Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Benedict, Listening, and Jesus (Book Reviews August 2017)

Some books challenge you while others cause you to reflect.  Some authors speak to your soul while others remind you of truth. This month my reading has been full of all of these.  As I snuggle up on my chair with my kindle and a blanket, I have been challenged, confronted, and healed by the words of these authors.  Here are my reviews for the month.

1. The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher



The author proposes the Benedict Option as a way for Christians to live in community and live countercultural yet not isolated from the world.  The first half deals with the history of our culture as well as background on St. Benedict and his monastery.  My favorite chapter was the one about the monastery and the purpose for the routine and rules.
"Ordering one's actions is really about training one's heart to love and desire the right things, the things that are real, without having to think about it.  It is acquiring virtue as a habit." p. 57
 The author's solution isn't that we live like the monks but that we order our lives in a way that brings glory to God and gives us a structure to stay strong in hard times.  Some topics that he discusses are politics, liturgy, education, hard labor, and technology.  My biggest take aways are making sure I have a balance of time to think and being diligent to teach God's word to those God sends my way whether it is my students, my children, or even fellow workers.  


2. The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh



I am not a good listener but would like to be which is why I am reading The Listening Life.  I find this book to be a treasure even though I am only a little over half through the book.  Some passages step on my toes as they remind me to just listen without an agenda.  Other passages warm my heart as they describe how God listens to us. The author, Adam McHugh, writes about how we can listen better to God, scripture, creation, and others but also about the example of Jesus and God as they listen to us.  

Here are two of my favorite quotes from the book so far.
"My hope is that we will treat listening as an act of hospitality, one that opens us to the world, to the people in front of us and to the Lord who knocks at the door." p. 29
"If we submit the deepest part of ourselves to our listening, we have reason to believe that God will reveal the deep parts of himself to us. p. 96

3. Is Jesus Worth It? by Stacey Thacker

This first book in the series, The Girlfriends' Guide to the Bible comes out at the end of this month.  Stacey, the author, takes the book of Hebrews and goes through the book examining if Jesus is worth it.  It may seem like a simple question but in reality it is one that needs to be answered in a world of many world views, hardships, and unknowns.  Stacey's writing style is conversational yet well researched.  Her goal is for us to be in the word and even shares a bible study method she uses in one of the chapters.  I would like to go through it again with a friend or two as we dig into Hebrews and discuss the topics of each chapter. 



Here are two quotes that stood out to me as I read.
"The Israelites were living in who they once were instead of who God was calling them to be." (chapter 7)
"We can't run if we are broken.  Let his grace change the way you live and let it give you the strength to run." (chapter 9)
I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  So honestly, I would encourage you to read the book especially if you are looking for a book to study with a friend. 

Once again I am linking up with others at Modern Ms Darcy for her Quick Lit Link up.  It is a great place to go if you are looking for books to read or not to read.  Also I would love to hear in the comments books that you have enjoyed this month.  One last thing before I sign off is that the links above are affiliate links which just means if you click on the link and end up buying something then I get a little something towards my book fund at no cost to you. 

Blessings, TJ
 

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