Monday, July 20, 2009

The Cross: 38,102 miles. 38 years. 1 mission.

by Arthur Blessitt,
Authentic, 2008

Blessitt tells an incredible story, a true story, his own story. Accepting Jesus as his personal Saviour and Lord at the tender age of seven, he learned early in life to listen for, and obey, Jesus' voice. This led to his special calling when he was about 29 years old - to carry the cross into all the nations of the world that others might see and hear the message of the cross, and know that God loves them and wants to save them.

By the year 2000, Blessitt had spent 38 years cross-walking through the world. He travelled 38, 102 miles, and God opened the doors to every country, including places that would not normally welcome the cross, such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea. In this book, Blessitt shares many of his extraordinary experiences - among them meeting Yasser Arafat, sleeping in a prince's abode, facing a firing squad, and chipping pieces from the Berlin Wall as it was torn down. What moved me the most were Blessitt's stories of God's healing touch on people he encountered while carrying the cross. What saddened me most was the rejection of the cross by church leaders in Montreal, part of my own country.

Blessitt writes this book not only to share the true tales of an intrepid adventurer, but to encourage Christians everywhere to heed God's call on their lives, to share the good gospel news with others, and to be passionate about their faith and the cause of Christ.

A fascinating read.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Love You, Miss Huddleston: and other inappropriate longings of my indiana childhood

by Philip Gulley
HarperOne, 2009

After enjoying Gulley's fictional Harmony series - tales of a Quaker pastor and his quirky congregation - I was sure I'd like reading snippets from memoirs of his childhood.

At times I shook with laughter, even as I read in public places. Gulley has an intuitive sense of the ridiculous and elevates the humour in real life through exaggeration. Try this on for size:

"'They call it the kissing disease, you know,' Dr. Kirtley said. 'Somebody been kissing you?' He winked at my mother.

"I had two aunts - big-lipped women who wore bright orange lipstick and stuck their lips to my cheeks like suction cups. Whenever they were within arm's length, they'd pull me to them and glom on to my cheek like a sucker fish. Now it appeared they had infected me. Killed by my big-lipped aunts."

While the book isn't a complete laugh-a-minute, it certainly has its fill of light-hearted moments. Thought-provoking at times, it calls to mind a time when life was simpler and relationships richer. Entertaining - a wonderful book to take with you to the cottage or wherever you vacation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Deals & Smart Steals: How to $ave Money on Everything

Good Housekeeping,
Hearst Books, 2008

Filled with information on how to be a smart shopper and get a good deal, the Canadian reader benefits most from general tips like, "If you are a good customer, you can ask the bank issuing your credit card to waive the annual fee." On the other hand, quite a few of the suggestions seem common sense - "pay your credit card bill in full and on time to avoid interest charges." The majority of websites and companies named are American, thus rendering the book best suited to U.S. consumers.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions: a Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World

By James A. Beverley
Thomas Nelson, 2009

The author's credentials are impressive. As Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, and Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, along with three decades of specialization in the study of new and world religions, he is the perfect choice to pen such a volume as this.

Covering all the major world religions, as well as a number of smaller ones, and fringe groups, the book offers the following features:
  • historical information on each major religion with detailed timelines
  • profiles of each group's primary leaders
  • an inventory of key principles and beliefs of each religion
  • an analysis and critique of religions from a Christian perspective
  • opinion and commentary on the controversial issues related to specific religious groups
  • recommended resources - bibliographic information and extensive Internet sources for further study
  • new groups explored - including The Lord is Our Righteousness Church and the Sold-Out Discipling Movement
  • ten tests for truth in religions - a set of multifaceted tests that Christians should apply when approaching the faith traditions of others - and their own faith

With some of the smaller groups, I did find that there was very little information, but this was probably a reflection of the fact that little information was available to the author as well. I was a bit surprised to see that there was nothing on the Shinto faith (Japan), but it was the only "obvious" omission.

Excellent for high school, college and university students, as well as the interested layperson. A solid addition to public library shelves and to one's personal bookshelves. I will turn to this again and again to become more knowledgeable about the various belief systems that exist, and to be better able to respond to door-to-door missionaries from different faiths.