My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Review: The Second Testament: A New Translation

The Second Testament: A New Translation The Second Testament: A New Translation by Scot McKnight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of “New Testament” translations available, even ones that purport to be “literal renderings” of the original Greek (as this version does); however, there are still choices to be made by the translator as common words in any language often have multiple meanings. I have not the skill nor the training to critique these choices by the author, so I will presume all choices conform to at least one of the common meanings from the Greek and I can make a general attempt to select to best meaning or definition of the English word selected through context. The author does make clear that he is intentionally avoiding common theological language, so in that regard, this translation is a helpful new point of view to those of us that can’t do the translations on our own. The author also doesn’t try to simplify the Greek vocabulary, so if a rare Greek term was used in the source, he generally keeps the more obscure English term over more common one. he example used in the Introduction is the term using propitious instead of mercy (which provides a slightly different nuance to the phrase “be propitious/merciful to me." Over all I would say that there is not a significant difference when reading the complete text holistically and that actually gives me more confidence in the translation over all … because it provides a context that I would not otherwise see …

Additionally the author will provide an inline gloss on some of the more obscure terms that the reader may not be able to correctly associate on their own. For example:

“See many of the Observant [Pharisees] and Elites [Sadducess] coming to his dipping, he said to the, ‘Knot of vipers! Who exhibited to you to flee from the anger about to come?”

This is especially helpful with transliterated names: Yōannēs [John], Kaphar-Naoum [Capernaum], Ēsaïas [Isaiah] et al. Although sparse, there are also a few translation comments that are very help in understanding language usage/tone .. such in the First Letter to Corinth where before 4:7 we see [Sarcastic use of opponents’ language] before the bolded text of the pericope. All of this, along with a brief translators introduction to each NT book make this work an excellent companion to any NT Bible study that helps the reader/student break out of some of the familiar translation ruts we often find ourselves in. I think it is also important to point out the tremendous undertaking translating all the NT books is and the great respect that I have for the finished product that justifies rounding up to 5 stars.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheSecondTestment #NetGalley

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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Review: Claymore: Color Edition

Claymore: Color Edition Claymore: Color Edition by Jimm Grogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Performance: ***

This is the third of a series following Negative Zero and Baktu (neither of which I have read). While the series revolves around the vigilante Tomek (aka Negative Zero), that character doesn’t have a lot to do in this installment, so this can easily be a stand alone read. At just under 7 hours of solid narration for 227 pages, this is a quick story and it moves fast, jumping years in the beginning to reach a surprising climax. Claymore, the MC, is a well known and accomplished alien [Navino] lawyer from a light [gravity] world that makes him physically brittle. For me he has a sort of Perry Mason in spade feel. He is also relatively (and sometimes brutally) honest (which is an interesting take on the lawyer trope) and it often works to his own detriment as he investigates, and then works against, a shadowy criminal organization that is trafficking other aliens. The dialog is very direct and simple, but that actually works to give the MC an other or alien feel. Overall it was a good story that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would and that gives it a +1 star over the quality of the story and performance.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Claymore #Tomek #FreeAudiobookCodes

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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Review: Twilight Wars: Empire Falling: A Twilight Imperium Novel

Twilight Wars: Empire Falling: A Twilight Imperium Novel Twilight Wars: Empire Falling: A Twilight Imperium Novel by Robbie MacNiven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A galaxy spanning space opera where two civilizations, the Sol Federal (that’s us if that was not obvious) and the Letnev (a militant species that is perpetually trying to throw off the oppressive hegemony of the imperial Lazax) go head to head in a stunning invasion and blockade of a new Sol Federation colony. Out gunned and on their own, the colony leaders attempt to prevent their complete annihilation by the Letnev invaders as the slow wheels of imperial politics struggles to even take notice of the conflict between their client civilizations. So after an exciting start, the story settles into back room deals, betrayal and political intrigue until everything inevitably explodes two thirds in … with the final Part III picking up after nearly a century of conflict.

Unfortunately there is a second story imbedded within the main arc that didn’t really contribute much to the main plot (outside of a secondary conflict between Arr and Tol … and a second interspecies war). While this part was still interesting, switching back and forth made the whole feel choppy and easy to put down. And while Part III brings the stories together, it also gives us an entirely different conflict resolution than what was introduced in the beginning. Ultimately this would have been three (stories), but there is simply not enough there to make three novels. Ultimately this gives us an decent story, but not interesting enough to make any sequels a must read. In other words … it was fun, but forgettable.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TwilightWarsEmpireFalling #NetGalley #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, July 23, 2023

Review: What We Do Not Know About God and People in the Bible

What We Do Not Know About God and People in the Bible What We Do Not Know About God and People in the Bible by Israel Drazin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a short and extremely interesting book that basically asks questions about scripture (specifically the Book of Genesis) and tradition to which we don’t have any specific answer (and may only speculate and/or presume). There are a few sections where the author provides some context, such as the etymology of some of the words substituted for the name God; however, the majority was simply questions without much exposition. An example from Chapter 2: “If the two trees were dangerous, why did God place then in the garden?” This continues for 22 chapters over nearly 100 pages (so the chapters are obviously very short). For the most part, I found the questions to be good and very thought provoking … and therein lies the primary appeal to this book … many religious communities force conformity to the point that questions are not tolerated; this book not only gives us permission to have questions, but it is also okay to be unable to answer them (or by extension tolerate the diversity of speculations born out of our own imaginations). It was a fun book and highly recommended.

Part One - Over 400 Examples of Obscurities in the Biblical Book Genesis
1. God’s Name
2. God’s Behavior
3. Adam and Eve
4. Cain and Abel
5. A Descendent of Cain
6. Abraham
7. Sarah
8. Visitors
9. The Description of Many Cites
10. New Focus on Abraham
11. Abraham’s Nephew
12. Isaac
13. Rebekah
14. Jacob
15. Patriarchs’ Religious Practices
16. Dinah
17. Judah
18. Rachel
19. Joseph
20. Biblical Chapters

Part Two - Mistaken Idea about Jewish Ethics and Behavior
21. Ethics over Law
22. Way to Worship God

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#WhatWeDontKnowAboutGod #LibraryThing

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Thursday, July 20, 2023

Review: Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake

Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake by Jonathan Fesmire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Story: ****
Performance: ****

A Different Sort of Western ...

To start … and I am fan of westerns and I would place the story firmly in the middle of that genre (note there is an extremely wide variance here). If that were all, there really wouldn’t be much to make it standout from the crowd, but this story added a steampunk flare and zombies to make a fusion genre that is just fun to read/listen to (and would be right at home in the tabletop strategy game known as Malifaux by Word Games (which I also play) … which is a round about way of saying that I am probably the target audience to this series (ad why it scores as well as it does). The world-building is pretty basic and even a tad silly, supporting a storyline where a resurrected lawman investigates the illegal used of the “tech” that keeps him alive and is centered in Southern California (Frisco and south) where we have corrupt police and politicians that facilitate and take advance of, the human trafficking of Chinese prostitute … where one such anchors the plot of this specific story as Creed tries to find justify for the woman who died in his arms while also possessing the “magic mechanicals” (the same tech Creed himself has) that both enslave and enhance the Blossoms … the euphemism for indentured prostitutes. As might be expected, there is a Chinese criminal underground that protects this practice, so Creed has his work cut out for him as he tried to get the answers he needs.

The narration is a mixed bag … the individual voices were excellent, but the pacing and enunciation was often awkward and felt unnatural … however, that didn’t really take away much from the enjoyment of the total performance, which was still very fun to listen to.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#BodaciousCreedAndTheJadeLake #TheAdventuresOfBodaciousCreed #StoryOrigin

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Review: The Soul of Chaos

The Soul of Chaos The Soul of Chaos by Gregory Wunderlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a rocky start, jumping right in with power play/conspiracy against one royal scion while switching up to her sibling just trying to survive his exile into some sort of mine. There was obviously a lot of depth to the world building; however, a lot of it remains hidden in the choppy prose and it took me way too long to catchup, so a few more details for each scenario would have been appreciated. Still, it turned into a fairly interesting adventure … with Kali soon spending most of her arc trying to avoid discover candor capture and Rurik taking his crew of “breakers” into the fray from the other side. I still don’t have a clear idea what a breaker is outside of some sort of miner teaching for magical detritus in the bones of a once great magical civilization (in that respect, it is sort of a dystopian story). I didn’t particular care for the MC introductions, but they grew on my toward the end. Each MC has something special to contribute and the slow reveal was well done and helped make the story work … especially toward the end, when it pace picks up dramatically to stick the landing.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheSoulOfChaos #NetGalley #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

Review: Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith

Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith by Barbara L Peacock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Each chapter begins with a topical title and introduction to a specific discipline or practice. Then there is a scriptural pericope (aka scripture focus) that inspired the practice and on which to meditate further. This is followed by a very brief introduction to a person (aka soul care leader) who [presumably] models this practice in everyday living (along with a specific book or other work that illustrates why that person was chosen (and potentially provide a follow-up in the case of written works). The author then provides a short poem, also inspired by the discipline or practice (which didn’t do much for me, but I generally struggle with poetry). Finally there are some recommendation on putting that particular discipline “in action” (although this was generally in the form of prompting questions … so more meditative than active). For the most part, this book only works if it is used as a springboard for future study and meditation (with numerous references to material that supports the disciplines or practices identify in each chapter. In at least one case, the contextual facts presented did not match my own understanding (specifically the claim that a majority of jewish homes had an upper room that served as a prayer closet). This leads me to question other contexts presented and detracts from my own ability to simply accept what is said and enjoy it.

After reading the publisher summary and endorsements, I still was not expecting this book to essentially be a 40 day devotional. My track record with devotionals is extremely hit or miss for a number of reasons, such as not connecting to the life experience examples or from the need by the author to strength it all out to cover a specific number of days; additionally, in my experience, there tends to be a lot of beautiful fluff and not as much practical application in this type of work. In this case, the number 40 was chosen because of its significance in biblical numerology and gematria and not because the author actually had 40 specific practices to communicate. This means some chapters are quite a bit better than others. Ironically, some of the weakest chapters could have benefited with a more extended treatment and deeper examination, especially of the scriptural and individual exemplar sections. Soon after you start reading the book, it becomes apparent that most of these comes out of the author’s experience as a spiritual director, which is heavily dependent upon a personal connection with the person seeking direction … so it should come as no surprise here that only about 25% of this book connected with me and another 25% was a struggle (with half more or less neutral). I have starred the chapters that I connected with below ...

Part 1 Should Care Living
1. Loving Today
2. Worshiping Today
3. Praying Today *
4. Lamenting Today
5. Celebrating Today
6. Experiencing God Today

Part 2 Soul Care Directing
7. Directing Today *
8, Readying Today
9. Entering Today * Prayer Closet
10. Listening Today
11. Discerning Today
12. Maturing Today
13. Examining Today *

Part 3 Soul Care Discipling
14. Reading Today *
15. Teaching Today
16. Fasting Today
17. Connecting Today *
18, Serving Today
19. Mentoring Today
20. Leading Today

Part 4 Soul Care Restoring
21. Dwelling Today
22. Meditating and Contemplating Today
23. Resting Today
24. Silencing Today
25. Commemorating Today
26. Resurrecting Today

Part 5 Soul Care and Self-Caring
27. Exercising Today
28. Journeying Today
29. Transforming Today
30. Chastening Today
31. Welcoming and Centering Today

Part 6 Soul Care Reflecting
32. Journaling and Writing Today
33. Speaking and Recording Today
34. Envisioning and Awaking Today
35. Ruling Today
36. Thanksgiving Today

Part 7 Soul Care Liberating
37. Storytelling Today
38. Detaching and Attaching Today
39. Slowing Today
40. Freeing and Communing Today

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#SpiritualPracticesforSoulCare #NetGalley

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Thursday, July 13, 2023

Review: Letters from a Stoic

Letters from a Stoic Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Performance: ***
Story: ***

With Letters from a Stoic, you get a selection of philosophical monologues from Seneca, a famous Roman Stoic, that is almost required reading for those interested in this philosophy.  As might be expected for the literature of the time, it can be a hard slog to get though, which is where having somebody else read it to you is so convenient, that I am added a star to the over all score.  

This audiobook is organized just like the kindle book that it is sync'd with, covering nearly 100 letters, each a few pages long on various subjects such as:  On True and False Friendship, On Sharing Knowledge, On Practicing What You Preach, On Despising Death et al.  This makes it easy to revisit specific topics of interest and to track where you are within the work ... so that you can fade in and out of the narration when playing it in the background when doing something else.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#LettersFromAStoic #KindleWhisperSync #FreeAudiobookCodes 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Review: Refractions

Refractions Refractions by M.V. Melcer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book as earned a place on my favorites shelf after reading through the more that 400 pages in one sitting.

In the near future (approx. 200 years), the world has changed in profound ways as it struggles under increasing human population until a global pandemic kills off enough to give us some time to plan.  The current hegemonies were reorganized with China ascendent on earth with an aggressive American Union that has lost its way and devolved into a quasi Christian theocracy in all but name, while the powerful elites escape to space orbitals owned and run by competing business conglomerates.  The advent of Chinese interstellar engines, a closely guarded monopoly, enables earth to attempt colonizing worlds in other star systems; so the Americans, with Chinese help, build and launch several colonies ships, leveraging cryogenic tech to help the crew through the decades long journeys and keep resources manageable for such a voyage.  The first colony at Bethesda landed and seemed to be doing well when it suddenly goes silent.  Quickly finding out what happened to the 5000 colonists may hold the key to the success of the remaining colony ships, so an international “rescue” is launched to find out.

The world building here was absolutely fantastic, with a hard science feel without the typically long, and potentially boring, tech descriptions that gave everything a natural feel.  That said, this story is almost completely character driven, with just enough action to maintain the dramatic tension.  The main character is an orbital pilot that was recruited at the last minute to replace the second in command for the rescue mission.  As a Canadian, with a Russian brother-in-law, working at the top of a Chinese space elevator in Kenya Africa, she quickly finds her “neutrality” the key to keeping the paranoid, multinational crew of the rescue mission together after the captain dies enroute in a “suspicious” compartment fire.  Everybody is keeping secrets and trying to figure out each mystery is really what drives this story forward … what happened to the colonists on Bethesda … who “sabotaged” the cryogenic chamber where 7 of the crew died and why … what are the secretive Chinese engineers (the only team allowed to maintain the interstellar drive) hiding … and who is the mysterious spy electronically watching over everything.  Each character is broken in some way and this is hinted at or revealed through crew interaction (reminiscent of a good murder mystery).  Some of the secrets are progressively revealed through flashbacks as we get the backstory of why the MC volunteered for the trip where everybody she knows will likely forget all about her before she returns (if they are even still alive by then).  Some become red herrings and feints that totally pulled me in (well done) with some great twists at the end that I didn’t see coming.  There is a light touch on a few philosophical questions on capitalism, human nature, and environmental depredation that, for me, added a lot to the story but are easily skimmed over if that is not your bag.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Augmented #NetGalley

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Sunday, July 9, 2023

Review: Sexpectations: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Healthy Relationships

Sexpectations: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Healthy Relationships Sexpectations: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Healthy Relationships by Barb Winters
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“One of Sue’s sons moved in with his girlfriend.” This is literally the fifth sentence of Chapter 1 and it was in response to a generally question asking how Sue was doing. The problem here being that Sue was not actually present and this entire conversation can be classified as judgmental gossip … not exactly a virtue nor something I was expecting. Needless to say … this was a pretty rough start to what promised to be a controversial topic to begin with and I was disappointed. 

Immediately after this, the author goes on a screed about the phrase “As long as you’re happy …” which for me is in the same passive aggressive category as “Bless your little heart …” but for the author apparently represents a capitulation of morals. What follows is a mostly anecdotal review of “hook-up culture” and online pornography before diving into what the author believes is driving this risky behavior: Self-Doubt, No Relationship with Christ, Everyone is Doing It … with the implication that addressing any one of these might short circuit the “perpetual cycle of unhealthy relationships.” … an opinion that is not well supported in the book (citations of actual studies are rare if they exist at all).

The author regains some traction in Section Two (2) with habits of healthy relationships; however, I am reasonable sure most people would accept these general habits prima facie. Chapter 5 gives us a list of relationship red flags and green flags that seemed reasonable and the sections on “love languages” even had some practical advice (although each section was very brief and mostly cursory). Chapter 6 on Communication was the best of the group and almost worth the effort to get there. Chapter 8 on reconciliation comes in a close second. Over all … the book was not what I expected nor ultimately very useful to me.

SECTION 1 - The Deterioration of Relationships
Chapter 1: As Long as You’re Happy
Chapter 2: Consequences of Unhealthy Choices

SECTION 2 - Habits for Healthy Relationships
Chapter 3: Love
Chapter 4: Selflessness
Chapter 5: Mutuality
Chapter 6: Communication

Chapter 7: Healing from Wounds
Chapter 8: Reconciliation and Maintaining Healthy Relationships

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Sexpectations #NetGalley

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Thursday, July 6, 2023

Review: The Mysterious Affair At Styles: Queen of Mystery's First Published Novel

The Mysterious Affair At Styles: Queen of Mystery's First Published Novel The Mysterious Affair At Styles: Queen of Mystery's First Published Novel by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Performance: ***

The narration was fairly standard for a who done it mystery. Additionally, the story itself was also basic considering the series as a whole; although that probably should have been expected given that this is where Christie introduces her famous Belgium detective who was quite obviously developed in the tradition of another famous detective … Sherlock Holmes … with perhaps more eccentricities without any apparent connection to the reason he was so successful as a detective. 

 In this story, we get Poirot working through what was an apparent murder by poison where he keeps everyone, including the reader (and even his companion Hastings), in the dark as to what he is doing and what he is thinking … going so far as to intentionally allow his companions to come to erroneous conclusions without correction until we get to the final reveal at the end where Poirot shows us all how clever he is. Despite the red herrings and shadows, I thought the story to be quite smart, interesting and entertaining in a genre I typically always enjoy when done intelligently … which this was. While perhaps not the best of the series, it is still worth the read ...

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheMysteriousAffairAtStyles #HerculePoirot

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Review: Augmented

Augmented Augmented by MJ Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an entertaining cyberpunkish dystopian story with very relatable main characters. One an aging hacker with a chip on her shoulder against the authoritarian rules of future America. Another is a quasi luddite grandmother reluctantly dragged into the world of tech. There is some timeline hopping that introduces a third character and provides for some of the plot tension and relationship drama that was actually well done (speaking as somebody that normally doesn’t like drama). 

Most of the character interaction was designed to highlight the dark corners of the world … where technology has become a means to escape the oppressive reality with virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) versions … with the focus here on augmentation (I hope that is not a surprise). The focus was what really drew me in … imagine you have a chip in your head that overlays an augmented vision that whitewashing the dilapidated and decaying infrastructure around you to make everything pretty. You could hide almost anything in such a world and it is such an addiction that even the dregs of society are willing to submit to monitoring by the authorities just so that can get free (if limited) access to that world. 

Of course, not everybody is on board … and some are working to be free (enter an extreme version of the Free State Project) that are still suffering the consequences of such rebellion. While there are a few aspects of the story that strength rational belief, the author does a great job balancing between fantasy and plausibility to prove an interesting mental exercise that pulls at my techie heart and keeps me into the story.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Augmented #NetGalley #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Review: Pauline Theology as a Way of Life: A Vision of Human Flourishing in Christ

Pauline Theology as a Way of Life: A Vision of Human Flourishing in Christ Pauline Theology as a Way of Life: A Vision of Human Flourishing in Christ by Joshua W Jipp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

St Paul, the Apostle to the Nations (Gentiles), whose epistles to the early churches account for nearly all of the New Testament outside of the Gospels has always had a major influence on the theology of Western Christianity (sometimes known as Pauline Christians). Recently there has been a lot of debate about Paul, with some theologians finding his interaction to be very restrictive and conservative while others point to areas where his is radically progressive for his time … all depending on what part of the corpus you emphasize and how you apply context to your interpretation. This book takes a more holistic approach in order to identify the primary concern of Paul … the promotion of human flourishing. Drawing on contemporary (positive psychology) and historical (Stoicism and Epicureanism), the author first works to define what Paul actually means when he talks about happiness and the good … and it is not exactly what most moderns think.

The basic idea here is that we are truly happy (aka flourish) when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing … what we were created to do … and for Paul, the ultimate end goal, or telos, is to share in the divine life of God. In addition to supporting Paul’s concern with how to help “persons-in-Christ” flourish with direct citations from Paul’s letters, the author compares and contrast Paul’s position against these other humanist philosophies to help reveal the nuance of what Paul is saying in a series of theses within an over arching topical chapter using language easily understood by a casual student … progressing from definitions to individual characteristics to social or communal obligations expected from anyone who wants to be like Christ (christian). More importantly, I think this book goes a long way to helping the modern reader understand that Paul’s ultimate goal was to build up the body of Christ (aka the Church) to be a community of sacrificial love of each other where the self is all but invisible (aka dead). It is a fairly quick read and well worth the effort.

1. Pauline Theology as a Quest for Living a good Human Life.

Part 1 - Ancient and Contemporary Visions of Human Flourishing.
2. Ancient Philosophy and the Quest for Human Flourishing
Thesis 1: Human Flourishing Necessitates a Supreme Good That Should Function as the Basis for All Human Activity
Thesis 2: Human Flourishing Is an Undertaking That Requires the Cultivation of Virtue, Good Character, and Self-Integration
Thesis 3: Human Flourishing Requires Cultivating Good Relationships among Friends and Family
Thesis 4: Human Flourishing Requires the Ability to Respond to Adversity and Prepare for One’s Own Death
Thesis 5: Human Flourishing Requires Cultivating Good Practices

3. Positive Psychology and the Quest for Human Flourishing
Thesis 1: Positive Psychology Is Devoted tp Helping People Flourish
Thesis 2: Humans Flourish When They Use and Actualize Character Strengths
Thesis 3: Flourishing Requires Good Relationships in All Spheres of Life
Theiss 4: Adversity Can Make Important Contributions to Human Flourishing
Thesis 5: Flourishing Requires Practices and Exercises

Part 1 - A Pauline Theology of the Good Life
4. Transcendence: Sharing in Christ’s Resurrection Life
Thesis 1: Relation to Christ Is Humanity’s Supreme Good (Phil 3:2-16)
Thesis 2: Death Is the Fundamental Human Predicament
Thesis 3: Christ Shares Divine Life with His People

5. Moral Agency: Sharing the Mind of Christ
Thesis 1: A Debased Mind Is Living Death, but a Transformed Mind is How We Experience Sharing in the Life of God
Thesis 2: Persons-in-Christ Are Divinely Given an Integrated Moral Agency Aiming toward Sharing in the Life of God
Thesis 3: Christ Is the Foundation for a New Epistemology for Persons-in-Christ

6. Love: The Body of Christ
Thesis 1: Persons-in-Christ Are a Sacred Community Related to Christ and to One Another
Thesis 2: Persons-in-Christ Compose One Unified People Despite Diverse Social Identities
Thesis 3: The Church Life Together Is a Visible Embodiment of Christ’s Love and Hospitality

7. Spiritual Practices: Cultivating the Character of Christ
Thesis 1: The Flourishing Life Is One of Active Engagement in the Pursuit of Christlike Character
Thesis 2: Flourishing Requires Generously Sharing Resources with One another
Thesis 3: Flourishing Requires Faithful Endurance and Patient Hope in the Promise of Resurrection Life in the Midst of Adversity
Thesis 4: Flourishing Requires Corporate Worship of the Triune God

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#PaulineTheologyAsAWayOfLife #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.