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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Stories of Saint Francis

The Little Flowers of Saint Francis is a spiritual classic that has been read for many generations since its publication. Yet, this edition is a wonderful creation because the editor, Jon M. Sweeney, has put the entries of this work in chronological order. Not only do you get a taste of the ministry of St. Francis, but you get how he progressed in faith and how he impacted those around him in ministry. This book was certainly a real treat for me as I read it.




To begin with, the editor has given the reader a brief introduction that serves to give historical details about the life of St. Francis. One of the interesting points in the introduction was the that the first 41 entries focus on Francis and his companions while the last entries focus on a group of friars who were part of the Spirituals faction (xiii). As you continue reading, you find that there was a faction between those who wanted to follow Francis' teachings to the letter and those who saw his rule and teaching as one i…

Flunking Sainthood

An amusing title and an even better subtitle, Jana Riess' new book entitled flunking sainthood is a funny, off the cuff and realistic venture into the plight of one author seeking to practice the spiritual disciplines of the Christian faith in a tangible way. Riess intends to use the year as a way to read the spiritual classics alongside practicing the exercises each month (2). At first, I thought this was going to be a lesson in humility for her after reading about her goal, for the spiritual classics are chalk full of austere practice and meditiaton.




In the month of February, Riess takes on the pledge to begin routine fasting. After engaging in the practice of fasting for a while, Riess realizes pretty quickly that the desert father and mothers methods in fasting were pretty radical. In a light hearted moment, her friend asks her, "So, have you have any visions yet," Riess responds by saying, "Only of casseroles" (14). As you begin to keep reading, you find m…

The Paradox of Faith

Hayley Dimarco and Michael Dimarco have written a short, witty and uncompromising book about the concept of burying your self in Christ. Much like a reiteration of the themes of 2 Corinthians, the DiMarcos pull no punches when writing about the life that a believer is called to live, foregoing the more luxurious for the more practical. Even more, the book is a real call to die to your self as the master of your own fate and 'say yes to the promptings of his Spirit" (15). For far too long Christians have tried to put one foot in the door of faithful living and one foot in the well of 'atta boy' I'm doing alright in my own corner of the world.




In the first chapter, Death is the new Life, the DiMarcos give the reader a mini-lesson in the story of the Bible by going from the Garden to the Cross. They focus on the fact that the death of Jesus destroyed the power of death over you (22) and gave you life. Yet, as they go on to write about, the death of the Savior was mea…

Tyndale and the Bible

David Teems has penned a very good book on the figure of William Tyndale, which most people know as the translator and editor of the Tyndale Bible. Teems begins with the upbringing of Tyndale and his schooling at Oxford. Early on in the work he writes, "John Foxe used the word addicted when speaking of Tyndale and the Scripture in the same sentence" (13). Therefore, from the earliest on, Tyndale was enamored with the Bible and its depiction of God, it was his book in such a way that he left its side. Teem goes on to indicate that the unversity was not a place where spiritual fervor was recognized going on to say, "A student would not be allowed to preach, he said, until all traces of spirituality were squeezed out of his voice" (17). Tyndale goes onto indicate that it was not until after 8 or 9 years that a student could readily study the Scriptures. To put it succintly, Tyndale's passion and the setting in which he lived stood from the earliest on as opposing …

Uncommon Challenge

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts has written a devotional that is sure to be read by many in their quest for a deeper faith. I wasn't exactly sure what I was receiving when I sent off for this book through the Tyndale Bloggers program. However, I really thought this book was a practical, no nonsense approach to following Christ.




Dungy divides the book up into core, family, friends, potential, missions, influence and faith. Each section gives you a snapshot into the life of Dungy from the football field but also from the view of his faith. Sometimes he more or less describes the passage that is used for the devotional. We even get a reference from Tim Tebow's book about not praising oneself and one's acoomplishments on the entry for Febrary 2nd. He even points out in one entry that, "The problem comes when we don't allow the Holy Spirit to ...into every area of our lives to help us with the journey and to help us live up the absolute ideas of…

Forever in View

Paul David Tripp, author of many books on parenting and counseling, has written a timely book on the perspective of forever from both a biblical and practical perspective. The books is designed to give the readers a longing for eternity with God but also to put in proper perspective the way we should live here on earth. Too often, as Tripp points out the first chapter, we set ourselves up for failure by having unreal expectatios, focusing too much on our self and expecting or asking too much of people (24-25). If we live without eternity in mind, then we on a course for disaster not only personally but spiritually.




In chapter two, Tripp recognizes that we often try to pack eveything into our day, our lives in order that we don't leave any stone unturned (in our dreams, desires and hopes). Yet, we live as if this was the only destination for us. He writes, "He knows that this is a terribly broken world that, in its present state, does not function they way he intended" (3…

Journey Through the Saving Work of Christ

Robert A. Peterson, professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Seminary, has written a well documented, Biblical and insightful book on the work of Christ. Famililar with the work of Peterson in his written work and in class, it is a pleasure to work through this book, that captures the essence of the biblical picture of Christ's work but also the significance of that work for the church. Peterson is certainly no stranger to the atonement, his work entitled Calvin and the Atonement was an excellent study depicting Calvin's pictures of the atonement. This new work, Salvation Accomplished by the Son sets out to put forth nine events and six pictures of the saving work of Christ.




To set the work in perspective, Peterson begins by making an apology to the readers for why they must read this book. This most signficant point here that bears repeating in his insistence that, "evangelicals' failure to teach that Jesus's death and resurrection save sinners" (14). P…