New Book Coming Out on Fasting

As I experiment with my Nook, I am finding places that are giving advance e-reader copies. I was sent an advance e-reader copy of 40 Days without Food: Divine Goodness to a Starving Soul  by Russ Masterson.

My initial thoughts are not very positive as to the content of the book. What I DO like about Masterson’s effort is his honesty with his emotions and feelings all through the process. But it’s the process that gets me. It’s almost like he treated walking into a 40 day fast like Morgan Spurlock treated the process of eating McDonald’s food alone for 30 days. Granted, Masterson felt a prompting by the Spirit to do this, but he gives no other indication as to WHY he had to do this. Then, his daily thoughts, while good and somewhat challenging, drifted along a lot like Spurlock’s commentary in Super Size Me. But Spurlock had more substance to his meanderings.

Masterson’s work could have taken some wonderful turns into some incredible human struggles. Instead, they are Twitter posts that leave the reader waiting until the next time he thinks about a cheeseburger.

If you are looking for some good quick human insight into some sheer misery from 40 days of fasting, this is your book. If you are wanting to explore fasting, especially extended fasts, with some in-depth help, this is not where you need to read. His assumptions of the reasons for fasting are a bit off. (“In general, fasting is abstaining from food for a cause.”) Plus, he offers so little help (even after going through this process himself) it would be quite dangerous to attempt an extended fast after reading this book. (He offers less than three pages of practical helps for an extended fast and his assumptions are not entirely true.)

What he DOES hit on is the struggles we face as humans. He comes face to face with some ugly emotions and feelings. He walks through some of those things. Some of the powerful realities of fasting do indeed come through, even in his haphazard fashion of writing.

My concern is people would read this book and say, “Man! No way I am fasting.” That would be a shame. Fasting is such a needed discipline in our lives, we don’t need to be scared away from it!

The e-book is released July 1. I was sent the galley e-reader version from Tyndale with hopefully no obligation to give it a positive review.

I will keep working back through the book to find the nuggets. What I won’t find is some good practical helps and good solid advice FOR fasting, which is unfortunate.


Book Review — In His Image Devotional Bible

Just what I need: another Bible!

My biggest complaints in the past is our utter dependence on study Bibles. We don’t study the Bible enough!

Also, I’m not a personal fan of the New Living Translation. I like it as a pastor, however. It is a great translation to give to people who have not spent many years reading the Bible.

So, I get this Bible from Tyndale for review. I am not under any obligation to give it a positive review.

But I must say I really like this concept! It is not meant to be a study Bible. It is meant to be more of a “spiritual formation” Bible. There are topics to explore, but they are all related to attributes of God. It is an attempt to get the reader to slow down. Think. Meditate. Pray.

There are key articles on the attribute of God at the end of the biblical text. There are also helpful articles within the text. It is organized well. You get the entire text of the New Living Translation with devotional/prayer commentaries alongside. The format is not overwhelming at all. If I want to just read the text, the small commentaries along the way don’t get in the way too much.

Overall, I think this is a good addition for believers. We need to slow it down. We need some help in drawing our thoughts to God. This devotional Bible is worth the look.

THAT SAID… (so I won’t post what is next on Amazon or anything).

I am looking forward to Nov. 1 when we can review the NIV2011 online. I am anxious to see how this is going to hold up to our expectations. Once that is done, I have been giving some serious thought to how I approach my Bible addiction. (My name is Dan, I’m a Bible addict.)

Should the NIV2011 edition be a good one, I will then wait until next year to make a purchase of it in print. Should it disappoint as an update, I will not plan any future purchases.

Blogs I have followed are making good points. With all of our translation wars in this country, we are getting spoiled with all kinds of translations while there are areas of the world yet to get the Bible in their own language. In that spirit, I am going to make a pledge. The money I would foolishly spend on buying yet another Bible for myself will be spent on agencies getting the Bible out to people who desperately need it around the world. (It’s not much. Maybe $100 a year or something.) But I want to break my own addiction and work to make sure the power of the Word reaches millions who have yet to read the living words of Christ in their own language.

At any rate, concerning THIS particular Bible, I give it a good thumbs up.

Book Review — The Devil in Pew Number Seven

I interrupt this hiatus for a book review. Since I asked for books to review, I feel I need to get them reviewed in some sort of a timely fashion, even if I tried to give myself a hiatus from blogging.

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is a true story. The book was sent to me for review by Tyndale, though I am not under any obligation to write just a positive review.

This is a compelling story of a pastor’s family in the south in the 1970s. They went through horrible abuse by a very deranged individual in their church. I lived through a lot of church abuse in my day, but nothing I saw involved this kind of terrorism. Rebecca Nichols Alonzo writes of her family and the ugly days of pastoring a church in a tiny town in North Carolina. Though the church thrived, one particular man in the church just simply hated the pastor. His abuse included hurling verbal abuses at the pastor during the Sunday services and “anonymous” letters. But it went far beyond anything I’ve ever seen or experienced.

The vengeful man actually set off explosives near their home and tried to contract a killer to assassinate the pastor.

Eventually, through the violence of another man battling alcoholism, the pastor and his wife are shot. The pastor’s wife dies in that shooting. The pastor goes into horrible bouts of depression. The book is written from the viewpoint of the daughter, who was only seven or eight when her mother was tragically killed.

The main theme of the book is forgiveness. It is about blessing those who really do persecute you. The author and her brother work through forgiveness both for the killer and the vengeful old man who tried to blow up their house.

The book lacks depth. I was left wanting to know more. The reader is left without a lot of detail on deeper issues. How did that congregation stay so supportive so long? This is a book that could go much deeper into a riveting story. Everything flies by too quickly.

Overall, the look into abuse and forgiveness makes it a compelling read.