A few years ago, a friend and I were writing a kids talk for a church service. We wanted my puppet orangutan to tell the kids why the resurrection was so important. And we paused. We both knew that the resurrection was important, but we were struggling to put into words WHY it was important. I’m sure if we had a copy of John Chapman’s book Making The Most of The Cross at hand back then, we wouldn’t have been struggling. Because this is a great resource that clearly explains some big truths.
I grew up Catholic. My parents had me baptised in a Roman Catholic Church when I was a baby. The priest tried to baptise me as “John” because Joel wasn’t Christian enough. I attended a Catholic primary school, where I also served as an altar boy at the church attached to the school. Putting on a robe, carrying a candle, and helping the priest do communion was preferable to sitting through the service. Even back in those days I was easily bored.
By the time I was 15 I was preparing myself to walk away from the Roman Catholic Church. My experience of the church didn’t match with my experience of the world. I began to feel that Jesus was a fictional story and that the church existed as a quaint little throwback that stood in the way of me discovering the truth behind the universe. I started to explore new age beliefs. Until one day, when I was 17, a friend introduced me to the Jesus of the Bible. Not long after this, I welcomed Jesus as my saviour and joined a Protestant church.
I share my story with you because the book I’m reviewing is on a subject that is close to me. The Road Once Travelled by Mark Gilbert (with Cecily Paterson) is written for people within the Roman Catholic Church who are feeling disillusioned. The aim is to address their concerns and point to the real Jesus of the Bible as the answer to their problems. This is the kind of book that is theoretically aimed right at 17-year-old Joel. So in reviewing The Road Once Travelled, both 31-year-old Joel and 17-year-old Joel will weigh in with their views.
There’s a danger in thinking that the only books useful for churches are the ones written by Christians about church. This point of view is incredibly short sighted. There are all kinds of books out there, written by non-Christians, about all kinds of things. Things that at first glance might have nothing to do with how to run a church. But when you think about it, there’s a lot we can learn from these seemingly unrelated books. I’m always keen to check out, for example, books about business. Books that explore how to organise people, how to run an organisation, how to promote yourself. These are things that are incredibly relevant for someone like me who is involved with running a church. I’m especially interested in books that chuck out the conventional wisdom and present an outside-of-the-box way of thinking. Rework is one of those books.
I love being a youth minister. God has used me to influence the lives of many young people over the years. It’s an enormous privilege. And it’s not just because I can justify buying video games as a ministry expense. The big reward is seeing the results of your hard work, when you see a young person growing in godliness and maturity. But before you get to that point, there’s a lot of trials along the way. And a lot of conversations. Some of them you are prepared for. Some of them come out of nowhere and you don’t know how to deal with them.
That’s why Steven Gerali’s new series of books What Do I Do When… is such a valuable resource.
So when is he going to let me in on it? When is he going to present me with a folder full of which decisions I need to make to end up where he wants me? I don’t care if he uses visions, dreams or skywriting, I want God to tell me what to do. Otherwise I’ll end up doing the wrong thing and seriously ruin God’s plan for my life. I just don’t know what to do.
Ever feel like this? Ever feel like you just don’t know what to do with your life? Well Kevin DeYoung wants you to stop over thinking and stop waiting for a sign. He wants you to Just Do Something.
Think back to when you were a kid. For some of you this will be an easier task than for others. Remember how it felt. Did you ever feel like you were ignored? That no one ever paid attention to you? Most of us have felt like that at some stage. Now what if you could harness this “power” for good? Could a kid be the ultimate spy, able to slip around unnoticed and help take down the bad guys?
That’s the idea behind the CHERUB series of books by Robert Muchamore. Sometimes the best spy for the job is a 11 year old.
by Jeff Kinney
Comics are awesome. I know that’s not a controversial statement coming from me but I thought I’d put it out there. Full text books are good too but I like me books with pictures. If only there was something out there that could meet me half way. If only there was some kind of full text/comic book hybrid.
Thank you Jeff Kinney. Thank you.
Thank you for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the story of Greg Heffley and his adventures in th 7th grade. One part slice of life written journal, one part cartoon, 100% funny.
Dan Brown, of Da Vinci Code fame, has a new book out called The Lost Symbol. Here’s Greg Clarke from Centre for Public Christianity reviewing the book.
By Christian George
Every week or so, I walk into the book shop at College and browse the new release section. The staff helpfully display all the new books in one place. I have a book allowance that I don’t have to pay for, so I have a policy of grabbing what ever looks like it might be remotely interesting and adding it to my “To Read Pile”. Sometimes this can be risky as I end up with a book that I have no interest in and struggle to finish. Other times I can discover pure Gold. I’m very glad I picked up Godology.
The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting For Christ
Edited by John Mark Reynolds & Roger Overton
Christian + Blogger = Very interested in what this book has to say. This book features a collection of 15 essays that explores Christianity and the new media. Should Christians be using the new media? How should they use the new media? What aspects of Christianity should be standing up and paying attention? There’s a lot to think about in this book.
Now That You Are Back
By Richard Beeston
Depression is one of those things I struggle to understand. It affects so many people, but it is so hard to recognise what’s going on, to know what to do. I’ve dealt with people struggling with depression, but have never really known how to help. Sure I can listen to them and say nice things, but that’s where I get stuck. If you’ve ever been in that situation, or have had a loved one suffer from depression, you really should read Now That You Are Back.
Why does a good God allow suffering in the world? It’s a question that comes up time and time again. As people who live in a fallen world, we are constantly confronted with tragic events. Why do good people die? Why are we attacked by natural disasters? If there is a God, why isn’t he doing his job? Why does he let bad things happen if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be?
Everyone struggles with this issue, Christian or not. We want someone to be held accountable for things that go wrong. As a Christian, it can be difficult to reconcile the God of love with the God who allows evil to exist in this world. What if there was a book that could explain this? What if there is a book that could help us understand who God is and what he has done? If only there was a book that could clearly explain God. The Shack is being put forward as the solution. The Shack is being put forward as a great way to understand God. Unfortunately, The Shack should not be a place you go to for answers.
Over the last few years, Harper Collins have been realising a series of small books called The Simpsons Library of Wisdom. Previous titles include: The Bart Book, The Book of Moe and Comic Book Guy’s Book of Pop Culture. I own Comic Book Guy and it’s a hoot. Made up of mostly one page gags, they make nice little books to sit on your coffee table for people to flick through. Last week, while browsing the shelves at Moore Books, I found something I had to have. I found Flanders’ Book of Faith.
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
was published as a book in 1991 and released as a feature fim in 2002. Written by Chris Fuhrman, Altar Boys is a coming of age story about a group of Catholic boys in 1970’s USA. There are some significant differences between the book and the film. I managed to finish reading the book the day before I watched the film, so the details of the book were fresh in my mind as I loaded in the DVD.
Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)
By Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
I can agree with the title of this book. I should be emergent. I’m post modern. I’m Generation X with a dash of Y. I think in images. I’d much rather watch a movie than listen to someone talk for 30 minutes. I generally distrust large organisations. I don’t dress or act like your typical conservative preacher. I grew up in a conservative denomination that valued tradition over relationship and I rebelled against it. I’m always looking for new ways to experience Church. But the thing is, I’m not emergent. I don’t buy into the emergent philosophy/theology and believe that some of the teaching coming from this front is down right dangerous and unbiblical. So I was very keen to hear what these guys had to say about the emergent Church.
Mark Driscoll is one of my favourite Christian authors at the moment. I don’t always agree with how he does things, but I’ve never disagreed with what he says. His no nonsense delivery, almost non PC, is refreshing and challenging. And he’s dead set keen on showing people the Jesus of the Bible and not just wishy washy emotional religion. That appeals to me. Driscoll has four new books out in a series called A Book You’ll Actually Read. The four books are On The Old Testament, On The New Testament, On Church Leadership, and On Who is God.