Book Reviews

By Kim Newhouse

I enjoyed this love story so much, especially after years of following Joni’s life story and reading her wonderful books. But most of all, I was looking forward to getting to know Ken, the strong, silent partner of this vocal advocate for the disabled.  I was so glad they included details about his struggle with depression because that needs to be talked about more and not stigmatized, especially when it occurs in men.

Joni and Ken was written in an easy-to-read 3rd person format. I couldn’t put it down—it was that intriguing and engaging! The one thing that was missing from this story of a marriage was any mention of having children. Because that was omitted, I assumed that there was no way she could physically give birth (and felt I should “obviously” know that since it wasn’t even discussed).

Then I heard them talking about their story on the Moody Broadcasting radio show “Chris Fabry Live” and they spent a good time discussing their yearning for a baby. Apparently, it is perfectly possible, but for some reason God had not opened Joni’s womb. They talked about their years of trying, hoping, dreaming, praying and then relinquishing that desire. Why in the world didn’t that make it into the book?  It wasn’t that thick. (Like her beautiful memoir The God I Love is!)

Other than that one omission, it was a thorough tome of their struggles, joys, accomplishments, failures, and peace in the midst of suffering. I would highly recommend it to anyone—single, married, suffering, disabled, caregivers, etc. The 16 pages of photos also invite you into their lives in a special way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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

 

I was hoping to give this book a good review…I usually love MacArthur’s writing, I relate to the unlikely heroes God chose, and I’m dedicated to studying the Bible. Alas, I felt the book to be repetitive and unenlightening in many ways. Yes, there was some historical context, description of Jewish tradition and MacArthur’s own embellishment of possibilities in the characters’ lives to supplement the Bible stories we all know, but glaring errors made me distrust the facts. The carelessness of the editing is inexcusable–even my children caught Biblical issues as I read aloud to them. Here are 2 examples:
From Miriam’s life story:
(p. 45) “His wife, Jochebed, was pregnant with their third child….That child was indeed a baby boy. And they named him Moses.”

Excuse me? We do NOT know what they named him…Moses means “drawn out of the water” and that name was given to him by the daughter of Pharoah who found him in the Nile AFTER he was weaned and came to live with her! (Most of us know the story so I’ll just put the verse that proves this point.)
Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Another example, from the story of John the Baptist:(p. 156-7) “Having used his voice to express sinful doubt, Zacharias would be unable to use again it until his son was born.” (I kid you not, that typo is indeed in the book.) “When he saw his newborn son for the first time, his tongue was instantly loosed.”
Read the Scriptures…that is NOT what happened:
Luke 1:57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father–what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

I have John MacArthur’s study Bible–chock FULL of study notes through every chapter of the Word of God. How could he be so careless in this book? Makes me think someone else wrote it and put his name on it! Or is that the case with the study Bible? Just doesn’t make sense.

Although this book had great potential, I wouldn’t recommend it until another fact-checked version came out….

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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

I was intrigued by the title of Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed in Jesus’ Conversations With Women. It’s often difficult to understand exactly what we should take from various Bible stories because of our extreme cultural and historical differences from that place and time, so I hoped this would help clear that up some. I didn’t hear much in the way of new insights (from previous books, sermons, and articles examining these characters) and was not real comfortable with some of the conjecture that took place as the author tried to breathe new life into “old” stories. ie I was reading some aloud to my daughters and found myself stopping to say “well we don’t know if he or she REALLY thought (or said or did) that”.

But on the other hand, I did like the format of the book very much. After the brief reiteration of the story, we are given a bit more historical and theological information, an application section entitled “For Today’s Woman”, then some questions to think about, and finally some journaling prompts. My favorite part was the application section, especially the one on Martha. It zeroed in on what Jesus was truly admonishing her for—not her actions or busyness, but her attitude. It was her critical spirit, her focus on self, and her need to control things that got her into so much trouble. And yet Jesus loved her and extended grace to her at each interaction, gently drawing her into deeper relationship with Himself.

Unexpected Love makes a great devotional book, particularly if you invest plenty of time on the journaling section, but it would also be good for Bible study or discussion groups.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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

The Anger Workbook: an interactive guide to anger management, has been a great tool to work through with my teenager who struggles with this strong emotion. It has helped us identify where the anger is coming from, what other emotions are feeding it, and how to best handle it. There are check boxes and blanks to fill in as we take inventory of our reactions and responses to emotion-producing stimuli in our lives.

The Anger Workbook is written in a conversational tone as you listen in on various counseling sessions. Then it’s your turn to examine your own thought and behavior patterns. The teaching is definitely from a Christian perspective. Key scriptures are highlighted (ie Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You”) and lives of Bible characters are examined in light of what we’ve learned. The focus is on how to be the kind of godly person God designed to be by His strength and not sheer will power or psychological techniques.

Frank Minirth and Les Carter are well known in the field of Christian counseling and I am grateful for yet another helpful resource from them. This book will greatly improve anyone’s relationships, so I would highly recommend every Christian work through it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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

Advertisements

Leave your own random rambling!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s