Anson 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
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
The 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
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
There’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
The 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
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
No, I do not presume to write a review of my own book. Below is the review and recommendation of Steve May, a pastor friend in eastern Kentucky. I also look forward to Denise Spencer’s review next week on Internet Monk.
Clark is a graduate of Shorter University holding a Bachelors of Science degree in both history and political science. He has been the lead pastor to one church and was on the teaching faculty of the Oneida Baptist Institute (a private Baptist Boarding School with over a 100 year history in southeastern Kentucky). Presently Clark is the Director of Men’s Ministry and works with the youth ministries of the Trinity Baptist Church in Calhoun, GA. Continue reading
Michael Spencer was the first person I heard use the word revivalism. Any type of -ism refers to the belief in or practice of a particular thing. Some churches live in a revival subculture, where revival meetings, revival services and revival preachers are a regular part of ministry. I believe Iain Murray has written a book after Spencer’s own heart.
I just read an excellent review of Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism, 1750-1858 at the 9Marks blog. Bobby Jamieson has spent some time with the text; the review is practically a study guide to the actual volume. Read the full review here.
*The review lists $33 as the price, which is retail. Amazon has it for $24.09, if you’re interested.
Jesus Died for This? by Becky Garrison came out in August. (Why I’m just reviewing it now is kind of a long story.) In this volume Garrison reports as a pilgrim, a sojourner on a quest to find out whatever happened to Jesus. She documents her travels from early 2007 to the election hype of 2008, taking her all the way from Jordan and Israel to Seattle and Manhattan. Along the way she witnessed a lot of “Jesus junk” but also found genuine communities living out the Gospel in small groups of broken individuals. Continue reading