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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pope Francis In His Own Words by Julie Schwietert Collazo and Lisa Rogak

Pope Francis in South Korea (Korean Media and Information Service)

Pope Francis chose the name 'Francis' because Saint Francis was the man of the poor and a man of peace..  This clever, sympathetic and kindly Pope is arguably trying to live up to his name. For example, he said that he'd just go with the guys on the bus after being elected, and he often attempts to be a peacemaker.

This book is full of wise quotes from the reforming Pope who surprises everyone by sticking to the principles of the Catholic church but also being understanding about minorities, such as gay people.  This book includes quotes on controversial subjects, such as euthanasia and abortion.  But it also has helpful quotations for Christians, such as the experience of the dark night of the soul and learning how to love.  He said that: 'No one knows how to love; we learn every day'.

This is a book that many Christians and admirers of the Pope will want to keep as one of their treasured books.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Perdita by Hilary Sharper

I am afraid that I just couldn't get into this.  Unfortunately, I found the concept a bit silly.

The Isis Crisis by Charles H Dyer and Mark Tobey

This book provides a lucid and thorough explanation of the history of Islam and the origins of Isis. It includes the history of how artificial states were created by the colonists, a discussion of whether Isis is a state, and the Middle East conflicts.

It also explains the frightening ideology of this well-funded and well-organised terrorist group, the dangers that it poses to us (especially Christians) and the conflicts over oil, religion and ethnicity in the chaotic area.  Isis wants to form a worldwide caliphate,  has even threatened to raise the flag in the White House, and they are persecuting and massacring large numbers of people and enslaving women. They especially hate Christians.

I did find the last part of the book which has an account of the Book of Revelation and the future of mankind rather esoteric, but I would recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about how we got into this scary situation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Great Valor and Great Faith. No Greater Valor by Jerome Corsi

101st Airborne Division troops retrieving air dropped supplies during the siege of Bastogne

When the Germans wanted the American troops who were surrounded and fighting the battle of their lives to surrender, General McAuliffe had one word for them.  The word was 'Nuts!'  This was easily 'the most famous single word uttered by any American commander during World War 11,' according to Jerome Corsi.

General McAuliffe summarized the way that most of the Americans who fought in the famous Battle of Bastogne felt even though they were fighting in dreadful weather, suffering from lack of provisions, arms and clothes, and needed reinforcements.  They had also been surprised by the several forces that Hitler had amassed - this lack of knowledge was a massive intelligence failure. Hitler's famous Wehrmacht approached the little Belgian town of Bastogne from four directions, so the Americans had their backs to the wall.

Corsi relates the story of this miracle battle in this well-researched and detailed book, using quotes from interviews and biographies to illustrate his main argument that they won primarily because of their great faith.  I found the book a bit dry and heavy at times, but I don't usually read books about battles.  However, it was full of interesting stories and anecdotes, such as the tales about the adventurous priest, how Patton's prayer assisted the weather, and mysterious angels.

If you like reading about the history of the Second World War, this is highly recommended.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Kirribilli Christmas by Louise Reynolds

When Shelby's American boyfriend buys her a ticket home after telling her that he's not spending Christmas with her, she feels that she may as well use it. When she returns to her childhood home in the beautiful Sydney suburb of Kirribilli, she meets handsome Dan again. He was one of her mother's many foster children. Shelby's attraction to Dan and her feelings of rejection by the other grown-up foster children cause her many dilemmas. How will she enjoy this Christmas?

I enjoyed this light romance, especially the vivid descriptions of Sydney, and it was good holiday reading. I actually read it in Sydney! However, it was disappointingly short, and I preferred Louise Reynolds's other novel, The Red Duchess.

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Case for Christmas A Journalist Investigates The Case Of The Child In The Manger Lee Strobel

When Lee Strobel visits an extremely poor family living in an almost bare apartment, the faith and hope of the family surprises him.  He goes back to his writing troubled and starts to reconsider his atheism and his despair.  He feels that he has every material possession but he is unhappy, while they are poor and their faith gives them inner strength.

After he writes an article about the family, he visits them again to find that generous people have showered them with money and gifts.  He is even more surprised to learn that the family is going to give most of them away!  This is what Jesus would want them to do, the mother tells him.

Strobel decides to discover more about Jesus and investigate him like a journalist.  He speaks to experts to find out the truth of the gospels, and learns that they really are based on eyewitness accounts and written by the actual authors.  He also finds out that archaeological discoveries are validating places mentioned in the Bible, and other biblical facts. The virgin birth stumps him, he admits, but after he speaks to a medical expert about it, he thinks that it is possible.

This book probably won't convince died-in-the-wool agnostics and atheists to convert to Christianity, but I found it an interesting account of a spiritual journey, based on a great idea.