Monthly Archives: February 2010

Joe

Joe’s #3: Scarlet (the King Raven, Book 2)

I bought the first book in this series with a touch of apprehension. I love the Robin Hood tale and enjoy fresh takes on old ideas. I loved the first book. Stephen Lawhead is at his best when he is telling a rip roaring story of love, adventure, battles and human issues. He achieves that in the first book.

In Scarlet though he reminded me why I didn’t like his King Arthur series. This book was a chore to finish for me. The plot itself is intriguing but the delivery lacks. The story is told from the first person POV of Will Scatlocke (Scarlet). Occasionally the book will drop back into a third person POV and actually move forward but when “Ole Will” is telling the story it’s slow and painful. I just didn’t like it. Love, battles, human intrigue; they’re all in there, they’re just buried under a mountain of unnessary words and terrible tempo.

It does end with a cliffhanger and I know that people are raving about the third book so I’m hoping Lawhead will right the ship with that one.

**

mark

Mark’s #8 – Too Small To Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford (285 pages)

In preparation for our upcoming mission trip to serve orphans in Thailand, I assigned the team this book to read.

Dr. Wess Stafford is the president of the world’s largest to poor and oppressed children across the globe – Compassion Internationl.  In this book Dr. Stafford not only makes a compelling case for God’s heart for children in general, but for the poorest of the poor.   In so doing, he recounts his life growing up in the middle of Liberia, Africa.

For the first seven chapters, Wess leads the reader to believe that though he lived an isolated life with a small African tribe while his parents served as missionaries there, he loved every minute of his childhood.   However, in chapters eight and nine, Wess recounts the very painful experiences he and his fellow classmates had at the missionary kids boarding school each year, hundreds of miles away from his family.   Here he recounts nearly every type of abuse imaginable (physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual).

I found myself getting very angry as I read these chapters.  Actually, rage might better describe my thoughts – even my heartbeat.   For years these abuses went on… most of which absolutely wrecked the lives of the students that attended the school.

By God’s grace and mercy, Wess has been able to grow and heal from these dark experiences.   In  fact, God has used those experiences, along with his other first hand experiences with he world’s poor (four years in Haiti for example), to shape Wess into a courages leader, and visionary for children everywhere.

There was one negative aspect throughout this book.  Though Dr. Stafford has a compelling history and a passionate drive to reach children, the writing does lack some substance, clarity and style.   In terms of substance, he does not do a good job of grounding his points in the Biblical text.  In regards to style, the book lacks clarity and creativity.

The book is decent… more than this though, I would reccommend you check out http://www.compassion.com/  - Perhaps God will stir your heart to invest in eternity through the ministry of Compassion International.

3  stars

Joe

Joe’s #2: I Hate You. Don’t Leave Me

This book was first recommended to me to by one of my professors in my Counseling program.  I find that while her and I agree on the bigger issues we often nuance it differently.

This book is no different. I found it to be a quick read (less than two days) and I will probably re-read sections again and there were sections that I outright dismissed and will probably never visit again. It deals with the issue of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
A little outdated (the book still refers to the DSM-III and we’re about to get #5), this book evokes strong reactions from both those who suffer from BPD and those who strive to treat it. I like that fact.

A little controversy is never a bad thing and this book proves that once again. This book does a good job of giving an overview of BPD and what it is like to live with someone who has it and love that person.  People who are living with someone who has BPD, will find some good insights in the book.  I also like the fact that the author does put the responsibility for a person’s actions on their own shoulders although I’d like to see this more nuanced in the book.

A few negatives are the date of the book, which is not the books fault and also is probably a contributing factor to the relative inexpensive price tag.  One con for me on this book is that he essentially says that BPD is untreatable. This was a commonly held belief in the field when BPD was first diagnosed. That has changed over the last 20 years.

All in all, I would say this a good book for someone who wants to become more familiar with what BPD is and how to live with someone who has it.  There are other books out there that are better at it from a scientific point of view. Of course, they also come with a much higher price tag.

***

Joe

Joe’s #1: Sold by Patricia McCormick

Twelve thousand Nepali girls are sold every year into the sex slave trade. Sometimes by families that think they are sending them to work as a maid for a wealthy family in the city.

This fictional book about Lakshmi is meticulously researched and extremely well written. Short, poignant vignettes capture the reader and draw you into a world that is both disturbing and haunting. The thought that kept me up at night was the fact that this story was real for thousands of girls.

I hated reading it and I think that everyone should read it.Read it in light of Proverbs 24:11-12

*****

ron

Ron’s #8: Adopted for Life by Russell Moore

A few months ago, two of the blogs that I follow regularly both commented on this book, and I was interested. While Kristie and I have talked about adoption from time to time, I’d never really wanted to read a book on the subject. For some reason, I thought it would be a list of ways how we can navigate through of tower of bureaucratic paperwork and nefarious dealings overseas, while making the newly adopted kid feel at home in his new bed. Perhaps this idea of adoption books reflected my view of adoption itself. More recently, our good friends Mark and Jennifer are planning on a temporary move to Thailand next week to finalize the adoption of their daughter. This pulled the topic of adoption to the forefront of my mind, and I ordered the book.

Adopted for Life is primarily a work of theology, using the doctrine of divine adoption as a framework for the book. Moore uses the idea that we, as Christians, have all been adopted into a family, leaving behind the filthy orphanages of the world and becoming heirs of the living God.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7).

Since we are no longer orphans but sons, Christians should have an especially sensitive heart for the orphans in the world. We are told to care for the widows and orphans as an act of justice. This focus is the one in Moore’s book, not telling us the best agencies or the most accommodating countries for adoption. We should adopt mainly because we were adopted.

Our worldview leads us into being a part of families and churches where adoption should be the norm, not the exception. Who more should care for the fatherless than the ones who were once themselves fatherless and homeless?

In addition to the powerful content, Adopted for Life is creatively written. Moore has a readable style that is concrete and vivid, funny, and honest. I feel like I know this man after reading this, or, at least, I feel like I want to know him more. Because of this, I highly recommend this work wherever you are in thinking about adoption.

As soon as I closed the book, I was online looking into agencies to see what God has for us because I am grateful to no longer be in the “cosmic orphanage.”

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