reading: 10 Days Without

I live a life full of good intentions. Ask my wife, my boss, my employees. They’ll tell you.

Good intentions are cans of paint that could have become amazing works of art… but never did.” – Daniel Ryan Day in 10 Days Without

Daniel Day documents his stories of literally putting himself in others’ shoes (or going without shoes) to experience life outside of his own comfort zone, to change his world and himself. He took the Bible verse James 2:17 – “faith without works is dead” – and challenged himself with it, and does the same for his readers.

Each chapter not only catalogs his own story, whether it’s going 10 days without speech, shoes, or human touch (to name just three), but each chapter also presents challenges to us, encouraging us to do the same. To join him in this quest for discomfort, to experience life outside of our modern creature comforts. Daniel invites us to create a plan for how we’ll do these things, and why we do them.

Ten days without furniture may not seem like a big deal. But, as Daniel discovers, it can change the world, at least one person at a time.

Find the book on Amazon here.

I received a free copy of this book from Multnomah Publishing in return for an honest review.

 

housecleaning

Tonight, I cleaned up some old posts. They were mostly things I’d written while in Undergrad or shortly after. You know, back when I really knew things.

In the spirit of the New Year February, this blog will now be limited to the three following categories:

  • reading
  • good company
  • reflection

What does this mean for you? You’ll no longer need to read new commitments to “Music Monday” or “Fan Friday”-type posts that last for one or two weeks and then flame out.

Here’s to you, dear reader. And to February, 2016.

-Alex

reading: A Storyteller’s Anthology

“Occupying an antiquated position in the digital age, storytelling is rarely employed today, but when offered in the right setting, it is still appreciated.” – Douglas Feavel

There is a certain je ne sais quoi (the word “magical” seemed too cliche) about the way that storytelling instills ideas, emotions, and truths in the mind and soul. Douglas Feavel takes “26 Inspiring Character Portraits for our Time” and arranges them in a way that answer some of the most important questions of our time, and leaves us with critical choices to make in light of these stories.

In the book’s introduction, Feavel outlines the six criteria that each story in his collection meets – character, nonfiction, age, oral presentation, sticky-points, and heroes. As a regular “nonfiction (in the sense of practical application, ‘textbook-type’ books, not the ‘non-fiction’ that Feavel categorizes) books” reader, the criterion that stood out most to me was the first – Character. Feavel writes of character as, “demonstrating unselfish virtue and moral integrity in difficult circumstances.” My MBA textbooks and professional self-development books talk about such Character in terms of theory and application, but Feavel brings new life to the term in this collection of stories.

I found “A Storyteller’s Anthology” compelling, and the lessons and examples of faith, love, and hope illustrated in these stories to be timeless, inspiring, and memorable. I appreciate Feavel for holding onto Storytelling, and for helping his readers to remember this “antiquated” art form.

Aneko Press, the publisher of A Storyteller’s Anthology, provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Buy it here on Amazon.

reading: Greater

Image“This book… is for people who sense that God has something more for them but they don’t know what it is. Or they feel stuck and don’t know how to get to where God is calling them to be.” – Steven Furtick

As is pretty typical with books of the “Dream Big” ideology, Furtick uses plenty of pop-culture references and light-hearted, feel-good stories to help make his points. If you’re looking for a back-to-basics study for your small group, or you’re just starting to figure out where God wants you and what He has in store for you, this book is a good place to start. If you’re looking to get out of the shallow end of the pool, you could probably pass on this one.

One of my highest praises for this book, however, is that Furtick doesn’t strictly call people away from their current lives and on to a more successful, faster-paced adventure of a life. While some may see their life as futile, Furtick points out that if God has called us to a place or a position, sometimes it’s the greatest thing that we can be doing at that point. Often, these “non-self help books” call us away from the life that God may have already called us to, instead of evaluating our current situation and realizing the work that God has for us to do in that place.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

reading: Man Alive by Patrick Morley

ImageI’ll be honest, it took me awhile to finish this book. While Patrick Morley has some solid thoughts, insights, and help for men in this current age, it’s very surface-level. I have read several other books recently about how the Church can reach out to men, and what being a Christian man is about. *Man Alive*, while it has a good overall message, just falls towards the bottom of the list in books for this demographic.

However, this book would make a great men’s small group discussion book, especially for men who are newer to the faith, struggling with family issues, or just need some spiritual guidance. There are discussion and reflection questions at the end of each chapter, and the book provides some good reflection material/quizzes throughout.

Evil Unseen

“I’m an educated man in the 21st century. Of course I don’t believe in God.”

These are the words of a well-known sports commentator and analyst in California whose podcast I was listening to awhile back when I heard that statement. It stunned me for a minute, but that’s becoming more of the rule than the exception in society today.

My first year of college, I was in a Humanities class with several other Christian freshmen. We started studying world religions, and when we got to the section on Judeo-Christianity, the professor and the material started attacking God, the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity. Pretty relentlessly, I may add. These attacks and other “higher educational thought and theory” led to a falling-away from the faith for a few of these students that had previously hung onto their faith in the midst of adversity.

In their song, “Evil Unseen,” Becoming the Archetype proclaims,

“Compromise your faith and doom your generation. The cancer of mind-worship will leave your spirit to decay.”

Being back in the field of college education, I realize again how important it is to grow in your faith as you grow in earthly knowledge, and mostly how the two are connected. As Christians, we need to grow and develop our minds, but alongside our faith. For us, the two are not separate entities, and they need to mature together. Grow in education, so you can reasonably discuss issues with the world, but also grow in your faith, so that you can stand firm when “higher theory and thought” try to use intellect to tear you down.

(In)Consistency

Today on Seth Godin’s blog, he put a disclaimer on the end of it announcing that his post for tomorrow would be about an hour later than usual. He felt the need to apologize for an hour of inconsistency.

I can’t even keep a consistent “Music Monday” or “Fan Friday” series going for longer than week or two. Admittedly, I’m not the most consistent blogger you’ve ever read.

I suppose these things just take a sense of discipline. That’s what I’ve read from consistent bloggers anyway.

How do you discipline yourself to be consistent?