what i’ve been reading

aahh trying to catch up.  i know you’d probably much rather read the next installment of “our story” but i’m behind enough on the book reviews that i want to at least get one more up before moving on with the story.  sorry? 

May’s Reads

Fun/Fiction: The Third Option by Vince Flynn

after the previous month’s more serious and “real life” type of read, i wanted something lighter.  my husband and picked this up on our camping trip – a short paperback novel in the vein of grisham/clancy/ludlum.  perfect.  i’m a sucker for spy/espionage type thrillers (think tv shows like Alias and 24).  this book did not disappoint.  i actually kept thinking to myself, “i feel like i’m reading a season of 24 – i love this!”  haha  the book is actually 4th in a series revolving around the character of Mitch Rapp, a CIA counterterrorist agent who gets caught in the middle of a political power play that nearly costs him his life.  the book swirls with numerous characters (had to work hard to keep them straight at first) that eventually are all connected as Mitch fights to protect his friends, colleagues and allies while trying to get to the bottom of everything.  i was something of a cotton candy read on nearly every level and i loved it. 

spiritual/nonfiction: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

a couple months back, a friend mentioned on facebook that [all] 3 of francis chan’s books were available for FREE download on amazon – score!  i had heard good things about this book from multiple reliable sources and jumped at the chance to get it for free on my iphone kindle app.  the first few chapters in particular took my breath away.  his description and reminder of just how great and big and awesome God is quieted my heart and swelled my soul.  so so good.  the following few chapters were excellent, albeit nothing “new.”  i was reminded of how blessed i have been to have spent my latter high school and adult years in a very solid church with excellent teaching.  i understand that for some christians, what francis chan wrote may be an earth-shattering, life-altering, brand new perspective on christianity.  only because of God’s grace and kindness on my life can i say that many of the truths he wrote served as refreshing reminders to me. 

i must confess – i did have one initial “beef” with part of this book… which eventually resolved itself by the end.  but still.  if i were to be honest, i was disappointed by the way he approached the call to live radical lives for Christ.  i wholeheartedly agree that because of the way we have been changed by what God has done for us in and through Christ, our lives absolutely should be radical for Jesus.  no disagreement there.  but there were a couple of chapters that, to me at least, felt as though “living radically” was only defined by doing very extreme things – pursuing oversees missions, living out of your car so you can evangelize the homeless, adopting internationally as a single woman with no income, being imprisoned and persecuted for your belief in Jesus, etc.  granted, not all the stories Chan tells are quite that extreme, but i felt that the impression was there nevertheless. 

i began to think, i disagree. i believe you can still live a radical life for Christ without moving overseas or quitting your day job to pursue full-time evangelism. it’s radical in our culture to give a regular, un-coerced tithe to your local church (i’ll never forget my dad telling me how shocked one of his [unsaved] brothers was when, as he was lending his CPA knowledge to helping my parents with some financial decisions, found out what percentage of my dad’s teacher salary they gave to their church). heck, giving like that is radical even within the Christian community! it’s radical to talk to your neighbors about Jesus and/or invite them to things at your church.  it’s radical to, as a Christian, have friends with homosexuals and love them as Christ did, not allowing their choice of sin to keep you away.  it’s radical to pass up a job transfer/promotion in order to protect time with your family and investment in your local church.  it’s radical for skilled, competent women to stay at home and devote themselves to raising their children full time instead of re-entering the work force ASAP. it’s radical for men to love, honor and cherish their wives, dating and romancing them, lending a hand with the kids, leading and keeping his marriage relationship vibrant, healthy and strong.  it’s radical to devote a week of your vacation time to build a baby house at an orphanage in mexico – on your own dime – simply because you want to see the message of the gospel go out to underprivileged children.

now, don’t worry, i’m not the kind of person to stop reading a really good book simply because i came across with one or two things i wasn’t sure i entirely agreed with.  there were still chapters left and i still wanted to see what else Chan had to say.  and i was happy to see that he did actually affirm some of what i was thinking in the following chapter.  he readily stated that radically living for Christ will look different for different people, and God does not call everyone to the exact same choices and lifestyle.  but God DOES call us to be radically different as a result of who He is and what He has done.  in light of the gospel, how can we NOT live changed, radical lives??  the message is powerful and challenging and i was both encouraged and motivated!  (i just think maybe Chan should have switched the order of a couple chapters, that’s all .)

i’m also eager to read chan’s other books as well: Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up & Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.  Both look excellent – so you’ll probably see personal reviews of these titles on here eventually too!

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