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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Postmodern Americans place a high value on emotion and sentiment. Therefore, they take what society gives them, mix it with the memory of their own faith traditions, then syncretize it with whatever teaching offers the most satisfaction or the best feelings.

Perhaps it was because I sat in on a workshop led by Rebecca Price Janney and could hardly wait to dive into the book but I believe the opening pages would have grabbed me anyway.

In Who Goes There?: A Cultural History of Heaven and Hell, Janney has created a perfect blend of history and theology. With just 215 pages, her intent is not to go deep into either. The brevity provides a enjoyable and very intriguing look at how our cultural has indeed impacted the way we live out our theology.

I was surprised to discover that even some of my own perspectives have been molded more by culture than by the church.

I highly recommend this not as an in-depth study of history or theology but because of the way Janney brings the two together. Those who enjoy American history and are on a continual search for truth will appreciate Janney’s ability to compress vast amounts of research into a thought-provoking read.

Just like her workshop, she leaves you with the sense that she has more information than pages (or time) allow.

Visit RebeccaPriceJanney.com for additional titles by Janney.

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I have been reading about human trafficking for about a year. Like most hot topics, there is a broad spectrum with plenty of statistics; then there is the details that move a person to action – or at least the desire to act.

Linda Smith’s previous book, From Congress to the Brothel, was eye opening for me. This book is… disturbing. Yes, disturbing, as true stories of young girls being used for pleasure and profit should be. Disturbing in a way that will not allow me to live my life the same after having this information.

Nancy Winston, a Shared Hope International National Awareness Board Member, put it this way: “Once you know, you can no longer not know!”

This book will introduce you to a world that might seem fictitious. You will learn terminology that you would like to think is only used in a Hollywood movie script. You will meet young girls whose life has been taken yet they continue to survive a brutal existence. How they got there. How it could happen to your child or your child’s best friend. And perhaps most shocking, you will meet those who pay for sex and the ineffectiveness of procedures currently in place to stop the crime.

Smith and Coloma have written this book in the form of a novel which allows the reader to get to know the characters and picture the scenes. Commentary is added at the end of chapters to help the reader understand the reality of the story. This atrocity is happening in communities throughout the U.S.  The Foreward quotes a police commander as saying “the only way not to find this problem in any community is simply not to look for it.”

You will see implicitly in the story and then explicitly in the Commentary:

  • “Why is it in America?” 
  • “How Children Get Abducted”
  • “How Does It Happen?” – how are children persuaded to do what they do
  • “Who Buys a Child?”
  • “Who are the Children Trafficked for Sex?”
  • “What’s Happening in Our Legal System?”
  • “Why Don’t They Leave?”

The book ends with hope. Hope which comes from the story being told as well as what organizations such as Shared Hope are doing and what you can do. The final pages list “Next Steps” which call for a change in laws and a change in the general populations perspective of this crime.

If you only read one book a year, make this the book. It’s 163 pages that will change the way you think each time you see the picture of a child on a missing person report or hear of a runaway. It might even cause you to truly love the children around you more.

You can receive a free copy of this book with a donation to Shared Hope International. Please, make a donation. Help prevent, rescue and restore women and children from the commercial sex trade industry.

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Great read from beginning to end… and don’t skip the introduction. 🙂

“Sarcasm is a viable form of communication.” This phrase is sprinkled throughout the book and it’s truth is in every chapter.

I found myself going back in time, relating to the mindset of the author in various places throughout my own search for truth. She reveals aspects of many who desire to find the real God and others who kill that desire by thinking they have all the answers.

Her humor is fantastic – great for laughs and powerful for truth. She creates characters from her life that the reader can easily relate to. Her stories put pictures to what many of us have thought or wanted to say. Maybe we’ve even said it but it didn’t feel funny in the midst of our frustrations with people, with the church, or with God.

I recommend this book for those who have struggled to fit in a church or connect with the typical church mindset (or at least it seems typical when you feel you are alone in the way you think). I also recommend it for those who have always loved “the church” and defended it as if it were God himself.

Here’s a couple of quotes that will stay with me:

“Maybe that’s what church really is: just a bunch of guys, trying to figure it out together.”

“Here’s the hardest thing. I have to accept God as he is. Even if he never blesses me or gives me adventure, purpose, or meaning.”

I borrowed this one from the library. I may need to buy a copy to have on hand for when I’m frustrated with life as a follower of Jesus Christ.

This review is also posted on at www.librarything.com – see other books I’ve rated 5 star to see if we have the same taste in a what qualifies as a “great read.”

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“One truth is set forth: the Kingdom of God which one day shall fill the earth is here among men but in a form which was never before expected.” (p 59)

Ladd delivers an exciting teaching on the reality of the already and not yet of the Kingdom. Click here to read quotes that caught my attention.

This book is not for those comfortable with a learned perception of heaven being something only of the future. It gives meaning and purpose to our life right now that is beyond what is taught in most churches today.

The author writes with an assumption that his audience agrees with his understanding of the Millennium but even if you don’t agree with his assumptions, the book is excellent for stirring the mind and revealing insights on the characteristics of the Kingdom of God and the role of the Church today in that Kingdom.

The final chapter leaves the reader with the ultimate challenge: “When is Christ coming again? When the Church has finished its task.” Ladd has given us the keys to that task throughout the dynamic read of a mere 140 pages.

If you are interested in truth over comfort of what you’ve been taught, pick up a copy and study with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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Erec Rex

Erec Rex The Dragon’s Eye by Kaza Kingsley

Those who avoid Harry Potter may find this book difficult to read. However, I challenge you to read with a consideration of the two kingdoms of this world. I found the concepts of “gifting” and confronting the “shadow demons” very applicable to the Christ follower. Are you a Keeper or a Loser when it comes to the Biblical power of the Holy Spirit?

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“It was as if God Himself whispered in my ear, ‘Touch her for Me.’ My hand suddenly weighed 90 pounds. I froze. My head felt light from holding my breath. I could taste the stench. Would the filth make me vomit? Would I contract a deadly disease by just breathing the air? I wanted to leave my hands safely in my pockets, with my arms pressed tightly to my sides to avoid brushing up against anything. But I couldn’t ignore the internal voice: ‘Touch her for Me.'” ~ Linda Smith

This book is very well written. Far more than facts and figures, Smith includes her personal thoughts and reactions, allowing the reader to grasp the reality of the sex trafficking industry.

With only 102 pages, it can be easily read and passed on as a quick introduction for those who are skeptical about or new to the topic of modern-day slavery.

The personal stories of the children and young women in India, Australia, Fiji, the Netherlands, and the United States are more than just names and numbers. Smith gives their story as a friend sharing their pain… and celebrating their freedom.

She doesn’t leave the reader at a dead end. She reminds us the task is not more than we can handle together. Organizations like Shared Hope International have started the work. Her final words, “All you have to do is show up.”

You can get a free copy of this book by visiting http://www.sharedhope.org. This is not a book to keep on your shelf. Read it and pass it on.

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Flores shares a story that needs to be told. I imagine it was a painful story to write, as it is a difficult one to read. Throughout the book I had to remind myself that this was not fiction. This happened and still happens over and over throughout our country and around the world.

An upper middle class teenager from a family of healthy, strong morals is lured into the sex trade industry. Her attraction, curiosity, and trust of those others shun place her in circumstances that go beyond her ability to control.

The story emphasizes a teenager’s perspective and the options she perceived in a two-year nightmare. A teen reading this will be encouraged to rely on their innate ability to sense something wrong and avoid this or equally threatening situations before it is too late. The greater message is for parents, teachers, and other professionals who may come across teenagers trapped in this horrid industry which steals the innocence from an estimated 1.2 million children every year (UNICEF).

This book is self-published and would be greatly enhanced by a professional editor. I would like to see Flores seek out an experienced ghost writer or editor to increase the potential of being published and distributed to a larger audience through a traditional publishing house.

For more information on this topic, visit my “Fellow Abolitionist” listed in the right margin of this blog. More sites are listed in my previous posts on this topic: Bring Justice – Become and Abolitionist and Dignity and Justice for All.

Visit ChristianAudio.com for this month’s free audio download (Feb 2009), Not for Sale – The Return of Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight it by David Batstone.

You may also be interested in reading the National Institute of Justice Special Report (Dec 2007), Commerical Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It?

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