Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Innovator's Field Guide by Jeff Standridge

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
The common ordinary person with a big dream needs encouragement as well as ideas. With quotes from successful entrepreneurs and thinkers, each chapter starts with accelerators - a boost to get you moving.

This book is chock-full of role models, how-to, and tips on moving forward from dreams or ideas to action. I highly recommend it, especially if you need something to read on a "down" day when your plans aren't working out the way you'd hoped.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Christian Ethics An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning by Wayne Grudem

The publisher has provided a copy for review.
I very rarely give such a low review, and then only if I fundamentally disagree with the premise of a book. Here's an example of why I cannot recommend this.

By the time I got to Grudem's views on the roles of men and women (and the way the author twists scripture to fit American patriarchal culture), I was ready to give the book one star.

I will leave the reader with this one example, though others caught my attention. Anyone who claims authority to teach believers how to think, and in the same breath says God voluntarily becomes our subordinate as our "helper" in the Old Testament - for whatever logic or proof of his ethics and gender presuppositions - is a danger to young minds. Making up theologies is a peculiar pastime of academics; it's their job to think deeply. Yet Grudem's statements about the Son being "eternally subordinate" to the Father (not just in his incarnation) give an indication of cultural hierarchy that goes beyond the biblical revelation and mandate.

To prove his point on male headship in every area, Grudem refuses the clear meaning of Paul's instruction of "mutual submission." He extends his model of hierarchy to create a subordinate chain of authority in the family, with the wife slightly higher than the children in a serious case of scriptural re-wording.

He excludes the possibility of husbands and wives as peers, serving in the gospel, despite scriptures about the empowerment of the Spirit on male and female, Jew and Greek, etc. All are empowered for ministry, without limits as to who can serve. So, can a Greek preach to a Jew? Can a slave preach to a master? Can a woman preach to men? Grader would say no to the latter and perhaps to the second as well, since his hierarchy is so ingrained. Women are only advisors to men, mothers to children, and therefore constrained against serving in full gifting and capacity.

In addition, Grudem completely ignores the Pauline practice of biblical inclusion (i.e. instructions to female prophets in the church), relegating women to exercising their spiritual gifts only within the chain of command "below" them. Paul's instructions for orderly worship (for example, in 1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:26+), include men and women and offer a truer model of what was intended. Paul's practice contrasts with the patriarchal models invented by the time of Chrysostom and existing until Grudem. (Chrysostom acknowledged that the practices of his day differed greatly from the New Testament; Grudem is even more extreme, yet claims to be true to scriptures.)

Don't buy it unless you want to set back your understanding of a biblical worldview by 100 years. Instead, use current commentaries with biblical scholarship of how the Spirit shaped the practices of the New Testament Church.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Drawing School: Fundamentals for the Beginner by Jim Dowdalls

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
What I really like about this was the variety: when you think of drawing, what comes to mind? A pencil sketch? An accurate framework for painting? A charcoal rendering?

You'll find them all in this book. Dowdalls explains how to draw with different mediums, not just paints or pencils. I learned from the illustrations and the clear instructions. Whether you working in love color or black and white, you'll find something you can draw following the directions. You'll have the basics in hand once you follow the demonstrations.

The cover isn't very inspiring and may not catch your eye on a bookshelf. Still, it's worth picking up a copy and getting started.

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering and Calligraphy by Abbey Sy

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
If you have an event coming up and you need placards, a customized art piece, or just want to memorialize a saying, you'll love this photo guide. You'll see the how-to for lettering, find projects to make your own, get practice sheets and spacing grades, and find out how to use and combine various alphabets.

I recommend this for people with great appreciation for beautiful letters but limited skill, as well as for those of us who have taken calligraphy courses before. The nice thing about this is that you'll pull it out again and again: finish one project, put it aside for a while. I promised that you'll find yourself reaching for the book again when you're ready for your next lettering exploits. Pretty as well as practical!

Anywhere, Anytime Art: Colored Pencil by Cara Hanley

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
How long has it been since you colored with pencil? There are all kinds of pencils out there now - ones to use dry or wet (draw or paint), expensive and cheap versions with dense color or just a bit of pigment. Regardless of what level of equipment you have in your bag, take out those pencils and start to record what you see. Entertain your kids with the how-to illustrations - art made easy.

If you wish you could go back to high school and learn how to sketch and play around with colored pencils, you'll enjoy this book. It's like having a basic tutorial without the pressures of making perfect pictures.

Art should be fun. This will help make it so for you!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Brush Pen Illustration: More Than 200 Ideas for Drawing with Brush Pens by Sho Ito

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
What a delightful manual. If you've ever wanted to use a brush pen, this beginner book is for you. Every page is full of colorful instructions and demonstrations. It's a pleasure to browse or to follow the demos step-by-step.

If you're looking for a guide to painting quick sketches for your journal, illustrating notes, or drawing for children, you'll have so much fun with this. The simplicity of line, of how-tos, and ideas will make you smile, and - even for that alone - I'd recommend it.

Friday, June 8, 2018

How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life by Darryl Dash

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
You get a bit of here and there in Christian living books. You apply a bit of this and that, but it's not very satisfying. Dash takes us through the application of the life and principles of Jesus for all areas of life.

That makes it a book worth reading. It's simple (almost simplistic sometimes), so you can read it without having to wade a thicket of theological language. It's an encouraging manual for discipleship groups

or for those trying to figure out this life of faith without friends to bounce ideas around with. Hey, if that's you, go find some friends! This life with Jesus is meant to be lived in community, right?