Wednesday, May 14, 2014

4 Book Reviews, 4 Minutes Each... Go!

I've recently read 4 books and am going to review them quickly - giving myself only 4 minutes for each book. You will appreciate this time-limit. Trust me. I could go on and on about each of them. Thankfully, I'm a super fast typer, and I'll try to fit a bunch in.

Ready? Go!

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung starts out light hearted and keeps me laughing through the whole book. He goes at it with an "I'm in this with you" attitude rather than an "I've fixed my problems" plattitude.

He says:

"It's ok to be busy at times. You can't love and serve others without giving of your time. So work hard; work long; work often. Just remember it's not supposed to be about you. Feed people, not your pride."

My biggest take-aways:

1. He explains that many Christians seem to be walking around "with a low-level guilt that comes from not doing enough... so we get used to living in a state of mild disappointment with ourselves." Boy, I can relate.
2. I am not the Christ. I can care about AIDS and Homelessness and Orphans and etc etc but it's not my mission in life to solve every-single-crisis-that-I-read-about-on-Facebook.
3. Even Jesus didn't do all the good He could have done in the world. He didn't heal everyone. He didn't fix everything. (From our earthly perspective.)  "He was not driven by the needs of others... the approval of others... but by the Holy Spirit. He was driven by His God-given mission."
4. It's important to have margins in my life, so that when one brick topples a little, the whole tower doesn't collapse. (Meaning, someone can't find their shoes fast enough and I explode. Just saying.)
5. Being too busy is bad for our souls if we don't make time for our relationship with God.
6. Focus point: What am I uniquely gifted to do? Start there.

Whoops, lost track of time. NEXT!

Family Vocation by Gene Edward Veith Jr. and Mary J. Moerbe

This father-daughter team explains Martin Luther's drive to have all people seen as valuable in God's Kingdom by raising the family and parenting roles as critical vocations during a time when the only vocations that mattered were in the church. They indicate that most moms today would find the job of a nun in a monastery to be freeing and easy. Basically, we are all important in God's kingdom.

"Husbands and wives nurture each other. Fathers and mothers nurture their children. And God nurtures everyone through these offices."

The main emphasis was in getting your eyes off of yourself and onto God and others by sacrificing for them. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:10-11.

They explain, "Though God doesn't need our good works, our neighbor does. Our neighbor is in need. God commands us to love and serve that neighbor."

In recap, the book encouraged me to work hard with hands as unto the Lord, with renewed eyes that every single cup of water given and every snotty nose wiped matters for His Kingdom.

Whew... Number 3.

The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock

It was interesting to read this immediately after the book about Martin Luther's criticism of the priesthood's elitism. In this Historical Fiction novel, we grow to love the lives of the men in the monastery under the careful eye of their Abbott Peregrine. This is a book that beautifully combines theology and relationships, and I savored every word. What a delightful story. Slow moving, but meaningful. I even underlined some passages I want to go back to and remember. Like when Peregrine argued that God's mercy was greater than His justice.

If you're looking for a delightful and endearing summer read, pick this up. It was on my booklist for our school year's study of the middle ages. I ordinarily wouldn't be drawn to a book about a bunch of men in a monestary. But I'm glad I listened to my brother's advice and read it to the end.

And finally...

7: An experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker

Jen does an experiment by limiting herself in specific ways for 7 months. Only eating 7 foods, giving up 7 forms of media. Wearing 7 items of clothing. You get the idea.

The book was so funny. I laughed out loud a lot.

The book was painful. Ouch. Like, "I don't like you now, Jen. You had me laughing, and now we're no longer BFFs."

I'm glad I'd already read Crazy Busy because otherwise Jen's book would cause my "do more" personality to add about fifty more things to my to-do list. I had to repeat to myself often while reading, "I am not the Christ." Which is strange since the goal of the book is to simplify...

I haven't fully processed the book. It's going to sit and simmer a while in my mind. I will probably never garden and I can't seem to rationalize spending more money to buy local food and I can't possibly fathom giving away 75% of our income.... but the ideas were intriguing. Basically, live simply and give more. That I like!

So there you have it. A glimpse into my book world for the last month or so.

What are you reading? If you want to borrow any of these, let me know!


Jen Zink said...

Great reviews! I have been wondering about the first book and the last book- I am glad I haven't read the last yet! I think it might stress me out! :) What do you mean, I only need 7 pieces of African jewelry? ;)

BeckyE said...

Jen, you might actually really enjoy 7. She's just so funny! But you need to go at it with the understanding that you have beautiful boys playing in their underwear in a sprinkler and maybe everything doesn't have to be a priority right now. ;) Let me know if you want to borrow it!