What is the Gospel? – Book Review

The Gospel has been proclaimed for over 2000 years and still we get it wrong sometimes. The author, Greg Gilbert, does a great job in this little book to describe exactly what the Gospel is and what it isn’t. He uses great examples and analogies to further describe exactly what he is trying to say. I read the book in three sittings and highlighted a bunch of great quotes from the book.

This book also included several stories in the Bible I wasn’t very familiar with. I was grateful for this. This just proved even more to me that the Bible is so profound that we will never truly know everything about it.

Here is a quote in the book that I just loved:

You see, nobody wants a God who declines to deal with evil. They just want a God who declines to deal with their evil.

This is just so true. Above all, I think hypocrisy is the sin that kills the church’s effectiveness the quickest. Mr. Gilbert has a whole chapter dedicated to this. As Christians saved by the work of the cross through no merit of our own, we should the least hypocritical.

I recommend this book to the Christian who loves the Gospel and still gets excited to hear about how Jesus saves. I also would recommend this book to a non-believer who is open to understanding why exactly Christianity is so different than other religions.

The book is not expensive at all and you can buy this book here.

 

Lost Gods – Book Review

It was the cover of this book that intrigued me. The creature looked like some kind of a sphinx Queen. I wanted to know more about her and when I opened the book I was pleased to see that Brom (the author and artist) had included more paintings of these lost gods he was writing about. They were incredible creatures. All of them were impressive.

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The book is about a young man (Chet) who is viciously killed and ends up in Purgatory. He is given a mission to save the ones he loves from a similar feat and the epic journey begins and is incredible. Brom “paints” another world for us to venture in. It is a cruel world, a dark world. In it’s own way it is magnificent. Unlike Dante, Chet is not just a spectator, he endures the pains of Purgatory and a hero rises from the torment. The deeper I got into the book, the better the story became. Plenty of times the story was frightening especially towards the end. My heart raced as I cheered on for Chet to triumph. Brom is not only a great artist, he is also a great story teller.

brom

In Brom’s Purgatory you see that there are all kinds of gods in this realm. I didn’t research any of them to see if they truly were ancient gods, long forgotten, but nevertheless their personalities were very well developed.

Brom tastefully includes all religions in his Purgatory and I found the Christian undertones he incorporated to be very entertaining.

The ending of the book was the most frightful and left me mourning that I had finished the book. What an incredible ending!

The book does have some frightful scenes and there are a lot of big cuss words – remember these guys didn’t make it to Heaven – they’re not exactly saints. Chet is marked for Hell (which is an ongoing fear because frankly I don’t want anyone to go there), but miraculously avoids it due to the mission he was given. Not all the souls have this mark, Chet was a special kind of scoundrel on Earth I suppose.

As a Christian, this book really brought to my mind the reality of Hell. Yes, this book is a total fantasy. I don’t even believe in Purgatory, but the hopelessness Chet feels and those around him, was just overwhelming sometimes for me. None of those souls wanted to be there, none of those souls could change their fate. Many sobbed as they realized where they were. The rich, the poor, the abused and the privileged all were in the same circumstance. As Chet said, “Earth is paradise”. Compared to the horrors and the darkness of the place, Earth is a paradise we take for granted. As I said before, I don’t believe in purgatory, but I do believe in Hell. And Brom captures very well the utter shock of the unexpected souls. What a horrible place to be at and not be able to go back to change things. Even Chet regretted not listening to his religious aunt who annoyed him so much on Earth.

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I completely recommend this book to any one who likes to read non-fiction. Even a boring soul like me who tends to stick with fiction really enjoyed it! Because of the cuss words I would let only my older teens read this book. There is only one scene that sticks out that is sexually explicit, but it is about five sentences and is about a man remembering his abuse in prison.

In the end, I was grateful for my salvation.

Norse

I am not familiar with Norse mythology at all. Anything I do know is from the Marvel movie Thor I saw several years ago.

“Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman is a collection of stories that tells the history of how the Norse gods (Thor, Odin, Loki, Freyja) came to be and how they handled all kinds of situations in their realm. I found the stories in this book to be so much fun to read. Most were outright funny and they all gave a lot of insight into the cultures of these Northern lands – that culture involving mostly feasting, keenness, and seeing who could take the most amount of pain without grimacing.

Like all mythology, some natural wonders like the tides and earthquakes were explained away by something the gods did or did not do.

As a Christian, it was a little odd at how limited the gods were. For example, their immortality is sustained by another goddess whose apples they needed to eat to stay young. They can be tricked. They can lose limbs or even die and stay dead. Their power is also limited and they can be imprisoned or chained. They can be maimed and hurt. They tire, they can get drunk or overindulge. All these things were new to me and I found the stories quiet entertaining – funny even.

Thor was hilarious and his masculine predictability I found to be endearing. Loki was more cunning than evil, although, towards the end he did get a little nasty. The giants were funny and brutish. Odin, I found to not be that impressive. The goddesses mentioned were all beautiful.

The ending surprised me and brought about sadness. I felt bad that for the Norse, after Valhalla there is a sense of hopelessness. For such a cheery crowd, the end for the gods is grim.

The book does contain some love scenes but they are not graphic. Unless you find a sentence like “and they made love again” graphic. There is some crude humor. There is some gore and of course fighting and killing. There is lots of drunkenness.

Overall, I found the book enjoyable and witty.

I recommend this book to those who like mythology, fables, adventures, or fairy tales. I also recommend this book for anyone looking for a fun and easy read. The names can get a little daunting though. This book would also be a good book to read out loud, but maybe to an older audience. I would let my high schooler read this book, but no younger.

 

Norse Mythology – Book Review