Wednesday, June 22, 2016
This is a teen study Bible. It's the New King James version translation. Larry and Sue Richards have written the features. This Bible starts out with the Apostles' Creed, the Table of Contents, and tips of how to use this Bible. It includes a preface about the translation itself. Each chapter begins with a description of the book. There are inserts all over this Bible that address issues that apply to the lives of typical teens. Features include We Believe, which unpacks the Apostles' Creed to help teens know why we believe what we believe. Panorama looks at the big picture of each book of the Bible. There are four full color pages, all about the Apostles' Creed. There are key indexes that help teens with in-depth Bible study. To the Point reveals what the Bible says about pressing issues. Dear Jordan offers teens biblical advice. Instant Access tells teens what God says to them personally. Q&A tests knowledge of Bible trivia. Bible Promises highlights Bible verses worth remembering. Book Introductions provides an overview for each book of the Bible. There's an eight page, full color map section. And this Bible contains the complete text of the New King James Version (NKJV).
I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm well past the teen years. The text of this Bible was more like high school level, being almost as small as for adults. I did some of the Bible trvia. What I didn't know I wouldn't even guess; I just looked up the answer. But this is a fun feaure for those who like this kind of thing. The Dear Jordan segments address issues that teens face. These issues include sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, and much more. Jordan handles the sample questions with a pleasing mixtures of honesty, sensitivity, and compassion. The features are meant to get teens to go to God and find their answers and help in Him and the Christian community. Short featres like these can give teens the impression that life can be wrapped up in tidy and quick solutions. The I would have liked to see more hotline 23/7 numbers for readers to contact in these Dear Jordan segments. I guess the editors assumed that teens use the Internet and can look up such information. This Bible is durable and good for the remainder of the teen years though this is a Bible meant to grow out of. This is clearly for teens serious about studying the Bible. Actually, we are blessed to have niche Bibles like this for many demographic groups. In many countries and areas of the world, Bibles are in short supply. In many areas, it's hard or impossible to get a Bible. In many countries of persecution, it's illegal to possess a Bible, read it or teach it. Here in the U.S., we've got an abundance of Bibles! We even have a grandmother's Bible. Always, though, we need to bear in mind that this is God's Word and that man's word isn't needed to add anything to it. There are teens, though, who may prefer plain Bible text and this Bible may not be for them.
The target audience for this Bible is obvious. Teens. Especially older teens. This is a good study Bible that that can be used in youth Bible studies. Since teens like to pick out their own things, I can't speak for who would like this sort of Bible and who wouldn't. I don't recommend that parents waste money on any Bible (or anything) unless the teen gets a chance to check it out first. As a niche Bible, this can't be recommended to general readers.
I have received a complimentary copy of the book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review of this Bibe. I wasn't required to give a positive review of this book.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Because of online political involvement over the past months, I've neglected this petition. Now that the primaries are practically over, I'm back to my primary activity. Months ago, I began a petition to get legislation creating a nationwide abortion alternative. It would give those facing unplanned pregnancies several years of temporary foster care. I have just shortened this period to two years, in recognition that a child needs stability. Two years is still ample time to allow birth parents to improve their own lives to be able to comfortably raise children. While n amount of time in the foster care is ideal in any sense of the world, it's far better than being murdered! This would offer those facing unplanned pregnancies another incentive to choose life for their babies. Temporary foster care isn't available widely or nationwide or pregnancy resource centers would present it as an abortion alternative. The fact that they don't proves we need nationwide legislation, so many babies would be saved through another abortion alternative! If you have already signed this petition, SHARE it! If you haven't yet done so, ADD YOUR NAME! Thank you!
Friday, June 10, 2016
This book is part memoir, part how-to. Its focus is on interpersonal conflict among those in the Christian community. Ted Kluck, one of the authors, is a professional writer. He has written or co-written many books. These include Why We're Not Emergent, a bestseller. His work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Spectrum Magazine, and at ESPN.com. He's an assistant professor at Union University. Ronnie Martin is an internationally known Dove Award-nominated recording artist. He has more than 20 album credits that span three decades. He is the lead pastor of Substance Church. The authors open this book with their Prologues. They alternate chapters, over nine chapters. They end this book with Acknowledgements of those who made this book possible. Both authors include their credits. Then they wrap it all up with notes crediting outside sources they used.
In the literary sense, I found this book very easy to read. I read it in two days. Emotionally, it's very hard to absorb. I didn't expect this book to be so convicting and focused on the inherent corruption and wickedness of the reader. This is true whether we are the ones being wounded or are doing the wounding. This isn't a soothing, feel-good book. I rather expected it to be. I have read other books on this same topic which were more soothing and less convicting than this book. As I read, I was taken back to hurts I experienced in the Christian community that were based on cliques, church politics and favoritism. In fact, our family left one congregation because of my interpersonal conflicts with some members whom I got to know really well. I fully agreed with the authors when they point out that we need to lower our expectations of fellow Christians. I do wish he had addressed the reality that not everyone who attends church possesses saving faith. Being part of a church fellowship doesn't make us believers. In fact, Rev. Billy Graham one said that he believes that only five percent of members in any American local church fellowship are true Christ-followers. He needed to point out that many people we attend church with may not know Christ. And that may be the biggest reason that they act unChristian--they don't have the Holy Spirit living inside them. But the authors are 100% right in asserting that we are to relate to people based on appreciating the underserved grace that God extends to us in His Son Jesus. Then with this appreciation of knowing that we are the recipients of God's grace, we extend this same grace to others. I would have liked to see more examples of the authors' principles but I understand they may have felt that the excluded them because of confidentiality, space and readability. One of the authors briefly mentioned "the horrors of abortion" as part of the depravity of our culture, which is behind church conflicts.
I recommend this book for all pastors. Above all those in any congregation, they and their families have to deal with the Christian community. This book will give them talking points for preaching on interpersonal relationships in sermons. This book is for every Christian. We all need the foundation of the knowledge of God's grace toward us in the face of our sins and wrongs. Without this understanding, the principles in this book and in the Bible, are foolishness. There is no earthly reason to obey many of the Bible's precepts, except love for God and knowing His grace toward us. Because of bullying in schoold and online, a youth version of this book needs to be written.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through BloggingFor Books in exchange for my honest review of this book. The book I received was an uncorrected proof. It was not the finished product. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.
Monday, May 30, 2016
This memoir is by a rock star and musician, Brian "Head" Welch. Carol Traver co-wrote it. Brian "Head" Welch co-founded that band known as KoRn. This band soon won Grammy Awards and their albums became multi-platimum sellers. Brian received six Grammy nominations, winning two of them. He sold some 40 million records worldwide. In his personal life, he descended to great lows. In 2005, he finally resigned from KoRn and then dedicated his life to Christ. This resulted in his writing an autobiography, Save Me from Myself (Harpercollins), which was released in 2007 and became a New York Times bestseller. Brian also wrote a person, 40-day devotional, Stranger, focusing on the 40 Scriptures that speak most to him. A New York Times bestseller, With My Eyes Wide Open begins with a brief note to readers and a Prologue that sets the tone for this book. Brian tells his story in ten chapters. He closes with an Epilogue. His daughter, Jennea, to whom this book is dedicated, includes a short note of her own. Brian includes another short note, Acknowledgements and an author bio.
I read this book in only a few days. It was mostly what I expected. It is fast reading. I found the touchy-feely tone of "just love Jesus" a bit too much at times. This book took me back to the time when I encountered "Jesus people" who strongly emphasized signs and wonders and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit of God. He claims Divine visitations, times when "the Lord spoke to my heart" specific events and prophecies. I have no reason to think he's making these things up. I felt annoyed a few times for this and guilty for such thoughts. With all that he went through through his own addictions and his daughter, I'm glad that his story has such a happy ending. I found the most heart-wrenching part of the book when he had to leave his troubled daughter in residential care. His daughter's heavy use of social media is typical of many teenagers. In her case it was coupled with her dad's frequent absences. She was often left in the care of different caregivers as her dad was immersed in his career. Though his lifestye is wholly unlike mine, I could identify with his struggles with his daughter. That is, I can identify in the area of heavy use of social media. Not being a follower of today's ceebrities, I didn't know who this author was, or of his music. So the earliest part of Welch's book was not too interesting to me. It was when he got to the struggles with his daughter that this book started to fascinate me. Because the author dedicated this book to his daughter, I knew that it would have a happy ending. As I read this book, I saw how we in denominational setting so almost limit God in how he "can" work. Even more, we're programmed to think that God does the supernatural only for certain people or outside the West. This author reports miracles, including physical healings. Having been in denominational congregations which don't believe in the gifts of the Spirit for today, reading of God's hand moving so unmistakably makes me hunger to get in an "unchurch" environment. This author claims a supernatural, intimate relationship with Jesus that is powerful, but so "unchurch." Reading of God's hand moving in such power in his life and in the lives of others, made me feel almost robbed by growing up in staid denominational congregations--nothing against them! The point is that this author clearly has encountered God's love and power so unmistakably that it's easy to forget that we are to walk by faith and not by feelings.
This book is for everyone. Every single parent of teenagers ought to read this book. First, it will introduce them to the world of the kind of music their teens may listen to. Also, it will let these parents know that they aren't alone when their teens are troubled. They will be able to find the contact information to the services that Welch used when he enrolled his troubled daughter in residential care. This book is also great for teenagers. It's written in their language. They will read of the author's daughter and hopefully understand that when parents monitor their use of social media, it's out of love. Communication and monitoring of their use of social media, have to be the hardest things about the teen years. Non-Christians will be introduced to Jesus throughout this book and at the end of the book. If only because of its testimony to God's grace and power, I recommend this book for Pastors and Christians.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
A CONSERVATARIAN MANIFESTO: Structure of This Book
This is a political book. It's an ideas book. The author, Charles W. Cooke, is a writer at National Review. His work has focused especially on Anglo-American history. It also focuses on Bristish liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment and American exceptionalism. Cooke also co-hosts the podcast Mad Dogs & Englishmen. He has broadcasts for HBO with Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as podcasts for BBC, MSNBC, FOX News, The Blaze, CNBC, CTV, ABC, Sun News, and CBS. In addition to National Review, Cooke's writings have also been published in The New York Times, National Interest, the Washington Times and the New York Post. Cooke begins this book with an Introduction on what this book is about. His book includes ten chapters. He defines "conservatarian" in the second chapter. Cooke concludes this book with an Epilogue as well and Acknowedgmements of those who made his book possible.
A CONSERVATARIAN MANIFESTO: My Experience Reading This Book
This book is not light or entertaining reading. It's academic. I had trouble maintaining interest for the first part of the book. It was pretty much what I expected, cerebral, political and serious. This book was written before the beginning of the 2016 Presidential campaign, but the author mentions several of the candidates. They are the ones who suspended their campaigns early. I would have liked to see subheadings that would have made it easier to read this book. As I read this book I couldn't help but wonder what this author would have said about the past candidates. What would he have said about Donald Trump? I wasn't clear about what "conservatarian" was supposed to mean exactly. This author clearly is libertarian, which is a conservative person who is "hands off" about social issues. The libertarian worldview wants to get the government out of all our social lives. It believes in the total separation between church and state. Libertarians believe in "live and let live." They are fiscally conservative and want small, limited government. On abortion and sanctity of life issues, this author DID draw the line and seems to favor making abortion illegal. He is openly atheist. This makes clear that one can use science, not religion, to argue successfully for why life must be safeguarded from conception to natural death. But he is "hands off" about "LGBT rights" and makes clear that these should be left alone. It's not a matter of life and death. IT seems that the author would agree with most of the positions of John Kasich, the Ohio Governor. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate who is currently surging in the national polls. Aside from abortion, this author would seem to agree with Gary Johnson more than with most of the other candidates this primary season. That's only my opinion.
A CONSERVATARIAN MANIFESTO: Recommendations for This Book
This book obviously appeals to a narrow audience. It seems of interest or use to those interesteed in politics. It's not a general audience book. Anyone who is a "political junkie" will probably be interested in this book. This book should be required reading for political science students in colleges and universities. If you intend to vote for a libertarian candidate in the November general election, you may want to read this book. You will get the drift of what your candidate believes and how this candidate would approach positions and policies.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through BloggingForBooks, in exchange of my honest review of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.