It's been over a month since I've blogged at all and I realized a few days have passed in September without me mentioning the books I read in August. Needless to say, August was a crazy month. A lot transpired personally and in my ministry. Things don't look to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, I'm trying to find a way to get more hours out of the day to do some of the things I'm wanting to do. Nevertheless, that's another story for another day. I enjoyed the books I read in August. If I just read 2 books for these last few months of 2012, I'd easily get my 52 book goal. But I'm going to keep reading at the same pace hopefully and we'll see where it leads. Here's what I read in August:
I bought this book while at General Assembly down in Orlando. I'm a big fan of Dr. Walker and his ministry, but it occurred to me that I hadn't read any of his books through. I've always loved his sermons and teachings and so I made plans to find a few books by him to read. This one was a Godsend. The book details several messages Dr. Walker preached dealing with the notions of burnout, blues, and of course Elijah's life. Dr. Walker through his knowledge of the Bible and in psychology and counseling deals with the effects stress and life in general can have on individuals and how to deal with these. I'd highly recommend this book for those in the ministry they may feel like they have something in common with any of the title's features. Needless to say, I bought the book because I needed it. I wouldn't so much say that I was burned out as August rolled around, but frustrated, concerned, and introspective would describe my feelings without a doubt. The reasons for those feelings haven't really vanished, but my ability to cope and handle them have changed and this book certainly helped in that area. Great book!
This was tough for me to start, but I'm very glad I did. While on one of our summer trips, I found this book in a Books-a-Million in Virginia for $6. Recalling how I read Barack Obama's book last year, I decided I could certainly read Romney's book. If you can't tell, I've not been the greatest of Romney supporters for various reasons. Nevertheless, fair is fair and I do try to read books about things and/or people that I may not agree with. So I bought the book and read it during our Daytona Beach vacation. What I found was that the Romney of "No Apology" is a man I almost completely agree with on most all issues. I was shocked to that degree. Romney talks in his book about American Exceptionalism, creating jobs, outlawing abortion, supporting traditional marriage and families in general, boosting our Defense spending and presence, and giving the power to educate back to the states and the people in the way of having a choice. As I finished the book, I found myself liking Romney the politician, at least the 2012 version, but still having questions about Romney the man. Needless to say though, the book started cracking down a wall that I built during the Republican Primary in which I said that I would not and could not vote for Romney regardless of the situation. There's more to be said on that and I'll write a separate piece on this. As for the book, if you're undecided on who to vote for, I'd say this book is a good start in seeing Romney's perspective. It's definitely a campaign book.
I absolutely loved this book. I read it while on vacation in Daytona Beach. I started and finished it in less than a day and it was about 300 pages. I found myself more and more interested in our second President and his wife that I wanted to see what happened next. Unfortunately, American history has seemingly forgotten Adams and would almost prefer to go from Washington to Jefferson and forget Adams' election in between. John Adams was indeed our second president and a great president at that. He sought to remain free of the beginning of political parties as led by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. He sought to continue the message and leadership of his predecessor, George Washington, during his own administration. Adams served as the nation's first Vice President under Washington for his two terms and was key in the Constitutional Congress in calling for independence and was with Britain. Many don't realize that it was Adams who pushed for the Declaration of Independence to be written and sought Jefferson to begin in. Adams also supported the abolishing of the Articles of Confederation which originally governed the young country and became a staunch supporter of the Constitution in which he recommended James Madison work on. Adams himself is the writer of the state constitution for Massachusetts and this document is actually the oldest legal document in the US today. Madison would copy much of Adams' ideas into the national constitution. Ideas like a bicameral legislature, a three branch system of government, and rights of the citizens are all parts of Adams' ingenuity and work. Adams served overseas as ambassador and counsel for several years and is given credit for being the first American to get the Dutch involved in American affairs monetarily which would result in saving the young nation's financial structure. Adams was the writer and originator of the Treaty of Paris which would end the Revolutionary War. His influence would continue to grow and grow. He won the presidency relatively easily as Washington stepped down, but the behind the scenes treachery perpetrated by one Thomas Jefferson became his undoing. Through the journals and letters of John and Abigail Adams, we find globs of information about Revolutionary figures such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr. The two Adams did not hold anything back in their letters to one another about their feelings and observations about these and other individuals and about their own feelings for them and especially one another. Many of the Adams' letters are still being uncovered and many more were uncovered in the last few generations. These letters and journals have given us great insight into the lives of our forefathers and in particular America's first family. Great, great read!
This book threw me for a loop. I have a lot to say, but will save it for a separate blog. I will however attempt to summarize the information. Mapp, Jr., a notorious historian who has written extensively about our forefathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, writes this shorter book detailing the professing and lived out faiths of some of our forefathers as understood through their personal writings, personal testimonies, and scholarly records. What is found is quite disheartening in many aspect. Mapp Jr. details the faiths of several great men, most notably, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, John Marshall, George Mason, and Benjamin Franklin. It is safe to say that the current definition of Christian as espoused by many in the church today would not apply to these men in their doctrinal beliefs. Of just the men listed, only Washington, Henry, Marshall, and Mason might would find solace in the Christian church of today in regards to their beliefs and convictions, however some of their mannerisms would undoubtedly offend some churches. Washington made a living off of selling wine and he along with John Marshall, refused to ever partake of holy communion throughout their lifetimes. It was said that Marshall changed his mind on his deathbed but died before being able to do so supposedly. John Adams was a Puritan at heart but did not believe in an eternal hell. He of course would be a charter member of the Universalism movement of today. Jefferson was a whole story by himself. Jefferson did not believe Christ was divine and actually believed that Socrates was greater than Christ. He stated the Apostle Paul was one of the most ignorant men to have ever lived. He did not believe in the miracles of Christ and felt the disciples made them up to gain power. He is famous for cutting out portions of the Gospels he liked and disliked making his own version of the Bible. I've seen the original work in DC. Jefferson was unsure who God was but did believe there was some supreme being in charge of the world. Madison was very similar in his belief systems as a disciple of Jefferson himself. Benjamin Franklin actually wrote on a few occasions that he believed that there may be many gods out in the universe and the God of the Bible would be one of the many who ended up being assigned to our galaxy by a higher god. Franklin did not believe in the divinity of Christ either. As I said, these men probably wouldn't fit into the church's definition of Christianity today at least. The book provided a very sobering reality to some of our forefathers in regards to their beliefs. What is clear to me and my opinion still remains, that we are a Christian nation but forth by God's providence for God's purpose and God accomplished this by using both those who followed Him and those who did not. Very interesting book!
Ryan is engaged to Rachel and resides in Perry, GA. He is the proud "Dada" to Rylee and Charlee. He holds a Bachelors degree in Social Science Education and a Masters degree in church ministry / leadership. He has served in various positions of ministry, music, management, and more. He spends his free time with his girls, writing and playing music, reading books, playing and watching sports, and living life. To contact Ryan, email firstname.lastname@example.org.