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Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Mary Magdalene" by Diana Wallis Taylor

Having absolutely loved Taylor's "Journey to the Well," I was very excited to read this book.  It follows the story of Mary Magdalene, the woman whom Yeshua Christ exorcised seven demons.  While the story was indeed comepelling, I must say the book was not as good as her other book.  Let me explain why.  In "Journey to the Well," the story was about the woman whom Yeshua met at a well and talked to briefly (her face-time in the Bible--so to speak--is very short).  So, there was more literary freedom to write about the woman and "make stuff up," horrible as that sounds.  However, I feel like for a character such as Mary Magdalene, there are things that one can not just make up.  While they make the story interesting, they are just that--literarily made up.  Also, in terms of adequately representing Jews in the time of Yeshua, there left much to be desired.  In Christ's day, no one would have called Him Jesus.  They would have used His Hebrew Name.  Also, while some of the Gospel was written with Mary in the scene, I was disappointed when blood and water was not reported as flooding out of Yeshua's side on the Cross.  Taylor didn't even mention the resurrection of the dead believers with tombs opening that happened at Calvary.  Overall, this book is interesting and a good beach read, but, if I were you, I'd go straight to the Gospels for a more accurate tale.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Choose Joy Because Happiness Isn't Enough" by Kay Warren

When I first got this book, I was excited to learn about joy because--to be honest--I wasn't having that great of a week.  When I read the author bio on the back inside cover, I was very impressed to learn that Kay Warren co-founded a church and co-authored a systematic theology course.  It was a humbling moment to see her grand religious achievements that would make any Bible scholar blush.  However, when I got into the meat of the book, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed.  I'm not saying the book was bad because it wasn't.  It was a good book.  But that's it.  Just good--not great.  The few Bible verses quoted weren't making any huge theological connections to make me say "wow, I've never thought about joy like that before."  The Bible verses were fine, but Bible verses did not permeate this book as expected from such a professed theologian.  Also, I was surprised that the author quoted The Message as her choice of translation.  I'm not saying this is bad.  I'm just surprised is all.  While Warren's advice was good, the book overall is  not that Scripturally deep.  The main idea is that we must choose joy (wrapped up into 200+ pages).  You can read this book and even buy the DVD if you'd like.  However, read the Bible on your own and see how much Yah truly loves you.  This will give you real joy.  Quick fixes for joy don't work--whether they be personal relationships, purchases, or even self-help Christian books.  Go to the source--the fountain of living water that is Christ Yeshua.