Monday, October 26, 2015

Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber


Accidental Saints: Finding God In All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber is a collection of stories of grace made evident through an unlikely group of people. Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor who founded House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. Most of these stories come from her interactions with people in that community.

Bolz-Weber's style is honest and raw, sometimes uncomfortably so. There is no element of the "safety" of anonymity in these stories. She shares them with her and others' brokenness out for everyone to see. She is unapologetic about her past or her present. While her transparency and openness are very appealing and winsome, there is a flip side to that. Her liberal use of offensive language completely turned me off at first. It took a conscience mental effort to set that aside, see past it, and learn form the truth of grace each story presents. Some people won't find it a problem, but for others, its something to be aware of. In the end, I'm glad I was able to set it aside and see the truth, because I benefited from it. However, I know some will be unable to do that, and its something I wish I had known in advance. Because I was completely unfamiliar with Bolz-Weber before reading this, it felt somewhat like an ambush.

Overall, each story told in Accidental Saints pushed against my experience and sense of grace. It did this in a good way, because it stretched me. I appreciate Bolz-Weber's willingness to point out how much more powerful (and real) grace looks, the messier the situation. Anyone who is ready and or willing to be pushed in the same way will benefit from reading Accidental Saints.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Colson Way by Owen Strachan

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World by Owen Strachan is an examination of Chuck Colson's life focusing on his time as a Christian engaging politics in the public square. While Strachan briefly touches on Colson's early life, Watergate experience, and time in prison, the main focus is on his life after prison.

Strachan has two stated goals with this book. They are to tell "the overall story of Colson's life with special reference to the motivation and accomplishment of his public-square work," and to form "this historical material into a compelling model for Christian public witness and cultural engagement" (xxvi). Throughout the book, Strachan meets both stated goals. He is both passionate and compelling as he makes the argument for today's believers to engage the public square as consistently and ferociously as Colson did. Not all readers may agree with Strachan's stands, but it is hard to argue with his passion about engaging, however one choses to do so.

This is not a book for someone looking for a definitive work on Colson's life or his role in Watergate. The Colson Way is a call to America's Christians to stop hiding and begin engaging the public square. This is a helpful work for anyone interested in that whether they are not yet engaged, or have been doing so for a long time. It's encouraging to read about those who have gone before. Colson is a good example for today's believers. Hopefully, The Colson Way will make more people aware of him, and the legacy he left behind.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255