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Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
by Rob Bell
Edition: Paperback
492 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Velvet Elvis - Ideas on Christianity, September 19, 2009
As a new Christian, I had several friends suggest this book to me after I had decided to get baptized. They probably recommended this book to me because Rob Bell uses a lot of historical Jewish wisdom and stories from Torah (5 Books of Moses) to prove his points.

I thought that this was a good introductory book to Christian spirituality and answered several questions that I had. He also repeats several Christian beliefs but doesn't just state them. He challenges you to think about them.

He opens the book by saying that for him, the Christian faith has offered a guide for him to live by. This guide instructs him in the ways of generosity, compassion, honesty and friendship. By doing this, he is following Jesus' advice and what Jesus was showing us, which was the way of God.

Early in the book, he compares the Christian faith to a wall of bricks. He brings up the idea that the problem with approaching Christianity like this is that for some people, their entire faith wobbles, and that if by removing one brick, one's entire belief in God wobbles, then it obviously wasn't very strong to begin with. This struck a chord with me because I was in a similar state, and wasn't sure I wanted to be baptized until I understood every prophecy in the Jewish bible that some people believed were about Jesus (Christianity) or that some people was a metaphor (Judaism - as a convert from Judaism, they believe different interpretations about the Christian views). He points out that Jesus invites everyone to jump (and the first chapter is called "Jump"). If you find something you love, then you invite everyone to "jump" with you. Bell compares this to a trampoline.

In Movement Two, "Yoke", Rob Bell discusses what it meant to follow a rabbi or biblical scholar in Jesus' day. If you followed them, it meant you believed that their beliefs were most in line with what God intended in the scriptures. He goes on in that chapter to discuss Jesus being the fulfillment of the law. He says that fulfillment means that someone grasped God's intentions with the text, and when the most important teachings are lived out perfectly.

In Movement Five, "Dust", he discusses the fact that Jesus called the "not good enoughs". To be a disciple in those days meant that a rabbi was saying that someone else could do what he did.

In Movement Six, he answered some questions that I had had. Bell discusses a spiritual rebirth, which might be interpreted as baptism. He quotes Paul saying in Colossians, "You have been risen with Christ", as if there is a new identity in a new Christian within them. When someone is "in Christ", God looks down at them and sees Christ because they are "in" him, and Christ is perfect. "There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

This book really helped me understand more about the Christian faith. I'm glad I was able to read it before my baptism. As someone who is converting from Judaism, it made a lot of sense to me. However, I do think it was written for Christians, people that weren't raised in a Jewish home, to help them understand the context in which Jesus was teaching.

In spite of the positive points that this book has, there are some drawbacks as well. He makes some generalities about historical Judaism and doesn't cite sources.

Additionally, in the first chapter, Bell discusses the virgin birth. In Isaiah 7:14, it says, "Behold the ALMAH will conceive." Bell quotes this as being virgin. The Hebrew word for virgin is "betulah", and it means VIRGIN, not young woman. Almah means young woman. Rob Bell translates it as "virgin" and doesn't say that the original word was "almah", which is young woman.

In Movement Two, "Yoke", Rob Bell discusses Martin Luther's reformation. He critizes Luther's "scripture alone" teaching, saying that it's not true because we have the bible because people voted on what was going to be in the bible in the first place. I'm pretty sure that Luther didn't mean that we had to ignore things like commentaries, but rather he was saying that we didn't have to listen to the Pope, who is believed by Catholics to be the "mouth" of God on earth. You can still use the Church to help you with your interpretation, but it recognizes that there are many possible interpretations.

Lastly, some of his Hebrew translations aren't entirely accurate. For example, "Kavod". This is the Hebrew word for "glory". The ROOT "KVD" is what could mean "heavy", not necessarily "Kavod" itself.

Overall I think this is a good introductory book. I am taking off half a star for the lack of certain citations and another half for the Hebrew translation/reformation errors. So I am giving this book four stars.
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by Alice Sebold
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.76
955 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky - Memoir, September 19, 2009
This review is from: Lucky (Paperback)
After I had gone through some intense emotions over my rape experience, a friend suggested I read this book. The first chapter was very difficult to get through. I was able to picture it all very vividly, and it brought back some memories of my experience that I thought that I had forgotten. Somehow, even though I was crying, I was able to get through that first chapter.

The first chapter goes into great detail about a black stranger who drags her into a tunnel under an outdoor theatre in Syracuse and rapes her, leaving her to walk back to her dorm alone and get help. This book is about the long court process and her recovery.

Part of rape therapy is writing a story about your experience. This book shows a woman who had (and still has) a great deal of strength. She says in her book (and also on the back cover) "you save yourself or you remain unsaved".

This book left me with a better understanding of my emotions about my experience after hearing similar feelings from someone else.

If you can get through the first chapter, I would totally recommend this book.

Girl Meets God: A Memoir
Girl Meets God: A Memoir
by Lauren F. Winner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.33
267 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girl Meets God: Faith Journey, July 22, 2009
When an acquaintance from school first loaned me this book, I was living as a pretty pious Jew. Or, at least, pious as far as Jews from liberal Judaism goes. Having been raised Orthodox, I, like the author, eventually came to find that Orthodox Judaism wasn't for me.

When this book was loaned to me, I felt like it was an effort from this acquaintance, who was an evangelical Christian, to convert me, and was offended. I only skimmed the book, gave it back and told my friend that her reasons for conversion were all reasons that I had heard before and thought maybe Miss Winner would have some new ideas.

Almost a year later, I did decide to convert to Christianity. When I did, I went to the bookstore and picked up this book. Having found myself in a similar situation as Winner, I found the book helpful as I began to go down a different path then the Judaism I was raised to love. I found that in spite of all the memorizing of Jewish law I was doing, something was missing. I loved Judaism. It is a religion with interesting traditions and a large amount of rabbinic wisdom that I always find helpful, but in spite of that, spiritually speaking, I felt as if something was lacking. I didn't feel myself spiritually renewed anymore after synagogue, and after a great deal of careful thought I found a change was necessary.

This book is about a girl who is the daughter of a reform but non-practicing Jewish father and a Baptist mother who is not interested in religion. Although raised in the liberal Jewish tradition, she becomes very drawn to Orthodox Judaism, and in her first year of college, she converts. A chain of events throughout her life leads her to eventually believe that Orthodox Judaism is right for her. Towards the end of her college career, she feels something similar for Christianity. Eventually she converts to Episcopalian Christianity, choosing the Episcopalian Church because she believes the traditions are most in line with the Judaism she is familiar with.

Throughout most of "Girl Meets God", I found myself agreeing with Miss Winner. My mom converted to Orthodox Judaism from Lutheran Christianity, and our Jewish community was stuck up and snobby, being rude to my mother, "the convert" who "wasn't really Jewish".

When my mother passed away, I shortly fell in love with singing and ultimately decided I was going to major in vocal performance. My orthodox community wasn't happy with this, because singing within earshot of a man is against Jewish law. Eventually I joined a more liberal synagogue, and towards the end of my college career felt as if the only way for Judaism to make sense to me was to be Orthodox. I decided that was never going to happen and ultimately decided to convert to Christianity.

Lauren Winner's book rang true for me, and once I finally actually read the book, I found myself agreeing with her comments about how Christianity came into her life, and the events that ultimately led her to convert. I could see a Jew or a non-religious person not liking this book. I really think this book is geared towards Christians wanting to understand Judaism better and compare religions or for other Jews who want to convert. However, for those reasons, it is a good book.

I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape
I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape
by Robin Warshaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.40
115 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Never Called It Rape", March 28, 2009
Having been raped myself; this book was essential in my recovery. Since I was raped by a now-ex-boyfriend in my teenage years, I didn't see what happened to me as rape until 4 years after the fact. I think that one of the girls in the book in the teenage chapter described my situation the best when she said, "I never told anyone I was raped. I would not have thought that was what it was. It was unwilling sex. I just didn't want to and he did. Today, I know that it was rape" on p. 120. I felt violated and as if I had been raped after it happened to me, but I didn't realize that that was actually what had happened.

Since I had read several other stories like this and reading statistics throughout this book, it really helped reassure me that I was not alone. I had not faced my experience or called it by its name until recently, and when I read this book, I felt as if I was really conversing with these women. In fact, I might even go as far to say that this book is responsible for my recovery. This book helped me more than any therapist or friends ever could. These women "got" it.

A few months ago, I was finally able to grieve for what I had lost. Having been a virgin when it happened to me, I walked into a local crisis center and later fell into a depression that got worse by the day. Later, I was recommended this book.

Reading the chapter about "Why Women are Safe Victims" really helped me to understand the feelings I was having about the incident, and what had actually happened.

This book is well written and the author seems to be driven to write it based on the fact that she too had been raped by someone she knew. I think that one thing that makes this book unique is that it is written by someone who has experienced similar feelings as the other women in this book, as opposed to a counselor who thinks that they understand just because they read something about rape in a textbook somewhere.

Reading this helped me to understand that my experience was not one-of-a-kind. It was similar to many other date rapes in numerous respects. Other women married their attackers to make their experience "seem okay", I knew my attacker, and it happened in an isolated room.

This book has the ability to help rape victims realize that others can believe them. Because of how informative it is, it is used by sexuality and rape classes in campuses across the United States. It has a chart in it about the myths vrs. realities about rape, which can help people better understand what rape is and get rid of what society has to say about it.

The best part is chapter 14 in which it outlines what to do if you are raped by someone you know. I wish that I had known what I know now about date rape and had had a copy of this chapter with me. However it will help me if I ever help a friend who has been through a similar situation.

Nicole Cabell - Soprano
Nicole Cabell - Soprano
Price: $15.78
56 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, June 9, 2007
This review is from: Nicole Cabell - Soprano (Audio CD)
I think that this CD is some of the best, if not better, soprano work since Fleming (sorry Renee I am a huge fan but I think this is an amazing first album). It slaps Netrebko and Gheorghiu.

The songs in here are sung with great ease. Some of the work in here isn't what you hear as often while some of it is. Most people make a huge fuss about singing the tracks that "everyone" sings, but Cabell dos this well.

Her technique is amazing. Her voice is very fluid and legato; in addition to that, she has such an evenness of tone production. The bottom notes are as focused as her top ones which is something many sopranos, even the famous ones, struggle with.

She is on her way to the top!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2007 9:35 PM PDT

Song of America
Song of America
Price: $14.59
48 used & new from $3.64

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, November 13, 2005
This review is from: Song of America (Audio CD)
I got this on November 12th, because Mr. Hampson did a concert in my area and I got it signed. He's a good performer and has a beautiful voice. I usually don't like 20th century music, but this is great.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
DVD ~ Lindsay Lohan
Price: $5.29
312 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...., July 25, 2004
I purchased this movie on DVD, and I did not see it in theatres. Big mistake. The script/story could have been better. I love Lohan, but still. Oy. At least the fact that I purchased it may be able to have part of the money go to Lohan.

Princess in Love (The Princess Diaries, Vol. 3)
Princess in Love (The Princess Diaries, Vol. 3)
by Meg Cabot
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
250 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!, July 18, 2004
I thought that this was the best "Princess Diaries" book that I've read yet! I really thought that it was the best written and had a definite plot. I loved it - especially the happy ending.

Princess in the Spotlight (The Princess Diaries, Vol. 2)
Princess in the Spotlight (The Princess Diaries, Vol. 2)
by Meg Cabot
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
323 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book two..., July 18, 2004
The plot of this book was pretty dry. Just when you think it's getting interesting, it gets a bit dull again. I would only recommend this book if you want to read the others in the series and be able to understand them.

The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries
by Meg Cabot
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
379 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars First in the series..., July 18, 2004
I really enjoyed this book. After seeing the Princess Diaries movie, I thought I should read the book. It was not like the movie, but in a pleasant way. This book is great; funny and touching. Minus the fact that Mia is a princess, I found myself relating to Mia on a fair number of levels.
This is the story about a young teenage girl who finds out that her father is a prince, making her a princess. At first, she's shocked and upset. Then she has to put up with princess lessons from her grandmother on her father's side, whom of which, she's not very close with.
Great beginning to a great series.

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