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Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
by Rachel Held Evans
Edition: Paperback
51 used & new from $2.17

4.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at faith, September 9, 2011
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If you came of age in a religiously conservative and isolated community this book is for you. It will help you make sense of the craziness you experienced. The author takes an honest look at the religious forces that shape communities that tend to live in "bubbles" and ignore the outside world. In this case, she focuses on the tightly insulated bible belt world of East Tennessee. As she reflects on growing up in this environment she dares to question and criticize the irrational beliefs that many people of faith cling to without second thought. I appreciate her willingness to connect faith with reason in a way that opens up the mind and heart to new possibilities. This book would speak to many young adults, especially the college age.

Personally, I want to thank the author for taking the time to write this book because it encouraged me to further reflect on my religious upbringing. Like the author, I was raised in East Tennessee not to far from the Dayton area. I remember all too well the judgement houses, manipulative evangelists, and the arrogant self-righteousness of this region. While my church experience was not nearly as intense as the author I was influenced by a lot of the ultra-conservative beliefs that are prominent in the bible belt. Without any help to sort through these crazy beliefs I was left to fend for myself and this caused me to be vulnerable to the guilt and shame that is inherent in fundamentalist Christianity. Looking back, I wish that someone would have handed me a book like this one when I was in college. It would have allowed me that space I desperately needed to question the aspects of Christianity that I was uncomfortable with at the time.

I encourage people to read this book and share its message that it is okay to question our religious traditions and to honor our doubts.


Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
by Mara Leveritt
Edition: Hardcover
56 used & new from $3.97

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Billy, June 22, 2011
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Mrs. Leveritt does a wonderful job of showing the absurdity of this 1994 trial. She asks the hard questions that the people of West Memphis, Arkansas didn't bother exploring when this horrible murder took place. Whether if you believe they are guilty or not, the bottom line is that the evidence was not there to convict these three teenagers. This is my personal belief after reading Leveritt's book, watching the documentaries, and researching this case on-line. If you want to better understand this bizarre case I urge you to read this book. The author goes into great detail to help the reader gain a better grasp of the events that took place in West Memphis, Arkansas.


A Peculiar Prophet: William H. Willimon And The Craft Of Preaching
A Peculiar Prophet: William H. Willimon And The Craft Of Preaching
by William H. Willimon
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from $4.11

4.0 out of 5 stars a good learning tool!, April 29, 2011
I found this book to be a good tool for learning to preach. It is helpful to read solid preaching by a seasoned pastor such as Willimon and then have it analyzed by other great minds. If you are excited about preaching then this is a book worth checking out. I must admit that I was a little bit worried about this being nothing more than an ego stroke by former students of Willimon but it turned out to be quiet insightful. I encourage you to give it a try! Willimon is one of the best preachers you will encounter today.


The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory
The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory
by Roberta M. Gilbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.46
20 used & new from $8.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great primer!, April 29, 2011
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If you are new to Bowen theory this is a great place to start. The author presents the building blocks, the eight concepts, of systems thought. I encourage you to read this book before you dive into heavier texts. It is a quick read and will prep you to go further.


I Kissed Dating Goodbye
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
by Joshua Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.76
439 used & new from $0.01

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning: This book is damaging to young people., April 26, 2011
I am disturbed by the amount of positive reviews this book has received. Unfortunately, I read this book as a teenager and accepted its approach to relationships without any critical thinking on my part. Looking back, I wish that I had read it with a mature person that could have helped me to see the unhealthy and unrealistic views of this author. My main problem with this book is that it feeds the guilt, shame, and self-hatred that young people feel about their sexuality. In 21st century America young people receive the confusing message from a culture that is saturated with sexual images but does not know how to talk about sexuality in a healthy and reasonable way. Mr. Harris only contributes to the problem with his ridiculous views. He seems to think that completely repressing our sexual desires within a relationship is a healthy way to mature and develop as a human being. This goes against all mental health principles.

As someone personally damaged by the writings of Mr. Harris, I plead with you not to let young people read this book without a mature, healthy adult by their side that can help them think through this topic. Healthy perspectives on relationships are vital for the growth of young people and we must be careful not to let people like Mr. Harris who lack any real credentials in regards to human relationships and sexuality to have the final word. I regret that I cannot find anything positive to say about this book. A part of me wishes that I could add something good to point out to a potential reader but the reality is that this book has done too much damage to those who read it genuinely seeking a healthy view on dating and relationships.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2011 4:44 PM PDT


Starting with Spirit: Nurturing Your Call to Pastoral Leadership
Starting with Spirit: Nurturing Your Call to Pastoral Leadership
by Bruce G. Epperly
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.41
31 used & new from $3.81

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A plethora of practical wisdom!, April 26, 2011
Starting with Spirit is a gift for those in their first five years of parish ministry. This book is particularly aimed at ministers making the transition from seminary to full time congregational leadership. You are not going to find a lot of intellectual stimulation in this book, which is okay because there are already too many heady books on parish ministry that lack connection with the real world. Instead of leaving the reader in the clouds, Bruce Epperly offers the opportunity to take a more practical and realistic approach to learning the ropes of daily ministry tasks. If your time in seminary left you with more theory than practical experience then this is a book worth reading and soaking in for the sake of gaining wisdom that might prevent you from burning out in ministry before you really even get started. I offer a words of thanks to the author for taking the time to construct a guide that will serve the minister, church, and seminary well. Part of me really wants to mail of copy of this book to my former seminary president.


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