"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2 books reviews

Scratch Beginnings is a book about Adam Shepard's idea to start with $25 cash, a sleeping bag, very few possessions and the clothes on his back in an effort to find if the American Dream were still obtainable. After drawing a city name out of a hat, he headed off to Charleston, SC. I greatly enjoyed hearing of his months of living at the shelter, working, saving money and meeting all sorts of interesting characters. Adam set certain goals he wanted to meet within a year. I admire his good work ethic, discipline, delay of gratification and good attitude! I really loved this from his book. He had just had a series of setbacks in his goals. For one thing, he broke his toe while working for a moving company so he had to elevate his foot for 5 days. He told how low that was to stay at the shelter for 5 days and how mundane and boring it was. he started thinking about some "what if" questions and finally concluded with this: "I suppose that these type of 'what if' questions lead to even more questions than answers, and that the chain has to be broken off at some point. It happened, I hit a roadblock. OK, now what do I do? I could complain about my situation and feel sorry for myself or I could get back on the horse. If nothing else, I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair, but the difference emerges among the people that accept the ideal, embrace it even, and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction at the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery."

From his book, I also realized the importance of thanking people for the differences they make in your life. Adam modeled this by giving a kind note to a bus driver who started his day right by his cheery smiles and pleasant conversation. It made me realize how my countenance can affect others and also how my words of thanksgiving can be a blessing.

I enjoyed Adam's sense of humor and his sharing a lot of details in this book. It was great to be reminded of what a wonderful country we live in. As for whether or not Adam met his goals and achieved his first step in the American Dream, I'll leave that for you to find out. I highly recommend this book.

Too Christian, Too Pagan by Dick Staub -- This book challenged the readers by declaring if we are going to live like Jesus then we will appear too pagan for our Christian friends and too Christian for our pagan friends. He sited Jesus fellowshipping with sinners as his basis for being too pagan for your friends in the separated Christian culture. On the other hand, Jesus never compromised His holiness by sinning. He just reached out to those people where they were. Chances are most "pagans" aren't going to come to the church on Sunday so we have to reach them where they live and hang out. The author challenged us to watch movies and TV, listen to secular music and read secular books with discernment. Identify the needs of the world and see how the gospel addresses those needs. By doing this, we can talk to people in our culture and point them to the hope that we have in us because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Good book....very thought-provoking.

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