Not My Review: A Curious Man by Neal Thompson


The link below is to a book review of ‘A Curious Man,’ by Neal Thompson. This is a biography of Robert Ripley, ‘believe it or not.’

For more visit:
http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/05/10/a-curious-man-the-strange-and-brilliant-life-of-robert-believe-it-or-not-ripley/

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Terrorism and the Illuminati – A Three Thousand Year History, by David Livingstone


I have started to read ‘Terrorism and the Illuminati – A Three Thousand Year History,’ by David Livingstone. I haven’t read a lot as of yet, but it appears to be a book full of conspiracy theories about a secret society (the Illuminati) that are behind world events. Not being a believer in such a theory I am not sure just how much of this book I’ll be able to stomach, but having only read the introduction at this point I’ll try and keep myself restrained from speculating too much on the book. I do have to say that what I have read in the introduction had me thinking ‘is this for real?’ I don’t mean that in the sense of being convinced, but rather in the sense of ‘can anyone really believe this?’

With the death of Osama Bin Laden recently and the various conspiracy theories that have surfaced as a result, this sort of book will probably be enjoying a wider audience at the moment. If conspiracy theories interest you, then this book may very well be of interest to you. There are various associated links below.

There is an online version at the book’s website:
http://www.terrorism-illuminati.com/

You can also find the book at Scribd:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/42090550/Terrorism-and-the-Illuminati-A-Three-Thousand-Year-History

If you prefer to buy a copy at Amazon, it is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/Terrorism-Illuminati-Three-Thousand-History/dp/1419661256

 

John Adams, by David McCullough


I have just finished watching the mini series ‘John Adams,’ starring Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail Adams. I found the mini series to be difficult to watch, as it was hardly brilliant drama despite the rhetoric on the DVD case. Not being American was perhaps a reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the mini series. I found it to be a disappointment as a viewing spectacle. But how true to the man and to history was the mini series? This is a question that now has my attention – for the portrayal of John Adams in the production was hardly that of a man to be admired.

Adams comes across as a self-centred, vain glorious man, with poor people skills and a terrible father and husband. He appears to seek his own advancement to the expense of those about him and also to be full of envy and petty jealousy. He also appears to be a somewhat poor diplomat and politician overall – even though he held the greatest office in the United States, as second president following that of George Washington.

So now I come to the book on which this mini series was based, ‘John Adams,’ by David McCullough. I am now going to read this book and see just how true to the book and actual events the mini series achieved. I find it difficult to believe that Adams could have been the way he was protrayed in the film – now I will seek out the truth for myself.

Changing the World: December 3 – Improving Disability Access


The suggestion for today is about working to improve access for disabled people to facilities and services that other people have access to. This is a great cause and is one I support – though I don’t participate in the actual group being promoted in the book. I certainly don’t have any problem with the group being promoted, but do believe in improving access for disabled people.

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

Changing the World: November 21 – Turning Off the Box


Now this is a great suggestion – turn off the box!!!

Yes, this one is all about turning the TV off and doing something else, something better with the time you claw back from the idiot box. That might sound strange to people today – but I enjoy the fact that I don’t watch much television anymore. So much time is wasted in front of the television and there is plenty of other things to do.

To quote a television ad which I believe advertises the virtue of getting out in the world and fishing, etc, ‘that ain’t living.’

Reclaiming time from the box is a great idea.

See also:

www.tvturnoff.org

 

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

Changing the World: November 20 – Child Rights


The suggestion for today is about protecting the rights of children. Here in Australia it is sometimes said that children have more rights than their parents and to some extent this does appear to be a sound argument. More needs to be done to ensure parental rights in the area of discipline (note I didn’t say child abuse), etc.

However, throughout the world children face regular exploitation and abuse. The more that can be done to prevent this sort of abuse the better.

For more information on the rights of children visit:

www.unicef.org/crc

I will always seek to protect the rights of children wherever I see them threatened. This is something that I believe begins right where you live.

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

‘Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin – An Update


 

As visitors to ‘At the BookShelf’ would know, I have been reading ‘Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin. I have now started chapter four and progress through the book may appear slow and you may think this is a reflection on the quality of the book. That would be a mistaken assumption however.

In reality I am finding the book a brilliant treatment of the differences between the ‘partial reformers’ (such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc) and the more ‘radical reformer’ who sought a complete transformation of the church to that which more accurately reflected the New Testament model.

The ‘slowness’ of my reading is more a reflection of my reading half a dozen or so books at the same time. Reading so many books at any given time is fairly normal for me – in fact, I would call normal (for me) reading far more books at any given time, but I am trying to reign myself in a little here. I just love reading – I am a bibliophile and bookworm remember 🙂

The third chapter of Verduin’s work has to do with the lack of true church discipline in the churches of the Reformers and their indifference (generally speaking) to ungodliness in the church (remembering that their churches basically included all in a given location or region).

The third chapter presents a very clear case of the real time contradiction of the Reformers and the reform they were bringing to bear on such places as Geneva, Zurich, etc. To a large extent their work of reform didn’t go anywhere near far enough to satisfy their ‘stepchildren,’ who when they tried to go further were branded as heretics, with their efforts at a more thorough reform being identified by the reformers as evidence of their heresy.

It is a very engaging chapter I believe and one that is helpful for shedding light on Christianity even to this day.

‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin


I have been reading ‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin, in the last week or so. It is not the first time that I have read this book, having read it some time ago – probably 10 years ago now I would say.

This is a book that I would recommend to any believer, but particularly to a Reformed believer, whether he be Paedobaptist or Baptist. Verduin seeks to analyse the Reformation and the relationship between the Reformers and their ‘stepchildren’ from a Biblical standpoint, rather than any particular denominational standpoint. Though he does defend the stepchildren, he does so only when they are in line with Scriptural teaching on the point being discussed within that particular chapter.

Who are the stepchildren? The stepchildren or the ‘second front,’ as Verduin also describes them, are those believers who sought a complete reforming of the church. In fact, it may be fair to say that these believers sought a complete break from the Romish church, and a new church built on the teachings of Scripture and modelled on the New Testament church alone.

The frustration for these nonconformist believers was that the reform movement only went so far and did not result in the complete renewal that they desired and that the situation required.

Thus far I have read only the first two chapters of the book and once again I am finding it a very worthwhile read. I find myself in substantial agreement with the position of many of the stepchildren and with Verduin. With as much respect as I have for the Reformers, such as John Calvin, Martin Luther and John Knox, I too would have found myself frustrated at the level of reform achieved by them (though they were better men than I). A complete break and renewal would have been the way forward I believe.

The first two chapters deal with the joint secular-religious church-state that was set up at both the time of Constantine and then at the Reformation in the various Protestant nations that embraced the Reformation. They deal with the all-embracing religion that was constructed in such centres as Geneva and the ‘unified’ approach to it, as well as the reaction of the stepchildren and their withdrawal from it.

This book is as close to a must read for believers as there is I think – especially of the Reformed persuasion.

My copy of the book (paperback) is by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and was printed in 1964.