Tag Archives | growth

Loft and Simple Goals | James Raffan

In an age when growth and self-actualization are attractive goals, wilderness experience reminds us all that such lofty needs are predicated on a stack of simpler ones that are often neglected because they are so easily obtained.

—James Raffan in James Raffan & Bert Horwood, eds., Canexus: The Canoe in Canadian Culture, 176.

Using Wisdom | Lloyd Alexander

The odd thing about wisdom is the more you use it the more it grows; and the more you share, the more you gain. You’d be amazed how few understand that.

—Lloyd Alexander, “The Foundling” in The Fantastic Imagination: An Anthology of High Fantasy, 270.

The Book of Lost Things | John Connolly

Usually the expression, “coming-of-age” steers me away from a book. With the exception of King’s The Body (later: Stand By Me), coming-of-age stories smack of Hallmark made-for-tv-style drivel. So why did I buy this book from an author I had never heard of?

  • It was a store employee’s featured pick at The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto.
  • The cover design is striking.
  • The synopsis reminded me of Ende’s brilliant The Neverending Story (okay, so I’ve previously enjoyed two coming-of-age stories).

Let me cut to the chase: this book is a lot of fun. It follows the life of a boy in difficult circumstances who escapes to another world where the fairy-tales he loves take on a live of their own (yet all governed by the boy’s own imagination). Familiar stories like The Beauty and the Beast and Snow White are re-imagined in dark and (at times) hilarious ways.

While there’s lots to praise about this tale, perhaps the best is Connolly’s treatment of evil. Fairy-tales have been so sanitized (and Disneyfied), it was encouraging to read a story where evil was frighting and brutal. Connolly doesn’t pander to the squeamish.

I should note that my Washington Square Press trade paperback edition includes over 100 pages of appendix, where Connolly offers a few words about the various fairy-tales explored in the book along with the complete text from The Brothers Grimm and other sources. This is an interesting way to revisit the various themes explored in the book.

Coming-of-age or not, this meta-fairy tale is well worth your time.

Change Your Church For Good | Brad Powell

I don’t know what to give this book for a rating. Let me explain.

Brad Powell is the lead pastor of a church in Detroit that went from traditional and ineffective to relevant. In this book, he shares a number of keys to the transition: both the things they did right, and the mistakes we should learn from. Unlike most of the literature on church growth I’ve read, Powell’s book has a substantial amount of content. He’s clearly concerned with staying faithful to scripture in all he does. You would expect a great rating, right?

The problem I have is with Powell’s understanding of church. I think it would be fair to say that he views the church as an evangelism centre whose main goal is to reach the lost. That’s a laudable goal, but it’s not the primary goal of the church. The church’s purpose is to come together as Christ’s body to worship, then to go out into the community to spread the kingdom.

With the true purpose in mind, I found it difficult to read passages where he talked about letting go of the people who hold you back from your mission to reach the lost. Those people who “hold you back” are your mission. I’m a pastor—I certainly sympathize with the sentiment—but I can’t agree with it.

In the end, I’ll give this a mid-field rating. If the problem I have doesn’t bother you (or if you just think I’m plain wrong), this really is an excellent book.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program.

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