A well-written and informative sermon primer for pastors.

A JOURNEY TO THE PULPIT

McDonald delivers advice on how to produce better sermons in this debut Christian guidebook.

A majority of pastors in Christian congregations across America are now multivocational, meaning that they have a job in addition to their religious duties. As such, they may lack the time and Bible school education of the full-time pastors of yesteryear. McDonald seeks to help these part-timers: “The intent of this book is to address both the limited time and financial issues. The multi-vocational pastor must have timesaving options for sermon preparation that still yield a quality sermon.” Even the divinely inspired pastor requires research to successfully preach to his flock, and the author provides numerous tips and strategies for those in need of a little aid. From determining the purpose of a sermon to seeking out inspiration and choosing topics that will speak to the needs of the congregation and the pastor himself, McDonald walks the reader through the creation process. In addition to nuts-and-bolts advice on how to structure the sermon, he offers holistic counsel on the ways a pastor should live to make himself a better vessel for God’s teachings. These range from the theological (“only a fool would embark upon building a sermon or other spiritual project without prayer”) to the practical (“Preachers are not immune to the onset, either temporary or long term, of physiological diseases or psychological disorders”). The book concludes with a number of prompts to get the aspiring sermon writer’s imagination flowing. A multivocational pastor and missionary, McDonald writes in a conversational prose and has the gentle, explanatory manner one would expect from a member of the clergy. He approaches the sermon-writing process from every angle while keeping the guide a tight read at under 200 pages. While the audience for the work may be narrow, the book is well-tailored to its task. McDonald makes it clear to new pastors that they are not obligated to be expert sermon writers right out of the gate. Like everything else, there’s a learning curve, and this author is happy to light the way.

A well-written and informative sermon primer for pastors.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-7090-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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