Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Be The People by Carol M. Swain


Dr. Swain’s approach, to speak directly without tiptoeing through he facts with political correctness, is refreshing. Her personal history allows her to stand her ground and withstand any claims of racism or bigotry.

“The founders were certain that ‘piety and public virtue’ would help their new nation avoid decline and fall as prior societies had not. However, in contrast to the vision of many of the founding fathers, unprecedented numbers of today’s Americans have traded piety and virtue for the unfettered irreverence as they have emulated the immorality practiced by the fallen Greco-Roman nations and Ammonites.” ~ Swain, Be The People page 27

Carol Swain also wades, again without any hint of political correctness, into one of the most honest discussions of the brutal realities of racism, abortion, homosexuality, feminism, immigration and Radical Islam.

“For a brief moment in time, we believed we had entered a postracial era in American politics. We were wrong.” Swain, page 194

Be The People is an articulate, well-written and honest look at the state of the union as it exists today. America needs to reflect on the difficult truths that cover these pages. It has become clear that for Americans to Be The People, ordinary citizens need to join Carol Swain and call things as they are with direct honesty.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Liturgical Year By Joan Chittister


The Liturgical Year is a glimpse into an institutionalized relationship with Jesus. The author seems genuinely moved by each of the feasts and celebrations that are described with fawning prose.  I will qualify my remarks with the following: I am part of a non-denominational faith and therefore have a fundamentally different view of the individual’s relationship with Jesus.  What I hoped to gain was an understanding of the different feasts and celebrations that occur throughout the year. What I found was steeped in the long traditions firmly rooted in the very things that were originally intended to bring one closer to God; but in my opinion have lost much in becoming part of the rote actions of the believers.  Followers of Christ would know Him better through a thorough study of the Bible.

I found this book disappointing in that it glorifies each rote act that allows the individual to be a part of the greater church, yet remain completely separate from a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.  Our faith in action out in the world, obedient to his will, will do more for the cause of Christ than wallowing in traditions far enough removed to have become the surrogate relationship with Christ instead.

See Also:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Phophet, Spy

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Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was, as the title so aptly describes, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyEric Metaxas uses Bonhoeffer’s own words, through letters and the recollections of those around him, to share the depth of Bonhoeffer’s faith and what that would ultimately require of him.  By guiding the reader through Bonhoeffer’s life, Metaxas helps the reader understand that to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his faith and his political actions were bound together so tightly, it was impossible to separate the two. When his faith required action against the evil sanctioned by the Third Reich, he did not falter or complain, Bonhoeffer simply obeyed the will of God unto death.

The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts.  For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil. ~Deitrich Bonhoeffer (Metaxas pg 446)

I highly recommend this book to all Americans as we watch the opening salvos in the Middle East of another attack on the Jew’s right to exist.  Knowing the history of the resistance to the Holocaust during WWII by Christians within Germany may help We The People  avoid complicity through inaction in the American political system.

…the longer the German people tolerate the Nazi regime the greater becomes their responsibility for the crimes which that regime is committing in their name.  ~ Anthony Eden (Metaxas pg 404)

Any Christian who reads this well written biography will be inspired to examine the question, “what do you really believe?”

God Bless America!

Also see:

The UnPatriot Act

Founded On The Rock

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Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado


Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference

Max Lucado, in is usual down to earth style, has  challenged believers to Out Live Your Life.

We are given a choice…an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope?

He uses inspiring stories to bring us to the understanding that regular people, like you and me, can be used by God for his purpose.

God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Max Lucado peppers each chapter with biblical examples and scripture to help the reader grasp the reality that God can and will do extraordinary things through ordinary people.

Each of us has a built in set of assumption that we use to view the world we live in.  Lucado makes the reader face head-on their prejudices with pointed examples and more scripture.

And us? We are still pondering … “God has shown me that He doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit.”

This was particularly stinging for me. Even though I try never to judge a book by its cover, we all find ourselves making assumptions about people because of their labels: biker, divorced, fat or homeless. How often are we wrong?

Labels relieve us of responsibility. Pigeonholing permits us to wash our hands and leave.

You will not be able to sit comfortably by after reading Out Live Your Life if you have allowed any part of this book to soak in.

I recommend this book for anyone who has ever wondered “Why am I here?”. For those who are interested, it even has a discussion and action guide at the end.

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I review for BookSneeze®

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The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead


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The Skin Map is the first book of Stephen R. Lawhead’s new Bright Empires series. The first thing to pique my interest was the creative chapter titles. Throughout the novel, each chapter title made the reader want to find out more.  Chapter 13: “In Which Respectability Suffers a Serious Setback” and Chapter 20: “In Which Luxor’s Nefarious Trade Is Advanced” increased my desire to turn the page and see what happens next.

At first, the main character, Kit, was the everyman plodding through his blah existence in a blah relationship.  Enroute to meet Wilhelmina, his other blah half, the world as he knows it is forever changed in Chapter 1: “In Which Old Ghosts Meet”.  The reader is quickly drawn in as the story unfolds to reveal unimaginable adventures for both Kit and Wilhelmina.

Drawing on both historical and mythical tales as a loose framework, Lawhead builds an intriguing world “In Which It Is Darkest Before the Dawn”.  Adventure, romance and the premise of instantaneous travel brings twists and turns that keep this tale interesting.  The Skin Map within the story is the object of obsession for both the good guys and the bad guys.  I was left wishing the next book of the series was already available. I recommend this book for a well-told story and an adventure to boot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Skin Map is the first book of Stephen R. Lawhead’s new Bright Empires series. The first thing to pique my interest was the creative chapter titles. Throughout the novel, each chapter title made the reader want to find out more.  Chapter 13: “In Which Respectability Suffers a Serious Setback” and Chapter 20: “In Which Luxor’s Nefarious Trade Is Advanced” increased my desire to turn the page and see what happens next.

At first, the main character, Kit, was the everyman plodding through his blah existence in a blah relationship.  Enroute to meet Wilhelmina, his other blah half, the world as he knows it is forever changed in Chapter 1: “In Which Old Ghosts Meet”.  The reader is quickly drawn in as the story unfolds to reveal unimaginable adventures for both Kit and Wilhelmina.

Drawing on both historical and mythical tales as a loose framework, Lawhead builds an intriguing world “In Which It Is Darkest Before the Dawn”.  Adventure, romance and the premise of instantaneous travel brings twists and turns that keep this tale interesting.  The Skin Map within the story is the object of obsession for both the good guys and the bad guys.  I was left wishing the next book of the series was already available. I recommend this book for a well-told story and an adventure to boot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Butterfly Effect


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Like ripples in a pond, every decision man makes has far reaching and unimaginable consequences. In his book, The Butterfly Effect, Andy Andrews illuminates the significance that a simple act of kindness can have in the course of human history. Andrews masterfully weaves a series of historical events, which until this telling seemed totally unrelated, into a powerful tale that will inspire everyone to be courageous and wise in the course of their otherwise ordinary lives.

A butterfly flapping its wings in South America can affect the weather conditions in Central Park. ~Edward Lorenz 1963

Andy Andrews’ ability to touch hearts and transform lives with his words, just as he did in The Noticer, challenges each of us to be more than the circumstances we find ourselves in. Ultimately, he brings the reader to the realization that every action and every decision matters.

I highly recommend this book. I believe that many people will be forever changed once the significance of the tale sinks in. How your life matters is subject to the consequences of each decision or action that spread out like ripples in a pond. The Butterfly Effect would also make an excellent gift.

God Bless America!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Review: Popes and Bankers


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Jack Cashill chronicles credit and debt throughout history in his book Popes and Bankers: A Cultural History of Credit & Debt, from Aristotle to AIG.  Cashill gives perspective to major worldwide financial events leading to our current financial crisis.  The author peppers this book with pertinent tales that bring the seemingly unrelated events of the past together that ultimately paved the road to ruin.

The author tackles usury from its religious perspectives amongst the Jewish people and culturally as told in the Merchant of Venice.  He shows us how consumers, who once disdained debt, were romanced into embracing credit as a way of life. Cashill also shows that when the moral constraints against credit default swaps, Ponzi schemes and usury evaporated culturally, nothing remained to prevent people from doing the things they could get away with in the name of profit.  America was led willingly by their individual greed closer to the financial cliff called economic collapse.   This book culminates in illuminating the significance of the past as it applies to Wall Street today.

It is a slow read, but the content is well worth it for those interested in finding the answer to how did we get to a place in America where companies are too big to fail and bailouts are  now commonplace.  His scholarly style doesn’t grab me the between the ears with the irresistible desire to turn the page.    However, the pace picks up as you approach the end when the snippets of financial history finally come together.  There are extensive references that support the history as told in these pages.  I will keep Popes and Bankers on my reference shelf and recommend it for students of history.

God Bless America!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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