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Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians
Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians
by John Paul Lederach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.21
32 used & new from $8.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not a book to leaving sitting on the shelf., October 9, 2014
After describing the horrifying evening when he was informed that his daughter was the target of a kidnapping plot aimed at undermining his peace building efforts in Costa Rica, John Paul Lederach wrote the following paragraph:

I can no longer take John 3:16 as a short formula for salvation. I can only understand it as a foundational principle of reconciliation. It is an ethic based on willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of an enemy. It is an ethic undergirded by and made possible only through the immeasurable love and grace of God.

This statement is pivotal to Lederach’s approach to conflict resolution which involves approaching your enemy in the hope of understanding him and finding common ground rather than attempting to force him into accepting your point of view.

When my son, Christian Piatt, first recommended this book to me, I told him it would probably be over my head. I’m a lazy intellectual, and I have to keep reference sources close at hand when reading a lot of what he reads, as well as some of what he writes. He assured me that Reconcile was written in a narrative style that makes it an enjoyable as well as an educational read. He was right. Lederach’s stories draw the reader into the personal lives of his own family and of those he has met in his ministry of reconciliation while also teaching how to find the truth, justice, mercy, and peace that are so lacking in our conflicted world.

I was further concerned that, since Lederach’s work is global in scope, his insights would have little practical application for a small-world person like me. While I am aware of the chaos that makes up the nightly news, and I attempt to vote and live in a responsible manner, my primary focus is geared more toward the people whose lives touch mine on a more personal level, both here in small town America and on the Internet where my life intersects with others through my writings and theirs. However, the path to conflict transformation outlined in Reconcile is applicable to individuals, churches, and workplace environments as well as an international setting.

Christian recently posted an interview with the author on his blog. Following is his last question and Lederach’s answer.

If you had one dream for the impact this book would have, what would it be?

That it provokes reflection and meaningful conversation that leads to taking a risk, maybe a small step, toward building better, more healthy relationships in and through the many conflicts life affords us.

This book is an interesting read but not an easy one. It’s not one to be scanned and put back on the shelf. Instead, it is a text to return to often, to meditate over, to share in a group study. If enough of us read, understand, and live these truths, perhaps Lederach’s dream will come true.


Will, Middle Name Trouble
Will, Middle Name Trouble
Price: $4.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting in trouble is a choice--or is it?, September 23, 2014
Will is a twelve-year-old boy who, in spite of his best efforts, is always in trouble. When his mouth and his reputation get him into more trouble than usual, his loyal friends rally around to help prove his innocence.

Will, Middle Name Trouble is Buffy Andrews second middle grade novel with MuseItUp Publishing, and once again she tells an entertaining story with a message. Young readers of all ages will laugh as Will gets himself into and out of trouble, and they will learn several life lessons in the process. First, Andrews shows that each person, no matter how perfect his or her life might seem, has insecurities and problems. In addition, her story reveals that people aren’t always who we think they are. Finally, her characters learn that the choices we make determine what kind of person we become.

Andrews is a multi-talented writer who has published books of many types. Regardless of the genre, however, her characters are always realistic and loveable, and her stories are finished before the reader is ready to stop.


Freaky Frank
Freaky Frank
Price: $3.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice guys do win--especially when they can read your mind., September 2, 2014
This review is from: Freaky Frank (Kindle Edition)
Freaky Frank, a middle grade novel by Buffy Andrews, is a fun story that appeals to a wide range of readers. The humor is just gross enough to engage a sixth-grade boy without making his grandmother put the book down in disgust. Instead, both will snicker and sometimes laugh out loud at the antics and adventures of Frank, a normal twelve-year-old mind reader. Andrews delivers a life lesson while drawing her readers into an entertaining story in which the little guys win and the bullies get what’s coming to them.
Andrews is a multi-faceted author who writes in many genres. Inside her books, the reader will always find realistic characters that come to life in stories that are finished all too soon.


Runaway
Runaway
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Runaway by Renee Donne Is a Sweet, Western Romance, August 12, 2014
This review is from: Runaway (Kindle Edition)
Romance is not my normal genre when it comes to choosing a book to read. Most of the women I read about carry a gun or can bring down an opponent twice their size with a quick kick to the temple. Runaway, however, was a nice change of pace for a lazy summer afternoon.

Renee Donne has written an engaging tale about an interesting cast of characters. You’ll care about some of them, and you’ll detest others, wishing you had the skill to deliver a blow to the head like one of the heroines on my typical reading list. Marianne, Donne’s main character, is not physically brave or aggressive, but she has the inner strength to survive betrayal, danger, and a life that has been turned upside down through no fault of her own. An underlying theme of faith adds another dimension to this sweet, western romance.

The next time you plan to spend some time in a lounge chair by the pool or on a blanket under a beach umbrella, pack your ereader along with your sunscreen. Renee Donne’s Runaway is a nice way to relax before hectic fall schedules call us back into the real world.


Winter in the Soul
Winter in the Soul
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Tale of Good versus Evil, July 29, 2014
Jennifer Novotney does a masterful job of describing the world she created in her debut novel, Winter In the Soul. Her rich descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of Spring Bloom, Summer Harvest, and Winter In the Soul give her readers a sense of being part of the story rather than simply observing it. “The sky was restless. Black and gray clouds moved at a moderate pace, exposing the dark sky and a few bright stars desperate to shine.”

This young adult fantasy takes us on a journey of discovery with Lilika as she first finds a mysterious golden locket; then, the world outside her home town of Spring Bloom; next, an engaging young man named Talon; and ultimately, her destiny. We feel her growing anxiety as she sits on the road alone, guarding the cart that carries to market both the harvest and the hopes of her friends and neighbors. When she hears the approach of someone in the surrounding darkness followed by a friendly voice, we feel her initial shock, and then we feel her relief. Throughout the story, Novotney offers a full range of experiences, from excitement to terror, from new friendship to new love, from doubt to determination.

Winter In the Soul presents an entertaining tale of good versus evil that leaves just enough questions to make us wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the sequel. I look forward to watching Jennifer Novotney’s progress as a writer and to reading what happens next to Lilika and Talon.


Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver
Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver
by Pam Thorson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.95
27 used & new from $7.20

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to be Savored Again and Again, April 22, 2014
Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver is a comparatively small book--only 180 pages--but it is enormous in the impact it will have on those who read it. It is not a quick read, not a bunch of pretty words to rush through so you can move on to the next entry on your want-to-read list. Out from the Shadows is a book to be examined, to search for the truths that are most meaningful to you personally and then to roll them around in your mind until your heart is at rest.

Written for caregivers and for anyone who has suffered through life’s hardships, Out from the Shadows is a book to be read alone, in silent contemplation during times of personal devotion. Moreover, it is a book to be shared in group settings, in the company of loving, supportive friends who have also dealt with loss and sorrow.

Because I was on a deadline, I read through the book quickly, or as quickly as I could considering the many times a word or phrase grabbed me and demanded that I pay attention for a moment longer. I look forward to going back through it more slowly, meditating on the thought-provoking, soul-searching questions at the end of each chapter and lingering over special gems I missed the first time through.

Thorson’s words will linger long after you’ve turned the last page. Following are some of my favorite quotes, at least until I read it again.

The Master walks through His garden, knowing the loss we experience is only temporary because He’s been to the grave, and He came back with the keys to death and life.

No matter what circumstances grip our lives, the secret to serenity is found on the other side of the sun.

What greater thanks can we give to a loving Creator than to relish the treasure of a new dawn and to trust Him to take care of our tomorrows?


The Lion Awakens
The Lion Awakens
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A YA fantasy of remarkable parallels, April 7, 2014
This review is from: The Lion Awakens (Kindle Edition)
"The Lion Awakens," a new YA fantasy by Buffy Andrews, is a story of parallels. David and Annie live parallel lives that meet at an old Brownstone where they find unexpected truth, dangerous adventures, love, and parallel universes. The parallels continue as they encounter characters with Biblical names like Gabriel, Peter, and Goliath. They wrestle with the meaning behind rings bearing the head of a lion, two birthmarks shaped like the cross, and another that includes a crown of thorns. Eventually, they find themselves embroiled in a turbulent battle between good and evil.

In classic Andrews’ style, the author has created characters that move straight from the pages into the hearts of her readers, and she has written a story that will linger long after the final page is turned. Thankfully, Ms. Andrews finished her story with the perfect setup for a sequel.


The Making of Nebraska Brown
The Making of Nebraska Brown
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One!, February 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Reading The Making of Nebraska Brown by Louise Caiola was an experience that ended all too soon. I read it as fast as I could to find out what happened next, but I was sad when I was finished. Caiola's characters seem like real people from the beginning, and I cared about what happened to them. Her writing style appeals to the reader's senses and emotions, and also to the writer's ear. Phrases like we rode in a silence saturated with the unsaid. It was unbearably loud, made me pause and think I wish I'd said that. Whether you're a fan of romance, mystery, or just excellent writing, The Making of Nebraska Brown is an experience not to be missed.


His Will as Told By Buddy Olsen
His Will as Told By Buddy Olsen
Price: $8.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like stories told by Uncle Leonard at the family reunion., February 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is the kind that makes you feel as if you're sitting on the back porch on a lazy summer afternoon listening to your aunts and uncles tell stories about how life was when they were younger. His Will as Told by Buddy Olsen by Kent Larson is the tale of a left-handed, baseball-loving baby boomer who grew up in Small Town USA. Larson intertwines historical events of the `50s, `60s, and `70s with Buddy Olsen's quest for a career in baseball and his search for God's will in his life. His Will is an enjoyable read with a good message that will stay with you even after you've finished the last chapter.


The Christmas Violin
The Christmas Violin
Price: $3.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Christmas Violin" is a winner., December 2, 2013
One of the advantages of being friends with lots of authors is the occasional opportunity to read ARCs or advanced review copies of soon-to-be-published manuscripts. It’s always fun to read something new and fresh, but it’s especially rewarding when the book is sure to be a winner. This time I read a winner.

The Christmas Violin by Buffy Andrews is the story of three people – Willow, Peter, and a nameless schizophrenic homeless woman – all of whom take a journey from despair to hope. Their journeys begin in separate pits of misery, but their paths converge around a teddy-bear shaped tombstone.

Andrews is a masterful story teller who uses words to paint scenes the reader can see and to create characters the reader comes to regard as friends. If you’re not yet in the holiday spirit, spending an afternoon reading The Christmas Violin is a beautiful way to ignite that spark.


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