Spring Reading Thing status check 3

srtsmall

Just tracking my progress here:

My original list with links to book reviews or summaries.

  1. Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
  2. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (an advance readers’ edition, it’s coming out June 2009)
  3. Get Outta My Face! by Rick Horne
  4. The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  5. The Odyssey by Homer
  6. Spectacular Sins by John Piper
  7. How Long, O Lord by DA Carson – on Kindle, thanks to gift card from Lisa
  8. Emily Climbs by LM Montgomery
  9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  10. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – hold 4/22 but position 40 25. I did read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  11. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  12. finish Les Miserables (I’ve read 1 volume)
  13. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  14. the ChristianAudio May freebie – Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
  15. the ChristianAudio June freebie
  16. Believing God by RC Sproul, Jr.
  17. George Muller bio by Pierson – on Kindle

It’s tempting to put off finishing something deep and get a quick success in, but I need to hold down and finish what I have in progress already.

Posted in Reading | Comments Off on Spring Reading Thing status check 3

Spectacular Sins by John Piper

I downloaded the PDF and ported it over to my Kindle to read this one. You can find the information at Desiring God.

The premise of the book intrigued me from the day it was announced by Desiring God. To discuss some of the biggest sins in the Bible and discuss the practicality of what purpose such sins could have, and how to square them with God’s sovereignty. I am a firm believer in God’s sovereignty, but I struggle at times to grasp it in the face of pain, suffering, and evil.

The book did not disappoint. He discusses the purpose of Adam’s disobedience, the Tower of Babel, the sale of Joseph to Egypt, the sin of Israel in wanting a king, and the betrayal and murder or Jesus. Piper explains so much so clearly and still respects the places where Scripture enlightens and where it still conceals. Toward the end he says this:

If you embrace the biblical truth that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without God in any way becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God.

Piper shows, through Scripture, again and again how suffering is not out of God’s control or against His will. And how it serves, every time, to bring about God’s desired end and His own glory.

Posted in Reading | Comments Off on Spectacular Sins by John Piper

Parental Rights

We certainly live in interesting times. The lawyer is associated with the Homeschool Legal Defense, but this is something all parents should be concerned about.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmdoGoCvsW0[/youtube]

Here is the link to Mike Huckabee’s website with the information on the Convention on Rights of a Child

Here is the website for the constitutional amendment to protect parental rights.

This morning I started listening to the ChristianAudio free download for May – Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I was thinking the quick executions may be easier to face bravely than the slow removal of rights and freedoms.

Posted in General | Comments Off on Parental Rights

Calling vs Desire

This was a column by Anthony Bradley on World Online – good distinction to ponder.

Many Christians consistently misuse the word “calling,” which leads to a person who has a “desire” to do something being wrongly viewed as unspiritual or “fleshly.” Is it accurate to say “I feel called to be pilot” or “We feel called to live in the city”? Not really. I guess God could “call” people to vocations and ZIP codes, but that’s not the main emphasis of the concept in the Bible. Calling has more to do with becoming a member of the people of God and living a holy life rather than deciding which job to take or whom to marry. Those items are actually choices.

The Greek word that Paul uses to describe his “calling” to be an apostle is the same word he uses to express the divine calling to be in union with Christ (Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1) and is only used 10 times in the New Testament. To say that you’re called to missions or to parenting like Paul says he was called to the office of the apostle is to grossly misuse the term or concept.

As a matter for fact, the Bible primarily explains that when God “calls” people, he calls them to intimacy with Him, union with Christ, join the Kingdom, get saved, live holy lives, and so on (Matthew 22:14; Romans 1:7, 8:28-30, 9:26; 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1:24, 1:26, 7:15-24; Galatians 1:6, 1:15, 5:13; Ephesians 1:18, 2:11, 4:4; Philippians 3:14; Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 2:21; etc.).

We spiritualize our desires as if wanting to be a missionary, cop, pastor, seminary student, or mom, or wanting to live in Peru, Kenya, Spain, the city, the suburbs, and the like, for a season, were all unspiritual as personal preferences. If it’s true that God gives us the desires of our hearts, and it’s true that all good things come from God, why is not OK to say, “I want to be a missionary for a while.” Why add “calling” to a choice or desire as if one were speaking in ways consistent with the Bible’s use of the concept.

The Holy Spirit can equally compel preferences, desires, and choices, but this is different from “calling.” The misuse of the word “calling” can lead to painful theological crises whenever situations don’t turn out as expected. “But I thought I was called to this,” we wonder. You weren’t called. You freely chose what you did and it didn’t work out. So what? Move on something else. Your decision was not necessarily wrong, and God’s not punishing you (unless it was clearly a sinful choice).

Since a Christian’s “calling” is to live in righteous harmony with God, this can be done in any vocation or geographic area. I’m cautious now when I write checks to people who say they are “called” to “this” or “that” ministry, vocation, region, because I would hate to send people off with a bad functional theology. The good news about freedom in Christ is that desires and preferences change, but callings do not.

Posted in General | Comments Off on Calling vs Desire

Casual Classics Challenge closeout

casualclassics5 Casual Classics Challenge 2009

Classic being anything written before 1970. And only need to read 4 of them – my list of books:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – done
  • Jane Eyre – got it on my Kindle now along with several other Bronte books
  • Heart of Darkness – done
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Iliad counts and so will the Odyssey when I finish it. Sense and Sensibility definitely counts. Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat also count. I just finished The Scarlet Pimpernel as well as Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs so I have definitely read some classics.

Technically this one is still going on, but I’m marking it as closed for me. I have read many classics and will read more before the year is over.

Posted in Reading | Comments Off on Casual Classics Challenge closeout

End of the Christian Reader Challenge

christianreadershchallenge51 Christian Readers Challenge 2009

Any Christian books (fiction or nf) to read by April 30 – my list:

  • Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland – done
  • George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson – on the Kindle waiting for free time
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton – done
  • Mere Christianity – done
  • The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman To Do by Kathie Reimer & Lisa Whittle – read two more chapters

So, I didn’t conquer my list, but I did get 3 out of the 5 finished and enjoyed them very much. The other 2 are still on my list to be read this year.

Posted in Reading | Comments Off on End of the Christian Reader Challenge

What’s on my nightstand 4-28

nightstand

I’m in the middle of the Spring Reading Thing challenge and keeping up quite well with the 999 challenge. Here’s what I plan to read over the next month.

  1. The Odyssey by Homer
  2. Spectacular Sins by John Piper – on Kindle
  3. How Long, O Lord by DA Carson
  4. Believing God by RC Sproul Jr
  5. make progress in Les Miserables
  6. The Scarlet Pimpernel – on Kindle
  7. The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Now, progress check on last month’s list and any extras that popped up.

There was only one that I didn’t finish so it’s on my list for May.

Fiction:

  • Around the World in 80 Days for the 5M4B Classics Bookclub – a fun book, I’m glad I read it!
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – church book club – finished but haven’t written it up yet
  • Consequences of Sin – library book
  • Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (an advance readers’ edition, it’s coming out June 2009)

Nonfiction:

Extras:

Posted in Reading | 5 Comments

The Uncommon Reader

I added The Uncommon Reader: A Novella because I kept reading great reviews about it. I’m so glad I did.  It’s a short read, but very funny and well done. Reading does change a person, especially if they stay at it and begin to do it with some purpose and organization. It is also well done with a friend or guide. The plot is that the Queen of England is walking her corgis one day and comes upon a traveling library van. She checks out a book to be polite and checks out one more the next week. This second one hooks her and she soon becomes a voracious reader, even at the expense of her other duties.

Anyone wholoves to read can recognize this – every conversation goes on too long because you could be reading. Any task or meail takes too much time when there is a good book to get back to. He does a good job showing the transformation that many readers make as all the reading makes them think and apply lessons to their own life.

So, well done. There are two crude phrases in the book that could have been left out of an otherwise pleasant read. I’m not a prude, and I understand that language helps define a character, but sometimes foul language is just unnecessary.

Posted in Reading | Comments Off on The Uncommon Reader

Spring Reading Thing status check 2

srtsmall

Just tracking my progress here:

My original list with links to book reviews or summaries.

  1. Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
  2. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (an advance readers’ edition, it’s coming out June 2009)
  3. Get Outta My Face! by Rick Horne
  4. The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  5. The Odyssey by Homer
  6. Spectacular Sins by John Piper – on Kindle
  7. How Long, O Lord by DA Carson – not in library, available on Kindle
  8. Finally Alive by John Piper
  9. Emily Climbs by LM Montgomery
  10. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  11. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – hold 4/22 but position 40. I did read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  12. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – hold 4/22
  13. finish Les Miserables (I’ve read 1 volume)
  14. the ChristianAudio April freebie – not a good book, but I did read Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  15. the ChristianAudio May freebie
  16. the ChristianAudio June freebie
  17. Believing God by RC Sproul, Jr.
  18. George Muller bio by Pierson – on Kindle

It’s tempting to put off finishing something deep and get a quick success in, but I need to hold down and finish what I have in progress already.

Posted in Reading | 2 Comments

To Kill a Mockingbird

I don’t remember ever reading this book. I have vague memories of seeing the movie, but couldn’t really remember the plot. Now that I’ve finished it, it seems familiar but I suspect that is more the comfortable writing style, since none of it seemed familiar while I was reading it.

Quick plot recap. The narrator is Scout Finch who is almost 6 at the time the story starts. She spends most of her time with her brother Jem, who is almost 10 when the story starts. We watch their story over about 4 years. Their father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer. They live in a small town in Alabama and it is 1930 so they are experiencing the Depression. We meet the neighbors on their street, but we don’t get to meet Arthur (Boo) Radley. Years ago he got into a scrape with the law and his father said if the judge let him come home he would never get in trouble again. He didn’t, because he didn’t come out of the house again. The way Scout tells the story, that wasn’t the best thing his father could have done for him. But, the Radley’s don’t come out or socialize so it might have happened to him even if he hadn’t gotten in trouble.

After spending half the book, and a few years, introducing the characters and giving us a good feel for the town and the people and the way of life, we move into the action. A black man has been accused of raping a white woman and Atticus has been assigned as his defense counsel. This being 1930 and a black man, there are some people who don’t see any need to wait for a trial. Others are fine with going through the motions of a trial but they wonder why Atticus is bothering to actually defend him. During the actual trial is is pretty obvious that the woman and father who brought the charges have lied about what happened, but the jury can’t take the word of a black man over that of a white man.

Even though the black man is convicted and then dies trying to escape prison, the white man who started this realizes he has been made a fool of and swears to get back at Atticus, the judge, and others he feels participated in shaming him. All of this culminates with an attack on Scout and Jem, but they survive, and Scout meets Boo Radley.

I love the book! I laughed so much during the early chapters where Scout is talking about going to school or playing with her brother. I found their fascination with Boo Radley interesting, and could see where playing out the scenes would help them understand it a bit more. The neighbors seem just right, those who gossip and judge, and those who love and are so tender. Atticus is a good father, helping his children to learn the right lessons.

The prejudice is well displayed, so that it seems believable but still stands out as unacceptable. I’m not saying I could never be like that, but in this day and age the overt racism is very obvious and disturbing. The point of view of the 6 year old is great, because Scout has a peculiar blend of innate culture from her surroundings with a child’s honest belief that there aren’t differences. She doesn’t really question the adults, but she doesn’t agree with them or even understand them.

The scene with the Missionary Society was so well done – at first I was thinking how interesting to care so much about others in a foreign land and not the poor or black here, but then the comments are so pointed that it becomes clear that the patronizing superiority is applied to everyone who isn’t “like us” whether they are in another country or right here in town.

That is one aspect that was raised, and I have run into it in other period pieces lately by LM Montgomery – the concept of groups or castes of people. It was interesting watching Jem try to decipher what put someone in one group or another, since it isn’t exactly clear whether it’s longevity as owner of a plot of land, or being literate, or what.

The book is also a Christian book, showing the difference between those who live it and those who just spout it. I found the venom that the legalistic group put out toward the kind and wise woman who loved flowers to be very telling.

My younger nephew is reading this in school and he says the book is boring. I wonder if they are doing something wrong in the school or if this is really just lost on someone his age. I found it laugh-out-loud funny, suspenseful, and convicting. But not boring!

I also realized, while writing this review, that the book is written in the first person. It is so well done that I never flinched at that, it just seemed natural. But it is difficult to do and many others who have tried it shouldn’t have.

Posted in Reading | 2 Comments