Book Review: Mere Christianity

Ed. note: I don’t feel adequate to even review a book by C.S. Lewis. For years I’ve considered the man a literary Everest.  After reading this book, I still feel that way.  But audacity has never slowed me much, so here goes:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewsis garners a score of 5 (out of a possible 5) for importance of content, originality of thought, clarity, and skill of expression.  The first half of the book was given as a series of radio talks during World War 2 in Britain.  It’s a brilliant (and brilliantly simple) defense of theism in general and Christianity in particular; a cause plead as if to an unbelieving world.

Every section of the book has the peculiar quality of being at once relatable and theological; original and orthodox.  You feel as if Lewis is sitting on a porch with you appealing to the ordinary, sensible chap you feel yourself to be.  He’s strident in his appeals, but not so strident as to make you feel uncomfortable.  Lewis is an analogy-artist.

Each chapter is short and digestible (like bathroom reading-type short) and sufficiently small in its scope.

I picked this book up because it’s considered by many to be a must-read.  I must now number myself among those people.  You’re free to borrow my copy, but not for too long.  I’ll definitely be diving back in from time to time.

Book Review: The Martha Rules

Subtitle: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as you Start, Build, or Manage a Business. Written and published in 2005 by Martha Stewart.

The narrative for this book starts while Martha Stewart is in prison. She talks about some of the very determined ladies she met who wanted to get out of prison and start their own businesses. While in the clink, Martha wrote some business training for them that turned into this book.

It’s interesting to read a business book written by a gracious, driven, vicious, visionary entrepreneur. Anyone who had model, stock broker, caterer, CEO, and felon on her resume makes for a good read.

I found the business principles rather obvious and unsurprising, but no less solid for all that. She makes liberal use of examples from her constellation of business friends and associates. Case studies are always interesting to me. And, of course, she frequently referred to lessons from her own business experience.

In the end, any of us can only speak from our own experience. And that’s what I found so limiting about reading Martha’s rules for business. They work very well if you’re building a company like Martha has built. But like every product Martha produces that has her name on it, ultimately it’s just Martha and some very nice window dressing.

Movie Review – Amazing Grace

Lisa and I watched Amazing Grace (newer movie – it was in theaters a few months ago) last night. It was a great, truly enjoyable movie. It tells the story of William Wilberforce in England about the time of our revolutionary war. Wilberforce fought long and hard to abolish slavery within the British Empire. His pastor was John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace (the hymn). Wilberforce was a man motivated by faith and haunted by the specter of slavery.

It was nice to see Hollywood portray a man of deep and reckless faith in a true and legitimate (instead of mocking) light. It was also nice to finish watching an enjoyable movie and not have to repent of enjoying something morally objectionable. This movie is highly recommended, and may make its way into our small collection.

UPDATE – My favorite quote from the movie: “I remember two things very clearly; I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great saviour.” – John Newton