Sunday, January 14, 2007

December Book Reviews

Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball A+
I’m still dealing with the stuff in this book. I think I’m going to end up rereading it next month… This book looks at the post-modern generation (anybody younger than about 35, and that’s a MAJOR generalization) and how they desire to live out their faith. While he focuses on the worship event, Kimball makes it clear that the Sunday morning (or Saturday night) worship event is not the primary event to this generation- small cell groups are where they want to focus their energies and growth. These groups encourage a practical place to work out your faith in the context of relationships- honesty, openness and intimacy are key words for these groups. Kimball spends the first half of the book describing this generation and their needs and desires, and the reasons for their continued absence from conventional church. Then he spends the second half evaluating a number of churches who are successfully reaching this group through cell group and worship event ministry. He spends a major amount of time explaining what these churches are doing in the worship event and then evaluating them in terms of what they are doing well and what they might do better. I found myself connecting with a lot of what he describes… I would probably describe myself as in the middle- not really a ‘modern’ Christian, but not primarily resting in the land of ‘post-modern’ Christianity… I’ve functioned for years and years in the modern church, but have longed for something more, something that reaches to the heart of my faith and allows me to express my passion and faith more clearly… Kimball describes a place that I would love to be- My parents’ generation, in general, seems to be happy with a very ‘fake’ church- a happy smiley faith. While I have longed for a place to ask my questions, to be real and share what’s going on in my life and heart. That’s what I get from this book- It’s not just me. There are other Christians out there who are longing for the same reality. So, as a worship leader I’m going to have to read it again… I took it too personally this first read for me to be able to really practically evaluate ways I can use this information…

Dragon’s Fire by Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey A-
Good book. I’ve been a Pern fan since 8th grade, but had gotten a little annoyed with repetition of themes. So many of McCaffrey’s Pern books lately had been about these old curmudgeony people who weren’t willing to change with the times and wanted to do things the way they’d always been done- She did 5 or 6 that seemed like the exact same story just with different names. Then she let her son loose on the series! Yay! New blood, so that the same old thing isn’t done the exact same way it had been done before…. Anyway, this one covers some of the history of Pern and I loved it!

The Wild Hunt by Jane Yolen B+
Very quick read and a very interesting book… A fantasy of ‘Sort of’ and ‘Almost’. A book that comments on the conventions of fantasy mythology and on the possibilities in ‘choice’. Two heroes, in houses that are in the same place and are almost the same, but are still very different. I enjoyed the book, but I enjoy many odd things. :)

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce A
I love this YA series… I’m rereading them because I needed something comforting and familiar. Everything else in my life has been crazy- we’re ALL sick, rehearsals, bazaars, decorating for Christmas, planning Christmas for little ones… So I wanted a book I KNEW was good and that I would definitely enjoy and that would be a good escape. The main character of these books, Daine, can talk to animals (one of my dream wishes… maybe when I get to heaven!) and has a fascinating history which slowly unfolds in the first book. I love re-reading how she finally comes to trust those around her and how she is brought to a place where her gifts are useful and valued. (I’ve been to the library and couldn’t find any more in this series, so I had to read other Pierce books. Oh, dear. How tragic. ;) )

The Circle Quartet by Tamora Pierce A
Sandry’s Book, Tris’ Book, Daja’s Book, Briar’s Book

I love Tamora Pierce. She consistently has interesting ideas and characters. These were a reread for me, and I read them mostly because I knew there were good. Reading these again lets me see things I didn’t see the first time… Like how much Sandry doesn’t fit the mold for a ‘noble’ even when she was a girl, or how much Briar changes from the street urchin he was when his teacher found him in the first book, to a master magician in his own book.

The Circle Opens Quartet by Tamora Pierce A
Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass
These are the same characters from The Circle Quartet, just four years later- Each of the characters has mastered their magic and is continuing to grow and develop as magic masters… In these books the children are faced with moral choices and making decisions for the good of all. They must face up to how much their magic affects those around them and the responsibility their powers entail.

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