March 2011

Mark’s #13 – East of Eden by John Steinbeck (601 pages)

March 31, 2011 // 4 Comments

Along the 52 book journey, I’ll have read some books for fun, others for interesting insights, some to learn, some to think, and a few that will enrich my world and increase my appreciation for life and literature – East of Eden is one of the few. From the first pages to the last, I knew that this book was a literary masterpiece.  According to his wife, Steinbeck considered this book to be his Magnum Opus.  I began reading with pen in hand to underline all the rich and powerful insights, illustrations, and analogies that Steinbeck puts fourth throughout the book.  I quickly realized that I would be underlining far too much, and I gave up that pursuit, content to simply sit back and enjoy the journey.   As I continued to read, I became increasingly concerned that I would not be able to write a review that would be on par with such a book… so I won’t try to, I’ll simply try to capture a few faint glimpses, with the hope to spur you one to read the book yourself. At it’s core, East of Eden is a retelling of the story of both Adam and Eve and […]

Jim’s #8: Jesus: The Only Way to God by John Piper

March 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

I happened to stumble across this free book on Christian and took a listen to it today.  It was a convenient time to find it as our community group was just talking about Universalism yesterday.  I’m sure this book will find great readership due to the swirling debates among “Christendom” regarding universalism, annihalationism (which I did not know that , etc; as well it should.  It’s a really good book.  Then again, it’s John Piper, so this should not come as a surprise.  I have yet to find anyone that digs as deep into the scriptures and then exegetes them so well in a readable format as John Piper. He’s pretty sweet.  Ok, onto the book. It’s a short read, which was great because I have some catchup to do.  But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in comprehensive scriptural outlook on an ever-important Christian doctrine.  The book goes through three questions rather quickly to focus more on the bigger, more controversial subject (as if the first three aren’t controversial in themselves).  The first three questions in succession are: Is Jesus the only way of salvation?, will anyone experience eternal, conscious, torment under God’s wrath?, and […]

JRF’s #11 – The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anyabwile

March 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

How do you share the Gospel with Muslisms?  You share the Gospel with Muslims. This isn’t  a book about new methods and tricks you can use to convert Muslims with.  It is a book written by a former Muslim who has been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now has a passion to share that Gospel with those still in Islam’s grip. Anyabwile’s theme for the book is clearly seen in it’s subtitle: “an Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence”.  He debunks the popular belief amongst believers that, “somehow Muslims require a different gospel or a special technique, that Muslims are somehow impervious to the Gospel in a way that other sinners are not.” (p.13) The first portion of the book is focused on the Gospel itself.  Anyabwile encourages the reader to trust in the power of the Gospel by sharing personal stories where he has seen the truth and love of Christ pierce the hearts of muslims.  He also affirms the importance of doctrinal clarity in evangelism.  He shows the importance of defining terms like sin, repentance, and faith Biblically for those terms signify something drastically different to a Muslim.  While acknowledging that there […]

JRF’s #10 – King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

March 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

This book, written in 1885, is dedicated by the fictional narrator, Allan Quartermain, “to all the big and little boys who read it”. H. Rider Haggard’s classic is exactly that – a book for men, boys who hope to become men one day, and perhaps for women who long for the days when men were still men. This book has it all: adventure, romance, exotic locales, big game hunts, treachery, epic battles, crazy old witches, one eyed savages, ancient diamond mines, bloody beheadings, graphic dismemberments, and side-aching hilarity.  Often times I found myself thinking of Indiana Jones, Michael Crichton, John Huston movies and the like (but not The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – an abomination of a movie and a total misfire of the character of Quartermain!). Yet I had to remember that these stories and films were derivative of this, the quintessential adventure story, not the other way around. Of course having been written over a century ago there are many elements of the book that are outdated.  These outdated elements are both positive and negative.  The negatives include the underlying racism as well as the unrestricted exploitation of the animal resources of Africa, both common in Haggard’s day. […]

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