Friday, October 28, 2011

Review of Bound for Glory by Timothy Botts

This book has 52 African American spirituals, with the words to the songs, a reflective passage about the song, and a beautiful calligraphic letterforms painting. I personally liked the reflective passages that were written by the artist, because he would usually explain the process behind his art.

Some of the old spirituals were unknown to me, but many were familiar to me and would probably be familiar to you: Rock-a-My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham, We are Climbing Jacob's Ladder, Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Dry Bones, Go Tell it on the Mountain, He's Got the Whole World In His Hands, and This Little Light of Mine are among the more familiar songs. I found myself singing to my children while reading this book.

After reading it the first time, I went back and re-read the calligraphic letterform paintings. I love them. They are beautiful. They are art. The pictures are so stunning, in fact, that I wanted you to see an example of them.

After reading this book, I have decided to purchase 2 copies for friends of mine. One person was a singer in a college choir. They sang many of these songs in performances. The other has suffered a devastating loss and I think this book will comfort her.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review of Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald

I really enjoyed this book. My only hesitation in recommending it wholeheartedly is that it is fiction. This did not really happen. Too bad.

In this fictional account of a New England church, Pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife go to a Red Sox game with their neighbors and good friends, the unchurched and unsaved Sorianos. Mr. Soriano asks Pastor MacDonald what the church's elevator story is. The pastor doesn't know the term. It is a story that a person tells to the other person in an elevator that succinctly sums up the mission. If the story is compelling enough, it causes the other person in the elevator to invest to a tune of $20 million.

This question starts the pastor on a search that leads him to pray for a "great idea" that will make the church more like the one he described in his elevator story. A church member hands him a quote from Richard Foster. "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people, but for deep people." (page 23).

This quote begins to focus the pastor's quest, so he and his wife and some others work to define "deep people." They come up with things like: worshipful reverence for Jesus. Caring about others. Caring about the church. Calm and certain in the face of difficult circumstances. Unashamed to speak about God's grace and favor in life. Vigorous daily devotions. Faith and optimism in God's power. Influence others because people look to them for "inspiration, guidance, and assurance." (all of this from page 123).

After agreeing on the definition of deep people, the church determines to cultivate them in their church. A small group of people, both men and women are chosen for a year long discipleship in order to cultivate a "deepening" experience with Christ in their lives.

The remainder of the book is dedicated to this process. Enough information and supplementary books are given that it would be entirely possible, if you desired, to re-create this for yourself, using the books provided and praying your way through it.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Was Nominated for a Blogging Award!

Kris from Georgia Home Garden, an absolutely great blog about his garden, kindly nominated me for the Liebster Blog.

The idea with this Blog Award is that it is presented to people who have less than 200 followers. They in turn "pay it forward" by nominating 3 to 5 people for the award, as well.

Here is the description from Kris's site:

The Liebster Blog Award is designed to introduce others to enjoyable blogs that have less than 200 followers. When you accept the award, you choose 3-5 other blogs that you feel are deserving of more subscribers and pass the award on to them.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun! 

The first person I want to present the award to is my dear friend, with a great and funny homeschool blog, Layla, at Flat (Tire)d Homeschool. I love her blog. She makes me laugh. Her blog is so great and worth reading. I look forward to all her new posts. 

The next person I would like to present an award to is Doris of The Art Annex. She is an art teacher in Huntington, New York. I get more great ideas from her site than from any other. I love to read about her arts and crafts with children ranging in ages from preschool (about 4) to high school.

The third person I would like t present an award to is "Ribbit" from The Corner Yard. She writes a garden blog in the summer, and then at other seasons of the year she talks about what is going on at the school at which she works. I enjoy reading about her garden and her children.