Sunday, April 25, 2010

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John Eldredge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I'm not totally sure how I feel about this book. I read it as part of a church small-group, and when I checked out the reviews (before ever reading the book), I was nervous. Many reviews said that this book is guilty of using Scripture out of context, and basically comes off as new-age fluff with a bit of God-talk thrown in.

Having read the book, I definitely agree with the problems talked about in the reviews. The authors switch back and forth without telling the reader, so most of the time you have to guess who is speaking at any particular point in the book. I'm pretty sure the book uses more movie references than Scripture references. And I'm very uncomfortable with the authors talking about woman (Eve) being the "crown of creation" and God's "piece de resistance." I agree with my aunt's description of this kind of book - it portrays God as what we may want Him to be, instead of what He truly is. Most of the authors' assumptions about God come from emotion, not from Scripture.

OK, having said all that, this book wasn't completely worthless. It really reconnected me with the joyful, grace-ful side of Christianity. So often I get sucked into the view of my faith being a duty - a set of rights and wrongs, and I forget that Jesus loves me just as I am. This book encouraged me to stop striving so much and keep my eyes open for the messages that God is giving me in my everyday life. I am reminded to turn to God for comfort and peace during the tough times in my life, rather than getting upset with myself for not "measuring up."

So, as I said before, I don't really know what to think of this book. It's not for everyone, and what the authors say has to be taken "with a grain of salt." I've got to think that there's a book out there with a similar message, but that's presented better.

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Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist (Left Behind #3) Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist by Tim LaHaye

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is book 3 in the Left Behind series. I've found that the books seem to get slower and slower (and more full of fluff/back story) as you follow the series. I think this particular book was "just ok" for a couple of reasons.

First, the authors felt the need to retell almost the whole story from the last two books. I can understand their motives, since each book was published about a year apart. So if you followed the story as it came out, it may have been a year since you read the last installment, and you may need to be caught-up. But for me, who is reading the books much closer together, it's frustrating to read so many pages of information that I already know.

Secondly, the story just didn't feel as suspenseful as in the previous two books. It wasn't as much of a page-turner, at least for me. In fact, I put this book down for a couple weeks in the middle because I was bored. I did eventually pick it back up, and ultimately I am glad that I finished it.

One warning for potential readers: These authors have an amazing talent at making you want to read the next installment in the series. They end each book (at least, books 2 and 3) with a huge catastrophe, so you want to pick up the next book to see how it all turns out. So, even though I wasn't super-impressed with this book, I will still probably go on to read book 4.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ by Teri J. Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am a Christian, and I plan to unschool my daughter (who is now 3). I didn't know there was a community out there of Christians who unschool, so I'm very happy to know that there is. I had never thought of it before, but it makes sense that children in Biblical times were unschooled. I was especially encouraged to hear Isaiah 54:13 -

"All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children."

This obviously doesn't mean that God will be the teacher in a classroom, but that God has provided enough learning experiences in REAL LIFE that a classroom and curriculum are not necessary.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling by Sandra Dodd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an AMAZING book! I've been interested in the concept of unschooling for a while now, but I've never seen it so well explained as in this book. Like the author says, unschooling is really an extension of Attachment Parenting.

This book isn't only about an educational philosophy - it's about a whole new way of parenting (at least, new to me!). So many of the parents I know - even the Attachment Parents - limit their children's choices in many ways (mostly in the areas of TV and food). But this book makes such a good case for letting your children make as many decisions about their lives as is safe and possible.

After years of feeling guilty about the amount of TV my daughter watches, I'm finally realizing how much she actually LEARNS from the shows. And I'm interacting with her more when she's watching - explaining new concepts and answering questions.

I highly recommend this book to any parent, or anyone who wants to know more about unschooling.

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