September 20, 2014

Recent Reads & Reviews

1 || Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again, by Preston Yancy (Purchase / Author's Website)

What happens when you hit a point in your spiritual walk where God just goes silent? That is the question author Preston Yancy lives into and through in his memoir, Tables in the Wilderness. Raised in the Southern Baptist church, Preston begins exploring the depths of his own faith during college, which in the midst of great loss, leads him to the Anglican church (in his own words: "Baptist sensibility-Anglican spirituality"). This is not another memoir of yet another millennial bashing the church and then leaving, but of one who stayed and wrestled... and learned what it truly means to trust, and that even in the midst of a desert, we have a God who sets a place for us at His table.

I happened to really love this book despite some small things I wouldn't agree on if Yancy and I were sitting at coffee, chatting about theology. Having grown up in a more orthodox tradition of Christian faith than the popular mainstream "evangelical" vain, I understood exactly what the author was getting at in his exploration of the Anglican church--how it practices the sacraments, saints, and the like. I know for some readers there will be confusion with those bits (may even be a bit off-putting), but that was not the case with this here reader. Yancy's weaving of beautiful quotes, poems, and descriptions of art the depict Christian truths were a treat. The writing style kind of reminded me of Donald Miller and Shauna Niequist, only it bent a bit more towards the poetic and had a tone of slowness (in a good kind of way). I found myself re-reading certain sections and writing notes in the margins when I came to spots where Yancy so perfectly put into words some of the things I've felt at times in my own spiritual walk. Memoirs are less about coming to a black and white conclusion, and more about sharing one's life in an honest way--readers accept both the messy and beautiful. The readers are invited to the table to simple listen and enter in. Yancy's book allowed that to happen for this reader, and I so enjoyed getting to read his story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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2 || When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over, by Addie Zierman (Purchase / Author's Website)

Memoirs like Addie Zierman's are not unusual to see sitting on bookshelves these days: stories of poster children who grew up in the Evangelical world of the 80's and 90's (the Jesus Freak Generation) and then hit walls... and are finding their way back to a rich, and vibrant faith. They're stories of untanglement--from man-made rules to the true meaning of God's grace. Zierman shares hers with deep vividness in the pages of When We Were on Fire.

Zierman's story is a roller coaster for sure in more ways than just one. She brought each chapter to life so well and made me feel like I was standing next to her throughout the whole book. I cried at a couple of spots, laughed at others, and echoed her girlfriends when they told her those missionary boys were real jerks. I love that the author did not sugar coat the messy parts of her story (and there is some gritty language (profanity))--because as Christians we really need to get better with bearing one another's pain and hiding our own. Her handling of the topic of loneliness was excellent as well. Although I did not grow up in the typical conservative-90's-wierd-Christian-subculture now labeled as the popular evangelicalism, I have many friends who were in the thick of purity rings/no dating, meet me at the pole days, and bad Christian rock, so I still could in many ways relate to her stories. The book is a quick read; a great book for a rainy weekend in with free time on your hands.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books, as part of Waterbrook Multnomah‘s Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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3 || Colliding with Destiny: Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth, by Sarah Jakes

The story of Ruth in the Old Testament is a beautiful picture of redemption, restoration, and legacy that images these themes on an even larger scale in our journey with Christ. In her most recent book, author Sarah Jakes, attempts to illuminate these truths. Unfortunately, for me at least, that was not the case in reading Jakes' book. 

I had a hard time getting into this book. I love the story of Ruth and have done my fair share of Bible studies on that little book in the Old Testament now, and Jakes' book did not impress me. Now I will be fair--I stopped reading about eleven chapters in, but for the most part I felt like I was reading stories from the author's life and little on the book of Ruth. There were a few theology things I could get nit-picky about as well, because honestly, I felt like the author was stretching it--not to mention that there wasn't any kind of sourcing or citations in the back (a real head scratcher when you're claiming to teach on a specific book of the Bible). Overall, from what I read, I felt like the book was more about the anecdotes of Jakes life, which she then tried to compare/match up to Ruth's. For those interested in studying the life of Ruth, I honestly cannot recommend this book a solid resource.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

2 comments :

  1. Thanks for your honest reviews! I saw Tables in the Wilderness on your goodreads and it looks so interesting! I like Shauna Niequist's memoir style, so I may dive into more memoirs soon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be right up your alley friend =)

      Delete

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