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Non-fiction Books I’m Liking (Spring 2014)

31 Mar

Travel to another time, another place this spring with these good reads!

Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical IntroductionGetting to Know the Church Fathers, by Bryan Litfin

It seems to be trendy for many Christians to distance themselves from the church’s historical past for one reason or another, and I wanted to read up on the subject for myself to seek out truth.  It’s hard to have a discussion with someone when you don’t know who certain bigwigs among the early church fathers were, you know? The problem was that I didn’t know where to start.  I didn’t know what author I could trust to give me an accurate view on the subject. And many books out there seemed daunting. What layman really wants to slog through 600+ pages of names and doctrines they’re still unclear about by the time they’re done with the book? Then I learned that Bryan Litfin, a professor of theology (and a name I recognized and trusted), had written a book for the everyday protestant. Choosing 10 names from the early centuries of Christianity, Litfin breaks down an orderly, concise history in an easy to understand manner. They are basically mini biographies put together, including such historical persons as Augustine, Justin Martyr, Origen, and Athanasius. Through reading this book, they became real people to me, instead of just a name.  One of the things I appreciated is that the author sets the stage by giving us the background of where each person was coming from, how they grew up, what events and people influenced them, and why certain issues became a father’s bee-in-the-bonnet. Time is taken to explain doctrinal issues, whether it was one the early church supported or one it opposed. Controversial topics such as the early beginnings of the papacy is addressed. Without bashing our church fathers, Litfin carefully addresses the poor choices some of them made, while always reminding us of the great things they did to contribute to the legacy handed down to us. A great read for any seeking Christian.

A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, by Susan Branch 

I saw this in our library’s new release display and immediately swiped it to pore over the watercolor illustrations. I love art journals in almost any form and looking at Susan Branch’s pictorial traipse through England was just lov-erly! I can’t say that I read this book cover to cover as I was more interested in the pictures, but it is chock full of wonderful quotes I copied down for my quote-book. The book reads like someone’s illustrated scrapbook, with many photographs the author and her husband took while on their spring-long vacation. I can’t say the photos are professional looking, but you get the sense of looking at an enthusiastic friend’s photo album. So if you love tea, cats, painting, and all things British, this cheery book is for you!

 

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