Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson_140_245_Book.61.cover

This review has been a long time coming, mainly because my dog managed to chew through a majority of it.  I read Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson in one day, but it has taken me much longer to sift through the half-eaten chapters and write a review of this beautiful book.

In Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl, Wilson weaves together an amazing collection of thoughts, pictures, events, and experiences to create a grand picture of the universe and the amazing Creator of it all.  This book is poetic, almost like a song itself, singing the words into being, as each chorus brings to life another season.

Wilson writes, “To exist in this poem is a greater gift than any finite creature can imagine.  To be so insignificant and yet still be given a speaking part, to be given scenes that are my own, and my own only, scenes where the audience is limited to the Author Himself (scenes that I often flub),  to have been here with my frozen nose, to have been crafted with at least as much care as a snowflake (though I’m harder to melt), and to hear and feel and see and taste and smell the heavy poetry of God, that is enough.”

Creation itself is poetry.  Our very being is a beautiful song the Creator has sung into existence and sustains with every word spoken from His mouth.  Wilson reminds his readers with each page that a magnificent Creator is in control of all and is Himself an artist.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys looking at the world through a different lense.  It draws the reader in to understand the Creator in an intimate way by looking at creation and our own selves unlike any way we have gazed at it before.

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Between Wyomings by Ken Mansfield

Between Wyomings is the story of Ken Mansfield, legendary and Grammy Award wining record executive of the Beatles and many others, life recounted as he embarks on a road trip with his wife Connie, and faithful van, Moses.   Mansfield takes the reader on a journey, not just through the countryside of America, but through his own story, leading the reader to journey alongside him through his or her own story, too.  The story progresses through the images and places Mansfield encounters and follows the rythms of its own unique soundtrack.

Reading Between Wyomings was like taking a deep breath of Southern summer air.  I thought it would refresh me, but all it did was suck the life out of me.  It seems that Mansfield was trying to hard to make his story poetic by writing with a thesaurus in one hand, so I would have to read with a dictionary in mine.  While his attempt at poeticism is well attempted, as a reader it served as more of a barrier to being captivated by the story.  The power of a good story is that it doesn’t have to be made compelling; it already is.  If Mansfield had simply allowed his story to unfold and tell itself, the way all good stories do, I would have been captured from the first sentence, instead of having to drag myself to the last page.

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The question is not going to go away.  “How do we, as Christians, live and engage in a world that is driven by ‘secular’ pop culture and media?” Instead of ignoring it, we must strive to understand and answer it.

Faith and Pop Culture is an eight week small group study series that addresses the issues of integrating media and culture into our lives as Christians.  This study explores aspects of pop culture such as movies, television, literature, sports, and violence in video games, and the importance of how Christians respond to these issues.

Each session begins with an introductory article from Christianity Today concerning the discussion topic.  The sessions also have suggestions for opening the small group discussion and thought provoking questions about the issue at hand, including scripture references that help direct meaningful conversation in discovering the biblical perspective on each specific issue.

Faith and Pop Culture challenges Christians to examine our beliefs about why we are opposed to certain aspects of our culture, especially in the media, and instead strive to see Truth and beauty in everything around us.   Each session challenges its readers to face controversial issues, which often seem to be condoned in the media, brought about by the entertainment industry and does so with thoughtful and engaging discussion questions.

This is a great study for anyone seeking to understand more about engaging culture in a biblical way, and is probably best done in a group of 5-8 people; however, it could also be used to spark great one-on-one conversations or larger group discussions.

We must engage the culture with our Christian worldview and learn how to embrace Truth in all that we experience.  Sometimes the greatest Truth is delivered in an unlikely package, and we must be aware and willing to see the beauty in the culture around us.

The entertainment industry is not going away.  As Christians, we must begin to tackle the tough, and sometimes controversial issues that arise from the entertainment culture we live in and begin to see culture through a biblical worldview.  Then we will find the balance in our lives to fulfill our call to be light in the darkness.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

“Normal people don’t chase lions.”  This is a drastic understatement, but in this book, Mark Batterson summons the lion chaser within us all.  Normal people may not chase lions, but who ever said we were meant to be normal?  Batterson challenges the belief that obstacles and problems get in the way of blessing and suggests instead that the insurmountable obstacles in our life are often our best opportunities and are the places where we experience miracles of divine proportions.  We have been playing it safe for way too long…afraid to risk…afraid to fail…afraid to look foolish.  It is time to face our fears, embrace uncertainty, and begin chasing lions.

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Uprising by Erwin McManus

This is one of my favorite books.  I read it while I was in seminary, and now I am reading it again with our Youth Volunteers at Cornerstone.  Uprising is a call to a generation who is tired of the status quo of religion.  It is a call for a revolution of the soul.  This book is challenging and engaging, but after all, it is written by Erwin McManus.

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The Shack by William P. Young

This book took me through an unexpected adventure of seeing God in a completely different light.  Told through the character of Mackenzie Phillips, a man who lost his daughter in a great tragedy, this story will open your heart and mind to the love God has for His creation.  I would suggest reading it with a box of tissues nearby.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with a broken heart or a damaged view of God.  It definitely awakened a part of my spirit to God’s unconditional and overflowing love.

a-thousand-splendid-suns1A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This is a captivating story about life in war-torn Afghanistan.  It follows the stories of several Afghani women and their families.  I am still in the process of reading this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants a solemn, yet compelling novel to read.

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers
I review for BookSneeze

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