Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Reviews hits and misses

So I'm reviewing again. Which means: I get all these emails offering books, DVD's, music CD's to review. Reviews range from secular to religious to secular books about religious books. So much to choose from. Which is often a problem.

When choosing to accept an item to review, one can:
1) Choose an item then utterly regret the choice when it arrives
2) Choose an item and looooooooove one's choice
3) Not choose an item and utterly regret it when a trusted friend reviews it.

If I regret choosing a particular book (because we reviewers actually WANT to like a book), then I can simply not finish reading it, finish reading it but not review it, review it in as kind a manner as I can (because I don't want to upset a fellow writer), or totally slam the book and the author.

If I choose a book I really like, I write a review. Generally, the greater it is, the harder it is for me to show how wonderfully great it is. Don't know why.

If I don't choose a book and later I discover how great it is, then I kinda stew.

So there I was on facebook a few months ago when Mirta --a good online friend-- told me about the book SIFTED. She loved it. I remember SIFTED being on the list sent to me from the Christian publisher. Now, looking on amazon, I see several books entited SIFTED. I don't even know which one Mirta is praising. I may ask her but now ---urg!!!!-- i'll have to buy it. Which is a real bother to a reviewer///at least this reviewer.

Okay, you may ask, why didn't you take the book then when it was offered to you?
Because -- generally-- I roll my eyes at Christian expository/devotional/exhortation/teaching books. BECAUSE they often seem pretty distant to my situation or written in a shallow way or...well...let me just say that most Christian fiction and non-fiction strike me as deeply shallow. Apparently prejudiced old me missed a good one. So annoying.

Which leaves me all alone with my lonesome to figure out what all SIFTED means. Yes, the Holy Spirit, my mind, and discussions with friends is all I'll have to go on as I try to figure out this verse:

31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31-32

I have to figure out the difference between God's sifting and Satan's sifting.

I suspect there are more verses with "sifting" in the Bible...which aren't translated as "sift" in the KJV.

For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. Amos 9:9

There are probably some folks out there who will say there is a difference between God sifting as corn and Satan sifting as wheat..but since "corn" seems to be an interjection done by the KJV translators I can't really go there.

This sifting of Peter comes after Peter's great confession: You are the Son of God, the Messiah. So is that when Satan chooses to sift us? When we're sure of our own righteousness? Peter was awfully sure of himself: "I will never leave you!"

So is sifting as wheat the same as separating the chaff from the wheat? And what is the difference between God purifying us and separating us from our chaff? Satan is about the law and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil....but Jesus is about the tree of life. Satan is concerned with seeing how we fully follow the law, and how we deal with our own righteousness. Jesus is concerned with us leaving off our righteousness and accepting Jesus' righteousness. so????

You see....all this I would know if I had just believed Christian publishers actually could be depended on to write good spiritual books.

And then there is the "after you are converted"....what is that supposed to mean? Apparently, one can repent from one's sins and become a disciple and even an apostle doing all kinds of miracles with the twelve, the other seventy, the one who followeth not us, with Jesus...and yet not be converted yet? Is this converted from one's own righteousness? Or converted from one's ways of looking at the world?

Yep... I would know all this if I had gotten the book. Sooooo annoying. 

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