Book Review 3: The Soul of C. S. Lewis

The Soul of C.S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-Six of His Best-Loved Writings

Written and edited by Wayne Martindale, Jerry Root, and Linda Washington

Whether the words Narnia, Screwtape, and the Weight of Glory lead down familiar paths in your reading habits, or if you are just being introduced to one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century, this book is a must-have. It is an invaluable spring-board into the broader range of Lewis’ thinking coupled to helpful comments and Biblical passages.

It is dedicated to the need for quiet reflection and the “interconnectedness of Scripture and life.”

Designed for the reader’s personal growth, each offering is one short page. The book is divided into four categories: Pilgrimage, Temptation and Triumph, Going Deeper, and Words of Grace. There are six chapters in each category from six different writings, with ten contemplative offerings from each work cited. The introduction is packed with valuable references and establishes the flow for the entire work.

This book is three hundred and seventeen pages of sustenance for our souls. It expands our ability to plumb the depths of God’s Word through the heart of C. S. Lewis.  The contributors vary from life-long Lewis scholars to those who have lived his mind in the realms of his fiction. All carry insight into Lewis’ connection to the mind of God.

Thankfully, his fiction works have been included and act as what they are: an expansion of his intellectual understanding of human nature. Story, for many of us, is the link that brings truth to life. The introduction states:

“Lewis himself was well aware that reason has its own weaknesses. If someone makes a bad decision or a questionable moral choice, reason is not so quick to challenge the choice and call the individual to repentance. It is more likely that reason will be marshaled by the will to make a host of rationalizations and excuses for the bad choice. Consequently, bad moral choices can lead to intellectual blindness; cleverness is no synonym for ethical clarity. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:18 that ‘wicked people…suppress the truth by their wickedness.’ Lewis recognized that reason, having been employed to justify a bad choice, will stand like a dragon guarding access to the heart, thus keeping one’s understanding darkened. Sometimes story alone makes it possible to get past a watchful dragon.”

We have been blessed with Lewis’ insight into the human soul. His ability to communicate that insight will stand for posterity. This book adds to that gift by helping us connect the dots between Lewis’ vast works, his enduring themes, and Scripture. It is the work of ten gifted writers who will help move this treasure into the minds and hearts of coming generations, adding their own depths of scholarship and understanding to us, the readers.

Tyndale House Publishers has graciously provided a complimentary copy of this book to the reviewer. Yea!


Book Review 2: The Secret Holocaust Diaries

Nonna Bannister left an uncommon legacy, and for all but her loving husband it was kept secret until after her death in 2004. True to her early upbringing, the treasures of her heritage were hidden away, kept safe from those who could steal evidence of her early life. By keeping her past hidden she was able to create a new life in a new nation following World War II.

Nonna Yevgenyevna Lisowskaja was born in Taganrog, Russia, in 1927 and  grew up in a privileged family surrounded by music and the arts.

She learned many languages from her father and had happy memories from her early childhood. But with the Bolshevik Revolution came the beginnings of tragedy and decades of struggle. Nonna’s path would end with her being the only survivor of her extensive family.

America knows something about the Jewish Holocaust of Nazi Germany, but this true life account expands the knowledge to include the suffering that shrouded much of Europe.  Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin have woven together the scraps of Nonna’s story and her extensive life narrative into a readable and provocative personal history. Their notes and Nonna’s timelines, maps, and photographs add depth to the tale begun in a young girl’s diary.

In the pages of this book we meet a survivor of the unspeakable. She was a woman of indomitable courage and disciplined optimism, and it is because of this she has something to speak to all people in all times. Her survival wasn’t just the survival of the body, but of a whole person–heart and soul, mind and spirit. How did she carry out what so many fail to do? How did she create a life of joy and fulfillment?

The answers are hidden in the pages of this precious book. Some come from the examples of her parents and grandparents, truths she learned as a young child and held on to. Some are the examples of faith put into practice. All are choices Nonna made so she could have the life her father wanted for her–a life with a loving husband, full of family,  in America.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided
a complimentary copy of this book to the
reviewer.

Book Review 1: Why is God Ignoring Me?

Gary R. Habermas, PhD, takes a close look at hard questions in his latest book Why is God Ignoring Me? Part of growing in faith is working through the tough parts of life. No one is exempt, and it is helpful when those ahead of us share the things they’ve found helpful. The author mentions enough of his personal pain to let the reader know he has wrestled through trial and loss. He speaks from experience and takes the reader back to the solace found in Scripture and personal relationship with God.

The subtitle, What to do when it feels like He’s giving you the silent treatment, gives hope that there are truly answers to the questions most of us ask sooner or later. The eight chapters teach us how to see God at work, introduce His love letters, and list Scriptural conditions for answered prayer. They discuss the advantages of spiritual disciplines, the need to root out our misconceptions and tell ourselves the truth, and how to learn from the trials of those immortalized in the Bible. There are discussion questions included in the back, and reference notes for each chapter.

These pages offer enough answers to direct the searching, enough of the scholarly to serve as an anchor, and enough comfort to encourage the hurting.

Why is God Ignoring Me?List Price:
13.99
ISBN:
978-1-4143-1688-8
Trim Size:
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Binding:
Softcover
Release:
March 2010
Tyndale House Publishers has provided
a complimentary copy of this book to the
reviewer.

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