A solution to #MeToo?

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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.

 

42 Seconds by Carl Medearis [Book Review]

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Most people probably think of Jesus’ interactions with people in the big ways, but what about the small ways? Is it possible that Jesus made just as big of an impact on people’s lives in the small exchanges as he did in the big, long sermons?

Carl Medearis thinks so. In his new book, 42 Seconds The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions, he claims that the average length of a conversation Jesus had with a person was a mere 42 seconds. Not even a whole minute. Not much time at all. Within these fleeting seconds, Medearis proposes, there are some ways an impact can be made on a person’s life, with each chapter posing a question. I like how Medearis uses questions to structure each chapter, and he gives stories from his own life and other people’s lives. The stories are easy to relate to, and even though the author makes suggestions on how to follow the “42 Seconds” conversation model of making a difference, he’s honest on how he falls short on his own suggestions. The book is easy to read, the chapters are short. Each chapter begins with a “Nonstarter” – something that Christians might be tempted to do  (i.e. “Try to impress “), countered by an “Opener” –  the alternative (i.e. “Be vulnerable”). The good thing about the suggestions given is that they aren’t radical life changes you have to make in one day, but they’re all small steps you can take at your own comfort level, wherever you are.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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PREPARE Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture

As Americans, it’s easy to feel free, but J. Paul Nyquist wants American Christians to be aware of changes to their religious liberty. In his new book, Prepare, he explains why American Christians need to ready themselves for changes to their way of life, and why they need to get ready for religious persecution.

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Why, you may ask, is this necessary, when American Christians are free to worship as we please, where we please, how we please? Nyquist explains that persecution is not just physical harm or death, but it comes in many other forms. With this understanding, persecution is coming for many American Christians. He urges those in America to decide how they will respond to this when it happens. He lays out some responses to persecution and explains how large cultural changes in America have happened.

Overall, Prepare is a well-written, thought-out book. For those paying attention to the issues of religious liberty in society at large, a lot of what the author is saying will make a lot of sense.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Master Your Money by Ron Blue Book Review

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Do you feel like your money is in charge of you, instead of you being in charge of your money? Do you ever wish that you knew how you could master your money?

Entrepreneur and accountant Ron Blue has a few ideas in his new book Master Your Money. This is a re-vamped version of a previous edition published in the late 80s. This time, he’s made some updates, adding personal reflections to the end of each chapter. He’s also added a special writing partner, his son Michael Blue, to add commentary at the end of each chapter.

Master Your Money offers a decidedly  Christian perspective with a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspect of money management. Probably the biggest takeaway from this book is the idea of stewardship: that God “owns it all” and that people don’t truly own their money or possessions, but are simply caretakers of the things they have. The second takeaway is the huge emphasis placed on giving. Blue talks about giving and goes beyond emphasizing tithing as important, but states that is is the first purpose money should be used for in a budget  (even before taxes, and states that tithing should be done from gross instead of net income). He discusses estate planning for charity and making faith pledges beyond what you think you can give (to help your city, the world, orphans, the poor).

There are some changes that could have been made to this book to make it stronger. There are two big issues that people in this country are suffering from financially that aren’t addressed at all in this book, which could have been updated: student loan debt and health care costs. Blue talks about types of debt, but leaves student loan debt completely out of the picture, which is concerning given that student loan debt cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. This is a critical issue given that so many students have defaulted on their student loans and are overextended. Another issue that needs further addressing is rising health care costs. The sample budget given for health care costs seems low given that families are experiencing increased costs in the areas of premiums, drug costs, etc. This is not a political issue but a financial one, and to not address it doesn’t give an accurate picture of what everyday families are up against in their personal finances.

Another strange part about this book is in the sample budget, there’s a line item for “margin” – a 2 percent category for a family to help them increase their cash flow. Yet, there is no line item on the sample budget for saving money for the future. When savings is not automated or made intentional in some way, it doesn’t happen. I don’t know if this “margin” category is the author’s way of saying “savings”, but it seems odd that a financial expert wouldn’t urge people to be intentional about creating an emergency fund of some kind, when so many people probably do not have one. Furthermore, I’m not sure why the author wouldn’t encourage people to save more than two percent of their budget when he is urging them to give 10 percent to others. The Biblical mandate is to provide for your own household or you are worse than an unbeliever… how can a wise person prepare for the hard times that will inevitably come in the future without making plans?

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Master Your Money from the publisher, Moody Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

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Exploring Christian Theology by Holsteen & Svigel- Book Review

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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.