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It was a crazy summer and I honestly did not read as much I had wanted. But here are 4 quick reviews from the summer: Boys Adrift, To Kill a Mockingbird, Church Planter, and Brain Rules.

Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax

Think twice before you look condescendingly at the traditions of other cultures that have lasted far longer than our own. Our culture’s neglect of the transition to manhood is not producing an overabundance of young men who are sensitive, caring, and hardworking.

This book surprised me in it’s objectivity and getting beneath the surface about the demotivation and loss of men in our culture. There are 5 factors that Sax walks through: video games, teaching methods, prescription drugs (for ADHD), endocrine disruptors (plastics/food lowering testosterone), and the devaluation of masculinity. If you have sons or deal with young men, I highly recommend this book. It’s not written from the Christian worldview, and thereby has a major hole, but Sax does value the Bible.

What does it mean to be a man? The answer is: being a man means using your strength in the service of others.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird

I know, I know, this book was written 50 years ago! Consider this book as part of my progress in rewriting my education! There is a reason everyone still talks about this book by Harper Lee: it is amazing and has a depth not found in just about anything written in the last twenty years. Lee has tremendous insight into the sinfulness of human nature and the blindness we have to it at times. Atticus Finch is my new hero, probably one of my favorite fictional characters of all time now. A father, lawyer, follower of Christ who is not perfect but seeks to see the best in people in order to love them, especially his kids. His final speech to the jury is awesome and how his manliness is displayed in how he takes it on the cheek is stirring.

Church Planter by Darrin Patrick

Hurriedness is like a strong wind that blows on the waters of your heart. If the waves are too high, you forget about others and focus on your own survival, making compassion toward others impossible.

“Church Planter” might have been better titled “Pastor” because it is essentially a synopsis of what it takes to be a pastor, what his message needs to be, and what his mission is. Yes, there are nuances to the term “church planter” that Patrick digs into, but this is a book about the sobering reality and demands of a pastor, especially the first part of the book. I genuinely desire to be a pastor one day and Patrick shook me up a bit in a good way. Being a pastor is no joke and is not like other jobs. Do you want to be a pastor? Read “Church Planter” and then see if it’s still your desire!

Most pastors live in a fairy-tale world. They refuse to engage the brutal reality that is ministry, opting instead for a safe, plastic world that never involves hard conversations or radical decisions.

Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina

What do these studies show, viewed as a whole? Mostly this: If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.

Brain Rules is a fun, practical, and yet puzzling book. His rules make sense along with the studies and stories to back them up. It is no surprise that things like exercise, sleep, stress, vision, gender, and his other areas affect our ability to learn and remember. You will be amazed by the brain in reading Medina’s book. It blows me away the brain’s complexity and abilities. What also blows me away is that as Medina unpacks our brain, he continually tosses in the evolutionary junk “science” as additional arguments. It adds nothing. It’s like he has seen so much design in the brain that he has to preach evolution to himself and to us. Don’t get me wrong: this is a great book that is easy to read and holds a number of lessons for us. But if anything, “Brain Rules” became an argument for how ridiculous the theory of evolution is and Medina’s evolution propaganda only cemented it.

it is not as if chimpanzees write symphonies badly and we write them well. Chimps can’t write them at all, and we can write ones that make people spend their life savings on subscriptions to the New York Philharmonic.

If I had to pick one…

It has to be “To Kill a Mockingbird” with “Boys Adrift” not far behind. Fiction wins again! Read Harper Lee’s masterpiece again if you read it awhile back. Think about the sinful nature we all have. Think about the tragedy of racism. Think about Atticus Finch and the example of a man that he is. This book is another example of why God gave us fiction and story.

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