A thing of beauty, the audio Bible from @HodderFaith read by David Suchet

I was very excited to receive the audio NIV from Hodder faith because audio Bibles are, in my opinion, heaven sent.
Whether you struggle to read for any reason, or the only spare time you have is in the car, an audio Bible can be a life line.

R and I have long searched for an audio Bible we like. Many have American accents, which is fabulous if you are American, but can leave you feeling a little disconnected if you are not.

Here we found in David Suchet, a rich English voice, the words read beautifully and without over emphasis or ridiculous dramatisation… “And then he diiiiiiiiiied” is a regular joke in our household.

The Bible means a great deal to me, and I admire Suchet as an actor, so I sat down this morning with high expectations.
Fifteen chapters into Genesis and I knew I possessed a thing of beauty. I was transported deep into the words I was listening to.

It is as Suchet hoped it would be, a place where you can hear the word of The Lord.

If you are interested in the Bible at any level, this is a version I throughly recommend.

Book Review: a Year’s Journey with God by Jennifer Rees Larcombe and for everyone books by Tom Wright

There are a million different types of books and notes out there in order to help you read the bible. What you use depends on how you approach reading or learning as a whole, but two of the best I have come across are a Year’s Journey with God by Jennifer Rees Larcombe and the  for everyone books by Tom Wright.

The ever lovely people at Hodder Faith sent me a Year’s Journey, and having read a week or so of it, I am loving it.  Rees Larcome finds that subtle balance between taking note of the piece of scripture at hand and applying it to our everyday lives. So often i have read bible notes and wondered what on earth what the writer has said, has got to do with the passage they have chosen.

In contrast here I found myself entering into the passage and identifying with it through Rees Larcome’s application. Using accessible and approachable language, she gently draws the reader towards God – it is a thoughtful and and uplifting start to the day, and I found my thoughts coming back to it as I got on with the business of life.

I have also been reading John for everyone by Tom Wright. I am a great fan of all Tom Wright’s for everyone series. It shares the accessible language of Rees Larcome’s book, and for those who would love to attempt a deeper theological exposition of scripture, but like me find themselves with the book in one hand and the dictionary in the other… and none the wiser.. Wright’s books are a revelation. His clear explanation of what has been written and why is set in the style of daily readings and all that these books have taught me is frankly, really cool!

So whether you are looking for life application or scriptural explanation, these two books are well worth your time and money.

Book Review: The Idolatry of God by Peter Rollins

I was very happy to win a book from Hodder Faith via their Facebook page, and sure enough, through the post came The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction by Peter Rollins. It sounded like the sort of title I would enjoy, but I might as well tell you straight away, that I struggled with this book. More than that, I just didn’t like it very much.

It does however, do what I suspect the author wants it to do. Reading this book is a bit like being torpedoed  while sitting in a small, wooden rowing boat.

All through the book I struggled to understand what Rollins was talking about. His, as the blurb says “incendiary”way of communicating meant I had to keep reminding myself that it was important to read the whole book before passing any kind of judgement. And I did learn some things:

  • There is a difference between our hearts and our ego. That is, there is who we really are (the heart) and who we think we are (the ego). Basically actions speak louder than words… we may think we are against children being used as slaves to make chocolate, but it’s the chocolate we buy which points out what we really believe.
  • We are prone to worship anything we think gives us satisfaction and security.
  • Church can become a security blanket rather than the place we worship God.
  • We aren’t very good at being with people who are different from us and either reject them, tolerate them or assimilate them.

The thing is, I think Rollins made it all more complicated than it need be. Now I admit, I probably think this because I just didn’t understand what he was talking about. I never thought i would say this, but the book is just too deep. I struggled to get to the bottom of it. And because of this, the whole tone of the book seemed very angry and combative. I was left feeling that in order to be a proper Christian I had to reject everything I have ever known and start again.

I began to wonder if I have ever loved Jesus or whether  my whole life has just been idolatry.

I actually finished this book a week ago, but i have spent the last few days thinking over what I read and praying. so this is my conclusion. Rollins is right, life is never certain and does not deliver complete satisfaction. but I disagree with is method of letting go of all that in order to love God. Instead of all that anger and rejection (which is how the book came across to me), I think I will stick with what I have read about mindfulness and about finding joy in the small things.

So today I thank God for… today. For all the beautiful thinks he has placed in my life, and I will not think about what I don’t have, but instead ask God to help me love as he does.

Finally, Rollins says you cannot know God. I disagree. I mean no, you can’t know ALL of God, and you have to be careful with what you think you know (like that story of the blind men and the elephant) but the bible says that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, so in looking at Jesus… I can know God.

I am grateful to Hodder Faith for giving me this book, but I don’t think it is  one I would pass on.