Friday, February 5, 2010

Books I Read in January

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper - I decided to read This Momentary Marriage because I wanted to learn how to be a better husband. Pastor Piper, my favorite author, has been married for more than forty years and knows the challenges and joys of this sacred institution. What separates This Momentary Marriage from most books on marriage is that this is not an instructional manual that gives you ten tips on how to build a stronger marriage. This Momentary Marriage is a theological look at what marriage is all about - the covenant-keeping love of Christ. During the first half of the book, I did feel that Piper repeated himself a few times, but I probably felt that way because I have had my nose in so many of his books lately. This Momentary Marriage hits on a number of topics such as leadership, submission, hospitality, romance, children, anger, divorce, remarriage and to my surprise, singleness. Piper covers singleness in chapters 9-10, and it really needs to be read by not just singles, but those who are married. We tend to exalt marriage in unChristlike ways and fail to see the even greater blessings that will come to all Christians when we pass from this world. Of course, as always, Piper has scattered Scripture throughout the book. Each chapter starts off with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison. This Momentary Marriage concludes with a few words of thanks, a Scripture index, person index, subject index and a note on Desiring God resources. If you are married, engaged, hope to be married or called to remain single, I highly recommend this book. It is definitely the best reading I have done on this topic.

Oswald Chambers: The Man and the Message Behind My Utmost For His Highest by D.W. Lambert - Three weeks ago I decided to pick up this book after reading Justin Buzzard's blog on the Gospel Coalition site. The article was about Oswald Chambers and the crisis of faith we sometimes face during our twenties, and it made me want to learn more about this man of many talents. Lambert's biography is part of the Men of Faith Series produced by Bethany House Publishers in Minneapolis. This particular book is actually a revision of a concise biography called An Unbribed Soul. Oswald Chambers was published almost forty years ago, and the 120 pages will take you no time to read. You will be given a glimpse into the man and the message behind My Utmost For His Highest. My only knock against the book is the book cover. The artwork reminds me a lot of the Great Live Series by Chuck Swindoll. The books look more like books for elementary students when that is not the case at all. Despite the cover, I would recommend this book if you are looking for a simple introduction to one of the most beloved Christian teachers of our time.

How Is Jesus Different from Other Religious Leaders? by Ralph O. Muncaster - How Is Jesus Different from Other Religious Leaders? is a 48-page booklet that I have in my classroom for my sixth graders to read. This little book is easy to read and gives you an overview of the major religious leaders of the world. The founders and leaders of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science and Scientology are all examined. The book also contains 48 prophecies made about Jesus and explains how history confirms Jesus' deity. Since this is a Christian book, it ends with an explanation about how to have a personal relationship with God and what God promises to Christians. Although the information in Muncaster's book is easy enough for a middle schooler to understand, the book contains a great deal of information that most adults do not possess.