I thought I would post on 3 books that I have finished recently. The first two are ones I started this summer and neglected for a while before I finished them this past month. (It is not a reflection on their quality just on how distracted I get from time to time. My 'library' is full of unfinished books though I have tried to be more faithful in this of late. )
1. Night (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback) - Powerful, Powerful firsthand account of the Holocaust. Sad, poignant, bitter are words that come to my mind. And yet in reality my feeling after reading this is undefinable. It's incomprehensible that human beings would treat others so inhumanely. This period in our history is deeply troubling but even more heartbreaking (can it be more?) given the personal face of the author. A lot of books are given the title 'must-read'. But every person on the planet must read this book so we do not forget, so we do not think it is over exaggerated, so we do not let history repeat itself. My fear is we will forget and present events show us we are still capable of these unspeakable acts.
2. A History of the Jews - I read this book because my pastor Gene highlighted it a few months back in his sermon, The Dead Elephant in the Room (I highly recommend that you click that link and listen, because it is like no other sermon you have heard!) The events in Night and the Holocaust are the zenith of the hate and persecution that God's chosen people have faced throughout history. Hitler, the nazis, Stalin, and terrorists are the pinnacle of this evil but it has persisted throughout the history of man at least since the time Joseph was forgotten in Egypt.
I was flabbergasted and embarrassed at how little I knew of this history. I could not believe as I read this. How could this happen over and over again? How can this nation of people still survive apart from God's mercy? This cruelity that still goes on today (Johnson wrote this hostory in the late 1980's) is from the pit of hell. God has promised that all the world would be blessed through Abraham the first Jewish man but there also is a condition with this in verse promise. Nations and people are blessed if they bless the Jewish people - the people loved by God - but cursed if they curse them. My conclusion as believer in Messiah Jesus is that we are guilty. Like Nehemiah who confessed the sins of his people we need to confess the sins of acts done in Jesus name. We owe a humble apology to every Jewish person on planet earth.
3. The City: A Global History - This is a good little read of the accounts of cities. It's an easy quick read but insightful into how cities have affected our world and how cities themselves have changed throughout time. As we enter a future where 3 billion people on planet earth will soon live in metropoliton areas, it necessary that we have a good idea of what the implications are for our environment, our way of life, and most of all for our mandates of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. As believers we need to figure out how to reach the cities in new ways that enable us to present and demonstrate God's love. We need to help cities recapture the sacred places.