Sunday, September 20, 2009

We've Moved

Books I'm Reading has become Books Worth Reading at (Look for it in the categories on the left-hand side.)

Come join the discussion!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Messy Spirituality: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People

Messy Spirituality is about exactly that. It's a story of and a guide to rightly rejecting neat, sanitized spirituality, breaking out of the plastic shrinkwrap of systemitized religion, and embracing abundant life with all it's messes, failures, complexities, questions, joys, triumphs, tensions, paradoxes... which requires us to embrace grace. It requires the sometimes desperate acknowledgement of our constant need of grace, which turns us into people of Grace---the people we're all supposed to be from Eden, people of God.

Romans 12:2 warns against allowing the world to squeeze us into a particular pattern, a box that doesn’t let the Light in and keeps us from real living. Yaconelli recognizes that we’re not only in danger of the world trying to make us into what the world wants us to be: well-meaning Christians and churches often squeeze everybody into one-size-fits-all patterns of spirituality. This small book says big things about what it means to be spiritual and to walk with God.

Messy Spirituality derives from Yaconelli's own journey from legalism to liberty and the years of experience he has as a pastor of a small fellowship full of misfits. Jesus calls us to live faith-full lives. But too often we live fear-full lives. We're called to be radically different (as opposed to merely civily different). Yaconelli helps us think through these things, and he does so with patience and humility, humor, earthy-ness, wisdom, and love.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phantom Island: Wind

Krissi Dallas has hit the road running with her debut novel, Phantom Island: Wind. It instantly found its way to the number one selling spot at as the word-of-mouth buzz about this page-turner spread like wild fire surrounding the novel's release. The novel is Young Adult fiction; it's full of drama, adventure, suspense, and romance. As a vested seventh and eighth grade teacher and the wife of a youth pastor, YA fantasy-fiction is something Krissi Dallas is an expert on and has a passion for. Her love and affinity for her students, as well as the openly autobiographical nature of much of the book, have allowed Dallas to "open a vein," and write from the depths of who she is, from the heart. This deep connection transfers itself to the reader. I found myself desperately curious; no, not just curious, committed and concerned about the characters. Reading until the end of the chapter wasn't enough: I had to find out what would happen next and would they be okay. I don't think I have ever read a book this size this quickly---not even any of the Harry Potter series... which I also toted obsessively wherever I went so I could read every chance I got.

Phantom Island: Wind is divided into three parts, and it's part two that really gets you. If you weren't addicted already in part one, you definitely will be when part two begins. This is also where the fantasy part of this fantasy-fiction novel really kicks in. You know how you can tell when you're reading really good fantasy-fiction? When you can't tell. If you ever find yourself questioning the reality the author's created, it isn't good fantasy-fiction. While reading Wind I never once caught myself raising my eyebrow thinking, I don't know about that. I was completely engrossed.

Wind is well written. Dallas has a captivating command of detail. Good literature is good literature, regardless of the target audience. Phantom Island isn't just for teenagers; it's for anyone who hasn't forgotten how to read -- how to imagine and empathize and create. The plot and character development; the intrigue, the tension, the romance, the journey, the discovery; every thing about the Island kept me turning pages when I should have been sleeping.

Wind is the first book in the Phantom Island series. Water, is scheduled to come out Summer 2010. It's always nice to have something to look forward to, especially the "small" things; I can't wait to find out what happens next. For more about Phantom Island visit