It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inside the Revolution

Joel C. Rosenberg has pulled together an enormous amount of information to create his book Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson & Jesus Are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World. But while the book is interesting and packed with information, it's not very cohesive.

Revolution is a seemingly interminable litany of political facts and religious miracles. If the information had been handled better, it might have made for a more satisfactory read. Part of the problem is that, as Rosenberg points out, he is showing us a side of the Middle East conflict we don't often hear about. We don't get too many news stories about former Muslims who are now wholeheartedly and enthusiastically Christian. As a result, Rosenberg has to provide his own background information. This task is undertaken with so much energy that the reader is left drowning in a sea of tidbits, dates, and backstory.

Rosenberg's own stance on Islam is never made clear. He has dear friends who are Muslims, but he indicates that their peaceful interpretation of Islam is admirable, but possibly misguided. It appears that he would like to see Muslims convert not only because he personally believes in the salvation Jesus offers, but also because he sees Islam as a religion that easily leads people to hatred and violence against their enemies.

In Revolution, we are told that Christianity is becoming wildly popular in the Middle East because its message of loving enemies and friends alike is the polar opposite of Islam's exhausting message of Jihad and conquest. Christianity is said to appeal to Muslims who are tired of being told to hate and retaliate.

Despite the many fascinating stories of almost instantaneous conversion, the reader is left wondering how widespread the changes really are. Statistics in the book point toward the possibility that in the foreseeable future, Christianity could become the dominant religion of the Middle East. But the information seems anecdotal at best, considering that many of the converts can't admit to their beliefs publicly without fear of violence. Rosenberg ties in so much information that in the end it seems a blur of shifting alliances and hidden agendas, which for many Americans, it already is.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mile marker

I was elated today to look at my Goodreads account and find that my list of books I've read now has 500 titles on it. I know there are still books I haven't added to my list, but just seeing the number made me feel very accomplished. Here's to many more to come.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Am I Really a Christian?

Mike McKinley's recently published work Am I Really a Christian? is a simple, but thought-provoking guide to determining where you stand in your relationship with Christ.

McKinley deals with the most serious topics in Christianity without taking himself too seriously. There is a sense of humor evident in his descriptions of the many traps Christians fall into while trying to attain an impossible spiritual perfection.

The book is designed for those who know they are on the right path as well as those struggling to find it. It is strongly recommended for use with fellow church members who can keep you accountable when the going gets tough.