It’s all about love! what I just finished reading

9780312499440_p0_v1_s260x42051bYIGEBUQL._AA160_Since I care a great deal about accuracy, I feel inclined to tell you that I didn’t just finish reading these. But both of them were completed in the last several months ; John Donne first, Uneclipsing the Son last. But as a young mother of four little kids five and under, I’m still basking in the accomplishment of finishing two books.

Also, it’s been a great while since I did an actual book review. I didn’t enjoy it then, and I don’t plan on enduring it now. So I will try to tell you why I read these books and point out some things that were especially enjoyable or valuable to me. That sounds a lot better then going through my old Composition text and writing point for point a good book review.

Ready?

Poetry first.

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I dearly love poetry, but have only come to realize this since being married. One of our favorite hangouts as a couple is Barnes and Noble; I remember the first time I decided to browse the poetry section. Hmm… Dylan Johnson, there was a poem of his I loved in high school. Egh, but not right now. Tennyson? Longfellow? John Donne. Oh yes, this is what I want.

“Batter my heart three-personed God!” rang in my ears. I wanted to read more of this guy.

These poems were definitely a stretch for me. Sometimes I would have to read it two or three times to really understand. There are a lot of references to ancient mythology? history? I didn’t get all those, but it didn’t hamper my understanding too much. In his introduction, Charles Fowkes relays how reading Donne’s love poems connects with the feelings of your own heart. His writing truly captures the universal emotions associated with romantic love: jealousy, discontentment, peace, adversity, desire, worry, infatuation, joy, loneliness… you know you’ve felt them all; and he will put verse to your feelings, my friend. = )

Warning: I wouldn’t suggest these if you’re a dreamy teenage girl. It’s perfectly cool if you’re married, but maybe a little too intense otherwise.

One of my favorites was entitled “His Picture.” It tells of a young man going off to sea who gives his picture to the girl he loves. He hopes that when he comes back, “weather-beaten… a sack of bones… with care’s rash,” that she will remember what he was, and maybe even appreciate him more for what he has become…

That which in him was fair and delicate,

Was but the milk, which in love’s childish state

Did nurse it: who now is grown strong enough

To feed on that, which to disused tastes seems tough.

Ah… I love it.

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Switching topics completely. I’ve written before here about my desire to simply grow in my love for Jesus this year. Some messages we heard at our church and seminary convocation last year really helped me formulate how this could happen. They were preached by Rick Holland, pastor of Mission Road Bible Church. (Here is his blog, approachingdamascus.com).

Uneclipsing the Son, was the basis for those messages. Rick Holland sets out to prove that the answer to the problems Christians face is answered in one word, Jesus. Amazing stuff, I know. Here are a few excerpts from his beginning statements:

You’ve spent hours in church, listened to countless sermons, compiled enough notes to sink a battleship. You’ve had enough good intentions to compete with Mother Teresa and enough failures to compete with Peter’s denials and Thomas’s doubts. Still, something is woefully missing. There is a shadow, a pall over your very, very “normal” Christian life.

I am not so arrogant as to think that the book you are holding is the answer to all your questions and the cure for all your soul’s ills. But I am convinced that Jesus Himself is that Answer and Cure. I have experienced dry times in my faith and tried everything I could to quench my heart’s thirst. But nothing has made a lasting difference, except Jesus.

The entirety of the New Testament is devoted to getting Jesus right. These biblical books are not a mere directive for a new way to live, but a manifesto of the amazing greatness of Jesus. Get Jesus wrong and you lose everything that matters; get Him right and you gain everything that matters.

Every single chapter in this book was valuable and helpful. You are slowly brought along, disabused of misconceptions, and inspired to follow Christ in a way that is real and doable. Here are highlights from a few chapters that were especially helpful to me.

Chapter 3, Eternal Life Is Not What You Think. Yes! We are not talking about a mere fire escape from hell and ticket to forever happiness in heaven. Eternal life is knowing Jesus Christ, John 17:3.

Chapter 6, The Word And Words, is a faith-strengthening call to rely on the Bible for your knowledge of Jesus.

Chapter 7, Satan’s Associates. If we are to love Jesus and to pursue knowing Him above all else, it will require making war on the idolatrous passions of our heart. A great chapter on sin in the Christian life; it takes away our excuses.

Chapter 9, The Lost Supper. This was my favorite chapter of all. I plan to reread it often. Did you know that there is a God-given way to “accelerate your spiritual growth and rekindle your love for Christ”? It’s not a gimmick, not a formula, not an incentive, not anything man-made, but it works every time. And I’m not going to tell you what it is! You have to read the book! How valuable just this one chapter of truth was to me!

This book did not impact me on an intellectual level. It was aimed at my heart; that place that every day experiences the warfare between loving God or loving myself.

On the note of writing style, I found Rick Holland’s blend of theological proposition and conversational informality to be evenly balanced, giving the reader equal opportunity to think hard and then mentally breathe.

This book could be read by anyone.

I would strongly recommend it for someone who knows and cares nothing about Jesus, what have you got to lose? There’s always something to be said for expanding your horizons.

I would recommend it for someone who might be struggling with their own salvation or finding the Christian life more difficult than expected.

I would recommend it for someone who has loved Jesus for a long time; there’s nothing sweeter than rehearsing our Saviour’s greatness.

I would recommend it for someone who is coming alongside a younger believer; it’s full of practical and compelling truth regarding living the Christian life.

Here is the Amazon link again for Uneclipsing the Son, by Rick Holland.

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Thanks so much for reading about what I’ve been reading! I love to hear about books. What have you been reading and why…

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