Sacred Chaos: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life You Have, by Tricia McCrary Rhodes (InterVarsity Press)
When a friend asked me to write this review, I thought: “I’m a busy wife, a mother, an eye surgeon, a college Bible study leader, on two hospital boards and several church committees; my life is crazy. I just don’t have the time!” But that’s the point.
Sacred Chaos addresses the spiritual lives of the average, over-committed American. Although written for any believer desiring a deeper relationship with God, Rhodes’ style will appeal strongly to women in all stages of life.
Similar in intent to Gary Thomas’ The Beautiful Fight, Sacred Chaos delves into the spiritual disciplines, including prayer, Bible study, fasting and observing Sabbath rest— even if not on the Sabbath. She approaches the spiritual disciplines with a fresh perspective, interjecting her own experiences to show the practical nature of these pursuits. Especially helpful is the chapter, “Kairos Connections” where Rhodes addresses how we understand and use time.
In Sacred Chaos the disciplines become attainable; they are not limited to superhero Christians, but available to each humble believer. The tone of Rhodes’ writing is never academic or removed, but always encouraging. Her words resonate with the heart of our Father who seeks constantly to draw us into intimacy with him and encourage a transformation in our lives despite the chaos around us.
Carol B. Boren
First Baptist Church, Brownwood
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor (Atria Books)
This book should be at the top of the required reading list for pastors, counselors, couples wanting to improve their marriage, couples needing help and couples preparing to get married. Written with the biblical understanding that marriage is God’s idea for man and woman, Mark Gungor approaches every aspect of marriage with candor, a great sense of humor and the ability to relate today’s marriages to today’s society. He is not afraid to deal with the delicate issues of marriage that many other writers refuse to confront, and his use of humor and vocabulary enables him to be a very effective communicator. His commitment to Christ is felt throughout the book as he deals with issues found in the “Seven Laws of Marriage Physics,” “Sex, Lies, and the Internet” and “Till Death Do Us Part” sections. Gungor’s wisdom and common sense advice make for refreshing reading and create within the reader the desire to turn the page and read more in order to see what new surprises await.
Loaded with a wealth of information from the medical, psychological and theological fields, Gungor truly helps unlock the secrets to life, love and marriage. With this knowledge, he effectively confronts and dispels the popular myths that fill our society regarding marriage. The information then enables couples to understand one another more clearly, thus helping avoid conflict and strengthening the marriage. Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage is a book that needs to be ready by everyone, as well as shared with others.
Randall Scott, pastor
Immanuel Baptist Church, Paris
Farraday Road by Ace Collins (Zondervan)
Having enjoyed Ace Collins’ I Saw Him in Your Eyes and his stories-behind-the-songs books, I eagerly awaited his first novel. I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes, the religious element in Christian fiction seems contrived, but not so in Collins’ book. Instead, lessons and faith emerge naturally through the lives and legacies of the characters.
The story opens on a stormy night on rural Farraday Road. Deputy Mikki Stuart discovers the bloody, lifeless body of her friend Kaitlyn Evans. As EMTs arrive, the deputy locates the still-warm body of Kaitlyn’s prominent attorney husband, Elijah, in the mud. God answers Mikki’s prayers when, on the third defib shock, Lije gasps. The ambulance carrying the couple disappears into the night, and the deputy literally disappears into the storm. In a small Arkansas town where violence was “limited mostly to the football field,” Collins fills the plot twists and turns with a multitude of murderous motives and a cadre of consuming characters.
For an enjoyable evening of mystery, curl up with Farraday Road and see if you can figure out who-done-it. I couldn’t.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, Waco