Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book-Highlights 2016

Reading is pleasure

My pleasure is greatest when not only the writing style is perfect or the story compelling, but when the book widens my horizon and helps me to see our world as it is, to understand people who live in different circumstances than I do, to see the world through different eyes, when it feels real and authentic.

That's what these 15 books do in a great variety of ways.
These are the 15 books that impressed me the most out of the 140 I've read in 2016 so far (we've still 10 more days to read) and will be remembered for a long time.

(The links lead to my reviews.)

Will Patching: Mutilated

is not only one of the best crime thrillers I've ever read.

I learned things I hadn't known about the British atrocities during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and about body modification and suspension.

Christopher Stollar: The Black Lens

Child abuse and human trafficking happens everywhere at any given time and is a horrible crime we need to be aware of. This excellent novel shows this reality in a very authentic way.

Asaad Almohammad: An Ismael of Syria

This very personal and unconventional book throws some light on the conflict in the Middle East and on life as a Muslim immigrant.

Angela B. Chrysler: Broken

This incredibly honest memoir gives insight in an insane mind and shows the brokenness after child abuse and rape.

Suzanne Chazin: No witness but the moon

This excellent crime thriller reflects the life of undocumented immgrants in the USA.

Zeke Caligiuri: This is where I am

Zeke is in prison and he shows us in a mixture of youth slang, poetry and philosophy that people in prison aren't all monsters but human beings struggling not to lose their mind.

Ryan Rufus: Extra reine Gnade (Extra Virgin Grace)

This books reveals the freedom we find through God's amazing grace.

Christopher Bowron: Devil in the Grass

Satanists are evil, manipulative and power-obsessed and in this gripping novel they literally stop at nothing to reach their goals.

Laila Ibrahim: Living Right

Christian faith and homosexuality - a difficult issue.

Laila describes the hypocritical and dangerous attitude of christians who put law over love.

Anthony Vicino: Time Heist

Sometimes it's worth reading a book not because of the story but just for the way it is written.

This is one of the few science fiction books I really like.

Roger Deloach: Truth
This lovely novel is a book for all who know that something is missing in their life, who know that the life to the full promised by Jesus (John 10:10) should be different from what they experience.

Mark Matthews: All Smoke Rises

The unfathomable horror of addiction gets under your skin in his sequel to the even better Milk Blood.

Gregory Brown: Ephesians

This deep, thorough, sometimes challenging Bible study explores Paul's epistel to the Ephesians on over 500 pages.

The Bergh: The Lines (The girl who couldn't come up with an original title

This dark, intense short stories (actually there are two stories) make you feel what depression is like.

Marita A. Hansen: Broken English

Temptation, guilt, child abuse, growing-up in the ghetto within a highly disturbed Maori family are hidden in this very sexy and unsettling novel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Digging deeper


Six weeks ago Gregory asked me to write a review.

Yes, it took some time to get through this excellent book about Paul's epistel to the Ephesians. This is not a book you just pick up and read through. Some thoughts are so deep I had to let them sink in. Others are challenging and sometimes I even questioned his exegesis (not all being pre-elected). But that is not a bad thing: it makes me search for truth.

I had read this epistel many times before. Some of my favorite verses are from this letter, but this study guide helped me to dig deeper and to see the more holistic picture of the height, broadth, length and depth of God's love.

I probably wouldn't have chosen a "Teacher's Guide" and I generally avoid books for study groups with their forced questions after every chapter, but I'm glad I read this one.

Here's my review:

"If we do not know God's words, if we do not know theology, then we cannot truly worship him".

That's the premise of this excellent study guide. It wants to help us to know God's word.
It is true to the word, easy to read, but difficult to digest, challenging and digging deep.
This is not a superficial overview of the epistel but a thorough exegesis of nearly every single verse.

"Are you being the church and not just attending it?"

What does this even mean for the church as a whole, for your local church and for you as God's child? How can we really be the body of Christ?

We are God's beloved children, citizens and heirs of His Kingdom, part of His body and soldiers in a spiritual war.

Let's learn to live accordingly.

This study guide is meant as a Bible Teachers Guide, but it can also be used in small groups or in private study. I really hope that many Bible Teachers and Students will use it, because many sermons and messages in our days lack this depth of knowledge.