Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chair of EQUIP, Isobel Lin, previews some books we are profiling at EQUIP12:

God’s Good Design
Claire Smith

This book has a history with EQUIP as many of the chapters began their life as afternoon electives at EQUIPwomen conferences.  We’re really excited that these helpful lectures have become a useful resource beyond the conference.

This book is a detailed look at what the Bible says about men and women and how the sexes relate. Smith states in her preface that her main aim was to hear God’s Word clearly and to obey it well. She manages to do this by covering, in a straightforward manner, Bible passages which are often touted as too difficult to be understood.

Smith says in one chapter: “I was raised to think that a woman could do anything a man could do (and she could do it better), and that the differences between the sexes were only matters of biology.” (p. 220) I think many of us were raised in that era. I remember buses and trains being plastered with posters of women dressed in hard hats and overalls with the slogan “Girls can do anything.”

This is a ‘must-read’ for women and men.

The Envy of Eve
Melissa B. Kruger

A book on contentment  - no need to say any other reason to read it – we need all the help we can get - in a society based on consumption – it’s a lifelong struggle against the grain.

If it weren’t for the niceness of alliteration in a title – this book should more correctly be called "The Covetousness of Eve". Kruger tracks down the source of our discontentment - whether with material possessions, relationships, or the way we look – to coveting. Her definition of coveting covers quite a long list of sins including envy, greed and lust. Practically speaking – she brings it back to that activity which we women are so at home with – comparing ourselves with others.

Her examples and insights are so helpful because they ring true.  We feel we share a sisterhood with Kruger in struggling for contentment.  In the chapter ‘Concluding Thoughts’, she tells the story of receiving a friend’s email telling of how God had answered her friend’s prayers.  She shares with us all – “I would love to be able to tell you that I immediately praised God for her situation and went contentedly about my day.  Truthfully, I got in my car, put my head on the wheel and cried.  While I was sincerely thankful for her good providence, it brought to light the difficulty of my own situation.” (p. 249)

In her book Kruger uses some well and not-so-well known biblical characters as examples, for example we learn about the sin of Achan, relating this to contentment.  There are also questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflection or group discussion, making this a possible resource for a Bible study or home group.

Suffering Well
Paul Grimmond

George Orwell said, “Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

In the last chapter of this book, Grimmond tells the story of a pastors' conference where they were discussing what key truths to teach new Christians.  A missionary from Argentina said, “We need to teach them to suffer”.  It wasn’t the answer that the author or probably we would expect.  However, experience tells us that the longer we live, the more likely we will experience suffering of some form.

So, everyone should read a book on suffering.

Grimmond describes this book as an ‘inoculation’ rather than a ‘remedy’.  He says it’s to arm us with God’s truth so we can suffer well when our time comes. This book is an easy read on a difficult but important topic.

Little Black Books
Scott Perry

You’ll find these books under Youth Resources on the Matthias Media website. But I think they’re great at any age!

On the back cover it says they are a series of books that get straight to the point on the topics that Christians always have questions about.  Not too big, not too fancy and not at all boring.

The series titles so far are a roll call of hot topics: Sex, Predestination, The Holy Spirit, The Bible, Suffering and Evil, What’s Life All About, Science and God.

They’re easy to read and understand, and they certainly point you in the right direction.  Their small size is their pro and con.  When you’re time-poor or not a good reader – they look very manageable.  But they’re not going to be a thorough treatment. Fast food, but not junk food, when you don’t have time for a slow-cooked meal.

I’ve found them extremely useful for busy mums and dads who want some quick answers.   The last one I lent out was the one on Sex – to a busy mum of 4 teenage boys.

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