‘Calvin for Armchair Theologians,’ by Christopher Elwood


I have now read this book and have found my earlier thoughts sadly confirmed. My first comments on this book on this Blog at:

https://atthebookshelf.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/calvin-for-armchair-theologians-by-christopher-elwood/

So I not only agree with my earlier thoughts on the book, but have even more to say about it. The illustrations (cartoons) I found to be completely inappropriate and the attempts by the author to justify them as irrelevant. There is just no place for the comical depictions of God given in the book.

The treatment of Calvin’s life is disappointing, with not enough detail given to it and some of the important events/incidents in his life are not treated or merely glossed over. It would have been better to have settled on the summary of the Institutes or do a full biography of John Calvin.

I also found the conclusions toward the end of the book disappointing and would suspect Calvin to be turning in the grave as a result of them.

The summary of the Institutes was probably not too bad, but I would have been better served to have read the Institutes rather than this book.

In summary – a very disappointing book that I would not recommend to anyone else to read.

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‘365 Ways to Change the World,’ by Michael Norton


Some time ago – probably back in 2007 – I bought a book called ‘365 Ways to Change the World,’ by Michael Norton. I wanted to make a difference in the world in which I live – to give something back as it where. As a Christian there are many ways for me to do so, but I also wanted to make a difference in more mundane matters and ways also. Of course I know that Christians are able and currently do make a difference in a variety and plethora of ways. I was looking for something a little different to the norm I guess.

Anyhow, I came across this book and thought that this would be a great book to read one day at a time – as the book suggests one action/theme for each day of the year. This book would give me plenty of food for thought and there would have to be many things that I could do or participate in to make a difference.

Not long after I bought the book my world was turned upside down and became something totally different to what I had up till then been living. Totally is probably not the right word, as some things didn’t change – but it was certainly life-changing.

I chose to leave my job in an organisation for which I had worked for nearly twenty years, the last few of which I was a manager. My health was terrible, with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome causing absolute havoc. I moved from the area in which I was living to a totally different location and under different circumstances, and that without a job. Life had changed tremendously for me and all of my belongings were locked away in a storage shed until I could sort my life out and start afresh.

I got another job which was completely different to the one I had before. My health seemed to improve dramatically and the dreaded illness which had plagued for two decades seemed to finally disappear. Then I had a terrible car accident which almost killed me and prolonged this transitory period of my life.

Now finally, I have recently been able to get all my belongings out of storage – including this book by Michael Norton. It is therefore now time to start again what I had originally planned to do and had begun back in 2007. I will read the section of the book marked out for each calendar day and consider what I shall do with the actions/themes for that day. It may be that there will be days that I will not take up the suggested action or activity, while on other days I may very well throw myself into the suggested action or activity. What I am hopeful of is finding at least one action or activity, though I am fairly sure there will be far more than one action or activity that I will participate in to some extent.

I will probably report my attempts or at least my resolutions to engage in actions and activities here, as a way of showing whether this book is useful for assisting people in making a difference. After all, its subtitle is ‘How to make a difference – one day at a time.’ As I set out on my journey with this book, I am quite excited by the prospect of making that difference and becoming more engaged with the world in which I live – in a positive manner.

I think the book is a brilliant idea and something that most people would find helpful – even if they do everything that is suggested in the book. It is certainly packed with ideas and suggestions.

There is also a web site to use along with the book:

http://www.365act.com

All of the ideas in the book are included in the web site and many more according to the book. There is also an ‘ideas bank’ on ways of changing the world for the better – which also seems to be a brilliant idea I think.

OK, I will now look at today’s idea.

My copy of the book (paperback) is by Penguin Books ( www.penguin.com.au ) and was printed in 2006.