Friday, May 26, 2006

Book reports

The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande
When I picked this book up I thought it would be more about arbitration and mediation with a Christian twist (based entirely on the prohibition against taking other Christians to court in I Cor. 6:1-8). While that passage is referenced a few times in the book, its scope is much more broad than that. Sande has a lot of good points about the inability of courts to address underlying problems in disputes and the damage this can cause in relationships among believers, but I really like the book's positive focus on what the church can, and should, do about it. He encourages churches to take an active role in maintaining healthy relationships within the church by overseeing conflict resolution and reconciliation. Most notable about this book is that it is not really about "legal" disputes. It is about relationships and ALL the conflicts that go with them, whether it's the breakdown of a contract, of a marriage, or kids fighting over the front seat of the car. It was challenging to me on a personal level because it pointed out the positive effects of conflict--greater understanding of and interaction with fellow-believers, and growth from the ability to reach God-honoring solutions. I don't like conflict and tend to deny it, run from it, or ignore it, and that is just as unhealthy to a relationship as belligerence. This book gets lots of stars on a scale of lots of stars.

Humility: True Greatness, by C.J. Mahaney
This book reminded me of one of those little coffee-table-type inspirational books you sometimes see at the checkout. I don't mean that in a disparaging way. It has good substance, even if it is a little repetitive and sometimes reads like an annotated bibliography. If you need a quick reminder and refocus on your exact position with reference to God (and who are we kidding, don't we all?), this book is a good choice. Watch out for some overt Calvinism, if that sort of thing bothers you. A respectable number of stars out of lots of stars.

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