Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Book Reviews

A few days ago, I promised you book reviews of "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren and "A Faith That Breathes" by Michael Ross. Well, I'll not only give you my impressions of those two, but also of "Signs" by Michael W. Smith (which I fnished this morning).

I'm not a big fan of anything that smacks of "fad." For instance, I never touched anything that had the Prayer of Jabez on it. And if there is a current "fad" in religious circles (other than CPM or p-walking), it's "purpose-driven." You can buy Purpose-Driven The Wall Calendar, The Journal, and even The Childrens' Book! So, needless to say, I was a little reticent to read this book, and even moreso to use it in my daily devotional time. But I did. One reason was to continue learning with my home church who went through "40 Days of Purpose" together last fall, but also, I was pretty curious. Was it mindless "God loves you" drivel that sadly is found too often on our christian bookstore shelves? Or was is actually a meaningful and useful theological work?

Well, while I continue to chafe at the "fad" aspect of it, I have to tell you that it was a thought-provoking, Biblically-based work. There was a little more self-promotion than I like (buy my journal to write your thoughts about this in - your own paper isn't good enough - you need mine!), but other than that, it was useful to me in many ways. It also wasn't ground-breaking. I don't think I had any great epiphanies of faith as a result of reading this book...but it was very useful. And that's about all I can say about it right now. It made me think...but I'm not sure that I can make any judgements on it yet. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it and got from it. So I'm gonna read it again when I finish with my current books and see how much more I glean the second time. All in all though, this was a surprisingly good read and I would recommend it, even though I might not recommend the P-D Journal or Wall Calendar. (And for those few of you who, like me, just thought of proportional-derivative're a geek too!)

"A Faith That Breathes" is definitely geared toward the teen crowd, but it was similarly good. It had a devotional by Michael Ross, followed by a related story or interview with a Contemporary Christian Music artist or band. Tommy, I recommend it as a small group study for the youth.

"Signs" was enjoyable for a different reason. It was written by Michael W. Smith - my favorite musician. It's also mostly geared towards teens, but it's really meant for people who know his unless you have the words to his songs handy (or have them memorized like me), you might not get everything that's said, but it's still really good.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with all three of these books. "Faith" and "Signs," I wouldn't do again, mostly because they were really meant for a younger crowd, but I'm gonna do PD again.

Those aren't really terribly insightful book reviews, looking back on them...but oh well.

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