Most Recent Book Reviews

David's books

Out of the dark
really liked it
A good book. It is a rather sad story, ad many war stories are. However, the conclusion gives a nice glimmer of hope.
Street Cat Bob
it was amazing
A sweet story. I'm looking forward to the film.
It's your turn to lead into silence
really liked it
A helpful little book if you ever get asked to lead a Julian Meeting or similar silent worship based service.
The Ideal Julian Meeting
really liked it
Helpful insights into how an ideal Julian Meeting would look. It may also be off use to similar non hirarcy groups that aim to remain simple in nature.
Some Basics of Contemplative Prayer
liked it
An interesting little book about silent prayer, sometimes known as contemplative prayer. Some terminology I struggle with though. On the other hand I do admire silent worship and feel it is a missing element in many churches.

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Book Reviews:

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

An amazing anti-racist book. Loved it!

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He Did This Just For You

He Did This Just For YouHe Did This Just For You by Max Lucado
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The same hand that stilled the seas stills your guilt.
The same hand that cleansed the Temple cleanses your heart.
The hand is the hand of God.
The nail is the nail of God.
And as the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.”

He did this for you! Amen to that!

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Finding Peace

Finding PeaceFinding Peace by Jean Vanier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“True peace can rarely be imposed from the outside; it must be born within and between communities through meetings and dialogue and then carried outward.”
A powerful message of peace from a great man.

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Be the Change

Holy Bible: Live NLT

Holy Bible: Live NLTHoly Bible: Live NLT by Anonymous
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an ongoing read. As a follower of Jesus I would say it is FAB! :)

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Lasting Love

Lasting LoveLasting Love by Leslie Gould
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Amish fiction. This was a short and sweet story about lasting love.

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Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Weird Things Customers Say in BookshopsWeird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good bit of fun for all bookworms everywhere. Though it did get a bit boring at times.

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Hostage in Iraq

Hostage in IraqHostage in Iraq by Norman Kember
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Profoundly moving! This book was difficult to read in parts due to its truthful nature.

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Street Cat Bob

Street Cat Bob (Quick Reads 2015)Street Cat Bob by James Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sweet story. I'm looking forward to the film.

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Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book

Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book: Ordinary TimeTake Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book: Ordinary Time by Arthur Paul Boers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book I've dipped in and out of. I love the idea of Anabaptist liturgy and how biblical it manages to be.

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Out of the dark

Out of the darkOut of the dark by Adèle Geras
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book. It is a rather sad story, as many war stories are. However, the conclusion gives a nice glimmer of hope.

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Four Kinds of Christmas

Four Kinds of ChristmasFour Kinds of Christmas by Glen Scrivener
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lovely little book. Love the Christmas message.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being EarnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funny and witty. Once you get your head around the old style of writing is a great book. Also helps that I saw the film.

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The Revival We Need

The Revival We NeedThe Revival We Need by Oswald J. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a powerful book. In it he outlines a message of conviction, repentance, faith and redemption. Please read this book.

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An Inspector Calls

An Inspector CallsAn Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although in many ways a sad story, the book seems to indicate that we are all accountable for each other. This is something I like.

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More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

More Weird Things Customers Say in BookshopsMore Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good fun. But once you have read the first one you kinda get the idea, people say funny things in bookshops. Some bits were funnier than others.

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365 Ways To Change the World

365 Ways To Change the World: How to Make a Difference-- One Day at a Time365 Ways To Change the World: How to Make a Difference-- One Day at a Time by Michael Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another book that I dip into and would not read cover to cover. However, from what I have read there is a good few helpful ideas on helping make the world a better place.

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The Quaker Peace Testimony

A Testimony and Caution to Such as Do Make a Profession of Truth Who Are in Scorn Called Quakers and More Especially Such Who Profess to Be Ministers of the Gospel of Peace, That They Should Not Be Concerned in Worldly Government. (1692)A Testimony and Caution to Such as Do Make a Profession of Truth Who Are in Scorn Called Quakers and More Especially Such Who Profess to Be Ministers of the Gospel of Peace, That They Should Not Be Concerned in Worldly Government. by John Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful historic document denouncing blood shed and evil. Well worth a read. This Quaker Peace Testimony is an example to all who claim to follow the Prince of Peace and indeed to all people.

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The Marriage Book

The Marriage BookThe Marriage Book by Nicky Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was good in that it helps couples consider the journey they will/are taking together. Some good advice from a married couple, always a bonus. However it seems a bit dry and boring in parts.

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Letters of John Newton

Letters of John NewtonLetters of John Newton by John Newton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is simply a partial review as I treat this book as one I dip into now and then rather than a "read right through" kind of book. I particularly like the message on the call to ministry and it has given me much to ponder. :)

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Resurrection

ResurrectionResurrection by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very long hard read, but worth it. A story of redemption and thus a story worth a look. The book is also full of amazing ideas and sayings. “Every man and every living creature has a sacred right to the gladness of springtime.”

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Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and FaithBread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith by Henri J.M. Nouwen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is not a "read right through" sort of book for me, but one I dip into from time to time. It is a devotional book. From what I have read so far I can say that I don't agree with the author on a few points. None the less there is also a lot of good stuff in here and the L'arche influence is something I like.

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The Art of Compassion

The Art of CompassionThe Art of Compassion by Martin Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"We got to rise up!" I was so impacted by this book and the CD that goes with it. There is so much need in the world and we Christians truly need to awake and get to loving this world of brokenness. However, some of it does come across like Christian celebrities boasting about the charity work they do, so it lost a star for that.

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Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous IdeaNonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting and in depth book that makes clear that non-violence is actually the norm and indeed the best method of protest and progress. The only down fall I could see is that he suggested that Jesus was not divine, which as a Christian I beg to disagree with. None the less this deep and powerful history book sends a powerful punch at the war machines of past, present and future.

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An Amish Gathering: Life in Lancaster County

An Amish Gathering: Life in Lancaster CountyAn Amish Gathering: Life in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I only read the first book in the book and have to say I liked it. I have now mis-placed the book so as of now I can only give a partial review. I love exploring Amish, Mennonite and Anabaptist ideologies. I find the strictness to much for me, but on the other hand the search for holiness highly commendable. The story is both a moving and romantic one. Worth a look if you like that type of thing also. :)

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Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers in My Study

Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers in My Study (Classic Reprint)Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers in My Study by Charles Edward Jefferson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was still very relevant despite how old it is. It got a bit boring at points if I'm honest and the occasional comment about other races may now be deemed racist in today's world. However, he does give sound advice throughout the book to those who are preachers or planning to move into that calling. In fact some of it is relevant to people in general as he gives sound advice on simply being a decent person.

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Covenant of the Oberlin Colony

Covenant of the Oberlin ColonyCovenant of the Oberlin Colony by Oberlin Colony
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ancient wisdom. Would that more communities come forth with such utopian ideals.

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Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in

Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in ExileJesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are many valid points and principles in this book. Is so long ago that I read it though that it would be difficult to say much more than that. Of course as with Rob Bell's other stuff there are some bits that cause me to pause and think carefully if he is not a little off on a few things. None the less I loved the idea of Kingdom and the book admits we as a people are east of Eden, but God wants to bring us back to a New Creation, back to the garden of His love.

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Les Misérables

Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful moving story. Looking forward to the new film of it coming out soon.

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Celtic Daily Prayer

Celtic Daily PrayerCeltic Daily Prayer by Andy Raine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not the sort of book you read cover to cover, but one I have dipped into from time to time. I used the liturgy as a quiet time a lot at one point but all the jumping from page to page got a bit tedious. It has a lot of good things in it from the Celtic church. I do find the Celtic church fascinating, though I wouldn't say yes and amen to everything they believed. My wife and I had a trip to Holy Island where I think I got this book. It is a lovely Island and this is a good read (despite the above negatives).

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Your Best Life Now Devotional

Your Best Life Now DevotionalYour Best Life Now Devotional by Joel Osteen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a very positive book. Having a positive Christian attitude, the right attitude is encouraged a lot in these pages. The book was a bit repetitive at times and on a few points I'm not sure I could put my Amen. However, the more I read, the more I realised that he is not promoting as some claim, the unbiblical extreme teaching of "prosperity gospel." Rather it seems he just wants us Christians to have faith, stop being so miserable and start living our best life now. Easier said than done, but with God's grace all things are actually possible.

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Constitution of the Oberlin Anti-Slavery Society

Constitution of the Oberlin Anti-Slavery SocietyConstitution of the Oberlin Anti-Slavery Society by Oberlin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent insight into the non-violent struggle for emancipation.

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The Scandal of Service: Jesus Washes Our Feet

The Scandal of Service: Jesus Washes Our FeetThe Scandal of Service: Jesus Washes Our Feet by Jean Vanier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very powerful message about having a servant heart. A lot of scripture in this one.

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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the MagiThe Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet. A cute little story about love. Not what I expected, but good none the less.

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Each Peach Pear Plum

Each Peach Pear PlumEach Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet wee book. I think our wee one will like it more in future. He seems to smile a lot during reading it. Sweet!

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It's your turn to lead into silence

It's your turn to lead into silenceIt's your turn to lead into silence by Julian Meetings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A helpful little book if you ever get asked to lead a Julian Meeting or similar silent worship based service.

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How Much Land Does A Man Need?

How Much Land Does A Man Need? (Penguin little black classics #57)How Much Land Does A Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found the first story good, but very sad. I like that morals are important with these two stories. The first is opposed to greed. The second story I simply loved. The Bible verses at the start set the tone for the tale. I love stories with mystery, angels and exploring morality, so this story was right up my street. I, however, don't agree that mankind naturally leans to love. Whilst I do feel that there is that of God in people, I also believe that humans often lean towards selfishness and darkness. That said I did enjoy this story and agree that things would be better if people were less selfish and more loving.

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The First Step

The First StepThe First Step by Lamp and Light
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent study of John's gospel. Suitable for seasoned followers of Jesus and those just starting out, and indeed those considering Jesus.

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The War Prayer

The War PrayerThe War Prayer by Mark Twain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still such an extremely relevant parable. It accuses, in a sense, the marriage of faith and war of being an unholy alliance. Well worth a read or listen (if you use audio books).

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The Ideal Julian Meeting

The Ideal Julian MeetingThe Ideal Julian Meeting by Julian Meetings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Helpful insights into how an ideal Julian Meeting would look. It may also be off use to similar non hirarcy groups that aim to remain simple in nature.

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The Shack

The ShackThe Shack by William Paul Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This books is both moving and powerful. I am not 100% sure about some of the theology in it, but one has to keep in mind that it is a novel not a book on Theology. I am cautious about images of God and was uncomfortable with the images used for God in the book other than the one of Jesus as a carpenter from the middle east. All that aside I did like this book and as it takes a lot to write a book on such a difficult subject of grief at losing a child due to a murderer.

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The Shorter Catechism

The Shorter Catechism PBThe Shorter Catechism PB by Roderick Lawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some might feel a catechism is fairly old school. I had tried a modern version but much prefer this version with the old style wording. For those brought up with catechism at Sunday school this is a good reminder for us. For those unfamiliar with the catechism it is a booklet of doctrine in the form of questions and answers. It summarises the bible and Christian faith very clearly. It is like Alpha course or Christianity Explored in that sense, but obviously from a long time ago. There is a helpful audio version that I received free from Ligonier Ministries. It is read by Sinclair Ferguson. It is good if you are not feeling like reading, but happy to listen.

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Civil Disobedience

Civil DisobedienceCivil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some bits I found a bit hard to read. It may just be the old style of writing. Nonetheless I got the jist. Civil disobedience can be good and doing nothing to unsettle the status quo can be bad.

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The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary RadicalThe Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A leaving gift from an Indian friend at Lee Abbey. I loved this book. It shook my world in a good way. There is so much in it about living the faith, community, non-violent initiatives, campaigning, seeking truth and hope in a broken world. The book teaches that we are all broken and we are beautiful, no one is beyond repute and no one is beyond redemption. I especially loved the Iraq Journal that appears in the book.

“And I think that's what our world is desperately in need of - lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.”

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Cozy Classics: Moby Dick

Cozy Classics: Moby DickCozy Classics: Moby Dick by Jack Wang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'll be honest I got stuck on the first few chapters of the original. Something about the racism and verbosity blocked me from reading much more. The original was boring, but this one was cute, funny and strait to the point.

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Some Basics of Contemplative Prayer

Some Basics of Contemplative PrayerSome Basics of Contemplative Prayer by Julian Meetings
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting little book about silent prayer, sometimes known as contemplative prayer. Some terminology I struggle with though. On the other hand I do admire silent worship and feel it is a missing element in many churches.

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Starting a Julian Meeting

Starting a Julian MeetingStarting a Julian Meeting by Julian Meetings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am tempted to start a meeting. Although I would need people to show some interest. This book is very helpful in showing what starting a meeting may look like. I am cautious of some aspects of the contemplative movement so am still not sure if I would like to do this or not.

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Going Into silence...and Coming Out

Going Into silence...and Coming OutGoing Into silence...and Coming Out by Julian Meetings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a helpful little book that explains how best to approach silent worship and the dreaded question of how to enter or leave said worship in such a way that it flows well. This book is useful for all who use silence in worship, not just those attending Julian Meetings.

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A Solemn Review of the Custom of War

A Solemn Review of the Custom of War: Showing That War is the Effect of Popular Delusion & Proposing a RemedyA Solemn Review of the Custom of War: Showing That War is the Effect of Popular Delusion & Proposing a Remedy by Noah Worcester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Where is the Christian who would not shudder at the thought of dying in the exercise of the common war-spirit, and also at the thought of being the instrument of exciting such a spirit in his fellow men? Any custom that cannot be supported except by exciting in men the very temper of the devil ought surely to be banished from the Christian world." A very challenging message from the 1800s. Fascinating points are made and then comes the sense of sadness that though the sword shall not devour forever here we are in 2016 and still so much war. The author puts it across well that just as the Christian can't expect outreach to be done whilst they do nothing and tracts mysteriously take flight to the unreached lands, so too we can't sit around hoping for peace. If we are with the Prince of Peace we must be Peacemakers.

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Beyond the Bounty

Beyond the BountyBeyond the Bounty by Tony Parsons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was as one can imagine a sad story, given it is a short novel based on the aftermath of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. It was however a good and interesting read. I love the quick reads format, as it makes reading enjoyable even if you don't have time enough to read a long book. However, there was a few swears in it and some adult themes (obviously) so not for younger readers.

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Footprints: The True Story Behind the World's Favourite Inspirational Poem

Footprints: The True Story Behind the World's Favourite Inspirational PoemFootprints: The True Story Behind the World's Favourite Inspirational Poem by Margaret Fishback Powers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The poems original source has been disputed a lot. However, whatever the case I find this story heart felt and credible. It is also not just about the poem, but about people and faith. In that sense it is a good story, full of life. An expression of God's unfailing love.
I like the writing style and found it easy to read. I read it with my wife while Glamping in the Scottish Highlands.

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The Difference a Father Makes

The Difference a Father Makes: Calling Out the Magnificent Destiny in Your ChildrenThe Difference a Father Makes: Calling Out the Magnificent Destiny in Your Children by Ed Tandy Mcglasson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book opens with a powerful story of a Father who gives his life to save a crowd of people. Something that he had been called by God to do. It also speaks of a good step - father. A nice break from the cliché that all step - fathers are wicked. The author explains that he knew he was loved and that "It wasn't about what I did; it was about whose son I was." He uses the relationship between Father God and Jesus the Son as a beautiful example to mirror. Jesus is less concerned about His current suffering and more about His role in the Father's kingdom. I loved some of the terminology in this book like "the Father's smile" over his children. A lot of the book was probably aimed at people already Father's, but none the less still helpful to me as we have a baby on the way. Some of the advice given, like giving a purity ring in the form of a proposal to a child, may not translate well into my own cultural context. However, the author does admit that raising kids is not a science and a formula that fits all may not exist. But, we can all learn from the best Father of all, God.

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The Backwash of War

The Backwash of WarThe Backwash of War by Ellen N. La Motte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The utter heartless-ness of war is portrayed in this journal. Each story uncovered reveals victims of a system of war that is ruthless to the core. Absurdities are observed: Such as forcing medical staff to treat a man only for him to be sent back to the front line to come back in a much worse condition, if to come back at all. Or forcing the treatment of men who would rather slip away peacefully, than suffer hours of pain, so surgeons could make a name for themselves, only to die at the end of it anyway. Or forcing the treatment of men who are to be shot after they are well for alleged cowardice. The attitude of some toward suffering, including the suffering of the very young are viewed with cynicism, portraying the cruelty of people even toward their own. This book is not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for the romance of war, you won't find any here. If you are looking for the glory of war, you won't find it here either. For in truth war is to sinister for romance and to wicked to glory in. If you are looking for the sad truth you will find it here in spades.

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The Anabaptists: Neither Catholics nor Protestants

The Anabaptists: Neither Catholics nor ProtestantsThe Anabaptists: Neither Catholics nor Protestants by Lamp and Light
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This booklet certainly does paint a grim picture of Roman Catholic corruption and of the failings of the Protestant Reformation. Indeed the violence and tyranny supported by both parties is rightly condemned. It is also true that we are saved not by works, but by Grace, and that Grace should compell us to discipleship, not a free licence to sin, on our own behalf or that of the states. Further to that the mention of the seperation of church and state and such like American libirties being through the influence of Anabaptist pacifists and not by the influence of Protestant pilgrims is a fascinating thought. As mentioned it is indeed true that the Pilgrims did treat natives, Quakers and others very poorly. Speaking of more recent times the book also condemns the idea of people just "making decisions" being viewed as salvation. This makes sense, cos many claim to have said the sinners prayer, but have abandoned all Christian fruitfulness. Almost with the attitude "I said a prayer so am saved, so I can live however I choose, unrepentant," That being said not all who have found Jesus via this evangelism tool have abandoned Christ in this way, and indeed many now who use this tool for evangelization (and no doubt see it as a tool) "follow up" with the person considering Jesus. The book near the end got very strict and on a few points I would struggle to fully agree. There is much to be said for the Anabaptists of old who suffered at the hands of Protestants and Catholics for the cause of Christ. There is much to also be said for some modern day Anabaptists who are devoted so strongly to the New Testament and the cause of Christ. Some are traditional and others are radical. But, my thought is this, Christ will not ask if we were Catholic, Protestant or Anabaptist on the day of Judgement, but if we believed, loved and followed Him.

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Christmas At Pebble Creek

Christmas at Pebble Creek (The Pebble Creek Amish)Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lovely story. A beautiful conclusion.

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The Agency That Transformed A Nation

The Agency that Transformed a NationThe Agency that Transformed a Nation by J.C. Ryle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The power of the gospel once changed a nation. Trust that it can again.

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Stop Talking, Start Doing

Stop Talking, Start Doing: A Kick in the Pants in Six PartsStop Talking, Start Doing: A Kick in the Pants in Six Parts by Shaa Wasmund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this on train from Glasgow to Inverness in one sitting. I rarely read books that way, but the diagrams, pictures, quotes and so on all contributed to keeping me engaged as a reader. The book does exactly what it promises to do and gives the reader a kick in the pants in six parts. I liked the social sciences the book touched on and was a nice refresher given that was my degree title a number of years ago. Whatever a person gets from this book they are bound to get the idea it is time to get a move on and start living the dreams we all so cherish but are often scared to live.

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Home To Pebble Creek

Home to Pebble Creek (The Pebble Creek Amish)Home to Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a cute wee story! Short and sweet. I love Amish fiction, and this is a nice taster.

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The Signalman

The Signalman: A Ghost StoryThe Signalman: A Ghost Story by Charles Dickens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although ghost stories are not usually my cup of tea, I found this one interesting. In fact my usual position on ghost stories is one of disaproval. However, while modern ghost stories seem aimed at phychologically manipulating the audience and showing needless amounts of bloodshed, this claasic is far more clever. Much like a Christmas Carol, there is a moral to the story and the ghosts (or illusions, depending on perspective) seem to serve a greater purpose. The moral to this story seems to be about the need for diligence at work, especially when working a dangerous job. It's language is smart and the tale is told well. The story kept me hooked to the end.

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God Has A Dream

God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our TimeGod Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time by Desmond Tutu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very positive and easy to read book. I don't agree with Desmond Tutu on everything, but his sense of compassion and care for all of humanity that he expresses through his life and books is very powerful.

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6 Things you didn't know about John Calvin

6Things you didn't know about John Calvin6Things you didn't know about John Calvin by David Qaoud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very short but interesting e-book. It seems clear the author is a fan of Calvin though also balanced in that he certainly doesn't depict him as perfect. Though this book dispels the belief that Calvin burned heritics, it did surprise me that while he asked that Servetus not be burned he didn't challenge him being killed. It just appears to be the idea of burning that appalled him. I don't know the full story of Servetus, but killing a person for an opinion (however wrong) or for being impolite in the expression of said opinion is beyond extreme. I feel bad for him. Could Calvin have done more to help Servetus? I'm not sure. One thing I do know however, is that Calvin was flawed like all of us. Though flawed he also had his achievements as mentioned in this book. Well worth a quick read. Get a free copy at https://thoughtfortheweek.jimdo.com

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A Modest Proposal

A Modest ProposalA Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very extreme satire. I don't know the context of how bad things were between classes and so on in the authors time. Must have been bad though for such a harsh satirical work to be fired at it. I can't say I enjoyed it or found it amusing. Jokes about killing babies are not funny.

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Jefferson Bible

The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of NazarethThe Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth by Thomas Jefferson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stick to your red letter bible. The Jefferson Bible is very much a cut and paste of bits of the Holy Bible. As it is primarily about Jesus' message rather than his miracles or resurrection, these bits don't feature in this book. However, whilst reading it is good to see it more as if reading the bits on Jesus' ethics as lit up by a highlighter pen. It is interesting to read it all in one book, though it does lose some flow to it. There is also a few typos in the book, almost like it was a rushed piece of work. None the less nothing can take away from the words of Jesus that remain challenging, sometimes hard to understand and always in some measure a blessing.

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Damascus Road

Damascus Road: A Journey to The Cross: Overcoming Adversity in ObscurityDamascus Road: A Journey to The Cross: Overcoming Adversity in Obscurity by Acacia Slaton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"No longer stood the fifteen-year-old who felt righteous in her own sight. No longer stood the shy, reserved young woman who believed that being good and kind could earn her a ticket into heaven. I stood guilty as charged and realized how small my high school troubles were in His presence because at that moment, all that mattered was appearing righteous before Him, yet I had no righteousness of my own and realized He had the keys to hell and the grave. But just when I thought my life was over, He extended a love and grace I had never felt or known before."

This book is above all a Testimony of God's grace. I immediately loved this book, as it opens with an Angelic encounter - a beautiful Hebrews 13:2 moment. Then the spirtual battle begins, and the protagonist faces down the dragons of unkind people, mental health issues, personal and family difficulties and demonic oppression. The story encourages the believer to remain faithful to Christ, even if it gets difficult in life. Suffering is portrayed in detail and declared commonplace and the demonic is viewed as very real. However, heaven is declared as real as is the reality of how much greater than all the troubles God is. Those who suffer are not alone.

There are elements to the story I do struggle with: Can a believer truly lose salvation if they are truly a believer? Can one who has accepted God's grace somehow then go on to be damned?

However, the main message of God's greatness in the midst of darkness is one of my own deeply held beliefs. As is the encouragement to abandon sin and live under His grace:

"We are told in Scripture that “therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). This revelation alone should encourage us to continue in the faith. As a minister of the gospel, you may not always preach what others want to hear, but just know there’s a host in heaven cheering you on, so persevere!"

The book also qoutes from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: “Grace is the overflowing favour of God you can always reckon it is there to draw upon."

Indeed this testimony indicates the importance of Grace as a pure form of love. It is a known fact that one of the most important things in life is to love and be loved. Here we discover where to find that sort of love. In God himself.

This beautiful book encourages us with holy scriptures:

 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you. (I Peter 5:7).

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you (Jeremiah 31:3).

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. (Isaiah 61:7).

And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great (Job 8:7, ESV).

This is a touching Testimony and it points us toward Christ.

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All is Grace!

All Is GraceAll Is Grace by Brennan Manning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is nothing short of moving. It is in fact more of a confession than a memoir. Brennan is brutally honest about the troubles in his life, the brokenness and sin. It is this kind of honesty the church and the world needs. Although from time to time it seemed as if he was promoting some kind of Universalislm that I'm not sure I would go along with (attractive as it may be), he none the less does constantly point to God's infinite Grace and indeed he himself says he is not a universalist.

Like the book title says: ALL IS GRACE.

Benson in his testimony at the start of the book writes: "...in the end, my sin will never outweigh God's love. That the Prodigal can never outrun the Father. That I am not measured by the good I do but by the grace I accept."

There were moments in the book where I was a little taken aback. It may have just been my own misunderstanding of what he was trying to say, but occasionally it came across as if his attitude to sin was simply "It happens", which probably isn't what he was going for. Like Saint Paul I would say "What? Should we sin all the more that Grace may abound? God forbid."

That aside he approaches the memoir with clarity and honesty, and constantly points out his own sins and in contrast God's Grace and it is indeed God's Grace that we all need.

So I conclude my review with these words from Brennan:

"Prone to wander? You bet. I've been a priest, then an ex-priest. Husband, then ex-husband. Amazed crowds one night and lied to friends the next. Drunk for years, sober for a season, then drunk again. I've been John the beloved, Peter the coward, and Thomas the doubter all before the waitress brought the check. I've shattered every one of the Ten Commandments six times Tuesday. And if you believe that last sentence was for dramatic effect, it wasn't."

"All is Grace."

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