Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Books.. the good and not-so-good

Here's the latest in my book reading..

Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversations about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper.

I read this book at the urging of Jeff, and I was not disappointed. Well, maybe I was a little disappointed, but certainly not in the book itself. Let me explain. This book is a candid look at how we Christians "do church" and what non-believers think about it. It is a journey to some of America's most well-known churches with Jim, a former pastor, and Casper, an atheist. Together, they take a good hard look at today's church services, worship styles, outreach, missions, and lots of other stuff. I say it's disappointing only because I found myself disappointed in myself and how I do church. I found myself sometimes angry that an atheist would dare say such mean things about church..what does he know anyway? Then, I found myself praying for forgiveness for those same thoughts because, after all, is church really for me? Aren't we supposed to be reaching those who don't know and haven't heard?

If you are a Christian, read this book. If you want to look at how those outside the walls of the church view you, read this book. If you just want sunshine and fluff blown in your face, don't even bother. This isn't the book for you.

I feel I have to tell you about this book because that was the plan here.. to let you know what I have been reading. However, let me say that this was one of the biggest disappointments in a book I have read in a LNG LONG time!

Riven, by Jerry B. Jenkins really intrigued me. I was excited to read this book. After all, the author himself called this "the book I've always wanted to write". Reviews about Riven raved that it was masterful, insightful, gripping. I will admit that initially I was drawn in by the characters, really feeling as if I knew them somehow. But as the story developed, I found myself thinking "Haven't I read this before?". I found the book repetitive. To put it bluntly, I was bored. Now, that is not to say that I didn't finish it. I will admit that there was a "twist" that I didn't quite expect, but I found it strange and completely unbelievable really, not like the rest of the book. However, I did want to see how it ended nonetheless.

If the book were 200 pages shorter, I might recommend it. But at well over 500 pages, I just can't. Sorry Jerry. If you have read this and feel differently, I would love to hear your point of view!

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