We’re excited to share three challenging and inspiring non-fiction titles with you today. These books range in topic from faith and discipleship, to the Christian response to poverty, to a strategic approach to sound argumentation. Read on for reviews from some of our Nuts About Books and Resourcing Leader Program reviewers, as well as a special feature review from the Mennonite Brethren Herald.
When Sarah and Tom Arthur were appointed to a suburban church after three years in an urban Christian community, they faced a unique challenge: how to translate the practices of “radical” faith into their new context. Together with their friends and fellow church members Erin and Dave Wasinger, the Arthurs embarked on a yearlong experiment to implement twelve small practices of radical faith–not waiting until they were out of debt or the kids were out of diapers or God sent them elsewhere, but right now.
This book is Sarah and Erin’s story, told with humor, theological reflection, and practical insight, exploring such practices as simplicity, hospitality, accountability, sustainability, and social justice–but, most of all, discernment. Along the way readers will consider how God might be calling them to embark on their own year of small but radical changes, right where God has planted them. Each chapter includes discussion questions and suggested readings. Foreword by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.
“The Year of Small Things stresses the importance of convenantal friendship with other believers…All of life can be lived as a spiritual practice that matters to God. Things like simplicity, hospitality, sustainability, reconciliation and even social justice can be a part of our life regardless of the season we are in…The Year Of Small Things is written for all believers, particularly those seeking ways to incorporate liturgical and monastic practices into their modern living. Caution is needed, however, as the book needs to be interpreted in light of Scripture, or it may come across as merely an injunction to do more good works instead of first seeking the discernment of the Holy Spirit as to what God has for us at the season of life we are in.” – Penny Johnston, Mennonite Brethren Herald
Eyes to See, a new book and film series, invites you to journey deeper to view the world as God sees it, get to the root of poverty and become part of the solution.
The Eyes to See book will guide you to explore what the Bible says about poverty and how you can respond. The book includes daily readings for six weeks (30 in total) and is a great supplement to the small group study. The daily readings include self-reflection questions, action items and prayer guides. It is available in paperback and digital formats.
Eyes to See for groups is a six-week journey together to embrace a united understanding and vision for responding to poverty in a godly way. Each session includes a video and a small-group leader guide, containing weekly summaries, scripture passages, reflection/discussion questions, a prayer guide and at-home challenges. Supplemental materials and daily readings, available online or in paperback with discounts for groups, are also available.
“Using stories from their global connections through Compassion, the study poignantly and effectively communicates various concepts relating to poverty, social justice, and the Church…Each chapter concludes with three reflection questions, one action step, and a prayer…Likewise, when one is open to the challenge presented in the book, Spirit-led conviction is probable. Finally, the book does well in making the issues not just personal, but also finds ways for them to be applied in/for a local faith community. I highly recommend this book for personal study and moreso for a small group study, whether in a home, adult education (eg. Sunday School) class as well as a youth or young adults curriculum.” – Leadership & Life (Steven Ibbotson)
“Out of all the books I’ve read this year, Eyes to See is one that will stay with me…Considering the heavy nature of the theme, I loved how [the action] section assists readers in bringing the material and themes into their homes and backyards with an achievable response, something that can be challenging with difficult topics…Rather than simply looking at financial realities, Eyes to See explores the brokenness that accompanies poverty: in community, in oneself , in our environment, and with God all using a solid Biblical approach to ground their presentation…5 out of 5 stars.” – Kindred Spirits & Everyday Fairytales (Victoria Wollf)
“…For many of us in modern world, sometimes we get compassion fatigue where we see so many needs around us that we simply got overwhelmed to the point of inaction. Others presume good intentions are enough. Others deem themselves too small and unable to do anything helpful at all. Poverty is real…This is where this book enters in…This book is about education of the average believer in Christ. It is about sharpening our focus on the true problem of poverty and to work toward being part of the solution. Through the daily journeys, we face the issue of poverty head on, beginning with the mind, and letting the knowledge guide our hearts…Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.” – Panorama of a Book Saint (Conrade Yap)
“This book invites you to dive in and explore the topic of poverty. Esthetically very pleasing with beautiful photographs and a good layout, the reader is drawn in readily…The Canadian reader will also appreciate that this book is actually written for Canadians. Stats and stories are for us! And even though sponsored by Compassion Canada, this is not simply an advertisement for their programs…Overall, I would recommend this book. But only read it if you are prepared to be challenged.” – Ron Bachmann
“A great study if you are wanting to understand the world locally and globally and how to be a part of reaching out to show God’s love. This book by Compassion Canada will help not only Canadians but those in our world to realize the needs and the roots of problems. I was hit by the small phrase, “God never intended poverty”. Poverty is not only across the ocean but right in our own towns.” – Single Mom Survivla SUCCESS (Linda McCutcheon)
This brief introduction to making effective arguments helps readers to understand the basics of sound reasoning and to learn how to use it to persuade others. Practical, inexpensive, and easy-to-read, the book enables students in a wide variety of courses to improve the clarity of their writing and public speaking. It equips readers to formulate firmly grounded, clearly articulated, and logically arranged arguments, avoid fallacious thinking, and discover how to reason well. This supplemental text is especially suitable for use in Christian colleges and seminaries and includes classroom discussion questions.
“In only 117 pages [Good Arguments] covers everything from what makes a good argument to how to avoid logical fallacies…An argument, according to the authors, is definitely not a battle to be fought and won, but a message to be communicated. This is a healthy reminder for Christians who might be too focused on crushing the opposition. The goal of a good argument is “to persuade someone to adopt the new belief because they believe it, not because they were mesmerized by rhetorical skill”…Good Arguments will do what the title says, help you craft good arguments that will persuade people to do what you want them to do because they really believe it is the right thing to do.” – Christian Leadership Reflections (John Pellowe, CCCC)
“This book is itself a good argument for making good arguments! I found it very informative in how to give a systematic account of reasons in support of a claim or belief i.e. a good argument. Christians should be able to state a ‘reason for the hope they possess” in reasoned clear terms and with a good attitude. Helpful terminology, presentation tips, case studies-this is a good look at how to make your case either for personal edification and/or group/class study. I think it would make a good small group study for Christian writing or evangelism training.” – Char