Today I’m offering two quick reviews and welcoming further input or responses from anyone who’s read these two books — I actually haven’t. How do I review books I haven’t read? Well, we’ll get to that. Both selections are along the same theme, but perhaps for different audiences.
First up is Nancy Ortberg’s Looking for God: An Unexpected Journey through Tattoos, Tofu, and Pronouns, a promising title from a gifted woman. I loaned this one to my friend Pam, who did read it. The short version: decent material on learning to experience God in all areas of life, presented as though it is more radical than most readers here will actually find it. On this basis, it’s probably a great introduction for people from a conservative evangelical background — which makes sense, considering Ms. Ortberg’s resume includes an eight-year stint as a teaching pastor at Willow Creek. You can nab the first chapter as a PDF download. “God is in the details, but sometimes we just overlook him. Nancy Ortberg encourages readers to see God in this very personal, very engaging series of essays that will bring God into focus and allow you to grow deeper in your relationship with him than you had ever imagined.”
Next up is Parabola: Experiencing Jesus As Reality by Kelly Deppen. I decided I wasn’t really the audience for this one, despite the desirability of the topic portrayed in the book’s subtitle. The audience for this one seems to be soundly Pentecostal/charismatic, which I discern from the choice of the King James Version for the Bible quotations and the sprinkling of charismatic language and phrases. The latter I recognize as being a part of the church experience I ultimately walked away from, though I continue to believe in the continuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit… including the prophetic. Still, part of what I moved away from was excess, including reading into ordinary matters. In particular, a quote from p.113 suggested to me that I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of the book.
Mem is the thirteenth letter in the Hebrew aleph-bet. It is pronounced like the English “m.” The symbol for the letter mem is a pictograph of water. The gematric numerical value assigned to mem is forty. Prophetically, and as it relates to knowing the times and seasons, this is significant.
It goes on from there to outline further significance for the letter mem. It could be that there’s a good message in Parabola and the significance of the “fish” sign of the early Christians reflecting two parabolas, but brief as the book is (120 pages) I’m not really conditioned to easily see past some of the charismatic trappings to find it. It boils down to the fact that this book is primarily for an audience that just isn’t me.