Books

The Smallest

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
 
That is a quote from the character Galadriel in one of the Lord of the Rings movies. One of my favorite lines from the movies. It captures one of the core truths of the Lord of the Rings trilogy; that size does not determine fate. Size can also be translated to power or in our context of 2017 access to resources (funds.) Even the smallest can have an impact on someone's life.
 
 Kate and I are little when compared to other folks and organizations working with orphans. We do not have the fund raising abilities of bigger organizations. We cannot hire a professional fund raiser who will do the work for us. We have to do it ourselves. Which honestly is alright by us.
 
Back in 2004 when we were planning on coming back to Kenya I really felt that we should not attempt raising money in typical missionary fashion. Meaning that we would not travel around raising a certain percentage of support before moving to Kenya. Instead we sent out a letter to everyone we knew and got on a plane. We arrived in Nairobi with four hundred dollars to our name and have not looked back since. Not the smartest thing to do when compared say to most mission agencies or something like the Red Cross. However, going against the grain is something we do well, and we needed to learn to depend on someone other than ourselves. 
 
We survived and have in fact thrived over the past twelve years. Sure we always need money (currently we need money for paying school fees, plus we want to get at least five more children in school this month,) and we are jealous from time to time of those folks working with organizations that can provide them with salaries, vacations, vehicles, and access to resources for the work. (We are especially jealous of those vacations.) We do enjoy our freedom and ability to connect with those we want to help and we even have relationships, bonafide relationships with our donors. We know the day to day struggle and that helps us to help others.
 
We are small, but we are changing the future. One child at a time. Frodo in the Lord of the Rings story, was a tiny hobbit. He did not have any power or influence outside of the world of hobbits. Yet it was him and his trusty servant Sam that changed the course of the third age. In fact it could not have been done by anyone else. There is a place for those big organizations. They can do wonders in disaster situations and when it comes to distributing large quantities of relief aid. There is also a place, in fact I believe most places, for the small guys. We can pinpoint aid in ways that an institution cannot. We know those we assist. We can tailor that assistance to best help them and bring them to a place where they no longer need us. It is in the interest of those working for big organizations for the people they assist to keep needing that assistance. Kate and I are interested in the opposite. We want those we help to grow and be able to stand on their own. Then they stand with us and turn around and help the next guy up. Being small enables us to do this.
 

Practice

Both Kate and myself have designs on writing a book. Mine based on my faith journey and hers on being a missionary. Yet we have not take any steps in that direction for a long time. That is till this week.

We are now writing everyday. I'm taking Stephen King's advice, which I read in his memoir On Writing, and practicing writing. Five days a week we are putting words on paper, well virtual paper anyway. I also wanted a means of chronicling our experiences, and this fits the bill well.

So far we have written about how we got here (Kenya,) miracles, transitions, and today's assignment is failure. Not sure if we will share or not, but the practice is good for us.

 


Johnny’s 2011 Reading List

This year I attempted to read mostly fiction. I think I needed a break from all the heavy theological/philosophical tomes. Though I still read plenty of that stuff online, in newsletters, and magazines.

So here is what I read in 2011 (In reverse order):

  • The Book of Lost Tales 1 by J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by his son Christopher Tolkien)
    • A must read for any Tolkien fan. I loved seeing the evolution of the mythology, and the commentaries by Christopher Tolkien were an added bonus.
  • Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison
    • This was an audio book downloaded from Audible.com. It’s the 3rd in the series, but so far my least favorite. Too much romance and not enough vampire ripping out hearts action for me. I’ll still give the next book a chance as I have grown to appreciate a few of the characters, and am curious as to how they continue to develop.
  • Thirst by Claire Farrell
    • I got this book for free on Amazon.com for my Kindle. Not bad for a free book. I enjoy vampire stories with day walkers, which this one is.
  • Wizard at Large by Terry Brooks
    • Another Audible.com audio book. I love Terry Brooks, no relation. I’m working my way through his books. This one is part of the Landover series, and is a great fantasy. It’s light, humorous, and easy to read/listen to.
  • The Friend Request by Alex Ford
    • Another free book from Amazon.com on my Kindle. I hated it. The characters drove me crazy, they simply were not people I could relate to. Plus the whole idea that someone could completely wreck your life just by using Facebook, is just silly. I hope that most of us have enough fortitude to stand up to a bully, or at least know someone that can stand up to him/her for us.
  • Seeing the Unseen by T.W. Hunt
    • Another freebie for my Kindle. Crammed full of religious obligation. Instead of pointing one in the direction of freedom the author seeks to trap you with chain after chain of obligations. If you removed all the scripture quotes and references, the whole book would come to about one chapter. Seems like that's cheating, just filling up your book with the Bible.
  • The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation by Mark Sisson
    • I’m trying to lose some weight and this was my leap in that direction. Great diet. So far I’ve lost almost 25 pounds doing nothing other than changing what I eat. The book is designed to be followed for 21 days with the idea that you will break bad habits. It’s working for me so far.
  • Snake Skin by C.J. Lyons
    • This one was free from Amazon.com for my kindle. I thought it was only a so so thriller. The story follows a F.B.I. agent who hunts down pedophiles. Unfortunately the thrill is quickly lost as I could predict almost every turn.
  • The Walking Dead Volume 10 by Charlie Adlard and Robert Kirkman
    • I love the show, and so have delved into the world of comic books for the first time. Actually I mostly get these for my son, but I have to admit to enjoying them as well. It’s about zombies, so if violence and gore freak you out don’t pick it up.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • Another freebie for my kindle. I can't believe it took me this long to read Frankenstein. Beautiful. Absolutely wonderful. Shelley truly created a masterpiece with this work.
  • The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks
    • Another Terry Brooks offering from Audible.com. This is also part of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series, and so far one of my favorites. The characters are well defined and have plenty of space to be themselves in this story. A bit more dark and heavy than the others in this series I have read, but not too dark.
  • Stick It to the Man by Greg Lewis
    • Freebie for my kindle. Reads like a blog that has been stitched together to make a book. Each chapter is supposedly a way to get what you want from corporations, governments, life, or whatever. It’s dated and not all that helpful, most of the suggestions just seem like common sense to me.
  • Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks
    • In addition to the Magic Kingdom of Landover series by Terry Brooks, I’m reading books from the Shannara universe. In fact I’m reading them in order. This particular one is a graphic novel, and only so so. I guess I’m not a huge fan of the graphic novel format, but I also felt this story was just not necessary. Felt like they contrived it just to make the comic book and earn a few bucks.
  • Pumpkin Jack Skull and Other Tales of Terror by Jacob M. Drake
    • I’m a fan of the horror genre and especially short stories in that genre. Yet this free book for my kindle just didn’t cut it for me. A short story has to accomplish so much in a few words. It’s not easy. These stories focused on gore or shock value, which for me is just not enough.
  • A Little “Bit” by Robert DeCoteau
    • A fun and fresh look at the zombie story. I downloaded this one for free for my kindle and am glad I did so.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • One of my favorite fantasy novels. I re-read it this year for the kids. (I would love the annotated edition if anyone has an extra laying around.)
  • Serial by Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn
    • Another freebie from Amazon.com. I’m glad this was a short story, as I couldn’t what for it to be over with. Pretty much this story is a description of torture. That’s it. No point, no characters, just torture.
  • I Witch: The Powers of the Blood and the Heart by Erin Munday
    • Run! Run! Run away from this free book I downloaded from Amazon.com.
  • Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria by Anne E. Maczulak
    • Occasionally I like to read a subject completely out of the norm for me. Bacteria is just one of those topics. This book, which I got for free online, is full of information on bacteria. In fact it is so full that I quickly became overwhelmed. I’m sure biology themed folks would appreciate it, but I might actually know less about bacteria now due to information overload.
  • Fruit Happens! by Michael Christopher
    • I purposed to read more fiction this year and did not want to leave out “Christian” fiction. I wish I would have left it alone. Why? Why did I have to pick up this book. I actually fell asleep reading this. One good thing about it; it’s short.
  • Indomitable by Terry Brooks
    • This is a novella in the Shannara series. It’s an epilogue to the Wishsong of Shannara and a worthy read.
  • Invisible Justice by Kim Jewell
    • Another free one from Amazon.com. The first in a series about young folks who develop super powers. Decent story and well developed characters. I wouldn’t mind continuing the series, unfortunately there are many books in front of it.
  • The American Book of the Dead by Henry Baum
    • This freebie for my kindle actually surprised me. That is such a rarity nowadays that I’m still thinking of this book months later.
  • The Walking Dead Volume 9 by Charlie Adlard and Robert Kirkman
    • I mentioned how I enjoyed the television show, and the comic book is decent as well. Who knew that comic books could be so good?
  • Einstein’s Refrigerator by Steve Silverman
    • Bizarre true life stories.
  • Lord Demons Delight by Gia Dawn
    • Apparently I went download crazy on Amazon.com with all the free books for the kindle. This one should not have made the cut, but at least I didn’t pay for it. It’s basically porn without pictures.
  • The Gateway by Glenn G. Thater
    • This book read like a video game, not a very good one either.
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
    • Part of the Percy Jackson series and recommended to my by my son Andrew. Didn’t really like it all that much. It is full of new characters, none of whom I appreciated nor cared much about. Andrew liked it, but says the next is better. I’m not so sure I’ll be continuing this journey.
  • Devil Walk: A True Story by Clint Byars
    • Clint Byars claims to have met the devil, yes Lucifer himself, and gone to hell. He makes repeated claims in this book that what he experienced was not a hallucination nor vision, but reality.  I don’t buy that. I mean obviously something profound happened to the guy, but I think he is stuck on this whole real vs. vision thing, and perhaps can’t see what God really was saying to him. Not to mention the fact that there is no such thing as a literal Hell of eternal torment.
  • Elisha’s Bones by Don Hoesel
    • Another free one for the kindle, plus it’s “Christian.” Thankfully the book never gets preachy, nor does the writer allow his agenda to get in the way of the story. It’s an archeological thriller with a bit of supernatural thrown in. Decent story and worth a read.
  • Memoirs of William T. Sherman, Volume 1 by William T. Sherman
    • He may have been a great general but he was one terrible writer.
  • Origins by Randolph Lalonde
    • I’ve not read many science fiction novels before, so perhaps I just don’t know what to expect. This story was boring. Just when you think it gets going and is all exciting and ready to thrill, the author hits the breaks. I did enjoy the a.i. and the suits the Freeport folks wore. Thankfully it was a free download for my kindle.
  • Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock
    • Another free book for my kindle. Decent fantasy. I went into it a bit skeptical, seeing as to how it is marketed as a "Christian" fantasy, but thankfully the book does not attempt to convert. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.
  • Shatter by Elizabeth C. Mock
    • Great book. Was caught up almost from page one. Looking forward to the next installation.
  • The Branding by Micaela Wendell
    • Horrible. Thank god it was a free download.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    • I waited so long to read this book. Not really sure why, but nonetheless it took me some time to get around to reading it. Now I wish I would have waited longer. I don't know maybe I hyped it too much for myself, but the story just didn't seem to be all that fun or enjoyable. I didn't really like Alice, in fact I would have been perfectly happy for more terrible things to have come her way. Really I couldn't find any character to enjoy. I so wanted to like the Cheshire cat, but alas even he/she was annoying. Perhaps things will improve in the sequel?
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
    • After reading Gulliver's Travels recently I was a bit skeptical coming into another "older" novel. Dracula surprised me. I loved it! Great story. Presenting it using journal entries and newspaper articles was great. (Though I would like for the journals to have skipped larger pieces of time. That away my imagination would have had a better workout.) I'm looking forward to reading more from Bram Stoker, and I might even dare another "older" novel.
  • The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church by Andrew Farley
    • Andrew Farley seems like a nice guy, and I really wanted to like his book. Unfortunately I found it to be boring. Nothing exciting, he just rambles on and on and on and on. I had some theological disagreements, but honestly can’t remember them now. So they must have not been that big a deal.
  • A World I Never Made by James LePore
    • A so so thriller set in Europe somewhere.
  • Deadworld by J.N. Duncan
    • Good vampire/detective/ghost novel. Took awhile to get going, but once it did I was with the author all the way to the end.
  • Hope Beyond Hell by Gerard Beauchemin
    • My initial reaction was to give this book two stars(out of five), but after reflecting a bit it really deserves three. I was thinking two mostly because the author went to great links to present the case against eternal damnation utilizing the Bible. However since that was his goal, it seems he did a good job. Personally I'm not all that interested in arguments made that way, but if you are then you should check out this book. Most of my life I feared hell. Sure I was safe, or at least felt myself to be safe, but what about the majority of humanity? What about my family members who did not profess Jesus as lord? I was unable to reconcile the doctrine of eternal damnation with a loving God. This book makes the case against an eternal hell. It makes a good case. In fact I don't see how you can read this book and come away still believing that Jesus failed to save the whole world. Plus the best thing is this is a free book. Just visit this site and download it. I put the pdf on my Kindle and was able to read it comfortably. http://hopebeyondhell.net/
  • A Chunk of Hell by Steven Sidor
    • Didn’t like it.
  • The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks
    • This is my favorite Shannara book so far.
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
    • This book would have been so much better had Gulliver only visited two places. I got rather bored after awhile, especially during his stay with the horses. At least it was free, the book that is.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
    • I got the first book of this series free on my kindle and liked it. This is the second installment and if you like urban fantasy you should check it out.
  • The Jesus Style by Gayle D. Erwin
    • I head Gayle on The God Journey podcast and was impresses. Decided to check out his book and enjoyed it. Inspiring and worth the read.
  • The Remarkable Replacement Army by Stan Firth
    • Ultimately I ended up disagreeing with Stan’s prophecy/analogy, however I loved reading about the Replacement Army. In fact it inspired me to add a few historical books on, if I remember correctly Norway, to my wish list. (I heard about this book on The God Journey podcast.)
  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
    • Another good Shannara novel.
  • Sentinel by John Jackson Miller
    • A short story based in the Star Wars universe.
  • Aftershock by T. Christian Miller and Daniel Zwerdling
    • Tells the stories of five U.S. soldiers injured in the same bomb blast. Opened my mind to the reality that war has longer term consequences for the soldiers fighting than just what happens to them on the front.
  • The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
    • This was my first foray into the world of Shannara, and while I didn’t love it, it was good enough to convince me to continue on.
  • Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity by Frank Viola
    • This is meant to be read with Frank’s other books, such as Pagan Christianity. When taken as a whole it’s a good work, even though he does seem a bit arrogant from time to time. Like it’s his way or the highway type of attitude, yet he does make a good point. Church life is meant to be more organic and less institutional.
  • Purgatory by John Jackson Miller
    • A short story set in the Star Wars universe.
  • Savior by John Jackson Miller
    • A short story set in the Star Wars universe.
  • Paragon by John Jackson Miller
    • A short story set in the Star Wars universe.
  • The Force is Middling in this One by Robert Kroese
    • This could be the funniest book I've read since that other funny book I read. Seriously, for a book compiled from blog articles it holds it's own. Not really sure what exactly it's holding, but that just adds to the hilarity. Rarely do I come away from a humor book actually wanting to read more of the author's work, but I'm putting Mercury Falls on my wishlist. Not to mention that any book with a Star Wars theme is automatically awesome.The Force is Middling in this One is lol. :)
  • Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Willams
    • Yawn, another boring download for my kindle.
  • Precipice by John Jackson Miller
    • A short story set in the Star Wars universe.
  • Travellers’ Rest by James Enge
    • A short story from some fantasy series, can’t remember which. I haven’t read any of the other novels in the series, yet this story stood on it own just fine.
  • The Blood that Bonds by Christopher Buecheler
    • An uninspiring vampire novel.
  • Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
    • I’m pretty sure this was the first book I read on my kindle. I downloaded this from the Amazon store because it was free, but this was far from a cheap story. Kim Harrison has created an alternate universe full of witches, vampires, werewolf, and deadly tomatoes. A fun story to read. The characters were developed nicely. The environment was believable, and familiar.
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • The creation myth of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I reread this for the first time in maybe twenty years.
  • Buddhism, the Religion of No-Religion by Alan Watts
    • Great introduction to Buddhism. This book was created from a lecture series, and the transition was made with grace. Actually I would think the lecture would be a great place to learn about Buddhism, this book could be the next best thing to actually have been at the lectures.
  • The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
    • This was my first real delve into the graphic novel. I could be hooked. At least I'm hooked on The Walking Dead. Superb art, great story, and conveniently compiled into one big book. Actually that would be my biggest complaint about this book as well, it's huge. Heavy. Hard to hold.
  • The Misunderstood God by Darrin Hufford
    • I cannot say enough good things about this book. If one allows it to speak to one's heart, what this book is saying, can lead you into magnificent places in your life. It can help you get on the path to knowing the heart of God. For that is what this book is about, the heart of God. Darin has not written a book of theology or doctrine. He has not written us a method or formula for knowing the heart of God. He has simply pulled back the curtain on religion and shown us the man manipulating the levers. I highly recommend this book, and would hope that all my friends would buy a copy and read it.
  • Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
    • This book does an excellent job of humanizing Jesus. He is a real person, and not just a god. He experiences life in a way one would imagine a little boy going through life. Great job. I would recommend this book to all seminary students and those wishing to go into Christian ministry. Because without fully understanding that Jesus was a man, one cannot understand his mission. I was disappointed in the lack of action in the story. Not much actually happens, and what does just doesn't seem all that exciting. Which I get was not really the point, but a story without much excitement is difficult to read. Perhaps it is a better story for not having all the action?  Either way it is well worth the read.
  • Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes by Ani Phyo
    • Food should be cooked. We cannot digest certain enzymes unless they are cooked, so the whole raw food thing just doesn’t work for me. Plus I hate fake food. If you want to change your diet make up new dishes, don’t try to make a raw spaghetti. This cook book is full of beautiful images and easy to follow. I made a smoothie that was pretty nice.
  • The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan
    • This is a companion book for the Percy Jackson series. I got it for Andrew.
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
    • Fantasy from Stephen King, who knew? Not bad.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
    • Good story, and especially good for younger readers. 
  • Guinness World Records 2011
    • This was my first time to actually read a Guinness World Records book all the way through. (O.K. I'll admit to skimming the sports records.) I enjoyed it. Sure lots of inane records, like the first redneck games. I liked the featured stories, such as the tallest man and the Dr. Who feature. I also particularly enjoyed the section on comic books, which was written in a comic book style. This is one of the rare books on my shelf being enjoyed by the whole family, including the Kenyans.
  • The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji
    • Insightful read. As someone who does not practice the Muslim faith I found this book to be full of great info on the faith. I believe that Irshad in her call to her fellow Muslims for reform, has shown me a more human side to Islam. I appreciate that. Not that I agree with her optimism about reform. In Christianity we have been screaming for reform almost since the beginning, yet we still have just a religion today. No matter how much you change the veneer, it's what is underneath that makes something what it is. I would like to see a call for Muslims to leave religion behind, and to experience Allah for themselves. I have the same desire for Christians. I appreciate Irshad's honesty and can see that God is using her voice. Though God does seem found of choosing voices that people will find hard to believe. Irshad's sexual orientation I am sure makes it difficult for her fellow Muslims to take her seriously, but hopefully a few can see past that issue. Overall a decent book. I am sure a challenge to Muslims but being challenged is a good thing. For non-Muslims such as myself, this book is informative and encouraging.
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
    • Terrible. I feel sorry for children who have this book read to them, or who have to read it for themselves.

About halfway through this list I realized just how terrible an idea this was for a blog post. Yet I was halfway there and couldn’t stop myself. If you made it thus far, congratulations.

I’m on Shelfari if anyone is interested in connecting there:

http://www.shelfari.com/johnnybrooks

Also on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4050777-johnny-brooks

Happy reading!


Till We Meet Again

Just heard that John Stott passed away. His book Basic Christianity, had a profound impact on my life. In fact I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here in Nakuru, Kenya without it.

I actually don’t know all that much about John Stott, but I would love to have had a chance to hang for a day or two with him.

R.I.P. John


Anniversary Gift

Kindle and Johnny Brooks My wife gave me a Kindle for our anniversary last month, and Lonnie brought it with him from the U.S. (The wireless service works here in Kenya, but Amazon will not ship here. They say they can’t ship Kindle’s to a P.O. Box, but that is all we have here.)

Kindle books can be gifted, and I do have a wish list up on Amazon. Not all the books on my wish list are available on the Kindle, but a number are. Plus I’m open to reading stuff not on the list.

http://amzn.com/w/1W572JCISBZZA

 

Here are some instructions from Amazon on how to gift a Kindle book:

Purchasing Kindle Books as Gifts

Any Kindle book available for purchase in the Kindle Store can be given as a gift to anyone with an e-mail address. You do not need a Kindle to send or receive Kindle book gifts, and the recipient can read their gift on a registered Kindle device or any free Kindle reading application.

To gift a Kindle book, click the Give as a Gift button located under the Buy button on Kindle Store product detail pages. You can also gift Kindle books through your recipient's Amazon Wishlist. Note that free books, books on pre-order, periodicals and other content in the Kindle Store cannot be gifted at this time.

To complete your Kindle Book gift order:

  1. Enter the personal e-mail address for your gift recipient.
  2. Enter an optional gift message.  If you'd like to preview the notification your recipient will receive, click thePreview E-mail button.
  3. Click the Place your order button to finish your gift purchase using your Kindle 1-click payment method.

Note: Make sure you enter the personal e-mail address for your gift recipient, not their kindle.com e-mail address.

Gift Notification

Your gift recipient will be notified of their gift at the e-mail address you provide.  We will send a notification at the time the gift order is placed.

Paying for Digital Gifts

Purchases of Kindle book gifts use your default 1-Click payment method. If you do not have a 1-Click payment method set up, you will be prompted to do so during the purchase process. We'll charge your credit or debit card when you place your order. Kindle book gifting currently requires a credit or debit card on file, even if the price of the item will be fully covered by an Amazon.com Gift Card or promotional balance.

Viewing and Resending Gift Orders

You can see the Kindle book gifts you've purchased in Your Account. From the order summary, you can redeliver the gift if needed.
Note: We'll only charge your payment method when you initially place your gift order.
To view a Kindle Book gift order:

  1. Visit Your Digital Orders in Your Account.
  2. Select "All Digital Orders" from the pull-down menu and click the GO button.
  3. Click the View Order button next to the gift order you want to see.

To resend your digital gift:

  1. Click the "Resend it" link on the Order Summary.
  2. Click the Resend digital gift button.

42 Books Read

I managed to read 42 books this year. I know to you fanatical readers out there that’s nothing, but I think that must be the largest number of books read in a year for me, since high school.

Actually finished that last one a few days back, and before I start another was catching up on a few articles or papers I had printed out. Some have been sitting on my desk for a year at least.

Like, How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?, by N.T. Wright. I would recommend reading it if you are interested in the Bible and how we should interact with it as a church. Good stuff in there.

 

O.K. didn’t occur to me to include the list, till someone mentioned it in a comment on Facebook. So here is the list for 2010 (The links are for my reviews.):

1) The Fidelity of Betrayal by Peter Rollins

2) Matthew a Self Study Guide by Irving L. Jensen

3) The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

4) Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Books 1-3) by Rick Riordan

5) 500 Cocktails by Wendy Sweetser

6) The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

7) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

8) I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

9) It’s Really All About God by Samir Salmanovic

10) Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

11) The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon S. Wood

12) Facing the Lion by Joseph Lekuton

13) God’s Politics by Jim Wallis

14) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

15) On Writing by Stephen King

16) Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers by Victor Appleton

17) The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice

18) Point Blank (Alex Rider book 2) by Anthony Horowitz

19) Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

20) Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn

21) Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work by Eugene H. Peterson

22) Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

23) Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson

24) Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

25) Leading with My Chin by Jay Leno

26) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

27) The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

28) The Seeing Stone by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

29) Lucinda’s Secrete by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

30) The Wrath of Mulgarath by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

31) Thanksgiving by Glenn Alan Cheney

32) The History of Farting by Benjamin Bart

33) Aqua Church by Leonard I. Sweet

34) Love Has a Face by Michele Perry

35) In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord by Terry Brooks

36) The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins

37) Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

38) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

39) Mosaic by Amy Grant

40) A Purse Driven Christmas by Anita Renfroe

41) Insects by Barbara Taylor

42) The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine


The Next Christendom (book review)

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global ChristianityThe Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like reading the work of futurists and speculating alongside them about the coming events. Philip Jenkins is not a futurists, but his book The Next Christendom does make future predictions about the Christian religion.

His view is a shift in the religion from being ruled and dominated by the Global North to the South. Mainly Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Lots of numbers in the book. Recitation of statistics, again, again, and again. Makes for some dry reading.

However the historical recap of Christianity is nice. He attempts to correct our view of Christianity as a Western religion by reminding us of it's roots in the East. In fact the history parts of the book were by far my favorite.

I do have an issue with his definition of who is a Christian and who is not. For his book and stats he counts anyone who claims to be a Christian as one. Also seems that he includes people as Christian if someone else claims they are Christian, like a parish priest or a government official. I would have preferred a more strict definition, i.e. the faith has to have caused some tangible change in your life.

He also avoids the financial issue. He spends a good deal of time discussing the shift of Christian leadership to the South, where the theology and practice are more conservative and Pentecostal in nature. His view is that this will cause change in the North, where we tend to be more liberal in our theology. Having lived in Kenya now for almost 6 years I do see this conservative and Pentecostal trend. However I don't see the church putting up much of a serious challenge to the north's liberalness. Primarily due to the need for funds. Money changes everything.

All in all a decent book for those interested in the future of Christianity.

View all my reviews


Love Has a Face

Love Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman's Miraculous Journey with Jesus in SudanLove Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman's Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan by Michele Perry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggle to give this book 3 out 5 stars. I sometimes liked it, but I disliked a good portion as well.

I can identify with many of her experiences as a white person moving to an African nation that is predominately made up of black people. I enjoyed those stories, and understood what she was saying.

However I had a hard time swallowing the "spiritual" explanations for some of the illnesses of the children she cares for.

I was particularly disturbed by the story of the 4 month old baby who was supposedly possessed by a demon.

She is on the right path when it comes to love. Especially when it comes to demonstrating that love in practical ways to the community. Perhaps one day she will lose the dependence on charismatic-ism or Pentecostalism and realize that Jesus is plenty on His own.

Not a bad book, worth reading if you're interested in cross cultural work in Africa.

View all my reviews


A specific way you can help…

Johnny and I have been thinking of ways to help more people in the community. Lately, it’s been difficult to meet the needs of our two homes for orphans PLUS the community needs as well.

One of the ideas we have to free up funds is to shift to a smaller house. Our current house is $650 a month rent for 7 bedrooms plus 3 smaller ‘houses.’ We would like to find a house that has 5 bedrooms and a small house with it for Ben’s family in the $375 or less range. Johnny plans on house hunting starting Monday. He thinks he can find something by the end of the week.

How you can help:  We don’t have the money we need to move. Our rent is paid on the house we are in, thankfully, but we still need money for a deposit and the first month’s rent on a new place, plus money to hire trucks to help us move all of our things. So we’ll need about $1,000.

Please be in prayer with us concerning this. I feel, that it’ll help us greatly in the long run if we can cut our living expenses for our home. It’ll allow us to meet more needs that are in the community as well.

~Kate

Ps

I try to avoid asking for money on our blog. Please forgive me this time.


Quote of the Week

“If you really want to understand the Raramuri, you should have been there when this ninety-five-year-old man came hiking twenty-five miles over the mountain. Know why he could do it? Because no one every told him he couldn’t. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man. -Micah True, p. 50

From Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run