Archive for June, 2012

Implosion by Joel C. Rosenberg

Not only does Rosenberg write best-selling fiction, he also has a gift for doing research and discerning trends in society and in world politics.  With Implosion, he tackles the questions he has been asked with increasing frequency, e.g. “Are we living in the Last Days?” and “What does the Bible say about America in the Last Days?”  In light of the overall pessimism Joel has noticed in America, he has looked into history and Bible prophecy for answers.

On the side of pessimism, he allows that America could be on the verge of implosion.  He lays out  four possible implosion scenarios, devoting a chapter to each.  The four are: financial collapse, war/terrorism, natural disaster and rapture (an America so crippled by the rapture that it plays no important role in the end times.)

Implosion also offers a fifth, more optimistic scenario: a spiritual awakening in America.  Rosenberg devotes a chapter each to the First and Second Great Awakenings.  The history of both gives hope that God might move again in response to the earnest prayers of His people.  I was especially encouraged by the account of Timothy Dwight, a descendant of Jonathan Edwards who became president of Yale in 1795.  Dwight led the students and faculty of Yale out of a period of debauchery, cynicism and heresy and into what one student at the time called “a glorious reformation.”

While I am still in the pessimist camp when it comes to America’s future, this book opened my mind to the possibility that God might not yet be done with my country.

 I received a free copy of this book for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Kimberly Schimmel 

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The Tehran Initiative: Another Rosenberg Thriller

The Tehran Initiative is volume two in Joel C. Rosenberg’s new thriller series.  Like his previous novels (The Last Jihad and its sequels) this book will keep you awake at night because you can’t stop reading.  David Shirazi, the main character, is sent back to Iran to stop a nuclear threat that could cause worldwide disaster.  David must also deal with family problems, e.g. he can’t explain that his failure to stay at his dying mother’s bedside is due to his duties as a CIA operative.  Along the way, a woman from his past comes back into his life.  Again, David can’t tell her what he really does for a living.

As David uncovers secrets right and left, he also confronts Issa (Jesus.)  Why are devout Muslims turning to Issa and working against the Twelfth Imam?  Will David join them?

Rosenberg does an excellent job of putting a human face on all his characters, from the terrorists to the hospitable, peace-loving Muslims to the CIA operatives.  They all have human struggles behind their political and religious beliefs.  Rosenberg treats all cultures with respect, avoiding a simplistic view that one side is always good and the other always evil.

Readers who enjoyed Rosenberg’s previous series will not be disappointed with The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative.  Volume three in the series is scheduled for 2013.

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Unplanned: Available in the Library Now

Abby Johnson was looking for a worthy volunteer activity when she was a college student.  Instead, she found Planned Parenthood.  Now this brave lady dares to give an honest account of her days at a busy abortion facility.  She gives a human face to the “pro-choice” lobby by explaining how she got involved, how deeply committed she was, and how she suffered through her own abortion after believing the lie that a drug-induced abortion was easy.  The reader also gets to meet those people in Abby’s life who loved her while disapproving of her work (parents, husband, and many sidewalk counselors.)

Abby takes us through her doubts, her escape from Planned Parenthood, and her subsequent persecution by the organization she had once served and defended with great devotion.  The pro-life movement needs to hear about her experiences. We need to see ourselves as outsiders do, so we can better pray for them and meet their real needs.  Abby’s story reminds us that Jesus saves and we must remain faithful witnesses in defense of the babies and mothers at risk daily.

More info:  http://www.tyndale.com/Unplanned/9781414339405

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New in the Library: Godforsaken by Dinesh D’Souza

Dinesh D’Souza has a gift for making philosophy accessible to non-philosophers.  In Godforsaken, he tackles the problem of evil in the world.  Along the way, he seeks to explain free will versus God’s omnipotence, the lawful universe, and divine justice.  As if that were not enough ground to cover, D’Souza also includes a chapter on animal pain and one that considers whether or not God “should” have created us.  If you have ever struggled with questions such as “Why didn’t Jesus heal everybody?” or “Why was God so brutal in the Old Testament?” this book can help.

D’Souza presents his arguments with both confidence and humility.  Perhaps this explains his respectful relationships with many leading atheists as well as the esteem with which he is held in the Christian community.  Joshua Harris speaks of “humble orthodoxy.” D’Souza is a fine example of humble brilliance.  He does not claim to know it all, but he does present his best arguments—then trusts the reader to do his own share of thinking as well!

Note:  D’Souza’s views on creation/evolution are along the lines of “old earth creationism,” meaning that he and Ken Ham have some big disagreements.  As a librarian, however, I am confident that any reader capable of tackling a book of this sort is capable of handling ideas with which they may disagree.  After all, if a book just parrots what you already believe, it is offering you nothing to think, pray and meditate about!

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Summer Reading News

1. Join Tyndale’s Summer Reading Club by clicking http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/X_SRP/X_SECURE/login.asp to sign up.  Read books from their lists and post short reviews to earn points and win free books.  There are clubs for adults and for kids.  Many titles are in the Life Community Library or will be soon!

2. After VBS the library will sponsor a Month of Reading for July.  Information will be available starting Sunday, June 24.  We will have an adult/teen program and a children’s program (including a read-to-me option for preschoolers.)

Stay tuned for more news.

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Book Review: Unstuck by Arnie Cole and Michael Ross

To-do lists and Bible studies abound, but Unstuck is different.  The authors first make a convincing case, based on quantitative and qualitative research, that engaging with the Bible regularly has significant benefits for followers of Christ.  The authors studied a variety of factors that affected spiritual growth and fostered spiritual maturity among Christians.  The key factor was this: Christians who interact with God through the Bible at least four times per week reaped significant spiritual benefits.  Benefits included resistance to temptation, power to overcome past trauma, and joy in the journey of life.

Unstuck explores why we become “stuck,” i.e. stalled or stale in our walk with God.  The book then leads the believer to a living, two-way relationship with God.  The vehicle for this relationship is Scripture—letting it get into us, speak to our lives and change us.  Unstuck advocates for Bible reading with the expectation that God will show up!

This book is designed for individual study and is also suitable for use in a small group setting.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House for review.

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