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Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…

NIV faith and work Bible

NIV faith and work Bible, Edited by David H. Kim
How does one integrate their faith with the working world?  What is the proper way a Christian lives in the chaotic state of white collar, blue collar, and no collar work?  The new faith and work Bible (NIV) is a Bible designed to help those through the path of work and faith.  Edited by David H. Kim, who is a Pastor of Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC (think Tim Keller), David is uniquely equipped to help guide those wanting a more cohesive understanding of faith amidst work.
One of the fascinating features of this NIV faith and work Bible is doctrinal sections that bring together theological truths with personal stories of those in different kinds of workforces.  In the section on The Fall, the section reads, “Not only is our work marked by toil and frustration as a result of the fall, it is also tainted by our particular sins (13-14).”  In this same section, a civil service employee explains his role in helping the…

Getting Religion

Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama by Kenneth L. Woodward
A book spanning faith, culture and politics from a noted Newsweek Religion reporter for many years is bound to stir up the pot.  And yet, Kenneth Woodward’s new book, Getting Religion, is as much about understanding how far we’ve come in unlearning overly dogmatic things and relearning what it means to bring faith to the public square.  However overwhelming the task may be to cover such a broad swath of themes in a lengthy numbers of years, this book is really a good synthesis of the last 50 or so years.
One of the key movements that took place that affected faith and culture in the past century was Vatican II.  Woodward remarks that his interest was mainly in the foundation of the reforms that were past, especially the books and thinkers that helped shaped the changes (Rahner and others).  One thing that Woodward pointed out was that, “I was deeply impressed by the mutual…

True Faith and Allegiance

True Faith and Allegiance: A Story of Service and Sacrifice in War and Peace by Alberto Gonzales
As the 80th Attorney General of the United States under the mantle of President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales ran into many difficult situations including the post 9/11 terror that ensued after the Twin Towers were bombed.  Gonzales has a long history with Bush, all the way back to their days in the state of Texas, where Gonzales was Secretary of State and then a Supreme Court Justice.  This new book, True Faith and Allegiance, tells the story of Gonzales’ time with the President as he served him as Attorney General.
One particularly chilling part of the book was when Gonazalez went to the Huntsville death chamber to attend a midnight execution.  Alberto was concerned for the chaplain who had counseled and prayed with so many of the inmates right before their execution.  After hearing about the inmates confessing to the crime they committed to the chaplain, Gonzales writes, “And then he r…