Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hesitant Hero & The Story We Find Ourselves In

Today at church I had to say good-bye to my pastor's family. His wife and children are driving to their new church down in Georgia tomorrow. He'll be leaving after next Sunday. I'm going to miss them, especially his wife, Ana, so much. She's someone who has had a major impact on my life. I wouldn't have started writing again without her support, so even this blog is due to her influence. Whenever I think about what a Christian should be like, I think of Ana. I'm going to miss her a lot.

Mia went to Vacation Bible School for the first time this week, and the kids performed the songs they learned in church today. I can see how quickly she's growing up. A few weeks ago she wouldn't stand up in front of the church and sing, but today she sang along and clapped her hands. She also had the entire church crying with laughter during the last song. Part of the song was to yell. Mia doesn't like yelling (at least not unless she's the one doing it) so she scolded the kids and shook her finger at them everytime they yelled. It was hilarious.

Hesitant Hero by Gilbert Morris is the next book in the House of Winslow series. In this installment, artist Tyler Winslow leaves for Paris to learn his art at the beginning of World War II. He soon falls in love with the beautiful doctor Jolie Varney and is caught up in a plan to sneak three Jewish children from the country before the Nazis can find them. This book is so much better than the previous entry in the series. The writing is much smoother, and the characters far more believable. The romance grows realistically, and the action is easy to follow. While the race across France to the coast is a little similar to a previous Winslow book, the story is still a good one. The book is sure to please fans of the HOW series and new readers as well. I look forward to the next book in the series.

The Story We Find Ourselves In: Further Adventures of a New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren is the sequel to A New Kind of Christian. I enjoyed the first book very much. It opened my eyes to the idea of a post-modern church and how to look at the world in a much bigger way. In this book, the conversation between Neo and Dan continues as Neo’s friend Kerry dies from cancer. Neo explains the “story” of the Bible to Kerry in a new way, helping her find peace before the end. While McLaren makes some good points during the book, I couldn’t help but be annoyed at how everyone who listened to Neo viewed his opinions as almost sacred or divine. Everyone who listens to him is shocked and awed at his wisdom. He props up evolution, gives an unusual view of Heaven, and refuses to discuss the concept of Hell. Neo talks some ideas to death, but others he dances around without giving answers that would commit him to an opinion and possibly chase his listeners away. I’m just not sure how I feel after reading this book. I don’t feel that the inclusion of Kerry was necessary, and the story of her wasting away seemed a bit forced. The book did not change my mind or open it the way the first one did. I guess I’m a little disappointed that Neo dismisses anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution or the way he does. His tolerance seems limited to those who think the way he does, and those who don’t, aren’t as intelligent.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!