christ's sacrifice is done, I do think it is fine to say "I'm sorry" to Yah when we mess up.  However, if Farley wants to presume that certain verses aren't for us due to "context," we might as well say that the Great Commission was only for the apostles Yeshua was speaking to at that moment in time.  Additionally, while we are dead to the law, I do not like how the author says we do not need to keep the law.  Must we revisit John 14:15 and Luke 6:46?  When the author claims Sabbaths aren't necessary, I am appalled.  The author claims that the only "law" we need to fulfill is the law of love.  He even goes so far as to say that Jer 31:33 talks about the law of love and not the OT being written on our hearts.  Talk abut turning the words of the living God upside down!  Jer 23:36.  The author says we should not "sin" and that "sin" can control us if we let "it," but he does not talk much about what constitutes sin.  If one seeks to follow just the law of "love," are we to say homosexuality is okay?  Questions like these can arise when Farley speaks the way he does.  Also annoying is when Farley says we won't be rewarded in heaven.  He says we won't have stones with our name on them.  However, Revelation 2 says we will.  For the lukewarm Christian, this book will be very encouraging.  However, for the seasoned believer, this book is an excellent tool for discernment and 1 Thes 5:21.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Heroes and Monsters" by Josh James Riebock

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While I know it's not good to judge a book by its cover, when I saw this book, I immediately wanted to read it.  The pictures were okay, but they weren't the main selling points for why I wanted to read this book (I am not very fond of snakes).  What really got my interest piqued was the subtitle beneath the "Heroes and Monsters" line that read "An Honest Look at the Struggle Within All of Us."  As a book reviewer that specializes in Christian literature, I've had my fill of self-help books, devotionals, and theology books.  Don't get me wrong; those are wonderful books.  However, I rarely get a book that is published by a Christian publisher that is a literary story.  Sure, you've got your Amish romances every now and then (to roll one's eyes or not to roll one's eyes, that is the question) and books like that.  Yet, rarely is there a well-crafted story with imagery and symbolism...and the protagonist / author being a guy.  This story follows a young man's journey through life.  We read of his tough family situation, his broken relationships, his marriage, his jobs, and so much more.  To sum up what happens in the book with a "plot summary" would bludgeon any attempt at a book review for this work.  There are sad situations, honest introspection, and fun drawings every now and then.  The parallel with Jesus as a man named Jack is quite clever.  However, I wish the author would have clearly spelled out the Gospel and Named the Name.  As a Christian reading a book from BakerBooks publishing, I can see the link to Jesus.  However, I can not guarantee others will.  Perhaps the biggest clues are words like "church" and "baptism" that may clue readers in.  People can say what they may.  At the end of the day, this book is a look inside the soul of a man.  I love how the author put his face on the back cover because he looks like a nice, normal young man.  It goes to show you that even the most clean-cut people are oftentimes dying in the inside.  Call Him Jack or call Him Jesus, we need the Savior.  HalleluYAH.