Justin’s #63 – Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles, Charles Spencer, 352 pages

November 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Have you ever gotten 100 pages into a book and realized that you hate it, but since you’re so far in, you have to finish? That was this book in a nutshell for me. I am no anglophile, and the title of the book is so much more appealing that the contents. Let me try to see if I can draw some conclusions about this book: England in the early 1600’s was a complex machine. By the 1640’s, there was a parliament but it acted as an advisory council and had little real power. The English have always had spats with the Scotts, and by the middle 1640’s, the two were pitted against each other: the Royalists were loyal to the King of England and the Parliamentarians were, obviously, loyal to Parliament. The reason for the Civil War was religious: Charles I wanted to make the Anglican religion universal over all of Britain. The more Presbyterian Scotts thought this a violation and quickly mounted several uprisings that devastated the order. After some bloody years, the Royalists lost and Parliament took control of the country. In the process, Charles I was extradited for high treason. During a sham trial where Charles […]

JRF’s #22: Battling Unbelief by John Piper – 162 pages

November 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Taken from the end of Piper’s longer classic, Future Grace, and supplemented with new material, Battling Unbelief applies the power of faith in future grace to the fight against sin in daily life.  Working of the proposition that, “unbelief in the promises of God (that is, future grace) is the root that sustains the life of these sins,” Piper looks at how the promises of God help us fight against anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust. In a time where (joyfully) the theology of the cross has been rediscovered and celebrated, this book is a helpful reminder that our only source of motivation to fight sin, is not just passively looking back to the cross with a debtors ethic, but actively looking forward to and striving towards the consummation of the promises that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased for us. I leave you with a few quotes: “Boasting is the response of pride to success.  Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering.” “The battle against bitterness is fought not only by trusting the promise of God to avenge wrongs done against us; it is also fought by cherishing the experience of being forgiven by God.” “So I […]

David’s #36 – Twilight By Elie Wiesel

November 26, 2015 // 0 Comments

  I was first introduced to Elie Wiesel several years ago through his incredible book “Night” while preparing for a mission trip to Cambodia with Ron and Mark.  It was recently suggested to me that I look at some of his other works, namely, “Twilight”.  It is no “Night”, but it was not bad. “Twilight” tells the story of Raphael, an obsessed Jewish literature professor and Holocaust survivor, on a quest.  His search and a mysterious late night caller land him in a psychiatric ward, not as patient, but as a visiting professor.  He is searching in part for Pedro; his friend, mentor, and rescuer.  Pedro slipped from Raphael’s life years and he believes that Pedro is his key to understanding truth and fiction.  He is also searching for truth in a world of insanity.  But what place does a literature professor have as a guest researcher at a mental hospital?  The answer comes at least partially in the clientele of this particular facility.  During his visit, he encounters a variety of Biblical characters: Adam, Cain, Abraham, Joseph, Jesus, and others.  At least that is who this deranged cast believe themselves to be.  This is an interesting, possibly artistic approach […]

David’s #35 – Killing Pablo: The Hunt For The World’s Greatest Outlaw By Mark Bowden

November 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Pablo Escobar was arguably one of the most violent criminals in history.  In his book, Mark Bowden gives a detailed account of Escobar’s life and reign as Colombia’s drug dictator. He recounts in incredible detail his rise from the humble home of a devout catholic teacher.  Bowden explains the incredible power that he attained on a variety of levels; social, local, national, criminal, government and law enforcement, and how he constantly hungered for more.  The corruption surrounding Escobar was astounding.  He controlled so many people who came in contact with him, from him family, to lawyers, to politicians and Colombia’s military forces.  This was possible not only because of his grotesquely violent behaviors, but also through his wealth and charisma.  His sociopathic tendencies caused him to not only crave ultimate power, but also the status of a benevolent social icon who was loved by the people. But his reign could not last forever.  The majority of the book covers the more than sixteen-month war and manhunt, millions of dollars, and hundreds of lives required to bring him down.  In telling this story Bowden sheds light on the interesting reality of how the corruption surrounding Escobar flowed over to the good […]

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