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, October 15, 2023

Review: Rebuilt Faith: A Handbook for Skeptical Catholics

Rebuilt Faith: A Handbook for Skeptical Catholics Rebuilt Faith: A Handbook for Skeptical Catholics by Michael White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a practical book designed to help Catholics get more from their faith (with the idea that you get out of faith what you put into it). As such, it provides forty (40) days, plus two bonus days to round out six weeks, of practical steps a believer might take to invest in their faith and obtain a much deeper relationship and understanding of that faith. Each [weekly] section [except the first] corresponds with acronym STEPS (Serve, Tithe, Engage, Practice, Share). Each day within a week provides an exercise to highlight an aspect of that weekly topic that begins with a quote from a Saint, followed by a Daily Reading along with a few anecdotes mapping the reading to some experience by either or both authors, then three (3) questions for reflection before finishing with a prayer and bible verse to help jump start (or rebuild) your faith (Read, Reflect, Rebuild).

The book was well organized and each of the daily exercises only take about 10 minutes or so each, so it is easy enough to actually do; however I feel the authors might be a bit overly optimistic with their target audience … I doubt this book will be that effective in reclaiming lapsed catholics who lack the motivation to actually invest in their faith (perhaps because they have already lost it); however, for those (seekers) with such motivation, this really gives that tools to go more deeply into the faith and perhaps prevent some from looking elsewhere for spiritual growth. This is not a magic bullet … it requires work.

The chapters and sections in this work are:

Week One - Get to Know Jesus
Week Two - Serve
Week Three - Tithe and Give
Week Four - Engage in Christian Community
Week Five - Practice Prayer and Sacraments
Week Six - Share Your Faith

Some of the other points that really got my attention are:
Our Goal for this book is to help those who have stopped going to church entirely or mostly, and those close to leaving, to reconsider and rebuild their Catholic faith, though it will also be helpful to those who feel a need to renew or refresh it.
Discipleship requires getting up out of the pew and serving in some specific way.
When we invest our time and talent to serve God and others, we grow in true greatness, become more like Christ, contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom, life others up for their needs, and find our true calling and purpose in life.
Alone time is important, but when it comes to faiths (and life in general), it is not good focus to be all alone.
To become fully devoted followers of Christ, we need other people to challenge us and help us grow. We need others to remind us to reposed with love when the people around us are not acting in very loving ways.
That Jesus would present himself as a rabbi and nevertheless associate with such egregious lawbreakers, such as tax collectors and prostitutes, offended them deeply. They mistook his loving-kindness toward sinners for approval of their behavior.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ARebuiltFaith #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.