Readers' Digest

January 9, 2006

FROM INDIA, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY AND BELGIUM COMES THE FOLLOWING SAMPLING OF HOLIDAY READING. Pat Shultz, from the USA, gives this personal tip in response to the suggestion (cited last week) that we should only bother with the One Book: Instead of getting rid of all of one’s books, I choose to fast from books once in a while. I believe that internally, everyone knows when they are depending too much on external sources (i.e. books) instead of our great Internal Source, the Holy Spirit. Solomon has it right on: there is a time for everything under the sun – a time to read (from other books) and a time to abstain.

· Barbara Ruegger, living in India for the past six years, has been reading Being Indian, The truth about why the 21st century will be India’s, by Pavan K. Varma. P. Varma has been a member of the Indian Foreign Service, has served in many countries and is at present Director of the Nehru Centre in London. This is a real must for all who have an interest in India or in the many Indians living abroad (e.g. England). This book explains much of what I observed yet often did not understand. Many of my friends and fellow YWAMers are reading or have read the book!

· Th√©r√®se Swinters, convenor of the Hope for Europe Disabilities Network, writes from Belgium that she has been enormously blessed by When God Weeps, by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes – ‘because of their wonderful description of how the Lord God really does not like people having to suffer and experience sadness. And yet he has wonderful purposes to accomplish through suffering. If suffering has a positive purpose, then it is easier to endure. I think we in Europe all too quickly think we suffer too much and that God should do something about it. The Lord does respond to the suffering, but not always to give us a heaven on earth.

· Norwegian Andreas Nordli, of YWAM Romania, recommends the French ‘whistleblower’ Eva Joly’s Est-ce dans monde-la que nous voulons vivre? (Is this the kind of world we want?) Joly was central in investigating the Elf-case some few years ago. The Paris-Declaration is central in the book ( where people can sign up against corruption. She had a central position as court-judge in the Palais de Justice during her fights against corruption in France. It proves how one person can impact a society and be a transformational voice.
Andreas considers the best of the many books he has read on Islam probably to be Phil and Julie Parshall’s Lifting the Veil – the world of muslim women. The Parshalls write well and insightfully, without making simplistic black-white proclamations about Islam and women. They offer a balanced awareness of life behind the veil, as a couple that have served as missionaries among muslims for decades.

· Former New Zealand MP, Bernie Ogilvy, found himself with extra reading time this (down-under) summer after the last elections, and singled out the following titles:
Church @ Community, by Ed Delph. A church genuinely wanting to serve God will serve its community. All others are just talk! Covers the subject well, awakening the soul and spirit into action to restore our societies.
The Persistence of Faith, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. A prophetic gem of a booklet (the 1990 Reith Lectures) stating that faith has not gone from our communities or families despite secularism and pluralism. Faith communities, he says, are there to bring solutions to our neighbourhoods. Should be read in conjunction with his extraordinary book The Politics of Hope. (Amen! I just picked up his Radical then, radical now – Jeff)
The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg. Challenging the usual secular myths and pseudo-science, Bjorn looks at facts on every current environmental issue: pollution, global warming, GE, food and hunger, water supplies, forest, energy, among others. We all must be environmentalists, but honest ones, he urges. As a Christian I am relieved that the world is not ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ and that scenarios of catastrophes are more in the minds of the ‘doom and gloom merchants’. That is not the nature and character of the God I serve.

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

Till next week,

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