The problem with reading 75 books in one year is you tend to get behind in your blogging. So, in order to get caught up, let me write about two books I recently read. Both were short books that took very little time to read. Like many of the books featured on this blog, both were borrowed.
The first book, Searching Issues: Tackling Seven Common Objections to the Christian Faith by Nicky Gumbel, was "borrowed" not from a library, but from a coffee shop. I found this book hidden away on a shelf next to the discarded bodice rippers, mass market paperbacks and tired looking Readers Digest condensed books. Perhaps just out of curiosity, I secretly grabbed it and took it home with me to read.
Published in 1995 by Gumbel, a former atheist turned Anglican priest and evangelist, addresses what he feels are the commonly voiced objections to orthodox Christianity. The book is light, so as a result, it is theologically and intellectually weak. The best chapter is probably "Why Does God Allow Suffering ?", followed by "Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelevant ?". The worst chapters by a mile are the two dealing with sexuality. From what I can tell, this book was written primarily for traditionally minded Christians, probably evangelicals. I doubt it will change anyone's beliefs. I read it in order to get other perspectives on the topics Gumbel discusses in his book. And I guess for that reason, my modest expectations were met.
The other short book like most of the
books featured on this blog was borrowed not from a coffee shop but from the public library. Thomas Cahill's A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green caught my eye because I've been a huge fan of its author for years, ever since I read his 1996 book How the Irish Saved Civilization. Since Cahill usually writes about historical subjects, this book was a departure for him. And I have to say, I enjoyed his book. Cahill did a fine job writing a readable and thought provoking account of a young man's death row incarceration and eventual execution.
Did Dominique do it ? Based on Cahill's book, who knows. He was definitely an accessory, but probably not the sole trigger man. That, plus the flawed trial he received in Texas, a state which according to Cahill has stacked the odds against any murder defendant getting a truly fair trial,(let alone a fighting chance at an appeal), causes one to question the wisdom of condemning Green to death. Readers of Cahill's book will also be inspired by Green's intellectual and spiritual growth during his time behind bars awaiting execution.