Books Read In November

Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias, having now read three of his books, I can say I prefer listing to Ravi Zacharias to reading him. It’s an interesting devotional book but the title and description made it sound like he would be doing a more rigorous comparison of Jesus to other major religious deities or figures, and it’s really not that rigorous, or much of a comparison.

Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper- the key point seems to be that glorifying God is only way not to waste your life (I agree) and that when your consuming goal is to glorify God and be in relationship with Him, you will be happy. There are a lot of Bible verses. But the filler in between those two points and the Bible verses are personal anecdotes from his own life and criticisms of other people’es lives that just are not satisfactory.  I did appreciate the quotes from his reading and added a few more books to my ever growing TBR list.

I only read the first 4 chapters, up to page 79, and then I turned it back in to the library.  I think it’s partly just not the book for me at this time in my life, and it doesn’t match the reasons I was reading a bunch of books in the 248 section of the library. I wanted more of a theology book, and this is a kind of devotional book with a lot of autobiographical illustrations from Piper’s own life.  To be honest, some of them sounded a bit smug and irritating to me, but I am not sure that’s a fair assessment. This is a book you could leave on the nightstand or the bathroom shelf and read one chapter and then put it away and think about it and see how to apply it in your own life over the next several days, and then dip in and read another. But there are probably better options out there. I found it a bit rambling. And weeks after putting it back, the thing that stands out most to me remains the personal illustration of how much God loves him because of a car accident where nobody got hurt and they made bank on the insurance. It left a really, really bad taste in my mouth.

Eternity in Their Hearts– by Don Richardson. I love this book. This is at least the third time I’ve read it, and every time, I love it all over again. I really think it’s must reading for every high school or college student from a Christian family, and every Christian adult, too.

Happy Little Family, by Rebecca Caudill, a sweet, short little book for young readers, set in pioneer days, telling little stories about the children and their doings in stand alone chapters. This one is mostly from the POV of the youngest, Bonnie, who has just had her fourth birthday at the beginning of the book.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe- a book on most of the books everbody should read lists, it’s past time for me to have read it. Spoilers follow:
Now that I have, I don’t really know what to say. It’s a tragedy (obviously, from the title), and I did not find the man in the center of the tragedy remotely sympathetic, so I didn’t see the book the same way the critics see it. I looked up several reviews after I read it and found that I was supposed to see that Christianity and British imperialism destroyed a perfectly unified, well functioning civilization. But what I saw in the book is that, while both Christian missionaries and British rule blundered, the civilization was only unified and functioning well if you were not a woman or a non-clan member, that wife beating and child murder were not that big of a deal and that these facts actually are the unraveling at the center. They created the conflict between Okonkwo and Nwoye, the weak point at which everything unraveled. Okonkwo’s serious flaws, his anger problems, his over-weening pride, his murder of Nwoye’s foster brother are what made Christianity appealing to Nwoye in the first place.

A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park; I enjoyed it, but it seems a bit slow for the child readers it’s intended for. Set in Korea in our middle ages, when Celadon pottery was being created, it’s the story of an orphan boy who learns to become a potter. It’s a sweet story, with several quotable wise adages, and it has a lot of potential. It’s a good book. I just hoped for more.

A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian by Luis Palau,‎ Zhao Qizheng (a Chinese diplomat, scientist, and scholar). I found it disappointing and lacking substance.

Charlotte Mason, Toward a Philosophy of Education, volume VI, ‘Book I’- she divides her sixth volume in two parts. I read the first part in November. It’s still fantastic.

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