Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Review of "Joy to the World"

Scott Hahn's Joy to the World:  How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) turns his deep spirituality and biblical exposition to the event nearly everyone knows:  The Nativity.  

And we all know The Nativity, right?  The shepherds.  The stable.  The three magi.  

But what is this Nativity?  Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth becoming a small baby born in adverse circumstances.  In theological language, Incarnation.

God became human in order that we humans might enter into that very divine life. 

That's the biggest part of Joy to the World.  It explores the stunning and amazing claim at the very heart of the Christian faith.   And Hahn is just the person for that survey. 

But this book is hardly meant just for Christmas.  It is full of spiritual wisdom to nurture Christians throughout the year. 

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Review of Kathy Escobar, "Faith Shift"

So many of my friends have expressed a disillusionment with church, with most forms of "institutional religion".  But more than that, so many of them have told me about their crises of faith, particularly in the way evangelical Christians look so unlike Jesus. 

And, if I'm honest, I've traveled that road, too. 

That's what made me initially excited to read Kathy Escobar's new book, Faith Shift:  Finding Your Way Forward when Everything You Believe is Coming Apart.  Escobar, both a pastor and a spiritual director, gives voice in this book to the seismic spiritual shifts we've experienced, as well as offers a way through that experience with wise, compassionate words. 

Finally, this book is validation that I, and so many of my friends aren't nuts ... or alone.  Because this book is filled with personal examples, her own and others'.  

I know first-hand the emotional and spiritual angst that accompanies these shifts.  The confusion, the doubts, the questions.  And Escobar takes each of them seriously, and helps readers chart a way through that broken spiritual landscape with the genuine grace of a spiritual guide and a pastor's heart. 

"The Shifter's Prayer" at the end, and all the diagrams throughout, make this a book you can't miss.  And the questions at the end of each chapter are great for pausing and processing what you've just read. 

If you're aching for hope, and are willing to experiment with faith, this is the book for you. 

It was such an exhilarating read that I couldn't put it down and read it in one night!

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Review of "The Kitchn Cookbook"

I love cooking!  Though I've never taken a cooking class in my life, I've struggled to keep up with world-class chefs on tv.  And I've wished for a resource that brings together how to stock and lay-out a kitchen, how to prepare excellent meals, and throw great dinner parties. 

And then there is The Kitchn Cookbook:  Recipies, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking.

It's written by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand, food writers who run The Kitchn, a website all about cooking.  

The first part is all about the basics of the kitchen.  From set up to layout.  For all kitchen sizes.  There are plenty of stunning photos that spark the reader's imagination and open up kitchen creativity.  

And I loved the second section -- "How to Cook Well" -- that includes not only the recipies (oh the mouth-watering recipies!) but also sage wisdom about stocking a kitchen and some cooking basics. 

The third section, on "Gathering" of all varieties, is a valuable addition. 

This cookbook would be a great gift for a graduating college student of a newly-married couple.  But it's really meant for food lovers of all varieties.  

If you buy only one cookbook for your kitchen, make it this one. 

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial?"

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial? ... and Other Questions from the Astronomers' In-box at the Vatican Observitory is the book of 2014 for those interested in the dialogue between Christian faith and modern science.  It deals with a half-dozen questions that scientists of faith are asked.  Rather than presupposing some conflict between science and faith, this book offers reasons why that conflict is a contrived one. 

Instead Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial? is filled with a rich dialogue.  It's a series of structured conversations between two astronomers at the Vatican -- one an astrophysicist and the other a Jesuit.  And they deal with complicated questions like "Big Bang or Biblical Genesis?"  (Spoiler:  It's both; they're complimentary descriptions of the same subject.)

My favorite chapter, though, is the second one, "Whatever Happened to Poor Pluto?".  It deals with how science adapts to changes and how those changes impact faith. 

Each chapter is a rich survey of history, science and faith -- and as a whole is a rich introduction to Christians thinking theologically about the world and our ways of knowing in it. 

This really is the perfect book for all those interested in science and faith.  

I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.