Everybody’s Normal (Till You Get To Know Them) by John Ortberg
I chose this book to read because of a friend’s recommendation, and I thought it would be a fun/easy read. It is both of those and more. It is also a book I wish I would have taken notes on as I read. It’s that good.
The theme of the book is the challenge of personal relationships. It’s chapters cover being honest, empathetic, and standing up for yourself. It encourages us to forgive, include, and be thankful for our friends. There’s more chapters than that, but you get the gist of the theme – real issues. Having close friends isn’t easy, but it is critical.
Honestly, I like his self-abasing humor. A couple of times I saw myself in his stories, and I had to laugh. Other times, when I saw myself in his teachings, I had to plead “guilty as charged”. It was a wonderful read, engaging my mind, emotions, and soul. Now if I can just get it to engage my actions!
I’ll probably reread this book – taking notes and as part of a group for discussion. I encourage you to try it, but have some paper and a pen beside you.
Truth And Transformation by Vishal Mangalwadi
I was unprepared for the incredible depth and breadth of this book. I had never heard of the author, and that is to my loss. Considered by some to be India’s foremost Christian intellectual, he attempted to serve the rural poor of India. ”Service is the legitimate means of acquiring the power to lead.” The results were violent opposition. He turned to a study of the West and why India’s civilization lacked similar justice and prosperity.
His insights regarding the caste system’s foundation and fruit caused me to examine the current situation in the USA. “Without God’s value system, humans have no intrinsic worth. They are only worth what other human beings decide they are worth.” Vishal shows that the USA is traveling on a questionable moral road.
I highly recommend this book to those of us who have been numbed by the slow but constant decline of USA values. “Jesus changes the world by planting the Church in the midst of it.”
My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” located in the left side-bar of this blog.
Just recently I have come to realize that this simple sentence contains four important questions.
What will I do? Knowing the what seems to be more important than ever. So many choices lie before me. In fact, the options seem to multiply the more I explore. But I’m learning that sometimes there isn’t a perfect what. It seems that every what has some risks as well as rewards. Some negatives as well as some positives. I will never be able to state with any confidence that I know the outcome of my choice. And of course my current choice of what may only be a stepping stone to what is next.
What will I do? The question doesn’t ask what I want to do. Honestly, what I want to do is sometimes selfish, worthless, indulgent, shortsighted, or even illegal. It doesn’t ask what I like to do. It doesn’t ask what I promise, intend, or even what I should do. It asks what I will do. It’s asking what am I going to start and finish. My life is littered with projects started but poorly finished, if finished at all. This question exposes my will power. What will I do? Come challenges or obstacles or opposition, what will I do?
I usually fail to connect the following two sentences into one thought.
Somebody should do something. I am somebody.
What will I do? The question doesn’t ask me what the government will do. It doesn’t ask what the church will do. It doesn’t even ask what my neighbor will do. Somehow I have convinced myself that “they”, whoever that may be, should do something, but I am not the one to do it. I have exempted myself. But this question won’t let me step aside. It pushes me to the edge until I cry, “Okay, I will do something!” I am accountable for me, and my sins of inaction outweigh my sins of action. Besides, what I will do may prompt others to action. My model of action may prove more important than my actual action.