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Recommended Reading From a Church Librarian
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Reviews of Contemporary Christian Fiction and Nonfiction
I have been busy reviewing books for my church's library again. Here are six I couldn't wait to share.The first two, Viral and To be Perfectly Honest, I received free from the publisher for review. The others I purchased myself or borrowed from the public library.
Viral by Leonard Sweet is an exploration of the differences between two cultures: "Gutenburgers" and "Googlers." What are the implications for the Christian church and for evangelization as the world has become more interconnected and relational through the internet and the smart phone? Sweet helps those of us who grew up in the Gutenburg (book-based, word-based) culture understand how the viral technologies like Twitter and Facebook can be an asset to be used for the Kingdom of God.
To be Perfectly Honest by Phil Callaway is a record of Phil's successes and failures during a year-long experiment. Could this Christian humorist go 365 days without telling a lie? Callaway gives it his best shot and lets us listen in as he talks with Mormon missionaries, makes pet care arrangements with the atheists at Post-Rapture Pet Care, and attends his class reunion. He deals with the tragic, the ridiculous and the mundane during his year of truth and gives the rest of us food for thought. Just how honest are we with each other—and with God?
You Lost Me is written by David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group. He has studied the trends and explains why 18-29-year-old people (Mosaics or Generation Y) are leaving the church. He uses their own words to explain where the church is failing to connect with these young people. Just one example is the exodus of creative youth. These musicians and artists found their churches were not comfortable with their God-given gifts and found no place for them to exercise their talents. These youth often became exiles, finding ways to serve God outside the institutional church or even giving up on God because His people had rejected them. This is an important book for parents and anyone else who cares about nurturing youth and mentoring younger adults.
To Be Perfectly Honest...
"You Lost Me" Video
More Great Titles
The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson is a challenge to the church. Henderson begins with a thought experiment: Imagine a Sunday morning on which no women showed up. For most churches, that Sunday would be a disaster. Despite the importance of women in any church, however, Henderson's quantitative and qualitative research shows that many women are disappointed, abused or taken for granted by the traditional church. The Barna Group ran the numbers and Jim interviewed women all over North America for this study. It is time for men and women in the Christian church to think about women's needs and women's gifts in the light of how Jesus interacted with women.
The Twelfth Imam and The Teheran Initiative are the first two installments of a new thriller series by Joel Rosenberg. The story begins when the American embassy in Iran is attacked in 1979. It follows an Iranian family as they help an American couple escape, are given asylum in the United States, and build a new life as American citizens. In the aftermath of 9/11 one of their sons, a genius, is recruited by the same CIA agent who helped them escape from Iran. When he is sent to Iran to uncover a nuclear weapons operation, he finds more than the agency expected. How does he deal with rumors that the Twelfth Imam has appeared? What about reports of Muslims who have seen Issa (Jesus) and become secret Christians? Add a romantic interest in the daughter of the diplomats his parents helped back in 1979 and you have the start of another winning series by Joel Rosenberg. Book number three is due in 2013; The suspense may kill me!