Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Bad Habits of Jesus

The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong by [Sweet, Leonard]

The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong by Leonard Sweet details habits uncovered by Sweet and crowd sourced by his colleagues that traditional society would find rude.  Additionally, many of the habits would also have been found unacceptable by Jesus’ own contemporaries.  Sweet provides context for Jesus’s bad habits including being late, not being specific, spending too much time with children, partying and just intentionally being rude to others.  For each of these habits Sweet provides an explanation of the habit and the benefit that Jesus and his followers can gain from the habit. 

Honestly, I have a mixed mind about this book.  I totally understand how these bad habits can at times be good examples can provide good benefits.  For example, being late can also be seen and described as slowing down instead of rushing, providing time to mediate and allowing one to better interact with creation.  But there is an elephant in the room to me, which is for some people with the habit of being late they are simply rude.  And being rude is not always a positive!  Additionally, Sweet discusses Jesus being intentionally offensive to teach lessons and challenge the status quo.  He himself provides examples where his digression led him to be offensive to others.  But for me this explanation seems like permission for Christians to be purely offensive.  I see plenty of postings on Facebook and other places, one which was beyond shocking I saw this week, where in the name of being truthful, Christians are simply being petty!  Quick fact everyone, I changed my opinion due to Facebook said no one ever!  So in the end, the book is really uneven to me; jumping between strong teaching to lessons that need further development and caveats which I believe Sweet could easily provide. 

The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World Gone Wrong by Leonard Sweet is a book that those who enjoy Sweet’s numerous writings will likely want and enjoy.  For me however, I would warn against generalizations, I am a historian.  Being late can definitely be a sign of slowing down one’s lifestyle.  Or it can just be a message to others, you do not matter.  In the end, Jesus played all these situations perfectly…but he was God. 

Review Copy Provided for Purposes of Review

Monday, November 21, 2016

People of the Second Chance

People of the Second Change: A Guide to Bringing Life-Changing Love to the World by Mike Foster is full of good reminders.  Foster reminds us to look beyond what we see in the loser, the misshapen, the poorly packaged and instead find the greatness inside.  He urges us through his story and the stories of others to allow the great thing inside those we find beaten and ourselves with all our self-hatred to simply provide another chance.  Foster is no stranger to brokenness.  He starts the book telling of an accident that would shape his life forever.  Out of that accident he found he had to give himself a second chance in order to be more than that three seconds.  Foster then walks his readers through providing a second chance to one's life, going as far as to have a party to allow the celebration to sweep over one's soul. 

In Foster's system broken things, and people are great things.  From a broken state, God can and does make wonderful things.  And so he urges us to plan the second chance for those around us so God's power can truly take effect.  And then one can play the role they were intended to play in the fantastic story of their life. 

One insight for me is how little Americans touch.  I will be honest, I often joke about it.  Yet as someone who's love language is touch it is amazing how calming a quick pat or a hand squeeze can be.  But I declare proudly do not touch me.  Foster helped remind me touch is powerful for me, it's the reminder that I am far from alone!  And touch can re energize many with weary souls.

I really enjoyed People of the Second Chance.  I found it easy to read and insightful.  The reminders to avoid perfection, be vulnerable, give and receive gifts and many more were powerful and timely.  And in the end I think for all of us we need a second chance in order to be the best us...or a third and a fourth. 

Review Copy Provided

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chase the Lion

Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson is his follow-up to In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.  Batterson continues connecting the life of the Old Testament hero Benaiah who was one of King David’s Mighty Men.  But along with Benaiah, Batterson extends his connections to the larger group of Mighty Men mentioned in the Old Testament.  Batterson uses popular culture, stories of men and women of faith, and his own experiences to connect the Mighty Men to actions today.  Themes found in Batterson’s text include legacy, love faith, and comradeship.  Batterson uses these stories to encourage people of faith to dream big and activate dreams bigger than themselves.

Batterson fans will want this book, especially as it serves as a true sequel to In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.  Readers will find a book that shares the tone of the original and grows the stories found in that volume.  I tend to be a very concrete person and organizationally I would have preferred chapters that focused on text about specific Mighty Men.  In the end, Batterson gives us the book that we expect, which is one that challenges dreams and big prayers as one moves into a bigger story. 

Review Copy Provided by Publisher     

Monday, August 1, 2016

Home Game

I am a Cub Bret Boone is not exactly my favorite baseball player!  He was a Red, a division foe.  But when I saw Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball's First Family I decided to give it a whirl despite him playing with the bad guys solely because I like to read a good baseball book during the season, especially a good Cubs' season.

In Home Game, Boone and Kevin Cook talk about Boone's baseball legacy, the grandson of baseball all-star Ray Boone, son of all-state Bob Boone, and brother to All-Star Aaron Boone.  Boone discusses his relationship with these men and how his grandfather and father inspired and taught him to be a professional player, though perhaps not a scholar like his father.  Boone then takes his through his professional career as he scuffled to make the majors, despite at times being small.  Eventually he himself would become an All-Star.  In his later years he looked again to the men who inspired him with making adjustments to maintain his career.  Finally, Boone details his retirement and post baseball years as he considers coaching.  

Honestly, at times I really enjoyed Home Game as  read about the rising star of Boone in the minors and beyond.  And I truly grew to appreciate the careers and personalities of Ray and Bob Boone.  Ironically these two men have a very different personality than Bret.  These men were learned, calm and honestly thinking men of the game.  Bret on the other hand was fiery, intense and born to hit.  My personality tends to admire men like Ray and Bob more than Bret's tenacious yet fiery attitude.  

Honestly, I found myself really impressed by this book, written by a man who claims to only have read one book before writing one.  But Boone is very opinionated, including sharing some opinions about my favorite player of all time and his Hall of Fame status.  In the end, I may not agree but he clearly would stand next to his opinions.  

Home Game is a good baseball book, worth a read to a baseball fan.  I enjoyed the stories of games and off-seasons where adjustments were made and stories where shared between baseball men  So despite the fact that I view Boone as the enemy, I had a good time reading his book.

Book Provided For Purposes of Review