Thursday, November 19, 2015

Worship Changes Everything by Darlene Zschech

It's pretty hard to spend time in the evangelical church and not hear about Hillsong, however, this was my first opportunity to go beyond the songs and gain some insight into someone behind the songs.
Worship Changes Everything by Darlene Zschech explores the author's understanding of the how and why we are called to worship.

Overall, Zschech presents a varied compilation in her approach to worship looking at everything from marriage, child-rearing, to work, to self. This was an interesting approach compared to other books I've read on the topic which tend to focus on a specific track or audience. Darlene, in comparison, seems to be aiming for a general overview which any reader can find a point of connection with.

That doesn't, however, remove the balance of the book. While there is no less emotional points than I would expect from something associated with Hillsong I was also pleasantly surprised to find many quotes and references from familiar names within church history, supplementing her position.

Surprisingly enough, given the author's personal journey over the past year with cancer, I did find myself disagreeing with her on her views regarding suffering, feeling that her view leaned a little too close to the church's tendency to gloss over or rush through painful times that may defy explanation. The nice thing is you can disagree with a chapter and still find value within a book of this nature.

I believe that this book would be of most interest to those with an interest in books which are easily accessible revolving around worship and Christian living or those who have an interest in Hillsong and their music.

I would rate this book at 3.5 stars out of 5. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Nuts About Books  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Making it Home

Making it Home by Emily T. Wierenga is a memoir- a fact I didn't realize until I was well into the book, perhaps because it doesn't feel like one initially. Honestly, I'm still not sure  I'd classify it as such and true fans of the genre may not like that classification either.

Instead I'd rather liken Emily's writing to glimpses into the soul. Where some may read her words and cringe at the seeming passivity in her voice. I found myself drawn in by the honesty and vulnerability, the realness of someone seeking themselves through the lens of faith and life.

When I began reading Emily's book it was the tagline that drew me in "Finding my way peace, identity, and purpose". In fact, as I cuddled up to being reading I muttered to myself how much I'd love to find that because life with two under two is crazy and messy, and illness is tiring, and the last thing I wanted to read was something sad about cancer. Emily doesn't pull any punches though. She's honest about life with 4 littles, the struggles of old hurts that still seek to lure us back, the pain of loss and death. Everything I didn't want in a book.

But also everything I needed . .  because Emily is equally open about those little glimpses of God she finds in the middle of that chaos. She's opens the door for readers to meet with her in the midst of her pain and rawness because that's the path that is taken on her journey home and the journey is necessary - it breathes truth and leads to life.

As someone who hasn't always fit in I have a love/hate relationship with this type of book. I hate when books can touch so close to home because it hurts, it brings to light the struggles I read to escape. Yet I love the reassurance that there are kindred spirits out there, people who aren't afraid to struggle and be real and find life in the mess.

This is a book that probably won't be appreciated fully unless you are willing to be vulnerable, vulnerable enough to see life from another's eyes and appreciate the strength it takes to let others in while having the strength to use the book as a chance to reflect on your own journey.

4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer - I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Nuts About Books. The views expressed are my own.