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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Reading as Fast as I Can...Part 1



So. Here I am. Buried in a stack of books I want to read. Will read. But.

I can only read so fast.

Because I feel the need to mention these enticing books that stare forlornly from the dust that has settled on their covers...I'm doing so.

Here are several of the books I've yet to read that I said I wanted to read. I have chosen these books based on the cover copy and descriptions that I'm pasting alongside the cover.

I only say yes to books that I think I'll enjoy/learn from. So here you go. Books you may not have discovered yet...and ones I want to read.



Spiritual Rebirth…the Sequel

In Greg Garrett’s edgy new memoir, the critically acclaimed author of

Crossing Myself tells the next chapter of his amazing story

“Once you’ve decided that you’re going to live—no mean feat for some of us—how do you figure out what you’re supposed to do with that life?” --Greg Garrett

One thing is guaranteed: life on this earth is unpredictable—and sometimes frighteningly so. How can we as Christians live faithfully when we’re not quite sure where the path ahead is taking us? How do we find joy and purpose in the midst of the uncertain, the unfinished, the uneasy? In the stirring follow-up to his critically acclaimed spiritual autobiography Crossing Myself, author Greg Garrett explores the universal journey of life by tackling these questions with thoughtfulness, transparent honesty, and humor.

After touching thousands with his intimate memoir about faith and depression, Crossing Myself, award-winning writer and teacher Greg Garrett turns his attention to the ongoing problem of living faithfully in No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows (David C Cook, September 2009). Taking Thomas Merton’s famous prayer that begins, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going” as his inspiration, Garrett looks back at his own journey and tells engaging stories out of that life that will speak to everyone who has ever felt lost along the way.


MY REVIEW:
Greg Garrett is an author I've recently discovered. After reading Shame, his latest fiction offering, I was smitten with his writing style. Shame was very introspective and full of deep emotional streams and after reading No Idea, I see the connection between Garrett's fiction and non-fiction...deep introspective thoughts and emotional pools.

In No Idea, Garrett picks up his spiritual journey after his first acclaimed memoir, Crossing Myself, which I have not read. Garrett writes about spiritual topics that are both common to anyone who has wrestled with God or religious man and common reasons for people who grow disillusioned with the church.

Sometimes poignant, and sometimes slow-moving, this narrative follows Garrett's journey from the tail end of depression to seminary. Spiritual memoir junkies or Garrett fans will probably want to look further into this one.


Suffering from Christianish?

In his new book, author Mark Steele transforms middle-ground, Christianish faith into a passionate, authentic pursuit of Christ


Modern evangelicalism has lost its balance. A lukewarm spirituality, somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit, has taken hold and found many believers in the median between the wide path and the narrow road of the spiritual walk. The efforts of many have become more centered on how to cope with their own dysfunctional lives, and less concentrated on what it really means to follow Jesus. It’s something not quite Christian. It’s more like…Christianish.

In his new book, Christianish: What if We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All? (David C Cook, August 2009), author Mark Steele tells the story of his own personal journey from living in the “in-between” to a life that’s centered on Christ. “Somewhere along the road, I stopped being a ‘little Christ’ and instead began filling out the application that I had labeled ‘Christian.’ It was not a definition based on the actual namesake but, rather, on those who frequent the clubhouse. I allowed Jesus to seep into my church world—but not my relational world, my romance world, my business world, my creative world, my habits, my mouth. I had become Christianish.”

Christianish may feel like authentic faith. It may even look like the real deal. Yet it’s often easy to settle for the souvenir t-shirt—the appearance of a transformed heart—instead of taking the actual trip through true life-change. We find ourselves being contented with a personal faith that’s been polluted by culture and diluted by other people’s take on spirituality.

In Christianish, Mark revisits the words and life of Christ to find just what it means to be a Christian. Through stories and insights that are sometimes profound, often hilarious, and always honest, he delivers a compelling look at what authentic faith is all about. While carefully detailing the tell tale symptoms of being Christianish, Mark encourages readers to ditch the “ish” to become true Christ-followers.

“We have trained ourselves to cope well on a Christianish path: a path where we please the right godly people and don’t feel the guilt when our failings are seen by the world at large. But this is not the approach to Jesus that we were created to take. There is only one way for us to discover the right way to travel the right road. The way is not church. The way is not an ideology. The way is not Christian. The way is Jesus.”





Talking to the Dead

In her first novel, author Bonnie Grove offers readers a tender, quirky story about grief—and second chances

“Kevin was dead and the people in my house wouldn’t go home. They mingled after the funeral, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and speaking in muffled tones. I didn’t feel grateful for their presence. I felt exactly nothing,” writes Bonnie Grove in Talking to the Dead (David C Cook, June 2009). “Funerals exist so we can close doors we’d rather leave open. But where did we get the idea that the best approach to facing death is to eat Bundt cake?”

In her first novel, beloved author Bonnie Grove pens a poignantly realistic and uplifting story of hope, grace, and recovery from grief. Grove’s main character, twenty-something Kate Davis, can’t seem to get the grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead, she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.

Is she losing her mind? Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout. Will the voice ever stop?

In this tender, quirky novel about embracing life, Grove patiently walks readers through the depths and mysteries of extreme sorrow after the death of a loved one. As she takes an unflinching look at the mental health industry, Grove’s training in counseling and psychology brings realism and empathy to grief and mental breakdown. While Kate must confront her own loss to find the grace to go on, readers will be led to the God who is always willing and able to comfort hearts in pain.




Facebook: Where the Future Church Hangs Out

How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community

Watch the video trailer for The Church of Facebook!

CHURCH OF FACEBOOK A revolution is taking place, one profile at a time. Online social networks like Facebook and MySpace are connecting people like never before. With hundreds of millions of users, they’re creating almost limitless potential to redefine our personal worlds. It’s a movement that’s changing how we form relationships, perceive others, and shape our identity.

In his new book, The Church of Facebook (David C Cook, October 2009) author Jesse Rice takes a deeper look at the movement which, at its core, reflects our need for community. “Our longing for intimacy, connection, and a place to belong has never been a secret, but social networking offers us a new perspective on the way we engage our community,” Rice states. This new perspective raises new questions: How do these networks impact our relationships? In what ways are they shaping the way we think of ourselves? And how might this phenomenon subtly reflect a God who longs to connect with each one of us?

The Church of Facebook explores these ideas and much more, offering a revealing look at the wildly popular world of online social networking. “The new landscape of social networking tells us two basic things: One, we have a deep desire to be known. And, two, we are faced with a technology that both enables and hinders the intimacy we’re looking for,” Rice says. From personal profiles to status updates, author Jesse Rice takes a thoroughly entertaining and insightful look into what Facebook reveals about us, and what it may mean for the future of “community.”

Social networking is no fad; it has become a fact of life, especially for teens and twenty-somethings. The Church of Facebook is essential reading for parents and pastors who want to understand this trend and its impact on their children and congregations. Rice’s discussions will engage social networkers of all ages and stages who are wrestling with the very real issues of identity, meaning, purpose, and friendship within the context of virtual communities.

In the end, The Church of Facebook moves readers toward understanding God’s work in the body of Christ, the church. Driven by Rice’s thought-provoking questions, observations, humor, and heartfelt storytelling, The Church of Facebook challenges readers to consider new perspectives regarding their social networking habits and how those habits may point to deeper heart issues and, ultimately, our hunger for Jesus.

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