Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Review of "Catholic Bible Dictionary"

Scott Hahn's Catholic Bible Dictionary is a welcome addition to anyone's bookshelves who care about reading and understanding the Bible.  This is a readable dictionary filled with articles on various topics ranging from Biblical Criticism to Family to Jubilee to Liturgy to Mary to Priesthood to Typology.  And that is just the start. 

This is a Bible dictionary that's accessible, regardless one's background.  Each book of the Catholic Bible (including the seven deuterocanonical books) has its own entry.  And so this dictionary provides a very comprehensible overview.  

Hahn is one of the most reliable biblical scholars of the contemporary Catholic Church.  And this book is a corrective to growing biblical illiteracy throughout the Church catholic. 

This really is a superb tool for study that belongs on every Bible reader's shelves. 

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Review of "Churched"

Fundamentalist churches have such an impact on faith in America these days that it's hard to ignore them.  They've impacted me over the years.  I didn't know it was fundamentalist as a child.  I thought everybody looked at the Bible through the dispensational viewpoint of the notes in a King James Scofield Bible. I thought every child was introduced to Rapture-readiness through Left Behind.  I thought everybody had a list of rules -- verbalized and silent, written and assumed -- by which daily life was shaped and measured. 

So Matthew Paul Turner's memoir Churched was like returning to a world I know well.  His story has helped me to claim mine, with one clear and real exception:  Mine wasn't as funny.  There are laugh-out-loud moments here.  And it really is "one kid's journey toward God despite a holy mess".  

Fear becomes the name of faith in fundamentalism.  And Turner finds that out soon enough.  That fear is controlled through rules, which he also discovers quickly. 

In the end, though, Churched tells the story of where that fundamentalism led him (and me and so many others like us):  To looking for a new church.  Because, as Turner rightly tells it, "fundamentalism has little to do with Jesus".  So, over the years, when he visits churches and talks with the pastors, he is simply looking for Jesus.  He has run the gamut of contemporary expressions of church in the United States -- big and small, slick and simple. 

And that's the real story of Churched.  It's one man's story of faith -- compelling, poignant, funny, pointed, sad, scary, and yet hopeful.  But Churched is not just a memoir; it's a cautionary tale of what can happen when Jesus is named and yet safely shrink-wrapped in our lives and churches.  It's a plea to name and live Jesus -- real, raw, outside the lines and full of resurrection life. 

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Review of A Letter to My Cat

At times funny and at other times emotional, A Letter to My Cat is a real treat for those of us who love cats.  

My brother and his wife have given me two nieces and one nephew -- all of the feline kind.  Before them, I was a "dog man".  Now, though, I can honestly say these cats have found a way into my heart.  These "children" bring such fun and joy to their lives that there's not a moment goes by that they gush about these cats. 

I'm sure all the folks who contributed letter to A Letter to My Cat would agree. 

Love always has lots to say, and the love of and for these cats shines on every glossy picture and in every written word here.  Some letters talk about how they met their cats.  Others talk about how their cats changed their lives.  For some of the owners, their cats were there for them during incredibly difficult times in their lives.  For others, they stepped in and met their furry friends during a rough time in their cat's life only to have that furry ball of determination change the way they look at the world. 

From famous people to everyday people, their lives and loves have been enriched by cats.  And my life and understanding of love has been enriched by this book. 

Particularly the stories of Scooter and Toast.  (But I won't spoil the fun for you by recounting those stories here!)

I won't lie.  I cried. 

Especially when I read the letter to Bella.  

You deserve to read this book.  

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