Review: ‘Unbreakable’ – Andrew Wilson

For those of you who know me well, you will know that when I read a book, I tend to read it fairly quickly if I am into it and not really think too hard about the content. But I recently read a book that really challenged me to think a little bit harder. And even though it was only 65 pages long, it took me four days to mull it over.

So what was the book? ‘Unbreakable’ by Andrew Wilson.
This is a book that looks into what the Son of God (Jesus) says about the Word of God (the Bible). It unpacks the reason why we should all believe in Scripture and all that it has to say and it is highly recommended. 

What this book doesn’t do is go into the reasons why people don’t believe Scripture or details on who wrote what and how we can believe what they are saying. For me, that made it all the more intriguing; people often go into conversations about the Bible, trying their hardest to find contradictions and the like but what we as Christians can often fail to do is to look at the bigger picture and see what is trying to be said throughout the whole thing. Which is why I like the way that Wilson gets straight to the point, discussing how in all that we read, we must read it in mind of Jesus. And although there will be moments when we have to look into the juxtapositions, we can research with Jesus in mind, knowing that He changed the way that we should look at laws and the religious aspects. 

But rather than writing a 65 page book about how we should just read the Bible and think of Jesus, Wilson takes us on a journey, allowing us to not only look at what is at the centre of scripture, but also why it has authority, how sufficient it is and also the dangers that can crop up if we are not careful. And whilst some people would really spend their time, going in to detail about each of these things, Wilson puts it bluntly to help us understand it quickly and without too many questions afterwards. 

For the past month or so, I have really been trying to dig deeper into Scripture and make sure I set aside time daily for an in-depth Bible study as I have wanted to learn more about the character of God and how my life slots into His bigger plan. And then I begin to read chapter 5 of ‘Unbreakable’ and I felt like what I had really been missing had just been revealed to me in such a significant way. Wilson ends the chapter talking about how we can see Jesus clearly being pointed to throughout Scripture, both in the Old Testament before he came and after he returned to his Father’s side in the New Testament. The sentence that grabbed my attention was this: “Jesus is the new Adam, who passed his garden test by submitting to the will of the Father, crushed the snake, and gave life to the dead rather than death to the living.” And at that point my eyes were opened to see Jesus everywhere I look in Scripture. And it got me that I hadn’t seen it before, even though it was in plain sight. All I can say, is that this book really helps you see the Bible from a new angle and helps to open your eyes to the things that we have been missing all this time.

Needless to say, I would highly recommend this book to all who want to understand the Bible better, no matter if you are young or old; it is a book that is accommodating for everyone. If you have any questions about what the Bible really means, or if you want to delve a bit deeper into Scripture, just like I was trying to do. I will leave a link below to where you can buy it, both in the UK and outside of it. Thank you, Andrew Wilson, for carefully crafting such a phenomenal book. 

Available in South Africa: http://www.wantitall.co.za/Books/Unbreakable-What-the-Son-of-God-Said-About-the-Word-of-God__1909611867

Available in the UK:

 

Book Review: The Pastor’s Kid

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A few days ago, my Dad gave me this book, ‘The Pastor’s Kid’ by Barnabas Piper, to read to see whether it was a useful resource, but also to give my opinion on the book as he has never read it. As a Pastor’s Kid (PK) myself, I thought that it would be helpful to give some insight on what I read and whether I thought it was a good representation of how the average PK feels. But before I start, it is important to note that we are all different and every PK’s experience will differ, both culturally and on an individual basis. I mean, even my experience compared to my brother’s has it’s own unique set of privileges and challenges as our characters are incredibly varied.

Almost as soon as I started reading this book, I was struck by just how whiney it was. It felt as if there were absolutely no positives to being a PK what so ever! Piper clearly faced many challenges as a PK, and I understand that American culture is very different to the UK, but I have to question whether the book could have been written in a way that expressed what he went through without me feeling as if he was consistently criticising the way his parents raised him. As well as this, the extensive use of vocabulary used by Piper can be seen to have a detrimental effect, causing the reader to be confused as to what he was trying to convey, like the fact that grace changes everything, and only see the negatives of being a PK.

Moreover, whilst reading, I was struck by just how much Piper was talking to the wider congregation about what being a PK is like, rather than talking to PKs about how to deal with some of the challenges that come their way. Whilst this is helpful to those who may not understand what goes on after church on a Sunday, my problem with this is that there was a seriously negative light cast onto pastors and how they are doing their job. Being a pastor is probably one of the most difficult jobs around and I understand, first hand that it can be difficult for them to balance family life with the running of the church. Yet, it appeared to me that Piper was suggesting a lack of parenting from that pastor. Not all pastors (and their spouses) completely neglect their children – if any! It seemed to me as if Piper is making severe generalisations that just cannot be made. Pastors are very hard-working men and without their God-given gifts and abilities, the church would be a mess; that is why God placed them in that position after all. It is by the grace of God that they are in that position. But, more than this, most pastors work hard to make sure their family is in a good place and gets to spend time with them. So, Piper’s generalisation here is not applicable to everyone, like many others in his book. I am afraid that this could only be relevant to him and the “dozen” other PKs that he spoke to.

Furthermore, it could be seen that Piper portrays being a PK as a curse something no one should have to go through. Yes, it does come with its challenges, like anything. Dad spends a lot of time at meetings or praying with people, trying to find new venues or is just trying to finish his work for the day. But when I was speaking to a friend of mine who’s dad is a builder, she said that it was much the same for her; her dad will work long days until a specific job is done, they will often be unsociable hours and he will often work on Saturdays. So PKs aren’t on their own here. But aside from this, there are also some amazing privileges that PKs get to experience. Piper does touch on this in the closing few pages of the book, highlighting the fact that us PKs get some amazing opportunities. But the way he puts it, especially after a book seemingly full of pessimistic comments, just makes it seem in vain, like he is trying his hardest, searching his brain for something that can be considered a positive. Without the opportunities being a PK has brought me, I would not have met half the people I have, I might not be 25 days away from moving to South Africa. My faith has grown immensely by having parents so in love with Jesus, living by his example, not only in church but at home, and by having them pray with me, even when I never wanted to. Therefore, being a PK is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, I love it.

But more than anything else, the thing that got me about this book was that it was supposed to be biblically based and looking to the Bible for help, yet I could only find one piece of scripture in the whole book. Other than that, it was a book full of Piper’s own opinion, that could be seen as unable to apply to anyone else. If it had been rooted in scripture and started every chapter with a Bible verse rather than a criticism of being a PK, then I probably would have been more likely to accept some more of the points Piper made; but it wasn’t. And I would consider that as a problem. Although Piper makes the point that we all need grace to be able to help us with what we are doing, where we are placed and how we react to it (a good point well made), it could be argued that it would be more helpful if he could have found more verses to help bring more of God into the book, rather than what just comes across as an opinion.

Overall, although there are some valid points made about expectations placed upon PKs to be perfect children and his comments on how grace can help us all, I found it difficult to read this book. I just found that it was too negative and made being a PK seem like such, for want of a better word, a bad thing. Would I recommend this book? Unfortunately not. But that is not to say that it would not apply to other people. Without a doubt, there are those who have found being a PK a real challenge and without hesitation would wish to change their position. But, my experiences as a PK makes it difficult to say that I agree with this book. Maybe I have just been fortunate. Who knows? Yet, I would like to assume that there are many, like me, who have also had very positive experiences – and I thank God for that.

Book Review: All My Friends Are Superheroes

I was given this book, by Andrew Kaufman, by a friend who said it was one of the best books she had ever read. She wasn’t lying!

On looking at the cover and reading the blurb, I wasn’t really convinced. In fact, I was unsure whether I would pick it up and read it at all. Knowing that you should not really judge a book by it’s cover and realising it was only just over 100 pages long, I thought I would give it a try though, read the first couple of chapters and see how I got on.

You see, the clever thing about this book is not that it draws you in super quickly because of the short chapters and quirky content; it is clever because it leaves you questioning reality. It leaves you wishing that you couldn’t see the parallels between this world and the one of the novella; leaves you wondering whether this is what society has really come to; leaves you questioning whether you had a super power that could change that. Finishing the book made me think about what super power I have and whether it is really something to be proud of. Kaufman has done himself proud, taking a step back and perceptively looking into the depths and, dare I say it, uncomfortable aspects of modern society. 

Yet, not only has Kaufman managed to capture the insecurities of the Western world, but he has successfully integrated a feel good plot line, filled with romance, heartache and a bit of humour sprinkled on top. 

Needless to say, I had finished this incredible book in 2 hours, finally helping me to understand that, in fact, ‘All My Friends Are Superheroes’!