Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Books That Change Your Life

Every now and then, I come across a book that changes my life.  And not just your standard the Bible changed my life story.  Which, don't get me wrong, it did.  But lately I have come across two books in very unconventional ways that have changed my life.

Book the first: "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.  I had mentioned this book in earlier blogs and I will mention it in future blogs I am sure.  This book is fantastic.  It not only offers you someone's view on Heaven but provides scriptures to back them up, scriptures to refute other misconceptions, and explanation of times and meanings for things that people tend to misconstrue in scripture today.  Alcorn gets down on such a blatantly simple level to appeal to your mind in the sense of "why would you think that when the whole rest of your life does not follow that".  For instance, the strange belief that we will not know other people or remember our past lives once we get to Heaven.  Alcorn offers up scripture on why he thinks this is completely without merit and also makes the reader think about how little sense that makes.  We are creatures so inherently tuned to know others and to make memories and bonds because each of us is made in God's image.  We bond with others because we were made to bond with God, and through others we see pieces of his whole.

I discovered this book thanks to twitter.  A lot of people have made fun of me for being on twitter, most likely assuming I do it because it is the "cool thing" to do.  But that is not the case.  I am on twitter for multiple reasons:
  • To be more likely to be able to talk to people I will probably never have the honor of meeting
  • To get up to the minute updates from all types of news sources
  • To follow subjects and people that interest me or that I look up to
  • To always know which players are in and which are out of the football games for the weekend so I can rearrange my fantasy football accordingly.
Yea, fantasy football started all of this believe it or not.  Regardless, one night as I was having a raging panic attack after contemplating the vastness of the universe, the unimaginable thought of being around for eternity, and an intense fear of just not being able to really wrap my mind around anything with all the competing principles on Heaven I had heard over the years, I did what any technologically advanced human would do:

Tweet to Lee Strobel.

Lee Strobel wrote books that began the big change in my life.  I look up to Lee Strobel, and I rarely look up to people.  "The Case for Faith" and the "Case for Christ" spoke to both sides of me that I could never get to speak to each other: my side craving religion, and my side adoring science.  That, however, is another blog in and of itself.  So I tweet to Lee Strobel and explain that I have fears about eternity and ask for a book suggestion (in less than 140 characters of course).  He suggests the Randy Alcorn book and so sets the ball in motion for what may be my most interesting round of thought and journey to date.

As I have said before, I have my skeptic moments.  I will not for one minute pretend that every day I wake up and am fully convinced of ANYTHING in life.  I have a full ride scholarship for academics and there are still days I question whether I am smart enough to make it in my courses.  I am a natural skeptic for whatever reason, and incredibly hard on myself.

But I digress.  I buy the book on amazon and eventually started reading it.  I was almost scared to read it honestly it seemed because I was just so unsure of how my mind would react.  But I am nearing the last 1/4 of the book (it is a bigger book and takes a while to really get through) and I must say it has really helped answer questions that I had.  It has made me think of so many different ideas and question my own skepticism, but again those are stories that will need to wait for another blog.

The second book that is changing my life is "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller.  If I was ever going to start a movement of buying every person I know the same book it would be this book.  He is so incredibly honest about his journeys, struggles, belief, and issues in Faith.  I love it.  He says things that I feel like every single believer has had to deal with or continues to struggle with but never wants to admit it. 

Parts of his book talk about how superficial and self centered that faith and believers can get sometime.  For instance, are you on some mission just to be on it or do you legitimately care about what you are doing?  It's like protestors.  Do you even know what you are protesting for, or are you doing it because it is cool?  That is just the tip of the iceberg of all the things he calls attention to and it is so refreshing because these are the things we need to talk about these are the things I think we inherently want to talk about but no one wants to own up to them.  He says in his book "the whole world is falling apart because nobody wants to admit they are wrong".  And its true.  We are all wrong on something I guarantee it but no one wants to admit it.  Every single person wants to think that their way is right but is that even possible?

To anyone who may read this blog today I am begging you to buy and read this book. It is $11 or less on amazon and I promise you it is not a Bible beating holier-than-thou book.  It is also not a faith-bashing-Christians-are-terrible book.  It is something along the lines of "this is my journey and what I came to know as real Faith".  I just started it today and I am on page 113 after not being able to put it down at lunch.  I already bought it for my friend for her birthday and shipped it to her and her birthday is not for weeks.  If I was running for president, I'd make my whole campaign about people reading this book, it is that interesting. 

Oh and the weird way I ended up with that book was buying it for my cousin and then her mom telling me she had already got it for her for her birthday, and so I kept it.  And I am so glad I did.  There will be more blogs about this book sure to follow.  But seriously, buy it, check it out, read it on your kindle, anything.  Just read the book. Pin It Now!

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