What’s your favorite Bible story? Do you remember the first time you heard it or what you thought about it?
If you grew up in church your answer might be very different from someone who came to faith as an adult.
If you come back (or do a first read of) some classic stories in the Bible – stories that most people know about, like Noah building the Ark or Adam and Eve in Creation or Jesus’ birth in a manger – reading these stories as an adult can be like seeing them all over if you read a version written for a child’s eyes. This was my impression when I reviewed 100 Bible Stories for Children, published by Tyndale Kids. I loved how this collection kept the integrity of the Bible by keeping the stories in the order that they appear to us today, in a “grown-up” Bible. I also liked how they also included stories that I hadn’t heard in a long time, like Elisha replacing Elijah, Jacob stealing a blessing, and the story of angry King Saul. And I loved how it took pieces out of stories that could raise an adult’s eyebrows – like how Esther becomes Queen because her future husband gets furious at his wife for humiliating him in public after a week-long drunken feast – and it takes these same stories and doesn’t omit the truth, but explains things in a kid-friendly way. (King X got tired of his wife. Really sounds simple, doesn’t it?)
I highly recommend this book for any parent, Sunday School teacher, or anyone who wants to teach young kids about the Bible. I can easily see young kids being fascinated by these stories and the pictures that go along with them. And I can see a book like this becoming part of a parent-child storytime routine… where Mom or Dad gets to tell a story again or even learn it for the first time.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.
Is there a solution to #MeToo?
Day after day we’ve been bombarded with headlines of men behaving badly in the news. Popular men, celebrities, politicians, well-liked men, who’ve done things that have shocked and disappointed us all. We’ve all grown tired of these sad headlines. It’s time for a change. It’s time to hear about men behaving heroically. Proudly. In ways that honor their families, workplaces, and communities.
While men’s minister Kenny Luck doesn’t mention the #MeToo movement in his new book, Dangerous Good, it’s hard for me to not think that he wasn’t thinking of it while he was writing. He mentions men behaving badly and a “moral vacuum”. He asks: “Will masculinity continue to retain its negative connections with the world’s injustices?” ( xv) It’s similar to the question asked by Dan Connor in the recent Roseanne TV reboot, when Dan asks “When did masculinity become a dirty word?”
But this revolution, a “Coming Revolution of Men Who Care”, is all about the power of men who love Jesus, and not just guys who go to church, but guys who will fight for good. Those who will fight for the things that matter in life. Those guys have the power, together, for good. Kenny says, “When a man’s character and conduct become healthy, it changes things. Most directly, the women and children connected to his life and choices suffer less and develop better.” (p.95)
Dangerous Good is meant to inspire men to be their best selves, as the men they were meant to be, through the power of God. Kenny Luck challenges Christian men to be brave, to be in community with one another, and to think about their legacies. He doesn’t play along with gender wars of putting men and women against each other – he tries to inspire men to take on their God-given roles as warriors.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of it from the publisher in exchange for my review.
Have you ever taken the time to stop and consider why you believe what you believe? If you’re a Christian, it’s crucially important to think about your belief system and how it’s different from others. What do you believe about life and death, what are your opinions about an afterlife, and do you believe that a human being has a soul?
Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel have teamed up to create a second volume of Exploring Christian Theology. This volume focuses on Creation, Fall, and Salvation. It covers some basics that most members of Christian churches would agree on, such as how fundamental Creation is, and how humanity stands in relationship to sin. But this book poses some thought provoking-questions that can divide believers. For example: how, and when, is a soul created? Are people able to do good, or is this impossible due to their sinful nature? Is a person’s salvation secure, and if so, by how much?
I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to Christians of all denominations. Holsteen and Svigel have created a thought-provoking book that will challenge Christians to examine their faith and think through important issues.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
What are the rules of dating?
Novelist Rene Gutteridge and director Rik Swartzwelder have teamed up to create a new work that could spark some conversation about how that’s changed across generations. Their novel, Old Fashioned, is being made into a film that will be released the same weekend as Fifty Shades of Grey.
Old Fashioned centers on two characters – a level-headed man named Clay and a spontaneous woman named Amber. Proving the adage that opposites attract, the chemistry between the two can’t be ignored, and Old Fashioned explores a different way of dating – courtship – that for most people has all but gone by the wayside.
There’s an external struggle between Clay and Amber – they have a hard time connecting with each other – and, as it turns out, each has experiences from the past that is interfering with their ability to create a new relationship. While the story may be intended to be like a morality play – showcasing the benefits of courtship over typical modern dating – it comes across as preachy at times. Old Fashioned doesn’t fully show the joy that comes from a relationship based on freedom within limits.
FTC Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.