I have been given the opportunity to do some reviews on some books from a few different publishers. Some of them do not quite fit into the focus I have for Living Infuzion, but obviously have some good information. Here are some of my perspectives on some pretty good books! Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Men Hate Going to Church - A Review by Jason Rivers

I have a few comments about “Why Men Hate Going to Church” by David Murrow.  I was not sure what to think when I requested this book.  I had, however noticed the same problems that Murrow presents in my own church.  I kept hearing stories of moms that want their kids to be raised in the church, and dads that were indifferent or even opposed to the idea of going to church.  I was in a quest for information about this kind of thing, and the opportunity to read this book came.

I am really impressed with what I am reading.  I am not sure that I agree 100% with the conclusions reached in all places, but I do think this is a good book for any man either outside the church, but still calling themselves a Christian, or men that have been in the church for a long time that are wondering about why other men are not coming in. 

There were two (among others) things that stood out to me.  One was Murrow’s discussion of the “family” mentality versus the “army” mentality in a church, and how that dynamic can play out either to help the church grow, or to sabotage it.  The second was the Huddle that some churches do with the men of the church that A) teaches them something using a visual cue, and B) helps to build into them the opportunity to become the spiritual leader in their homes. 

These were two small things in and among the study of men in the church that spanned several centuries, several denominations, and several styles of service.  This was a challenging book that I recommend.

I was provided a complimentary copy for review by Booksneeze.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Book of Man By William J. Bennett

I have been reading The Book of Man by William J. Bennett.  This book was not what I expected.  There was so much in it even to the point of being overwhelming, but it is very obvious that a lot of research has gone into its development.  The topic is commendable and timely.  I sought out this topic for reading as I keep seeing in my life men that are walking away from their wives and children and abandoning their Godly call.  It saddens me.

I was so pleased to go through this book.  It is divided into 6 sections: Man in War, Man at Work, Man in Play, Sports and Leisure, Man in Polis, Man with Woman and Child, and Man in Prayer and Reflection.  As a family man and a Christian I paid particular attention to the last two sections.  What I was hoping for was some things I could apply to life, and the writings from all points in history were interesting, but I could only really pull nuggets out of the text.  This is an excellent volume to have on a shelf for reference or for conversation, but it was very difficult to get through all of it. 

That being said, I do recommend it to men that desire to see what it means to be a man, to men that desire to help to raise their boy to be a man.  It mixed poetry with profiles of men that accomplished huge things, to sports legends, to generals.  Men of all walks of life, and all social status’ speak into the lives of men today with the same impact that challenges each of us now to step up.  I found the book challenging, and encouraging.

I was provided a complimentary copy by Booksneeze for review.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Forsaking All Others" Sister Wives Book 2 - By Allison Pittman

Forsaking All Others is the second book in the Sister Wives series by author Allison Pittman.  The book continues the story of Camilla Fox and her escape from the Mormon faith in the late 1800s.  She is found and aided in her journey to reconcile with her parents and eventually regain custody of the children she left behind with her polygamist husband Nathan, by army Captain Charles Brandon.  Her journey is fraught with peril as she is perceived as a threat by the elders of the Mormon church, but her faith and trust in Jesus sees her through.

Once again Allison Pittman has written a masterfully moving and intriguing book.  We are brought along a journey of faith and peril that leaves you turning the pages wanting more.  Camilla's escape from the Mormon church and polygamist husband is heartbreaking as she is forced to leave her children behind. Pittmann's research into the historical aspects of Mormonism and their effects is powerful and insightful.  About the only thing I found disappointing was that it was the end.  I hope she goes on to write another book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of reviewing it by Tyndale Publishing House.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Our Last Great Hope – Awakening the Great Commission” by Ronnie Floyd

I loved this book!  “Our Last Great Hope – Awakening the Great Commission” by Ronnie Floyd, was such a refreshing book in the face of so many books about trying to make the Gospel weak and ambiguous.  This book has taken me more time to get through that previous ones because of several ideas that I wanted to digest and reflect on.  There is a deep level of research and a theology that will make even the most season evangelical pensive.

One of my favourite chapters was chapter 2: Awaken the Church.  Dr. Floyd quotes a study by George Barna that isolates 6 key issues that I think are too familiar in the modern church: Theological literacy is plummeting in the church, churches are becoming more ingrown and less interested in reaching out to others, members want “practical” formulas rather than profound spiritual truth, Christians are showing more interest in community action, the postmodern insistence on tolerance is gaining ground quickly among Christians, and Christianity is having near-zero impact on the surrounding culture.

This for me was the point in the book where Dr. Floyd leaped into his discussion.  The drive of this book is to show how the Bible teaches that the Gospel is the power of and reason for the Christian faith, but that so many people have moved away from using that power clearly.  In his experience when the church moves in the power of the Gospel it makes progress.  When it moves away from it, the church moves into obscurity.

This is a book that will inform and challenge even the deepest of faithful Christians and will motivate people forward to share the Gospel and walk in its power.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Love You More By Jennifer Grant

Love You More – The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter by Jennifer Grant is about one woman’s journey down the road to adopting a child in a foreign country.  She addresses issues of life, love, change, family, faith, birth, miscarriage and many more.  She writes of where she came from and the family that she had before adding to her family by adopting.  She reflects on some of the things people said when she told them of her plan to adopt, and she describes how detailed and excruciating the process can be.  She talks about the struggles of integrating the new child into her established family.

As someone considering the idea of adoption in the future, I grabbed this book to get a bit of a window into the process.  I liked the book.  It was an easy reading story, filled with drama and disappointment, but also filled with the highs of love and family.  I was stunned to read some of the comments made by people about the idea of adoption.  When something is different, people will invariably say things to make themselves look rude.  This was one of the things that stuck out to me.  How would people respond to someone that is not biologically mine being in my family?  I was also struck by the bravery of Mia.  She left everything that she knew and moved into a different culture.  I was stuck by Ms. Grant’s discussions about learning how to include some sides of Mia’s birth culture in food and other ways.  One last thing that stood out was Jenifer Grant’s discussion of miscarriage and how she encouraged women that had experienced one to buy something to mark the child lost.  In her case she bought a special cross to remind her of the one lost.  My wife and I went through a miscarriage. So this pulled at my heart.

This was a good read.  It was a little disjointed at times, but if you are contemplating adoption I recommend it. 

I have been provided a copy of the book from Book Sneeze for my review.  All opinions are mine.  I am not required to give a positive review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So Long Insecurity – Leader’s Guide by Beth Moore

My first encounter with Beth Moore was with my wife taking a course The Inheritance.  When she came home from her course she was always excited, had learned a great deal and was able to go into depth in about various portions of scripture.  I love that.  When I saw this leader’s guide available for review I became excited.  This book/course is about looking at many of the insecurities that women face, and Beth Moore carefully and skilfully leads the reader and for that matter the leader away from the lies and distractions of the modern culture and towards the promises that God has for women. 

I was pleased with this guide.  It would work best if purchased with the book So Long Insecurity.  Each lesson has portions where the guide refers to the book which I have not read.  I enjoyed some of the ideas that Ms. Moore brought in.  When she writes about Sarai and Hagar it struck a chord with me.  I have seen this kind of thing in the lives of people around me, and even in my own life.  She was speaking about the idea of how sometimes people feel threatened in some aspect of their lives when there is some person there that could do something better than we could. 

The book is written to women, but could be applied to anyone.  We all have similar insecurities.  I recommend it to anyone struggling with insecurity.  I’m sure finding a group of people to go through it with you would not be too hard.
I was provided a complimentary copy to review from Tyndale House.