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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Seeds of Turmoil The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East by Bryant Wright

This book presents a compelling argument that traces the the current crises in the Middle East back to Abraham of the Bible (Old Testament). From Abraham and Sarah's sin, that was meant to "help God" by allowing Sarah's servant, Hagar, to bear Abraham's first son to the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham that Sarah will bear him a son: Ishmael and Isaac; Jacob and Esau; the "birth" of the chosen people, Israel; Israel's struggles and becoming a nation; Israel's loss of its nation (and the Jews were scattered among other nations); Israel's becoming of a nation again in 1948; Israel's wars with the Muslim nations since 1948; coupled with the explanations of the beginning and rise of Christianity and Islam.

The author makes a very insightful and compelling biblical and historical account for the current Middle Eastern Crises. I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, as I assumed it would be based on bible prophesies that are hard to understand. This book is not about bible prophesy, though some is cited and is easily verified with the Bible. This book is fascinating. I read the book practically nonstop, it was so hard to put down. Everything, including Islam, can be traced back to Abraham.

I highly recommend this book. It well thought, thorough and includes a time line of events. It may seem far fetched, but the author describes a biblical, historical and chronological account of events that makes it hard to deny a strong correlation with the present Middle East.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Decline & Fall of the Catholic Church in America, by David Carlin

This book is a historical account of the sociological trend of the Catholic Church in America from pre 1960 to 2003, when the book was published. It is a thorough study that can be summed up as how the factors of Vatican II, the end of the Catholic "ghetto" (or, the end of the US Catholic Church's separation from outside influences, such as Protestantism and culture) and the cultural revolution of the 1960's and early 70's led to the great decline in the Catholic Church in America. Actually, the author is so thorough, he explains the factors the influenced the identity of America before it became a nation through the emergence of secularism. Going from Christan to Judeo-Christian to what is now (not specifically identified), but is most certainly non-Christian.

Although it is a sociological study, it is easy to read and for me, it was hard to put down. Even more, it seems to parallel what is going on in mainstream Protestant Churches that is leading to the decline of Christianity as a whole. The author demonstrates what happens when churches try to become ecumenical, which results in a loss of particular beliefs and compromise that washes away Christianity. This is also the result of identifying denominations and accepting all denominations as equal. The Catholic Church cannot survive when it accepts denominations that are in complete opposition or in any degree of opposition to their beliefs as being equal. It's a recipe for disaster and results in loss of membership as well as the loss of true Catholics - those that firmly believe and practice all aspects of Catholicism.

The author even covers the sex scandals - this is truly a thorough and eye opening book on the decline and fall of Catholicism in America. Trying not to end on a negative note, the author suggests how the Catholic Church in America can recover and become a great church again. This part of the book is also an enlightening eye opener.

Easy to read and well written. I highly recommend this book to Catholics as well and Protestants. We all can learn important lessons from this book.

Sophia Institute Press sent me a complimentary copy of this book for me to review.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saint Francis by Robert West

Saint Francis by Robert West is a biography of Saint Francis, which begins from his youth through his conversion, devotion to living the Gospels, to his death. During the time in the middle ages where the Church was plagued with corruption, Francis became a fully devout follower of Jesus. Taking a vow of poverty and intensely working on his prayer life, Francis attracted many followers. Francis went from a wild and seemingly ungodly youth to become an example of Christ. It is evident that God had plans for Francis that became apparent in visions or dreams that Francis had.

The book is interesting and it certainly made me want to work on my prayer life. Francis grew to have such a connection with God, it was more than simply prayer. It was enlightening as I didn't know much about St. Francis and I now can see how he became the Patron Saint of animals. Francis believed all creatures revealed God's love, and it can be argued that Francis furthered Jesus's command to love one another to include all of God's creations.

It is also evident that no matter how sinful a person has been, no one is ever too sinful to change and live a life for God - that God can intervene and use you for His purposes. The immediate years before Francis died of illness truly show miraculous signs of God. I won't give it away, but I was astonished of the proof that God physically revealed on Francis that Francis indeed was devoted to God and living by the example of Jesus. It is impossible to deny that Francis was fulfilling God's will.

I don't know who the target audience of the book is, but it felt like it may have been geared to those in high school. No matter what your age is, it is certainly worth reading and I am certain it will inspire.