Saturday, June 30, 2012

The State of White America, 1960 - 2010
By Charles Murray

WROTE COMING APART: "The American project consists of the continuing effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and families to live their lives as they see fit, coming together voluntarily to solve their joint problems. The polity based on that idea led to a civic culture that was seen as exceptional by all the world. To be an American was to be different from other nationalities, in ways that Americans treasured. That culture is unraveling.

I focus on what happened, not why. I discuss some of the whys, but most of them involve forces that cannot be changed. My primary goal is to induce recognition of the ways in which America is coming apart at the seams―not seams of race or ethnicity but of class.

As with all books on policy, this one will eventually discuss how we might change course. But discussing solutions is secondary in this book, just as understanding causes is secondary. The important thing is to look unblinkingly at the nature of the problem."
AUTHOR: Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. he first came to national attention in 1984 with Losing Ground. His subsequent books include In Pursuit, The Bell Curve (with Richard J. Herrnstein), What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, In Our Hands, and Read Education. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife in Burkittsville, Maryland.

MY REVIEW: This is a book I wish every American could and would read. I say it that way because I know  there are some who cannot read and understand this book and there are others who will not read it. I read this book with great emotion and excitement because I have lived through what Charles Murray is describing and I agree that America is coming apart at the seams.

Bestselling author Jonah Goldberg has called Charles Murray, "Arguably the most consequential social scientist alive."  Now that may or may not be true. I don't know! But I do know this: Charles Murray has done all of America a favor by writing this book. The evidence in Coming Apart is about white America. Its message is about all of America.

In my opinion the thirteen page prologue is worth the price of the book!

I love what Murray says about the founding virtues of America: Marriage, Industriousness, Honesty and Religiosity. Can we ever recapture these virtues? I don't know. I can only hope.

Read this book!

(I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah  Publishing Group for this review.)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Following Jesus Remakes
Your Words And World
By Jedd Medefind & Erik Lokkesmoe

OVERVIEW: Upended invites the follower of Jesus to become an apprentice to Jesus―particularly in the choices that shape our lives most: how we communicate and connect. Join this exhilarating exploration of the often overlooked, often oversimplified character of Jesus and His unrivaled way of communicating. Study, echo, and embrace the ways of the Master. Your life will inevitably be upended― not always how you'd imagined, but certainly for the better. Much better.

AUTHORS: JEDD MEDEFIND serves as president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Prior to this role he led the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. Jedd and his wife, Rachel, love the great outdoors and have five children.

ERIK LOKKESMOE is the principal at Different Drummer, a LA-and NYC-based audience mobilization agency for global entertainment brands and content. He served for ten years as political speechwriter and press secretary on Capitol Hill. Erik and his wife, Monica, live in Manhattan and have three children.

MY REVIEW: Because I agree with the authors that "We're the most connected but unknown, popular but lonely, expressive but empty, engaged but uninterested culture the world has ever known" I think this is a book that we all need to read. This splendid book points out how Jesus remakes our worth and our longings, our words and the way we convey them. He remakes our attention, our authenticity and our ambitions.

Author Bob Buford says "Upended crackles with insight and energy...a masterful exploration of the unparalleled ways of the Master." Brad Lomenick, Executive Director of Catalyst writes, "A timeless resource for the everyday leader." And I agree with singer-songwriter, Sara Groves who simply says, "Brilliant!"

These men write in an easy to read inspiring way. I was reminded of much that I already knew but in a new and captivating way. I learned many things that I had not thought of before or at least not in the way they were presented in this book. This book is coming to us at just the right time. I hope many will read it and share it with others.

(I received this book free from FirstWildCard for this review.)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry) is my kind of guy. This video,sent to me by a friend, is great. I don't think Clint Eastwood made it, but I wish he had. Please watch it.



The following is from the back of the dust jacket:

We are today living out the script for America and the world that was dreamt up not by Obama but by Obama's father. How do I know this? Because Obama says so himself. Reflect for a moment on the title of his book: it's not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. In other words, Obama is not writing a book about his father's dreams; he is writing a book about the dreams that he got from his father.

Think about what this means. The most powerful country in the world is being governed according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s―a polygamist who abandoned his wives, drank himself into stupors, and bounced around on two iron legs (after his real legs had to be amputated because of a car crash caused by his drunk driving). This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son is the one who is making it happen, but the son is, as he candidly admits only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is being governed by a ghost.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One of the worst things in the world is being alone!

Mother Teresa said, "As far as I am concerned, the greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted, unloved. The greatest suffering is also having no one, forgetting what an intimate, truly human relationship is..."

I am convinced that one way the Lord is with us and never leaves us alone is through others. God uses those of us who are willing, to come along side those who feel forgotten and alone.

Let's be willing to reach out to those who feel alone.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confession time! One of the most difficult things I find to do is being fully present.

I find myself repeatedly  having to yank my attention back into the moment.

I have to drag my thoughts away from everything else that calls---and turn again to the person or task before me.

In a splendid book I am reading there is a chapter simply titled, All There. In this chapter the authors talk about presence as a present to ourselves. They write: " we learn to live in the present, we see and feel all of creation more fully. God's gifts have always been there, of course. As the Psalms describe, "The heavens declare the glory of God." They point out that when our attention dwells elsewhere the gifts from God are largely lost to us.
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.

Professor Leo Buscaglia recounts the true story of a little boy whose neighbor's wife passed away. Seeing that the elderly man was heartbroken and grieving, the boy's mother warned her son not to bother the neighbor.It wasn't long before the mother noticed the little boy crossing into the neighbor's yard and climbing up into the old man's lap. He remained there for some time, sitting quietly. When the boy returned home, his mother met him with her hands on her hips. "I told you not bother him," she gently scolded. "What were you doing?' The little fellow shook his head. "I wasn't doing anything," he answered. "I was just helping him cry."

Missionary martyr Jim Elliot summed it up well, "Wherever you are, be all there."


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Surprising Truths I Found In The Bible
By Edward William Fudge

OVERVIEW: Edward Fudge believes that a careful study of the Bible from cover to cover shows the traditional view of hell to be wrong. Between the two extremes of everlasting torment and universal salvation, he sets out a third view more biblical, he argues, than either. Thirty years ago, Fudge wrote a 500 page scholarly book, The Fire That Consumes which began a widespread rethinking of the biblical view of hell. Christianity Today calls it the "standard reference" on the topic. Now, in this small book, Fudge makes his surprising research easily accessible to all readers.

AUTHOR: Edward William Fudge is a Bible teacher, preacher, and licensed attorney living in Houston, Texas. His internet publication, gracEmail, regularly encourages thousands of believers around the world. He has ministered with churches of many denominations in the U.S, Canada, and New Zealand. He is the author of several books. Edward and his wife Sara Faye have been married 45 years and have two children and five grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: Hell, you say? Yes, I  know, I know. Why an interest in this topic? Who cares? Evidently many people care. Hell seems to be a "hot" topic right now. Many are asking, "What does the Bible actually say about Hell?" They want to know, will God finally keep millions of men, women and children alive forever in a place resembling a fiery furnace? Will God torment them endlessly throughout all eternity?

The traditional view of hell says, "Yes" to these questions―and insists that the subject is closed. But millions of people have recoiled in horror at such a thought. Is this the God by whose own character "holiness," "mercy," and "justice" are defined?

Today, Christians in increasing numbers are rejecting the traditional view. Among them are some of the best-known and most highly-respected Bible scholars in the world. Is it possible that the view of hell as conscious everlasting torment is not the teaching of the Bible after all?

Edward Fudge answers "yes" and I agree. I am recommending this book and it may be that you think my endorsement comes from the fact that I'm in agreement with Fudge. This is not true! Of course, I am happier to recommend a book I agree with. I think this is only natural. Regardless, this is a good book. As good as it is, it is not as important a read as The Fire That Consumes. I want you to read Hell, A Final Word, but if you are really interested in this topic, then please also read The Fire That Consumes. Another helpful book is Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialogue, in which Fudge presented the case for conditional immortality or annihilationism and Robert A. Peterson presented the case for everlasting torment (traditionalism), and each responded to the other.

I recently encouraged an interest in Hell A Final Word on my Facebook page. A friend responded that she was ready Randy Acorn's book on heaven, which I have also read, and said she thought that it was more fun than reading about hell. I encourage serious students of the Bible to read both! As Henry Fonda said to a young boy in the movie On Golden Pond when handing him a book, "Take this upstairs and read it. Maybe you'll learn something!"

(Thanks to Leafwood Publications for giving me this book without any promise of a positive review.)


Friday, June 01, 2012

How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness & Rejection
By Edward T. Welch

OVERVIEW: In Shame Interrupted Edward T. Welch shows how shame controls far too many of us. Worthless, inferior, rejected, weak, humiliated, all adds up to wishing we could get away from others and hide. We know what shame feels like. The way out is harder to find. Time doesn't help, neither does confession, because shame is just as often from what others do to you as it is from what you have done. But the Bible is about shame from start to finish, and, if we are willing, God's beautiful words break through. Look at Jesus through the lens of shame and see how the marginalized and worthless are his favorites and become his people. God cares for the shamed. Through Jesus you are covered, adopted, cleansed, and healed.

AUTHOR: Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has counseled for over thirty years and is the best-selling author of many books including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions; Depression; Running Scared; and What Do You Think of Me? Why do I Care? He and his wife Sheri have two married daughters and four grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: I like the words of Mike Wikerson, Pastor and Director of Biblical Counseling at Mars Hill Church, so much that I want to begin my review with them: "Ed Welch finds us hiding in our shame and draws us out to be re-clothed by Christ. he surprises us again with the deep relevance of God's Word—even Leviticus—to the secret fears that dominate our daily lives. This brutally honest book is for everyone." His last sentence, "This brutally honest book is for everyone" is so true!

It seems like almost all of us—as long as we are alive, are going to struggle with shame and guilt. This is why I think Edward Welch has blessed us by writing this book. This is an extremely difficult subject. But Welch has written a thorough, practical, down to earth treatment that is helpful to all struggling with this subject. This book will draw you closer to Jesus and help you to appreciate and love Him more as you consider how He died on the cross for you and freed you from the paralyzing effects of sin.

The message of this book is one of hope and healing.

(I want to thank The B & B Media Group for giving me this book without any promise of a favorable review.)