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, June 11, 2023

Review: What Jesus Intended: Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion

What Jesus Intended: Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion What Jesus Intended: Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion by Todd D. Hunter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A re-examination of what Jesus meant when He commanded christians to love, and how dogma and tradition can sometimes get in the way of this. Each chapter covers a brief vignette to illustrate slight variations on the theme that can feel a bit repetitive by the end; although this could also be seen as baby steps toward an end goal where some readers are already further along their journey and don’t need as much hand holding or convincing (I am already well aligned how this concept was presented, so it did drag a bit for me). Each chapter title is a good summary of the topic contained there in, followed by a few verses of scripture, an introduction to the personal encounter before diving into a Jesus centric discussion on WWJD, because upon how the author interprets the ministry of Jesus found the the Gospels … and just as important, how such a response ultimate worked in the situation introduced at the start of the chapter. Finally, at the end of each chapter, there is a Practical Exercise (Reflection Questions) and a prayer that wraps it all up. Although not pitched as such, this book is probably more effective when taken slowly and one chapter at a time, allow time for meditation before moving on.

1. Am I the Only One Who Thinks This? How the Church Failed Us
2. Can I Find Faith Again? A Fresh Proposal Regarding Jesus
3. I Am Failing to Connect to Faith and Church: Jesus’ Self-Identity Is Our Rescue
4. I’ve Lost the Religious Plot Line: Jesus Knew He Was Living in an Unfolding Story
5. I Feel Pain, Cynicism, and Despair - Where is Jesus? Jesus; Orientation to the Kingdom of God
6. What About All the Bad Things Done in God’s Name? Jesus Taught That Eternal Life Empowers Good Religion
7. Can I Trust the Church to Be an Instrument of Restoration? Jesus Was a Healer
8. How Can I Find Vibrant Faith? Jesus’ Teachings Point Us to a New Way of Life
9. Why is Consistent Spiritual Growth So Difficult? Jesus’ Emphasis on the Centrality of the Heart
10. Is There an Authentic Community of Faith? Jesus Intentionally Called and Sent a People
11. Do My Religious Reservations and Churchly Hesitations Disqualify Me? Jesus Walks with Us on a Journey of Doubt

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

#WhatJesusIntended #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.