ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: 'The Second Listening Book' by James Webb

Updated on January 27, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

The Second Listening Book is the second volume in “The Listening Books” series and was published in 2016. This book by James Webb contains more than two dozen stories utilized as modern parables. What are the pros and cons of this Christian book?

Disclaimer: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book through BookCrash for review.

Introduction to "The Second Listening Book"
Introduction to "The Second Listening Book" | Source

Pros of “The Second Listening Book”

This is a short, readily digested book. The paperback version is 158 pages. The book can be read even more quickly than this length suggests, since there are pictures throughout. Many of the parables are only a page or two. In fact, some of the best parables are the shortest.

I’ve read Christian apologetic books that required a Bible and/or dictionary as a reference. This book is written in accessible language and doesn’t require thorough understanding of Scripture. It is also laced with bits of humor to keep the reader engaged.

Some of the parables are easily understood, while others are more open to interpretation. For example, “Everything in Its Place” is intended to mirror Martha wanting to do housework while Jesus was sitting in her living room talking. It looks at things from what would have been Martha’s perspective had Jesus not corrected her. Many of the parables, though, are not as easily correlated with the intended message but are interesting sources of discussion with others.

This book is available in paperback and audiobook formats. As of this writing, it isn’t available in Amazon Kindle format.

Cons of “The Second Listening Book”

The parable Border Control is problematic. The Bible does not require us to take in refugees who hold views directly contrary to our own and disrespect our values, and we are morally obligated to refuse to take in refugees who pose a threat to our safety while it is unfair to bring in more poor when we don’t take care of the needy already here (and tend to discriminate against the native born poor in favor of the more exotic foreign refugee). If the moral of this parable was that it was insane to offer them entrance and then refuse to train them in the culture, it isn’t clear in this regard. If the parable is intended to criticize the lower status of new converts by some churches, it doesn’t relay that message well. Either way, the parable fails.

Several parables attempt to make the same point as other parables, bordering on repetitive. It is ironic to say that such a short book could have been even shorter.

About the Author of "The Second Listening Book"
About the Author of "The Second Listening Book" | Source

Observations

“The Second Listening Book” is based on traditional, conservative doctrine, not the more liberal, feel good Christianity that dominates works like “The Shack” that focus on feelings to the point of denying key points of doctrine.

There are several parables in this book that are intended to make you think about chasing a big idea or grand dream at the expense of actually doing things like helping others. The effort expended chasing after that one perfect solution or waiting for the ideal answer causes us to miss out on the many, smaller opportunities we have.

There is at least one jab at modern secularized Christianity, where we focus on the happy endings and modern platitudes over morality. Other stories try to convey the risks of reminiscing about the not really so good “good old days” and comparing your life to that of others.

The author is a British Protestant, which gives it a different flavor than many American works. It is, however, universally accessible.

Summary

“The Second Listening Book” presents its points in thoughtful, short parables that are universally accessible. The only weaknesses are multiple parables trying to reiterate the same lessons and several parables that aren’t clear in their message. However, it is a good read to help you think about the temptations and challenges of being a Christian in a predominantly secular, often hostile society.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)