I just added a review on the book “Race Against Africa” by Stephen Lewis to my library here on unfoldingneurons.com.? This book helped me gain some insight into some of the background behind what I’ll experience when going to Zimbabwe this June.
Author: K. P. Yohannan
Publisher: Creation House
Now this was a challenging read! K.P. Yohannan has a message that the Western Church definitely needs to hear and heed. In the book, K.P. addresses the artificial Christianity that many people in western society practice as a result of “real Christianity” being diluted by the materialism, consumerism, and selfish pursuits so evident in our culture. I agree with many of the conclusions he draws but my only complaint is that he paints such a broad brush. I do believe that as a whole the Western Church is a poor image of the Church we read about in Acts but it is my observation that there are many “movements” or churches that are “bucking” the trend and trodding the “road to reality” in our midst. A good addendum to this book would be to highlight some of those churches that are living beacons for Christ in their communities.
On the whole though, this is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend anyone to read – be warned though – you might just feel a little bit [em]dirty[/em] after reading it…
Tags: book review, K.P. Yohannan, missions, christian living, consumerism, materialism, transformation, reality
Author: Ian Morgan Cron
“Chasing Francis” is the story of a pastor in a large church struggling with his faith in the light of different personal tragedies encountered in the first few pages of the book. After being forced to take time away from being a pastor Chase Falson embarks on a pilgrimage led by his Uncle (a friar in the Franciscan order) in which he learns about Saint Francis. In the course of this pilgrimage, Chase is forced to rethink some of his faith-positions in the past and his relationship with God. If you think I’m going to tell you everything that happens think again :lol:!
Ian Morgan Cron introduces in the preface of this book that the reasons for writing this book arose out of a discussion he was having with NavPress about how Francis’s,
…unique spin on ministry and the spiritual life might add something to the conversation about church in these postmodern days.
In the course of their discussion they came to the conclusion that such a analysis would best be told in story form rather than adding to the already prolific amount of biographical work on Saint Francis.
The result is what Cron terms, “wisdom literature” – a balance of fiction and nonfiction as he wrote a fictional story (Chase Falson and Putnam Hill Community church) pulling from the non-fictional history (Saint Francis). In the synthesis of the two Cron is adding his understanding of how looking at the life of Saint Francis has much to reveal about the way church is done as it transitions from a modern world to a post-modern world (catching up so to speak).
I thought the story was a good read, not spectacular but good nevertheless. It would definitely have more relevance to those involved in any form of ministry in the church but certainly others will appreciate the freshness in learning about Saint Francis. I must admit I didn’t know too much about Saint Francis prior to reading this book and his life is intriguing. However, in light of the fact that this is not a full biography of his life but rather a synopsis (which Cron readily admits) I’d be best to read more about him before drawing any firm conclusions.
With that said, however, through this book there are some interesting parallels made between the way the world and the church was in the time of Francis (transitioning from medieval to industrial) and what the church (western church specifically) and the world are going through right now as we transition from modern to post-modern. I especially identified with the exposing of the rampant consumerism the church has bought into that results in the church losing the ability to make an impact in culture.
Even though I enjoyed reading this book there were a couple things that bothered me.
1. Much emphasis was spent on the character and life of Francis to the detriment of emphasis on the life of Christ.
Of course Cron is quite clear that this book is an attempt at sharing about Saint Francis in story form but I find it ironic that Chase Falson finds his way back to God primarily through the influence of studying the life of Saint Francis without any supplementation through scripture and study of the life of Christ. I couldn’t help shaking the feeling as I was reading that in the course of his pilgrimage Chase Falson is being “converted” to the ways of Saint Francis rather than the ways of Christ.
Now, I’m not saying that Francis has nothing to teach us – far from it. But I do believe that somehow Cron could have weaven into his story a bit more by way of example in what Christ did that inspired Francis so much (or even shared specific scriptures or two). Even in Falson’s impassioned plea to his congregation at the end of the story, very little (too little IMHO) is mentioned about Jesus Christ.
Note that the accompanying study that the author included in the end of the book also carries little reference to scripture or the life of Christ. It would have been of more benefit to me if some time had been taken to highlight the influence the life of Christ had on Francis (paying attention to any particular scripture texts etc.)
2. The conclusion felt rushed.
I’m sure this had more to do with limits imposed by publishers rather than the will of the author but it seemed that the conclusion of the book was put together rather quickly.
I guess the major concern for me in reading this book is simply the fact that taken alone it seems to suggest that if we live as Saint Francis did we’ll be better (or at least more authentic) followers of Christ. But therein is the oxymoron. Would we really be followers of Christ – or followers of Francis?
Author: David Cannistraci
Category: Apostles, Leadership
Publisher: Regal Books
David has written a book that is an attempt to elucidate and give shape to an understanding of the biblical office of apostle and make an argument for the validity of restoring this office today. I think he has done a good job pointing out the important need for apostles and their ministry as well as clearly outlining the characteristics, work, and authority of the apostles as written about in the New Testament. There wasn’t too much in this book I disagreed with and I would recommend it as a read for any leader in the church.
As I was reading it however I began thinking of my own fellowship (PAOC) and how to some degree while it may not be directly recognized as such (with the term “apostles”) there are men functioning in that role already. We have sectional presbyters (who “oversee” groupings of churches in a district) and regional directors (who oversee groupings of sections in a district) and district superintendents (who oversee a district) and then the General Superintendent (who oversees the districts). I think it might benefit our fellowship more to understand (and perhaps recognize) the role these leaders have as “apostles”.
I also realized as I read this book how little is actually taught in our churches about the office of apostle and yet how important it is to teach. One of the reasons why I picked up this book in the first place was because an experience I had within my own church with a person who was convinced God was calling them to be an apostle. I wasn’t convinced however that this individual correctly understood the purpose of that office. Another thing that stood out was the fact that the individual had never really been in any place of leadership in the church and as such had never been proven. I doubted this person’s motive for seeking that mantle even though he claimed it was to restore the church to it’s “God-given calling”. The thing is, I had no doubt this person really did love God – but unfortunately, their pursuit of this office was misguided. How I wish I had the resource of this book as a companion to my understanding of what the Bible said when counseling this individual – it would have been a good resource to pass on to him as well.
Anyway, in this book, David does a good job of providing some sound counsel for understanding the ministry of apostles and it will be a welcome reference on my bookshelf!
Tags: apostolic movement, apostle, leader, church, ministry, five-fold ministry, David Cannistraci,
The Day I Was Crucified Rating: 3 out of 5 Author: Gene Edwards Year: 2005 Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers ISBN: 0768422248 I was given this book to read by a lady in my church. At first from the title I thought it would be a testimonial about someone giving their […]
One Holy Fire: Let the Spirit Ignite Your Soul Rating: 4 out of 5 Author: Nicky Cruz Year: 2003 Publisher: WaterBrook Press ISBN: 1578566525 What an inspiring read! In this book Nicky Cruz gives a glimpse into the ups and downs of his experiences as an evangelist in the course […]
I just finished reading the book, “Alien Intrusion” by Gary Bates last night. The summary and title of the book intrigued me because from childhood I have always been interested in stories involving “ET’s” (extraterrestrials) and UFO’s. I remember doing a presentation on UFO’s as a project for one of my classes in high school. […]