Well.  I was going to wait to write this review until I had actually finished a sock from this book.  It is looking like this isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and I really should get this review written.  So,  bearing in mind that I haven’t actually finished a sock from this book, so I can’t speak to whether or not there are any pattern errors, here goes.

It is a beautiful book.  The photographs are lovely, and aren’t too ‘arty’ to be able to see how the sock is actually going to fit a real live human person.  Despite the title, the patterns include crew socks and legwarmers, so if knee highs are not your thing, you won’t be left out in the cold.  The patterns are all cuff down, there are no toe up patterns here.  The photos don’t always show the decrease area, which could be helpful, and the patterns for the ‘knee highs’ often won’t reach the knees of a tall person, which could be a problem, but I think it is pretty easy to add a bit of length to a sock pattern, just increase the number of rows between the decreases.  The book has a formula and tutorial for how to knit custom fit knee highs – I wanted to test it out on the needles, but haven’t, so I can’t speak to how accurate it is, but just from reading it it looks ok.

It looks to be a pretty decent book – you might want to check it out of the library first to be sure it will be useful for you, before you buy it.

She Mattered.

Another precious street friend has been murdered in Ottawa.  It matters.

She was 16 or 17 when she left home, and 23 when she was murdered, according to the Ottawa Sun.  It doesn’t matter what she was doing to survive on the streets.  She was made in the image of God, and her life was precious, and someone took it.  It matters.

Caption “Contest”

So, what do you think my dog was thinking?

Book Review: Unleashed

This is a review for Booksneeze.

Erwin Raphael McManus is a new author for me.  (One of the reasons I like being a reviewer for Booksneeze is that I can try authors that I might not otherwise come across).  The wikipedia article on him says he is an “influential American pastor”, whatever that really means.

I like the book.  It is a call to a radical discipleship.  The thesis of the book is that modern western Christianity is too safe;  that it has become an institution instead of a movement.  He calls his vision of radical discipleship “the barbarian way”, and uses the metaphor throughout the book.  A sampling:

 A description of “civilized Christianity”:

…Jesus died adn rose from the dead so that you can live a life of endless comfort, security and indulgence.  But really this is a bit too developed.  Usually it’s mroe like this:  if you’ll simply confess that you’re a sinner and believe in Jesus, you’ll be saved from the torment of eternal hellfire, then go to heaven when you die.  Either case results in our domestication.  One holds out for life to begin in eternity, and the other makes a mockery out of life” (p.32).

A description of what he calls the “barbarian way”:

“God’s ultimate end for our transformation is to unleash the untamed faith within.  When His Spirit is poured into our lives, we are inspired to an extraordinary level of living.  Barbarians never exist simply to survive.  Barbarians never just get through the day.  Barbarians wake to live and live life fully awake.  To be filled with the Spirit of God is to be filled with dreams and vision sthat are too compelling to ignore.  Live or die, succeed or fail, barbarians must pursue and attempt such dreams and visions.  The barbarian spirit dreams great dreams and finds courage to live them” (p.100)

If your experience of the Christian faith is more like the first paragraph than the second one, you should pick this book up and give it a read.  It might enliven your faith and make you think about it in a different way.

This is a review for Booksneeze. 

I loved this book.  Lucado has taken questions he has recieved over the years, from his readers and parishoners, and put them into a question and answer form in this book.  He says that some of the answers have appeared in his other books, but I have read them all, and nothing seemed all that familiar.  I don’t like books that are rehashes of earlier books, so that would be a drawback for me, but it wasn’t particularly noticeable. 

From the introduction: We’ve created a question mark to highlight our questions.  It’s stooped and bent, perhaps because questions can leave us in the same shape, burdened and weary.  We have deep, heavy questions. 

We crave answers.  straighten  this mark, and let it stand.  Replace the cowering curl with a confident exclamation point.

Easier said than done.

Maybe so, but he has done it admirably well in this book.  Questions, especially unanswered ones about evil and heartache, can be very hard to deal with for Christians.   Many of us use the pat “It must be God’s will” or something similar in answer to people’s heartaches.  There is none of that here.  Max Lucado tackles the hard questions, and answers them with tenderness and grace.

Maggie’s Grave

 13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him  those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you  by a word from the Lord,  that  we who are alive, who are left until  the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For  the Lord himself will descend  from heaven  with a cry of command, with the voice of  an archangel, and  with the sound of the trumpet of God. And  the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be  caught up together with them  in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thess 4 ESV)

I volunteer for a Christian ministry to homeless and street engaged people.   One of the people I’ve met told me a story yesterday.  Seems someone was threatening him with a weapon.  He complained to a police officer – know what he was told?  “What you are doing [panhandling] is illegal.  This is just the same as if a prostitute complained to me about being threatened”.  That, I believe, was the end of that.  I think some of the constables who patrol downtown need a refresher course on the Charter.

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