This book was given to me. Actually, by the publishing company who is distributing it, purely to review it on my blog. I was skeptical to say the least...
I got it actually awhile ago, but I kind of read it one chapter at a time inbetween other things. It's set up almost as a mini-Bible Study in that it has questions and a little journaling section in the back of each chapter.
The book is filled with spiritual lessons that Vicki, the author, has learned over the years in her travels around the world. If you are at all interested in visiting places that the tours normally go and don't, then you'll like it. Some chapters are more spiritually focused and some are more detail about the place she is visiting.
There were a couple spots from California which I had never heard of, but she actually did a chapter on Montana de Oro, which is where I proposed to my wife.
She talked one time about her trip to Albertville, France to watch the Winter Olympics and Dan Jansen in the speed skating. If you remember, he went through several Olympic games and other races without winning a medal. Finally he one Gold and she talks about her conversion to being a sports fan and her reaction to him winning, later when she was home:
"From the couch in my family room, I was cheering him on like a wild woman. If my family hadn't known better, they would have thought they were in the presence of a sports fan. When I finally cross life's finish line, I'd sure love to see God cheer like that for me." - Vicki Kuyper
I don't know why, but that hit me.
All in all, it was a good book. I liked how much it changed, all the little details of international locations and insight into her life. It's not a "relevant generation" type book, but still very good. I give it 3.5 out 5 tuk-tuk rides!
Jacinda and I had some great conversations Sunday and I've decided to take her through the book, "The Pleasures of God" by John Piper. I read the book a couple years ago and it was one of those, "never even thought about that before" kind of books for me. It caused me to ask more questions than I ever had before in reference to what I hear every week (the tradition that i am a part of) and what the Bible says about certain aspects of my faith(or, maybe a different tradition's point of view).
Before this book, I thought an Arminian was a guy who eats Baclava and Hummus! I read the first bit last night and it got me all excited again. It'll be fun to see what reactions she has to some of things Piper teaches.
Our church is going through a pretty radical transition. Our senior pastor of over 40 years is retiring at the beginning of the year. He's not really a part of the service that we attend, but he still has a lot of influence over it. Our church has built a tradition around this great man and he has truly had a dynamic influence on our city and our church. But, now are church looks like a velvet elvis to people our age, and people are leaving. Let me explain. I just started reading Rob Bell's book, "Velvet Elvis". He is referencing the old painting to how they did church back when... It is not in reference to the lighting, or the style of music, just on how they did church. Just like, back in Jesus' time, they went around talking on hills and now we have jumbo-trons and stadiums, and prayer rooms. He uses the example of how Martin Luther, got upset over the current tradition, and created a reformation. I feel that our church needs a new painting on the wall. Here's a great quote from Bell:
"For many people the word Christian conjures up all sorts of images that have nothing to do with who Jesus is and how he taught us to live. This must change. For others, the painting works for their parents, or it provided meaning when they were growing up, but it is no longer relevant. It doesn't fit. It's outdated. It doesn't have anything to say to the world they live in every day. It's not that there isn't any truth in it or that all the people before them were misguided or missed the point. It's just that every generation has to ask the difficult questions of what it means to be a Christian here and now, in this place, at this time. And if this difficult work isn't done, where does the painting end up?
In the basement."
Times change, Jesus doesn't, but times do. We need to embrace it.
I am currently reading Donald Miller's book, "Searching For God Knows What". Another great one by Mr. Miller. Here's a quote from my reading last night,
"The ever-overquoted C.S. Lewis said it this way in his book Mere Christianity: "Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: We are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or -- a Judge" And that's the thing about religious; it isn't this safe place in the soul you can go, it has just as many booby traps as any other thing you can get yourself into. It's a bloody brothel, in fact. Jesus even says there will be people who will heal other people, but when they die He is going to say He didn't know them. It is somewhat amazing to me, once again, that all of Christianity, all our grids and mathematics and truths and different groups subscribing to different theological ideas, boils down to our knowing Jesus and His knowing us."
You see, Jesus is a non-negotiable. I have been told by many people that they have problems believing certain things about the Bible, it's origin, or a certain issue. That sucks, but God's not changing his mind about the things He said, so I guess it's us who needs to re-evaluate. But, the hard part, I think, is understanding what He has said, but in knowing Him, we can start to see what He is doing and what He thinks is best for our life, which ultimately...is Him.
In a week or so here I will find myself flying over the pacific ocean to a little island paradise called Hawaii. I'll probably take 2 books and am not sure what to take. I have a couple sitting in my library at home that I haven't picked up yet, but wanted to see if you all had any books that you really enjoyed reading or that you think would be great for lounging on the beach. I already have but have not read:
I got a library card today! It's been years since I've been inside a library and if you don't include my college days, 10's of years! Actually, my mom is a librarian, so I guess when I visit her at work I am technically in a library. Anyways, Jacinda and I have our trip to Hawaii coming up in a couple months so we were going to get some books to help us plan/find new things to do. We got rid of a ton of books this year and decided that we don't need to spend our money on that stuff anymore. Why buy something that you are only going to use for a little while when you can rent?!
I got 2 books and 2 CD's. I couldn't believe they had CD's too. I almost checked out Amy Grant's "Heart in Motion" just for a good memory jog, but was embarrassed to take it to the counter. But now that I know how to self-checkout...