Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah -- although this was not on my wishlist, my brother gave me this for Christmas. What a challenging, good read for me! A great way to start of the new year. I made note of many things that spoke to me that I wanted to review later. These are just a few things some of which I posted as Facebook status updates.
is God withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve. Grace is God
not only withholding that punishment but offering the most precious
Mercy runs to forgive the Prodigal Son.
Grace throws a party with every extravagance.
Mercy bandages the wounds of the man beaten by the robbers.
Grace covers the cost of his full recovery.
Mercy hears the cry of the thief on the cross.
Grace promises paradise that very day. ..." (pg. 22)
"Imagine discovering that the God you worship is Someone else entirely, Someone who bears radical differences to your most precious assumptions about Him. You would ask the very question Paul now asks: 'And he said, "Who are You, Lord?"'" (pg. 112)
"...the essence of grace is surprise. There is nothing shocking about giving people exactly what they deserve. Grace subverts the rules and gives people what they don't deserve. It is motivated by the warmth of love rather than by cold calculation." (pg. 171)
Whose Bible Is It? by Jaroslav Pelikan - this was the first of my dozen Christmas books that I received and I got it from my Lil' Sis a couple weeks before Christmas day. I cannot remember why I had it on my Amazon Wishlist, but enjoyed it nevertheless. The author started off talking about oral tradition in cultures and that lead to the writing down of the Bible over the centuries. His chapter on the Septuagint was interesting as was the Bible in various cultures. The binding of Isaac example was especially good. He discussed peoples of the book and translating the Scriptures, the Bible according to Jews, Protestants, Catholics and so forth. I should have been good and taken notes on these chapters. Alas, I did not. He does conclude that the Bible is God's and "therefore really doesn't belong to any of us."
The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011 by Melvyn Bragg. This was one of those I found on the new books shelves at the library. I enjoyed how the author showed how the KJB had influenced English speaking societies. I especially enjoyed his treatment of slaves and how the KJB spoke liberation to them and how they worked for their freedom. He made them seem very powerful.; see previous post for most information on this book
Jesus Before Christianity by Albert Nolan -- one of those books I got from my Wishlist although I cannot recall why it was on there. The author had some interesting ideas about things, however, so I'm glad I read it. See previous posts for more details on this book
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran -- this book was so sad, but good! I am glad I read it as I know couples who have adopted children from China. It's sad to read how valueless daughters are in China that they are often killed at birth. Yet mothers are mothers and many of them do have great pain following through with tradition's evil dictates. This book shares cultural aspects of China and includes stories of women who have given up children for adoption. A very moving read. I was in tears several times.
Below Stairs by Margaret Powell -- Although this book was copyrighted in 1968 it was on the New Books shelf at my library. It is "The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey" according to the jacket cover. It was an easy read and pretty entertaining. If you want to know what life was like for one kitchen maid turned cook in England, this book might be for you. A lesson I took from it is to respect all people and just because someone is a servant it doesn't mean she wants practical gifts and boring color schemes.
The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark -- Last year I read a short book he wrote about the rise of Christianity and this book incorporates some of that information as well as quite a bit more. Prepare to have your thoughts on the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Dark Ages and the following periods challenged. (Or maybe you'll simply scoff at how he makes a mockery of history.) I actually enjoyed his point of view although I was left wondering if it were all true or a different sort of history revision.