I’ve got a creative itch.
All week long you’ve been reading book reviews by some of my favorite (in)courage lovies, and by now I thought you might be a little book review twitchy. And, like I said, I’ve got a creative itch, and when you take that into account along with our DaySpring bosses giving us free reign to “be creative if you like”…
I decided to take ’em up on it. They have no idea what I’m capable of, do they?
Well, I’m feeling inspired and a little sassy, and to change things up a bit, I’m offering you the first ever…
Haiku Book Review
If all goes according to my burst of writerly inspiration, I’ll offer 17 dynamite-in-small-package syllables for each book--reasons why you should consider adding it to your library— along with a quote or two from the author and why I’ve included the title in my limited selection. “Playing favorites” was nearly impossible, but all of these challenged, inspired and changed me as a result of my reading.
: : : : : :
For Women Only
by Shaunti Feldhahn
Questions and answers
Inside mind & heart of man
Secret truths revealed
“I discovered that there were many things I thought I understood about men–but really didn’t.”
“The more we understand the men in our lives, the better we can support and love them in the way they need to be loved.”
This is an easy, marriage-maturing read; don’t mistake “easy” for anything less than important. Feldhahn raises questions through a survey format answered by husbands, and the result is eye-opening. I read this on trip with my husband, asking him the same questions posed in the book and giving him the freedom to answer honestly without judgment or over-reaction. A healthy exercise I’d encourage every couple to try, you’ll discover you don’t know everything about your spouse!
The Irresistible Revolution
by Shane Claiborne
Hands and feet of Christ
Reject status quo
“Ordinary does not mean normal, and I lament the dreadful seduction which has resulted in Christians becoming so normal.”
“We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”
Two cents: Fortuitous timing had me reading this on the way to our family’s only trip to Disney World a few years ago; I cannot imagine a starker contrast between rich and poor, wretched excess and poverty. Claiborne leads The Simple Way and lives the simple way, and in his writing I am challenged by my lack of conviction to do the same. He makes me see through new eyes the plight of the poor and challenges me to do something about it. The Irresistible Revolution will prick your heart and cultivate new love for Jesus and people.
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Deep calling to deep
Living in community
“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.”
“Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim.”
“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it.”
Two cents: Only 122 pages, this was a difficult book for me to read; I can’t imagine tackling The Cost of Discipleship, almost three times as long. Bonhoeffer unravels the beauty of living in community and his chapter on Confession and Communion blew me away. His characterization of confession to the body and what that means, coupled with subsequent forgiveness and its ramifications, will leave you shaking your head in “Ah ha!” I’d buy it for that chapter alone, but the entire book will challenge and inspire you. You’ll need to chew on it s l o w l y.
Waking the Dead
by John Eldredge
You’re in a battle
A tug-of-war of the heart
Fight! (or Satan wins)
“[Satan’s] plan from the beginning was to assault the heart…. Make them so busy, they ignore the heart. Wound them so deeply, they don’t want a heart. Twist their theology, so they despise the heart. Take away their courage. De story their creativity. Make intimacy with God impossible for them….Of course you heart would be the object of a great and fierce battle. It is your most precious possession.”
“The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on our heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”
Two cents: I’ll be honest: I’m not a big John Eldredge fan. Though I know many loved “Wild at Heart” I got to a point I was rolling my eyes reading it (yes, I know, it was written for men). But I picked up this book because of the title–it was during one of the lowest points in my life–and I could NOT put it down. I truly believe God used the second quote featured above to do a transforming work in my life, to alter my perception of the work of the Enemy and to understand my heart so much better. The perfect book to read if you’re struggling with defeat and pain in relationships.
Don’t Waste Your Life
by John Piper
Time is precious gift
Lived for God’s glory or self
Wisdom chooses well
“The thought of coming to my old age and saying through tears, ‘I’ve wasted it! I’ve wasted it!’ was a fearful and horrible thought to me.”
“Therefore, at the heart of the meaning of work is creativity. If you are God, your work is to create out of nothing. If you are not God, but like God–that is, if you are human–your work is to take what God as made and shape it and use it to make him look great.”
Two cents: John Piper books wear me out; I have difficulty tracking with him a lot of the time. But, his words challenge and inspire me to focus on Christ and live in a way to bring glory to God not to self (It hurts to think how miserably I fail). This is one of his shorter works, and it’s a battle cry to make your life count in the context of the Kingdom. When he illustrates the wasted life, oh…my…I want no part of that!
Love and Respect
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
The Crazy Cycle:
Marriage spins out of control!
It makes so much sense!
“Without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love–ad nauseam.”
“When you love or respect unconditionally, you are following God and His will for you. Ultimately, your spouse and your marriage have nothing to do with it. You are simply demonstrating your obedience and trust….”
Two cents: This is one of the best books you’re going to find to explain conflict in marriage and to help you resolve it; I wish every couple I know would read it early in marriage and then practice many of the principles suggested. For my husband, Eggerichs gave word and voice to some of his unexpressed frustration, and the results were marriage improving. I especially liked Parts 1 & 2; and though I don’t agree with everything stated in the book (at times when Eggerichs was speaking to wives I sensed a tinge 0f condescension) the good far outweighs the bad.
The Tales of Three Trees
A traditional folktale retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
Sometimes dreams come true
But maybe not like you thought
They’re even better
Two cents: This is one of my favorite children’s books, sweet, succinct, and easy to understand even for the very young. It’s one of the few books I never tired of reading aloud to my babies. Given to us as a gift, I’ve bought copies through the years to share with others. This is a necessary addition to every children’s library; young ones will see how their hopes and dreams can flourish and turn out better than imagined in surrender to Christ. I love it.
other MUST-READS I wanted to include but didn’t (and now I’m wondering why…):
And somehow I missed that these weren’t required to be Christian books; had a realized that, at a minimum I would have included my #1 favorite book of all time: To Kill a Mockingbird!!!
Your turn: If you’ve read any of my selections, how’d I do with the Haiku Review? Hit or miss? And if you haven’t, are you considering reading any now? And do share your favorite books! Brownie points if you write a haiku review!!
Affiliate links are included for all my book selections; proceeds from any purchases will fund books for Bloom Book Club readers who need a little help purchasing Club reads. I love that :).
by Robin Dance, whose blog, PENSIEVE, is named after a literary device created in a children’s popular book series :).