Showing posts from January, 2013

The Good Father- Noah Hawley. Book Review

It's the old cliche about a good book, but with Noah Hawley's 'The Good Father', I really couldn't put it down!

It's easy to say what the book is about, the story of estrangement between a father and his grown up son, a relationship broken since divorce years before, now brought into the spotlight through the unexpected murder of an up and coming Senator by the lost boy. The information about the plot is not enough though, it's a book you have to feel.

The sudden reordering of the Father's emotional world is shattering, his intense introspection and the impact on his new family heartbreaking. It reads like a thriller, at times with a touch of Grisham's legal procedure, mixed with big widescreen vista roadtrip descriptions of small town America. The truth as it begins to emerge is hard to swallow and you are left googling to see if this novel is really a true story.

What is most striking is the ordinariness of the lives of this family. They look just l…

Missions trends and the 10/40 window

The missionary movement has progressed in thinking and strategy over the last few centuries. Moving from a territorial idea – missionaries connected to trade routes and coastal areas in the previously unreached areas of India, China and Africa – to a later movement that saw daring groups push inland to the undiscovered interiors. China Inland Mission was a case in point.
The emphasis towards the end of the last century was to recognise the need to reach more than just the land, but people groups with the gospel. Simply establishing church bases in a nation was never the goal. Seeing the gospel communicated and rooted in the local populations through discipleship is the greater aim.

The big promise of the bible concerns this kind of discipleship to the ends of the earth. The colourful descriptions of Revelation show a huge number of disciples of Jesus, coming from every tribe, tongue and nation. In other words, from every people group that has developed on planet earth. In the here and n…

Cain, culture and religious rights.

There is now an assumption amongst Christians that the prevailing culture is either the enemy : So we fight against it and talk of eroding rights and standards as with the BA discrimination case yesterday. Or the alternative is that we make our modern culture the primary reference point and reinterpret our theology in the light of this, getting shaped by and submerged in culture: Like Steve Chalke appears to have done with his developing views on homosexuality.

Neither extreme is appropriate or necessary, but a polarisation amongst believers has occurred. Since words like ‘contextualisation’ and ‘ecumenicalism’ entered our vocabulary 40 years ago we have begun to move in opposing directions which now see us split down pretty well defined lines of evangelical and liberal. Strangely enough, the Evangelicals amongst us often find ourselves in closer accord with the Orthodox(again, as with the Coptic Christian and BA),than with the liberal.

The scriptures don’t require a leaning in eithe…

Paternoster Promise!

I've enjoyed reading books by the magnificently named Dutch Sheets, and the even more unlikely Preston Sprinkle this week! We just don't make names like that in the UK.
My favourite quote of the week comes from a proper, solid, sensible British name, Richard Foster. His classic on Prayer is every bit as worth reading as Dutch Sheets. Both will get you out from under the sheets earlier in the morning and onto your knees.

Writing of the Lord's prayer, Foster says:
"For sheer power and majesty, no prayer can equal the really is a total prayer. Its concerns embrace the whole world, from the coming of the kingdom, to daily bread. It is lifted up to God in every conceivable setting. It rises from the altars of the great cathedrals and from obscure shanties in unknown places. It is spoken by both children and kings. It is prayed at weddings and death beds alike.
The rich and poor, the intelligent and illiterate, the simple and the wise - all speak this pray…

Book of the Year 2012

Here is the annual award for my book of the year. It is totally subjective, based on my own peculiar reading habits.
Last years Book of the Year was deservedly taken by 'The Case for Working with your hands, or why office work is bad for us and fixing things feels good' by Matthew Crawford. The long title alone gives it kudos - but the book is even better than the title!

I've read lots of great fiction this year, and an honourable mention goes to the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Just because something is a mainstream bestseller for teens and gets a movie franchise doesn't make it bad fiction - don't be a book snob! I also really enjoyed reading Brother Andrew's 'God's Smuggler' again, 25 years on from the first time.

If there was a golden raspberry award it would go to 'Last Train from Liguria - Christine Hickey. I persevered for a couple of hundred pages but was so bored waiting for something to happen in her depressing world that…