Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reviewing Ted Kluck's The Reason For Sports: A Christian Fanifesto

I gifted my father-in-law The Reason For Sports a couple of years, and I wish I would have read it then. The Reason For Sports was on Amazon Wish List for over three years, but I did not purchase it for myself until seeing it for less than 2 bucks a week ago. Yes, I can be cheap. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and there were a few reasons for that...

A. The book was a break from my typical reading. I found The Reason For Sports to be an entertaining read as well as one causing me to think.
B. I share some things in common with Mr. Kluck: We're former residents of the Hoosier state, thirty-somethings with declining athletic abilities, and reformed.

The Reason For Sports has twelve short chapters that cover a range of topics such as athletes publicly confessing sin, steroid use, showboating, and racism. Some of the athletes that are written about more in-depth include Mike Tyson, Ricky Williams, Tony Dungy, and Muhammad Ali. Boxing and American football tend to be the sports most often discussed in this book. I never competed in those sports and only catch sports headlines today, but I think many Christians will like this book even if they do not follow much of the American sports scene. Sports are a huge part of our culture that often come up in our conversations. Unfortunately, we often fail to have a Christ-centered perspective about sports, but The Reason For Sports can help us view sports in the way God intended. So even if you live outside of the States, haven't watched a football game for years, or your body takes a year to recover from soccer games, I highly recommend The Reason For Sports.

* The Reason For Sports is not the first book written by Ted Kluck I have read. I have also read Why We're Not Emergent and Hello, I Love You: Adventures in Adoptive Fatherhood. I highly recommend these books as well.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reviewing R.C. Sproul's The Priest With Dirty Clothes

When I finished reading The Priest with Dirty Clothes, my seven-year-old daughter asked if I have other books like that. I think that is a clear indicator that she was a fan of this book. My daughter Rose who is in the fourth grade said this was a good book and that she enjoyed the whole storyline. After going over the 12-question study guide at the end of the book, we decided to check out other picture books at the Ligonier Ministries site written by Dr. Sproul. We definitely plan to read more of his books in the near future.

Dr. Sproul dedicates The Priest with Dirty Clothes to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Before he begins the story, there is a letter to the parents explaining the purpose of the book. The Priest with Dirty Clothes is based on one of Dr. Sproul's favorite passages from the Bible, Zechariah 3:1-5, and it is recommended that the passage is read with children prior to reading the story. The story starts off with a brother and sister coming home extremely muddy, and a grandfather telling them a story after they get cleaned up. The grandfather tells his grandchildren of a priest who got his special clothes muddy. Because of this, the priest was not permitted to preach before the king and was told to preach the next week with clean clothes. Unfortunately, the priest's clothes were permanently stained so he went to the prince to get help. The prince told the priest to go to the king with his dirty clothes and to trust that the prince would take care of everything. The priest was confused as to how his clothes would get cleaned, but he did as the prince instructed. When the priest came before the king with muddy clothes, an evil magician and others shouted at the priest. At this time the prince walked into the room and presented the priest with the prince's beautiful clothes. The priest put on the new clothes, and the prince put on the priest's dirty clothes. The priest was now allowed to stand before the king. He would go on to deliver his best sermon and would continue preaching about the prince and wearing the prince's clothes. The story concludes with the grandfather explaining how Christ washes our dirty hearts and creates clean ones - how Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness.

It has been a blessing to have read a couple of Dr. Sproul's modern classics, Chosen by God and The Holiness of God. These books helped me to better understand predestination and God's holy nature significantly. In The Priest with Dirty Clothes, Dr. Sproul helps children (and adults) better understand another all-important topic, the imputation of Christ's righteousness. Although imputation is a weighty topic, The Priest with Dirty Clothes is not told in a manner that is above the heads of lower or upper elementary students. The plot is easy to follow, the words are age-appropriate, and the pictures are colorful and fun. The book has all of the elements needed to keep the attention of today's millennials. I have read a number of books to my girls over the years, and you are not going to find too many children's books that are as captivating while explaining themes of such crucial importance. My daughters and I heartily give Dr. Sproul's book, The Priest with Dirty Clothes, our Wickersham stamp of approval.

Although I will receive a free copy of this Reformation Trust publishing title as compensation for this review, a positive book review is not required.