Friday, October 23, 2015

My Review of "Safe House"

Joshua Straub's Safe House:  How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids who Live, Love, and Lead Well shares perspectives on the ways to develop emotional safety at home.  He starts with the parent, encouraging you to examine your story, the people and events that influence your parenting and where you might already be on the spectrum of grace and truth/exploring and protecting.

The goal is not to create more stress for parents, but to encourage them to develop a beautiful life story with their children.

And in that, he succeeds.

Straub covers some specific parenting topics such as how to keep communication open with your kids even while disciplining them, how to nurture your child’s brain, how to build a support community so you aren't going it alone, and how to tend to your marriage and work together as a team.  He spent a large part of the book working through what he calls the "four walls of a safe house" -- grace, truth, explore, protect -- with charts and graphs and psychological analysis to determine why you are the way you are and whether you're out of balance.

That makes Safe House essential reading for parents of children of any age.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Review of "The Heaven Promise"

Scot McKnight's The Heaven Promise:  Engaging the Bible's Truth about Life to Come is one of those must-read books of 2015.  This is a marvelous account from one of the most significant voices in New Testament studies about the nature of the Christian hope and the language about "heaven" that is biblically grounded and spiritually formative.

McKnight has so much in The Heaven Promise that is significant to our own culture and for Christians thinking biblically about the message of that hope -- that promise -- in speaking of heaven.  The Heaven Promises brings together some of the most robust biblical scholarship with a pastoral-theological heart.  Which makes this book one that Christians will find not only to be a challenge, but also one that will become a significant resource for the Church in articulating that that promise.

I want to focus, though, on Chapter 16, "What about Near Death Experiences?".  After constructing a vivid and accessible portrait of what the New Testament has to say and what that's essential, McKnight turns his attention to several significant questions asked by the culture.  And with the popularity of books (and movies!) like 90 Minutes in Heaven or Heaven is Real, it's little wonder this question would be the first McKnight addresses.

McKnight rightly begins by pointing out that core issue here is how Christians "know" -- do we base our faith on experience or on Scripture?  There's no doubt these cultural narratives are compelling, but are they true?

And The Heaven Promise concludes that these stories are not only not true (they're self-contrdictory on the surface); they're also spiritually dangerous.  Any Christian talk about these "near death experiences" should begin by looking to Scripture (McKnight points directly to Revelation 20-22), instead of simply to the story told about the experience.

The Heaven Promise really is not a book you should miss this year.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Review of "The Chili Cookbook"

Robb Walsh's The Chili Cookbook is the cookbook this autumn for every chili lover.

This cookbook brings together amazing pictures -- it works just as well as a coffee table book for entertaining guests.  But more importantly The Chili Cookbook provides not only a variety of different chilies from various regions and cultures of the world, but also their applications in other dishes, and some things that go well with chili (cornbread for instance -- there's a recipe here that is absolutely mouth-watering).

The Chili Cookbook begins each chapter/section with interesting tidbits and history of chili.  Each recipe also includes some general information on the origin/idea behind the chili, and some also have alternate ideas giving more bang for your buck.

In short, this is a multi-use cookbook that also gives you a tour of the world, and history, through chili.

I definitely recommend it as an addition to every chef's library.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.