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A passionate call for Christians to commit more deeply to the Messiah they proclaim every week in church.

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An examination of how the Christian God is perceived in modern society.

This 2013 title from long-serving Baptist pastor McClure (Made for Glory, 2016, etc.) hinges on the dramatic moment in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus asks his disciples about rumors circulating in the region of Caesarea, regarding the identity of a charismatic new preacher. His disciples offer the guesses they’ve overheard—that the preacher is Jeremiah, or Elijah, or even John the Baptist come back to life. Jesus then sharpens the conversation by asking his disciples for their own answer to the question. In the Gospel passage, Peter steps forward with certainty about Jesus’ divine status, and in this book, McClure is equally direct in seeking to clarify the nature of Jesus and the Christian God for his readers. He opens by lamenting how the figure of Jesus has been lessened in the modern era, transforming the majesty of God to “a pawn, or possibly a knight or bishop, in some religious game who doles out blessings if you prime Him with material goods, usually monetary.” McClure wants to restore a more heartfelt Christianity, not the shallow version he finds in many modern churches, which he likens to “snorkeling”: “we have yet to descend into the real depths of the ocean,” he writes. The clarity of McClure’s call to deep Christian commitment, as opposed to mere lip service, is felt throughout this book, as is his certainty that the willing faithful can change the depth of their faith: “if you honestly seek God’s will,” he writes, “your spiritual eyes will be opened to see Him, and your spiritual ears will be open to hear.” Fellow Christian readers, and especially those who may also be impatient with the complacent tone of their worship services, will find it both direct and refreshing that the author wants to restore a dynamic, personal element to their faith that’s been lost to time.

A passionate call for Christians to commit more deeply to the Messiah they proclaim every week in church.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-937756-77-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Deep River Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 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 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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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