Counterfeit Gods – The empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters By Timothy Keller

Where do we place our faith? What do we spend our time and money on? That is what we value – good and bad. We pursue things for happiness right? But how many of us are happy? Counterfeit Gods is another way of saying idols – and not the ones maybe you are thinking of. We don’t like to use that kind of language so Keller puts it into verbiage we can relate to very easily. I agree with my pastor that Keller is one of the best writers to not only identify but describe idolatry without us feeling either moronic or bored.

I love how Keller describes and explains how anything morally neutral can also become an idol along with the more obvious examples. This is a great follow up to The Reason for God and The Prodigal God which also pushed people to think long and hard about themselves, and to engage with others on the subject. I little introspection can be a good thing.

The Last Lecture By Randy Pausch

This book is an emotional tribute to his wife and children – not schleppy but quite sad given the reason. The author is honest and writes of some great teaching moments even though his black and white attitude to everything, for me, was annoying and prideful. He does acknowledge that his parents were the reason he was so focused and successful and writes about what he is trying to do to leave a legacy for his three kids who are so very young and maybe won’t remember him. He has a diagnosis of cancer which is incurable. It is an interesting thing to think about in all our lives though. What if we only had six months to live? What would we do? Financially they can do a lot and he takes full advantage of this, which, in my opinion, he should. The old adage of a dying man never wishing he had spent more time at the office comes to mind but Pausch takes this a lot further to leave his last lecture and way more for his family.

The Prodigal God – Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith By Timothy Keller

When I first read the parable of the prodigal son I always felt more drawn to the older brother. Conventional wisdom told me that I was wrong and that the story is about the younger brother. Well Mr. Keller has helped me further define it all. It is a story about redefining sin, hope and longing for home. Ultimately it is about the Gospel. This is a great book and maybe even a group study. It is not a hard book to read but it may be hard to digest sometimes and it would behoove you to mull it rather than just flip through as I am wont to do. Definite thumbs up.

Effortless Style By June Ambrose

Which pair of jeans looks best on your figure? What basics should I have in my wardrobe? Can I wear animal print?

Stylist Ms. Ambrose answers all these questions and more in a short and easy to read book. She has the resume to prove she knows what she’s talking about including dressing many of today’s movie and television stars. Her chapters include defining your style, accessorizing and even organizing your wardrobe (mine is colour coded right now – what can I say, it just works for me). The book includes many drawings but I would have liked some photos and not necessarily of famous people just a better idea with some more visual cues. Well worth the read though especially if you are in a style rut of any kind.

The God Who Smokes By Timothy J. Stoner

The subtitle is ‘Scandalous Meditations on Faith’. First of all, can you believe the author’s name. He actually has a great sense of humour about it which is very cool. This book is one that can definitely go in the ‘Christianity’ section but it is so much more than a run of the mill Christian Living book. I studied this book in a book club this summer with some amazing women and we used some alliteration to summarize: conflict, confusion and covenant. This just scratches the surface. Stoner shows us his love. He is a great wordsmith. He speaks of doctrine using commonplace words so as not to talk over our collective heads without being patronizing or demeaning. He faces some of the controversy within Christianity but we discover a burning passion that unites us all i.e. The God Who Smokes. One of the ladies quoted the little phrase: unity in the essentials, mercy in non-essentials and grace in all things. This truly epitomizes this man’s writing. He is smart, emotional and writes a blend of theology and creativity that is wonderful to read. He shows he is real, deep, tender, mournful and articulate. All I have to add is, can we say worldview?