Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harvest House Publishers Book Review: How Can I Believe When I Have So Many Doubts? by Michael A. Babcock

Michael Babcock lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, with his wife and two children.  He is a professor of humanities at Liberty University.  He earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Dr. Babcock is the author of The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun (2005) and UnChristian America: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God (2008).  He is active in the teaching and missionary ministries of his local church. 

Do you struggle with doubt? Do you feel guilty about your questions? I can say I did, which is why I was so blessed to read this book. I was plagued with guilt because I had so many questions and doubts. This excellent and profound book helped me so much.

In his introduction, Dr. Babcock states that doubt is not the same as unbelief – and that a faith that asks questions is a stronger than a faith that never thinks. He also mentions that we’ll never stop asking questions because doubt is a normal part of our lives. I also learned that doubt is necessary and even useful as we ask questions about ourselves, others and the world.

The chapters begin with a Key Idea and end with a Summing-Up and For Further Reflection. This awesome book consists of 14 Chapters that are jammed packed with profound wisdom. I truly believe this book could be used in any college curriculum.

Here are just a few excerpts I’d like to share that stuck out for me:

“When you describe a world without doubt, you’re no longer describing the world we live in. You’re describing heaven – and we’re not there yet. As long as we’re bound by flesh and bones, we’re stuck with doubt. As long as we’re held by time and space, we’ll have questions we can’t answer.”

“Unless I doubt myself, I’ll never be able to grow.”

“If I had no capacity to doubt, then I couldn’t spot deception and test character.”

“Without the freedom to ask questions and weigh alternatives, scientific progress would be unthinkable.”

Oh, and there is much more where that came from.  All I did was underline throughout this book. There was just so much to learn and glean from. It definitely isn’t a quick read, so you won’t be able to just skim through this book (and you won't want to). There is way too much information that you will just want to sit, ponder and ruminate on.

This book helped me think and see things from a different point of view and perspective.  I appreciated how Dr. Babcock interwove biblical and personal references throughout this book.  I will definitely be referring back to it from time to time. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

I want to personally thank Mr. Aaron Dillon from Harvest House Publishers in sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. I am very grateful to him and for the opportunity to review such a great book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BookSneeze Book Review: Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopal priest, speaker, and acclaimed author of Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale.  His literary debut received accolades from the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; Brian McLaren; Fr. Richard Rohr; Phyliss Tickle; Tony Campolo; Brennan Manning; and artist Fujimura.  Ian is currently the curator of the Conversations on Courage and Faith Series at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a doctoral student at Fordham University, where he is studying Christian spirituality.

I am so grateful to BookSneeze, in sending me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  I appreciate the opportunity of reading such great books such as this one and being able to review it. 

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I was totally intrigued by the title.  Ian Morgan Cron calls his book a 'memoir of sorts' and that it is. 

Ian Morgan Cron grew up with a father who was a CIA agent and who also had a massive drinking problem. As I read, I sensed the underlying disconnect and suffering that this reality caused him. He was desperate to have a 'normal' and 'healthy' relationship with his father. He blamed himself and believed that there was something terribly wrong with him for his own father not to want to interact with him and love him.

As a result, he grew up questioning everything, especially given the fact that things were kept a secret, such as his father being in the CIA. He also had to endure the verbal and physical abuse caused by his father drinking and mental illness (which he learned later on). He even lost his faith in God too. However, in the midst of surviving the chaos and insanity, there comes a pivotal moment by which he has an encounter with Jesus.

All I can say is... what an amazing book!  The title cleverly depicts what this book is about. His memoir is filled with metaphors and humor. Ian Morgan Cron is a brilliant and entertaining writer. He writes so well that I was able to visualize and feel everything. I laughed and cried throughout this book.

I have read many memoirs in my lifetime, but not like this one. I highly recommend it and truly look forward to reading his next book.