Prince Caspian

prince-caspianThe Good Quote: There were two parts of this book I really liked.

1: When back in Narnia they found that some of the animals weren’t good, talking animals anymore, like they had been in previous trips. Instead, some had gone wild, and it was hard to know if an animal wanted to talk to you – or kill you. Then Lucy said, “Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?”

Good question.

2: Not long later Lucy can see Aslan the Lion, but the rest of her company can’t see Him. Aslan lets Lucy know they needed to go a different direction, but the company can’t see Him, and they disagree. It just isn’t the logical, safe way to go. So, they take a vote, and Lucy loses. Of course, their direction almost gets them killed, they change direction and Lucy gets to see Aslan again. That’s when things take a surprising turn.

“For a long time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke. ‘Lucy,’ he said, ‘we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.’

‘Yes, wasn’t it a shame?’ said Lucy. ‘I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so—‘

From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. ‘I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t’ my fault anyway, was it?’

The Lion looked straight into her eyes.

‘Oh Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘You don’t mean it was? How could I–I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you all alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that . . . oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?’

Aslan said nothing.”

The illustrations of following Christ throughout the series are remarkable. Love it.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But did he know how to quilt, or sweat copper pipe when he had a leak under the sink? I’m guessing not, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: The truth at the  end of the above quote. It goes on to say,

‘” You mean,m’ said Lucy rather faintly, ‘that it would have turned out all right–somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?’

To know what would have happened, child?’ said Aslan. ‘No. Nobody is every told that.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Lucy.

‘But anyone can find out what will happen,’ said Aslan.”

And that is the beautiful truth.

 

Interrupted

interruptedInterrupted: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by Jen Hatmaker

The Good:

In spite of the current LGBT controversy around Jen Hatmaker, this is a good book. Not great maybe, but it has some terrific humor, combined with some convicting truth that make it a worth-while read. It is one of the best books,on helping “the least of these” in our own community, that I have read.

For those who don’t know, Jen’s affirmation of LGBT relationships resulted in her books being pulled from LifeWay Christian Stores. I support LifeWay in that, but it doesn’t take away from the good teaching in this book. The problem is that now it is difficult to recommend Interrupted, when you don’t know where the author is going with her life and theology. Most who start down this road of accepting most of the Bible while reinterpreting parts, end up reinterpreting most and accepting parts.

But, back to the book, I absolutely loved this quote she put in by Soren Kierkegaard “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God, ‘you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined.’” She followed that quote in a new paragraph with, “Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

 

The Bad:

Jen makes a point of sacrificing for people like the disciples – world changers, but also for people like Judas. We may be willing to be broken for future martyrs, gospel writers, and world changers, but it is much more difficult to be willing to be broken for a Judas. I thought that was a great point, convicting and true. However she ruined it, in my view, when she then talked about Judas being at the first communion. She says on p. 62 that “Judas was at Jesus’ table, eating the broken bread that was His body.” Actually, by this time we know Judas had left. He was out rounding up the Pharisees to come arrest Jesus, not eating with him. Had she stopped with Jesus washing Judas’ feet, that would have made the point.

So, either Jan didn’t do her research, or she is stretching the truth in order to make her point. Neither one makes me rest easy. I love her point, that we don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated by those we are caring for. But, Judas wasn’t there, and saying he was ruined the chapter for me.

 

The Ugly:

If you are a guy, Jen Hatmaker may be a new name to you. But she has 670,000 following her on Facebook. That’s more than John Piper with 431,000, double Tim Keller with 295,000, and triple the largest church in the United States, Life.church with 215,000.

This gifted a writer, with this large a following, can do great things for Christ. Jen already has. We have lost so many to liberal theology after getting a following, Jen deserves our prayer support to do exactly what she wrote. “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly.”

I can recommend the book, but not the author. . . yet.

But having said all that — here is another great quote.

interrupted_page-28

 

Small Group Success: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

11961The Good: Small groups are essential for fulfilling the 60+ Biblical commands for believers to “build up one another.” Sometimes though, small groups do a better job at being a source for frustration and division within the church. Bradley Wright, the author, gives practical, biblical help for organizing and leading small groups, while keeping your church in one piece – and growing as a result.

The Bad: I’m an ADD story lover, who can learn to rebuild an engine on YouTube but can’t figure out how to change windshield wipers with the instructions that come in the package. Bradley has a treasure chest of small group experience. This means his instructions are spot on – but it can read like an instruction manual. I need YouTube. Here is an example.

On page 61 Bradley writes, “Effective small group leaders prepare for their role prior to the first meeting. Great small group leaders are always preparing for their role…” Then he explains how to prepare – through prayer, following another leader, etc. I was hoping the next paragraph would state, “The last time I wasn’t prepared we started talking politics, a fight broke out, the police had to be called, three people went to the hospital, (only two died) and the church split.” I suppose a good example of preparation would have been cool too. In short, the book tells, rather than shows.

The Ugly: As a pastor, I’ve struggled to find a good book on small groups – at least one that is current being printed. I think this may be the best out right now – as the content is sharp, even if you have to dig a bit. I heard rumor Brad is editing and updating the current edition. I hope he will put in some stories and pictures for me. Then this easily goes from 4 stars to 5!