A Great Shot in the Arm

Picture A Shot of Faith {To the Head}:  Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes, Ph.D., published by Thomas Nelson, 2012.

Dr. Stokes has had a double career that prepared him beautifully to write about the ideas in this book.  In his earlier life he earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering and worked for an international firm where he earned five patents in gas turbine technology.  Pretty impressive.  But then he must have gotten bored or something, because he went off and earned an M.A. in religion at Yale and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame.  He is now a college senior fellow in philosophy. So, whatever you may think about his views, you can’t say that he doesn’t have the background to write about them.

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A Book Dangerous to Preconceived Notions

PictureThe Triumph of Christianity:  How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion by Rodney Stark,  HarperOne, 2011.

Did it ever occur to you that the fall of Rome was a liberating event, not the cause of descent into barbarism, and that therefore the so-called “Dark Ages” are an invention of later historians?  That Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and subsequent support of the Church turned out to be a very mixed blessing?  That a belief in the God of the Bible encourages and supports science?  That the Crusades weren’t the horrible bloodletting that they’re usually made out to be?

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The Importance of Humility

Humility Book Mahaney

Humility:  True Greatness by C. J. Mahaney, Multnomah Books, 2005. Link is to the book’s Amazon page.

This little book packs a lot into a few pages.  We’d had it around the house for years and I’d never read it, which is a shame, as I could have benefited from it much sooner.  At first I struggled to get through it, as I found it a bit dry.  Come on, C.J.!  Tell us a few jokes, the way you do in your sermons!  (I’ve heard Mahaney speak several times when he was a guest preacher at a former church.)  As the book went on, though, I became more and more involved in it.  The best chapters come at the end.

Let me quote from chapter 9, “Encouraging Others”:

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