Your BETTER life now

Review of Better: How Jesus Satisfies the Search for Meaning by Tim ChaddickEcclesiastes is a hard book. Heck, most wisdom literature in Scripture is difficult. I mean, what on earth are we supposed to do with the prurience of Song of Solomon, the seemingly contradictory proverbs, or those middle chapters of Job where all his friends give him (apparently wrong) advice? (Joseph Caryl spilled 12 wonderful volumes worth of ink trying to answer that last question...) And while all of these can … [Read more...]

Everything you ever needed to know about gender roles, you learned in Sex Ed.

Review of Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes by Dr. Larry Crab[DISCLAIMER/WARNING: This review includes some sexual content.]If you move in Christian circles, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of the egalitarian/complementarian divide. The topic, of course, is gender roles (and the Bible’s teaching thereon). Whether in the context of marriage or the church, the issue is whether or not there is a difference between men and women … [Read more...]

Quoth Nathaniel Hawthorne: ‘Burn, Baby, Burn’

Review of Earth’s Holocaust by Nathaniel HawthorneYou may know Nathaniel Hawthorne from being subjected to his The Scarlet Letter in high school or—if you’re especially unlucky—his The House of the Seven Gables in college. Which means that you’ve probably avoided everything with “Hawthorne” listed as the author since then. Which further means that you have missed out on some truly wonderful short stories where he proves that he’s earned his reputation just why he’s ranked as one of America’s … [Read more...]

Does God Care What Size Jeans I Wear?

Review of Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul by Gary ThomasIt comes as no surprise to anyone, ever, that Americans as a whole have what Tommy Boy would call ‘a little bit of a weight problem.’ We are, by and large, fatty-fat-fat-fats. And those of us who don’t tip the scales at ridiculously high numbers, well, if we’re honest, we still probably don’t have a 100% holy and righteous relationship with food. Whether we’re obsessed with shaving off every possible c … [Read more...]

Matt Chandler’s ‘To Live Is Christ’ and the Value of Spiritual Maturity

 Review of To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain by Matt ChandlerWe’ve all met people who self-identify as Christians for no reason other than a hazily remembered response to an altar call from their youth. If these individuals did not self-identify as Christians, no one who knows them would have the slightest reason to suspect the ‘heart change’ that took place years back. If they are Christians at all (a matter up for debate, to be sure), they are far from mature believers.However, even amo … [Read more...]

Athanasius Speaks to Us Today

Review of Athanasius by Peter J. Leithart This is the sixth installment of Reading Patristics–a review series dedicated to books about the early church fathers. These reviews will not be exhaustive summaries, but instead are meant to pique the interest of readers to pursue reading in this area of study and a guide to good books in the field. Previous installments: Classical Christian Doctrine, Retrieving Nicaea, The Theology of Augustine, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, The Spirit of E … [Read more...]

Ella Enchanted/Ella Transformed

Review of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineAs a kid, I always thought Cinderella was kind of a lame fairy tale. The leading lady lets everyone run roughshod over her, the leading man is dull as toast, and, well, none of it really rang true to my enlightened, empowered child-of-the-80’s sensibilities. ‘Spineless, docile maiden weds boring Ken-doll’ didn’t exactly make for thrilling reading (or viewing), you know?That is, until author Gail Carson Levine decided to change all that. In her … [Read more...]

American Gods: Made in the U.S.A.

Review of American Gods by Neil GaimanLike pretty much everyone on the internet, I count myself something of a Neil Gaiman fan. His comics are excellent, his short stories are consistently good, and two of his novels—Neverwhere (1996) and The Graveyard Book (2008)—are easily among the best books I have ever read. The man is clearly a gifted public speaker, and brilliantly narrates the audiobook versions of many of his works. So it came as something of a shock to me that I didn’t love his most … [Read more...]

The Once and Future (Totally Depraved) King

Review of The Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteI think it’s safe to say that the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table is pretty universally known. However, the story varies some from book to book and film to film. T.H. White’s fantasy classic, The Once and Future King, is quite possibly one of the best known versions of the tale—and with good reason. Told in four parts, it chronicles Arthur’s rise from lowly squire to King of England, the noble experiment of the Round Tabl … [Read more...]

This is the way the world ends… and starts up again

Review of The Postman by David BrinForget, if you will, the Kevin Costner abomination that ruined him in the eyes of men who had loved Robin Hood and women who had loved The Bodyguard. (Or heck, vice-versa—I'm not judging in this review. I mean, I am judging, because this is a review, but I'm not judging that.) Before there was a movie version of The Postman that was so bad that it's really mean to even joke about it, there was the original book by David Brin, which is simply ex … [Read more...]