Book Review: The Mystery of Suffering and the Meaning of God

e4c54eda-8376-434b-b8a2-7a44c2b117abAnson Hugh Laytner is a retired Jewish rabbi. One’s initial reaction might be “This is not Christian theology.” Firstly, Laytner anticipates a Jewish and Christian audience. He describes himself as a skeptical but spiritual person thus the intended audience may go beyond Christian or Jewish to include anyone struggling with questions and looking for answers. More to the point in this context, Christian theology grew out of Hebrew history, ritual, literature and Jewish theology in the first century. Laytner is aware of the relationship. As he begins a section describing Radical Monotheism he mentions the Tanakh and then inserts in parenthesis “the Jewish Bible, similar to the Christian Old Testament.” The search for meaning and understanding is practically universal among people everywhere and Laytner’s process may benefit any reader wrestling with the same issues. Continue reading

Satur-deja Vu


Mac & Cheese is a permanent addition to the Chick-fil-A menu. I think it’s very similar to KFC and Captain D’s if you are familiar with those. It reminds me of baked in the oven at home and is nothing like Kraft Dinner. It is the side I didn’t know I was missing. Continue reading

Book Review: The Gospel of Self

Screenshot 2018-03-08 at 10.42.51 AMThe Gospel of Self, How Jesus Joined the GOP is written by Terry Heaton and details his role at CBN and The 700 Club. Before we used terms like fake news and every single person had a voice via social media, the Christian Broadcast Network entered a new frontier of sorts by not only reporting the news but by shaping the way people thought. CBN in general, and Pat Robertson’s 700 Club in particular, played a profound role in shifting the Republican Party to the right back in the 1980’s. While Robertson was in front of the camera Terry Heaton was behind the scenes and very much involved in making the things Robertson talked about a reality. Heaton believes today’s Christian Right is the end result of work they did together back then. Continue reading

Book Review: Nearing Home

Click image for more via Amazon.com

Click image for more via Amazon.com

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham 

When I write a book review, it’s usually because someone sent me a review copy and they are looking for bloggers to get their title out there in front of a larger audience. Neither Billy Graham nor Thomas Nelson Publishers need me to review this book; it is already a New York Times Best Seller. But I was given a copy by a friend in real life as a Christmas gift and since I enjoyed it will offer a review because you, my reader, may find you enjoy it as well. Continue reading

Book Review: A Christian Survival Guide

A Christian Survival GuideThere’s an old saying that goes something like this: People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan. The goal of A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth by Ed Cyzewski is to help Christian believers make a plan.

Cyzewski points out in the introduction that former Christians that have left the faith are often most aware of the serious issues Christianity presents. The last book I reviewed by Mike Hamel asks serious questions that the author doesn’t have good answers for; while he hasn’t left the faith he is no longer as certain as he used to be about the tenets of the Christian faith. A Christian Survival Guide wants readers to anticipates issues that will arise and be prepared ahead of time. From the introduction: This book aims to help the saints persevere, and so we’ll focus on answering that last question—what will help you survive as a follower of Jesus? Surviving as a Christian depends on having the right beliefs, putting them into practice in community with other Christians, and most importantly, meeting with God regularly. If we fail to address basic survival matters such as understanding God’s story from Scripture, defeating sin, or living in step with the Holy Spirit, we run the risk of missing out on the abundant life Jesus promised us, if not losing our intimacy with Jesus and leaving the faith altogether. Continue reading

Book Review: We Will Be Landing Shortly

Hamel, Landing ShortlyThe full title is We Will Be Landing Shortly: Now What? The front cover plainly identifies it as “the spiritual musings of Mike Hamel.” The author is working through some things and is very transparent about that. His thought process is done on paper and at times he offers more questions than answers.

Mike Hamel has been through a lot, and the effects of tragedy have shaken his faith. He hasn’t lost it but after a lifetime of religious faith and pastoral vocation it doesn’t come as easy as it used to. After surviving three bouts with cancer, cancer treatments, a major car accident and seven surgeries, he was prepared to deal with his own mortality. Then suddenly and without warning his wife of 37 years died of a heart attack… on Thanksgiving Day. One section of the book is a collection of journal entries beginning that day and continuing over the next 12 months. Hamel is a writer’s writer and works through his thought process on paper. I sometimes do the same thing but then he publishes his for the world to read! Continue reading

Book Review: Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me by Renee Fisher

Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” -Corrie ten Boom

Renee Fisher began journaling in 1997 as part of her healing process. Prayers and scriptures filled her journal; God answered in a big was and the writing never stopped. Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me: Finding Freedom in the Journey from Pain to Purpose is her third book. Continue reading