Monday, January 28, 2013

Batholomew's Passage

My review of Batholomew's Passage, a book we read recently during the Christmas season.  It's themed around Advent, which I don't get big into (feels too much of works righteousness) but the book was ok:

We read through this as a family during the Christmas season, and while it's a tame adventure story inter-woven with Biblical places and characters, it also tends to feature plentiful eye-rolling sequences that really push the boundaries of plausibility (I realize the author was aiming for a cliff-hanger after each section, but some of these were just ridiculous: avoiding snake pits, nearly being trampled by Romans, fleeing along the top of aqueducts, etc.)  Another point of contention would be some of the grimace-worthy bad theology nestled into the story (p.44 - "But the price of freedom is that He(God) has no control over some of the storms and tragedies we face."(!!)  That's a wacky Arminianism edging almost into the realm of deism (the kids and I had a good laugh at that part, though).  If you celebrate Advent and are looking for a mildly-entertaining yet flawed bit of reading for the kids, this is worth it.  Just use a little discretion with some of the wonky theology.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tim Keller 'Generous Justice'

Man, I'm out of date with updates on this blog. Need to get back up to speed.

 Just finished listening to Tim Keller's "Generous Justice" and, initial thought, I much prefer hearing Keller speak and share his ideas rather than someone else talking (the guy narrating the audio sounded to me like Steve Martin). The book was, as I expected, exceptional. Keller carefully lays out a case for the need for a greater outpouring, support and involvement with the poor and disadvantaged in society from a Christian perspective, citing among other places passages from patriarchs like Job and the compassion for the needy that was part of their life.

 The scope and detail of the book was comprehensive, but I would have liked to hear a little more about how compassion is shown to the orphan by means of adoption. I didn't catch much of that in the message, and think the cause of the fatherless has a natural connection to Scripture's frequent example of the theme of adoption (Abraham/Israel, Jesus, and even US!). Minor quarrel - the book was exceptional and heady enough in passages - namely dealing with the philosophical questions of the value of human life from a Scriptural perspective - that the book could almost use a second listen in places.