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

Friday, July 29, 2011

July Books

Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast by James F. Gauss -- I recall this being an Amazon.com recommendation.   I ordered it back in 2009, but it didn't really interest me once I received it.  It sat on my bookshelf for a year and a half before I decided I should read the books I'd bought before checking out new ones from the library. Thus, it got read finally.  The author had some good points. I enjoyed many of the biblical passages. But overall the theme of the book was one that didn't encourage me to be more like Jesus.  I felt the author misrepresented Islam on many points and I found myself arguing against what he wrote in defensive of a fuller context.  I even marked a few pages with my arguments!  So I'm glad I finished it and can move on. 

In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands by Martin Gilbert -- This was another Amazon.com recommendation which I got for my birthday. I learned quite a lot from this book and it inspired four posts because I really wanted to make notes on some topics discussed. ; see previous posts for more details

The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. -- mentioned it here  and in my post about Christianity in the ancient world

Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine  -- see some things that took my attention from this book in my Jews, Hispanics, Chosenness, DNA, Lost Tribes, Sheep & More post

Sharing the Love of Christ With Your Muslim Neighbours by Ahmad Aygei -- this guy spoke at our church earlier this year and offered his book for sale. It's actually 2 books in one thus the following book is by him as well. He is from Ghana and grew up in a large Muslim family. He briefly shares how he became a follower of Jesus and then shares the trials of a new convert and God's heart for Muslims. 

One of my favorite parts is from the Introduction:

"It is a sad fact that many Christians are ignorant of God's purposes for the Muslim world. Rather than having God's heart for the Muslims, they feel threatened and become hard-hearted towards them.  Some see Islam as a threat which can only be conquered by military might.  They have forgotten that we do not use the weapons of the world (2 Corinthians 10:4) and we are not fighting against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). ... The fact that a sect or religious group is opposed to our beliefs does not mean we should hate them and wish to see evil befall them.  The spirit of Christ is full of Love.  Loving when we are hated is what makes Christians different."  (pg. 1-2)

My other favorite part was dealing with trials and avoiding self pity while going through them.  He encourages us to deal with trials properly and not allow ourselves to be self pitying or fearful, but realize God is our strength. (see pg. 28)

Ishmael Shall Be Blessed by Ahmad Aygei -- the second part of this 2 in 1 book.  The author shares about Jesus from both the Bible and Quran.  I found the final chapter on the Comforter of great interest.  He shared the Islamic argument of the Comforter being a prophecy of Muhammad and compared it to the Christian belief of the Comforter being the Holy Spirit just as Jesus stated.

A Christian Perspective on Islam by J.L. Williams -- this guy is the one who actually brought Ahmad Aygei from Ghana to our church for the 3 day conference.  I would not have bought this book because I have read so many books of this type already, but Andrew bought it without my knowing  thus I figured I'd go ahead and read it.  And there was some stuff that was different from most books of this type. I enjoyed the discussion of community, culture, the Crusades and colonialism. Some of it turned me off because I feel such people really are fearful of Islam and I just am not. Perhaps I am naive for being this way.

And with that, I have finished all the books on my own bookshelves aside from the few that are Andrew's.  And on July 20, I went to the library and got more books which I shall begin shortly!

After the Apple by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt -- see previous posts for notes

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner -- NPR correspondent decides to travel various parts of the world to determine what makes people happy or unhappy in the case of Moldova. This was a fun way to learn interesting tidbits about several countries like Bhutan, Iceland, Qatar, India and so forth. The subtitle is "one grump's search for the happiest places in the world."  I love the conclusion that he reached about happiness being relational; it's "utterly intertwined with other people" and also, I believe, with our relationship with God.

No comments: