This book works at two levels. First, it's a very helpful book in understanding who the Amish are and why they do things so differently. Very few people live their lives as in tune with their faith as the Amish do.
Second, of course, is the tragedy of the schoolhouse shooting. I don't think I'll ever understand that. But the horror turned to incredible outpouring of grace from those who lost loved ones in this. This was utterly shocking to the world, because it seems so much against our "human nature". This book digs down deep into what it means to be Amish, and how and why their natural response was so forgiving and loving. It stands as a challenge to me to examine my faith and ask why that faith does not inform my actions more. I think it also asks the question larger -- how can we create a more loving and supporting community?
This was a very good production of this story. The book is long and arduous -- so much the term "War and Peace" has become a shorthand for saying something is excessively long and difficult to get through.
But, this dramatized version was enjoyable. The story has a great sweep of history with it, and has well-drawn characters who reflect internally about what they see in this world. I became very interested in the happenings of each character.
I did experience the same problem I have with most movies -- the sound effects and sound sometimes cause me to lose the conversation. But that's because these old ears heard too much rock and roll when I was younger. Also, there were so many characters I had a hard time keeping them straight. Fortunately, Wikipedia has a chart online that shows the characters and how they are related to one another.
I think if you want to know the story and characters of War and Peace, this may be a good choice. It's easy listening, and CONSIDERABLY shorter than the novel being read. I don't know if this is due to trimming out scenes, or if dramatizing naturally shortens it. In any case, I recommend it.
I knew of Anne Rice as a writer of dark fiction, and not well. I don't know if I ever read one of her books. When I started seeing her books about Jesus, I was skeptical that it was a "hack job" alternative view to the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. I cynically assumed that she was hitching her cart to the revisionist movement made popular with The Davinci Code.
But, I saw some encouraging reviews, so I gave the first novel (Out of Egypt) a try. I enjoyed that novel, and was surprised that she gave a treatment that is true to the Gospel accounts and also to the other facts we know about Jesus. There was an appendix in the book that gave a little of her faith journey, which I found fascinating.
This book takes that and expands and deepens the story of her faith, from when she was a devout little girl through the loss of her faith completely for years, to her finding her way back to her faith and her Jesus. Some additional details of how she does her work as an author were also very intriguing.
If there is a small negative, it is an odd thing to say -- she seems too concerned about telling the whole truth some times. Maybe a person who has written this much fiction feels that they need to be careful not to gloss things, or to
improve the story with each retelling. Or maybe that level of detail is just part of her style. Or maybe she felt that the true story of her faith is about truth, and so much be treated with divine respect for the truth.
That said, I found this story compelling -- with both the kind of things that seem like they would destroy faith mixed with some "murmurs" from God that lead to faith. I often recommend this book.
When this book came along, my favorite of Jesus' parables, which is so overflowing with grace, acceptance, and forgiveness, I wanted to hear what this book had to say. This story seems like it is contrast to some of the emphasis that has come from John MacArthur.
This book portrays this story for what it is -- an almost unbelievable scandal in its day. The actions of the son are the actions of a scoundrel, deserving endless punishment. While terrible, we know this young man -- he wants it now, and doesn't care how cruel he is to his father to get it.
But the real scandal is the father -- his love and forgiveness is unexpected, undeserved, and not fair. He should punish this son -- not restore him, and certainly not celebrate him. The older son understands this, which is why he refuses to enter into celebration.
This book shows the context and plain meaning of the parable -- and how this story, which seems sweet and touching to us, was the kind of thing that Jesus said that caused the religious leaders to have him executed.
I did find a few things to disagree about -- this may say more about my critical attitude than any real issues. But this story of redemption shines brightly through the lens of John MacArthur's pen, who sometimes seems to me too narrow in his thinking and somewhat harsh.
I am surprised and overjoyed to say that I can unreservedly recommend this book to any one who trusts Jesus or is curious about what he taught. This story captures the heart of of his ministry, and this book opens it up to the modern reader. A beautiful story even without the background and explanation of the original text -- it becomes a rich study in how God chooses to relate to the world, and his sadness when his joy is rejected by the religious.
This felt like part travel log, part science book. I learned some stuff, but it seemed a bit long for this. If you're really interested in the topic, I'd say go for it. But, it's not like some books that I tell friends about.
I found this book very challenging -- which is what I expect and want from a John Eldredge book. I can't say I'm totally swayed to this way of thinking (that is, I guess, mystically or something), but I definitely feel that he has given me something to think about. I'm less convinced about "spiritual warfare", and what he calls "agreements" (negative ways of thinking that people are tricked into by the "enemy"), though I see some truth in that. I guess more importantly, he has given me something to discuss with the one I call "Lord", and has given me some tools to do that with.
Since I have heard criticism of Eldredge that he plays loose with scripture, I was pleased to find liberal quotations that seem very much in context. Some go beyond what I would interpret, but in some cases, I found my self saying "yeah, that makes sense."
I would recommend this book only to those that feel they can really carefully determine what if anything they should apply to their life. It is not a "first" book for a believer, and especially not for an unbeliever. In fact, it's not even a 2nd or 3rd book, I think. But, for someone looking to go deeper into the spirituality of following the way of Jesus, this is one way to start. There's a lot of classics out there that one could go to as well -- but if you like hunting, fishing, rock climbing, etc., this may be your best bet.
Very unrelentingly high-strung thriller, I liked it a lot. Makes an interesting point about obsession, which seems like a bad thing, until you finish this. Interesting points on faith and evil. Consistently pulls back from magical/spooky stuff (though the evil is scary haunting). Reader was good, easy to understand (but, obviously not from LA, or he'd know how to pronounce "Brea"). Recommend if you like contrast between black & white, and can stand a constant sense of impending disaster and hopeless situations. If you haven't read the Red/Black/White triolgy of Ted Dekker's, you should. This is not quite that level, but it's pretty darn good.
I liked this book. Reader was perfect. I have a technical background, and what I didn't hear (but usually do in such a book) was some howler of a mispronunciation or complete mis-understanding of text ending up with wrong emphasis. The book is persuasive, though it has a bit of a blind spot: yes, it is impossible to see that a particularly complex design happened by chance, but I'm didn't hear any calculation of how SOME design that solved the problem was possible by random mutation. But, still, looking below the gross anatomy level to the biochemical level makes it hard to see how there was enough time to come up with the complexity that we see in the world.
This book makes a distinction between evolution and common descent. It firmly agrees with the 2nd, but also with evolution, but with limits.
I'd recommend both this book and "The Language of God" for those who are willing to dig deep into a science book. I find doing so a worshipful experience, and all the more so if the writer is a believer.
I really wanted to like this book, because I really like other Ted Dekker books I've listened to, and I've know a lot of people with a lot of good to say about Frank Peretti.
But, alas, it was way to complex for me to follow, and though abridged took too long to get to the "punchline" about faith. I think it would make a better movie than book -- I had a hard time understanding the "visuals" of who was doing what when. I also found the "voice" of one character unrelentingly grating to body and soul, partly from the narrator's intentional irritating voice, and partially her constantly blaming of others.
It did have an interesting concept, and some pretty inventive ideas. I can see it being a narrative of faith -- again, could be a pretty good movie.
I caught a few minutes of interview about this on TV, then went to see if it was available on Audible.
Liked it so much went out and bought a copy for my kid (18), who is interested in sociology. She could not put it down. We swapped our thoughts on what she read and I heard.
Listening to a book like this can be tough -- it's hard to read aloud a table of info, and even harder to listen to it and understand it. Other than that, I really liked this -- makes you think about "conventional wisdom" a lot differently.
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