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First Steps Bathtime Boats
First Steps Bathtime Boats
Offered by One Click Wonder
Price: 3.35

2.0 out of 5 stars overpriced, 12 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
its not bad for a bath..but way overpriced! they are sold in the 99p shop for gues what? 99 p!


Connected
Connected
by Sam Allberry
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Allberry joins it up, 3 Feb 2013
This review is from: Connected (Paperback)
A short, punchy book exploring the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and explaining its relevance for our relationships, how we pray, how we relate to the church, among other things. I read it all either on the train and tube and bus, or over my food at work. It's written in short chapters with lots of illustrations and anecdotes. I agree with my fellow reviewer who says that Allberry makes some profound points which are easily missed. This is a good book to discuss with friends, to ensure that you really get the most out of it.


Ring of Truth: a Translator's Testimony
Ring of Truth: a Translator's Testimony
by J.B. Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.61

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The translator transformed, 28 Nov 2011
This book is a translator's testimony, as it says in the title. It isn't a scholar's discussion of the finer points of translation. It is his personal statement about how he finds the New Testament to have, as he says, 'the ring of truth' about it. In part, this 'truth' is external. Phillips spends some of the time telling the reader why he thinks the New Testament was written where and when Christians have mostly believed it was. (If this is confusing, remember that some scholars think it was written much later than has been traditionally believed).

The 'truth' of which he speaks is also internal. That is, he is keen to tell the reader the ways in which the good news about Jesus has penetrated deep into his heart as he has translated the gospels and the letters which make up the New Testament. This is perhaps where he is at his best, because his years of close engagement with the original texts has forced him to pay really close attention to what the words say, and to ponder their meaning as he searches for a way to put it in modern English. In more than one place he hints that his work of translation left him a profoundly changed man, deeply convinced of the historical and spiritual truth of what is written in the Bible.

The book is very short and I read it on the train, going to and from work, in three or four days. It is very easy to read, although here and there it does sound a bit old fashioned. But for all that it is very fresh, and a picture emerges of a Bible that is unlike any other ancient text (Phillips was a classicist and knew many), and a translator who sought to bring the New Testament into the modern age, and found himself drawn back into the Bible.


On Giants' Shoulders
On Giants' Shoulders
by Michael Reeves
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.56

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great theologians by a great writer, 5 April 2011
This review is from: On Giants' Shoulders (Paperback)
This book is a companion to Reeves's 'Breeze of the Centuries' (2010), being a continuation of his introduction of 'great theologians', beginning with Martin Luther in the sixteenth century and ending with Karl Barth in the mid twentieth century. Like his earlier book, it is written with warmth, clarity, and insight. Reeves covers six 'great theologians': Luther, Calvin, Owen, Edwards, Schleiermacher, and Barth. Each chapter is readable in one sitting with a cup of coffee, and is prefaced by a brief sketch of the man's life, and closes with suggestions for further reading.

The key strength of the book is its insight. Not only will Reeves explain and clarify things for the reader, but he will tell us why something is significant, or point out what someone didn't say (which may be more significant than what they did say). Yet for all that the author is a trained theologian, he writes as someone eager to help others understand: at heart, he is a teacher. Like the best teachers, he has an aim for us, and it is to get us reading the theologians for ourselves. I personally am not convinced that this is realistic. When he says that the 24 volumes of the Works of John Owen are 'most accessible', you wonder whether he sometimes forgets his reader. Yet the best teachers, it should be said, inspire others by their enthusiasm, and Reeves has this aplenty, and it is contagious. Perhaps he might do well to write a short course, perhaps for small groups and individuals, that looks at snippets of these theologians' works.

Of the six theologians he reviews it is far from clear why he chooses to write about John Owen. It's not clear that Owen was read by those who came after him (ie. Edwards, Schleiermacher, and Barth), and since Reeves admits there were other worthy contenders he left out because of constraints on space, one wonders why he didn't include someone else instead. Even Owen's life is dealt with far more briefly than the others. If his concern was to have an English theologian, why not Rowan WIlliams? He would seem an obvious choice, and one especially helpful to contemporary readers sizing up the issues facing the church (especially the Anglicans) today.

Reeves is a charitable writer. A conservative evangelical, he begs the reader to take Schleiermacher (a founder of liberal theology) seriously. This reviewer is tempted to be far less charitable to IVP, who have not provided an index. One hopes that a volume will appear which combines 'Breeze of the Centuries' and 'On Giants Shoulders' (and with room maybe for a couple more entries, including perhaps a female theologian?), and that it will have an index. Reeves writes with authority - you have to *really* know your stuff to write with such clarity - yet with no index it is unlikely his work will find a home in university libraries, where it is so desperately needed.


Integrity: Leading with God Watching
Integrity: Leading with God Watching
by Jonathan Lamb
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'There you are', not 'here I am', 9 Feb 2011
This is a very enjoyable and lively book based on 2 Corinthians, Paul's defence of his own integrity to those who doubted him. The 171 pages break down into 15 punchy chapters, written in an easy style and spiced with lots of good illustrations and memorable lines such as: 'Serving God with integrity means "there you are", not "here I am"' (53). The whole thing is organised into five sections, dealing with different aspects of leadership.

Throughout the book the focus is on 2 Corinthians, and Jonathan Lamb picks out key themes about leading with integrity based on Paul's letter. It might be a good idea to read the letter quickly before reading this book, or maybe listen to it online.

The chapters have titles like 'Why integrity matters', 'Handling money', 'Status and true ambition', and this gives a flavour of the very practical nature of the issues that the book addresses. Having someone to talk about it with, as I did, and better still to read it, will help you think through the practical implications, all in relation to 2 Corinthians.

I recommend this book very warmly. It manages to be challenging without being heavy-going. I read it commuting on busy trains to and from work. I've given it four stars instead of five because the focus on leadership in the title and in the section headings is a bit misleading, and might put off readers who would otherwise find it very useful. These are lessons for everybody! Many of the real-life examples that Lamb cites are not dealing with leaders at all. Great stuff, well worth buying.


The Breeze of the Centuries
The Breeze of the Centuries
by Michael Reeves
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.07

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing breeze, 16 Feb 2010
A gem from Mike Reeves, following his thumbnail sketch of the Reformation in 'The Unquenchable Flame'. I say 'gem' because it's small and sparkly - fewer than 150 pages, lively, and sharply observed.

As the title says, the book is meant to be a 'breeze' through key early writers on Christian belief. Like a breeze, it manages to be both light and refreshing. The issues are brought alive through Reeves' own excitement at theology, his evident compassion for his subjects, and his lively sketches of their lives. Sceptics might cavil at someone who deals with such large subjects in so few pages, but Reeves knows his languages, his theology, his history, and the current literature on the subject. Others might be daunted by big books written in Latin, but the author gets straight to the heart of the issues, showing what made them so important at the time, and helping the reader understand what makes them relevant for us today. This book is the first in a series of two. I look forward to the second volume, and learning about more recent writers, and the situations in which they worked.

I'd like to see more, however brief, about writers from outside Europe. An outline of the key issues which weren't dealt with solely by a single author would also be welcome (such as the differences that emerged between eastern and western churches). So too would a bit more info about the long period between Augustine and Anselm. Little writing survives, but barbaric it was not. Leave the library and take us to the British Museum, Reeves!

Only one harrumph: where's the index? Written partly for students, the book will find itself excluded from most university libraries (if not reading lists) because quick reference isn't possible. This needs to be remedied. It would take a week and could be done on two sides of a single page. See to it, IVP.


Adult Teaching and Learning: Developing Your Practice
Adult Teaching and Learning: Developing Your Practice
by Sue Cross
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canoes and choirs, 8 Jan 2010
To be transparent, I should begin by saying I'm one of the people thanked in the acknowledgements for this book.

In summary: a great book, something for beginners and experts, and maybe for those who didn't realise they were teachers at all.

In full: this book relevant for anyone involved in the teaching of adults, whether full-time (like myself), as part of a wider career, voluntarily, or incidentally; whether paid or not; whether unfamiliar with current literature on the subject (as I am) or an expert; whether involved in decisions about adult learning, subject to what others decide, or self-organised, individually or as part of a group. It's broad, both in it's conception of teaching and learning (from teaching MA students to helping someone learn to do eskimo rolls in a canoe) as well as in its grasp of where such activities might take place. It's not prescriptive - it ends by saying `teachers are themselves transformed through the process of teaching - but it draws on bags of experience in a very wide range of contexts. It's not theory-driven either, though it takes it seriously, noting wisely: `For the purpose of facilitating effective practice, it may be better to conceptualise theory as an intelligent conversational partner, posing many questions and - only when we are very lucky - offering the occasional convincing answer' (5).

So this is a book that will be handy for anyone involved in teaching adults, mixing 35 years professional experience in choirs, comprehensives, CPD, chorography, canoes and CALT (UCL's Centre for Advancement of Learning and Teaching), with good coverage of key issues in the field of adult education. It contains sage advice for those starting out as teacher of adults (after 35 years, I guess you're allowed to be sage), such as the summary of key tasks in the teaching process (pp.18-26), and advice on creating a supportive environment (pp.128-132). Cross's long experience means she has a coherent grasp of the issues that have shaped theory and policy in adult education that might elude those who have not known anything different; examples include a superb discussion of teacher evaluation, in ch.3, and a coherent introduction to informal and non-formal learning in ch.6. It also means she is able to offer a well-informed judgement about the merits and shortcomings of these changes and developments, and to see how future developments might be perceived - or driven, or resisted - by policymakers, groups (of both practitioners and learners), and individuals.

But this book also has something for those who know this stuff already. This is not the first book on teaching adults, and the author offers a distinctive, thoughtful, and probably unfashionable perspective on issues familiar to those in the field. At the heart of the book is a compelling and entirely original argument (as far as I know) as to `why a full conception of the idea of "the teacher" is immensely valuable' for adult teaching and learning (p.1). In contrast to much recent theory and policy which thinks that learners construct their own knowledge, and which assumes that adult learners are more autonomous than children (to the extent that adult learning has its own noun: andragogy, meaning `man-centred'), Cross thinks that teaching is central to all forms of learning, in all situations. Key to this breadth is a panoramic appreciation of what constitutes learning, its cognitive structure, and the sectors, contexts and environments where it might take place. Such a panoramic view might be expected in a book dealing with adult learning, especially given the concern of policy makers with lifelong learning. But these policies, discussed in ch.6, have tended - in line with other policy, discussed principally in ch.3 - to diminish the professional character of the teacher, as Cross shows. What she brings to the discussion, along with a measured dose of indignation, is a grasp of learning that acknowledges theories of abundance (adults learn in order to `realise' themselves) and transformation (adult learning can change the way adults think and see the world) but also insists that the teacher's professional character enhances these processes through judicious intervention. These interventions are conceived as theory and related as anecdote through a typology of personality. Cross suggests that a rigorous typology of personality (which she identifies in the Myers-Briggs Typology) offers the teacher a way of understanding the needs and habits of individual learners, and of reflecting on their own practice. In some cases this might be observed in a highly formal situation, such as assessment on an MA programme, and indeed ch.4 is devoted to assessment. But it might also come into play in less obvious contexts - the author's own examples are a trip to an art exhibition with a friend, and participation in a church choir. Indeed, Cross's use of personality type helps us recognise these contexts as places where teaching and learning might take place. The subject of ch.6 - `Learning outside the classroom: informal and non-formal learning, motivation and flow' gives the melody line to voices which have taken hitherto supporting roles, as it develops into rich conversation between transformative learning, personality type, and the structure of peak experiences, with the aim of demonstrating both why informal and non-formal learning deserves recognition in the literature on adult learning, and why teaching is as crucial to these forms of learning as it is to learning in school, college or university.

The author isn't developing a thesis. The book's relation to theory, both those established in the current literature, and those introduced to it here, is much more conversational, and like many conversations it comes to a rather indeterminate end, but at the same time leaves one hoping to resume it, and maybe even enrich it with one's own observations and experience.

There are few criticisms to make. Some pictures would be nice. Seven short anecdotes in grey boxes does little to convey the book's excitement at the activity and experience of learning and teaching. I'd also like to see a definition of `andragogy', a word that is not even in the OED. The OU / McGraw-Hill education series books are prohibitively expensive, is there a reason for this? Finally - and this may be my ignorance of the discipline's conventions - I'd appreciate a definition of `adult'. As a university lecturer with two jobs, one of which is at the Open University, I found myself wondering whether `adult' meant anyone over the age of 18, or who had left full-time education, at least for a few years?


The Unquenchable Flame
The Unquenchable Flame
by Michael Reeves
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'They ate sausages', 6 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Unquenchable Flame (Paperback)
This is a punchy book, and Mike Reeves lands the knockout blow right at the end, on p.182: 'But perhaps what is really going on is that we relegate the issues because of a submerged cultural assumption that they are not actually true'. Talk about setting facing up to the issues! But he presents the question as one which also faced all the key figures in his narrative, and it is this that makes it so resonant. Reeves' achievement lies in his passionate argument about the importance of reformation theology: not simply that theology was important to Luther, Calvin, and the other reformers, but also that, as theology, it is still a live issue today, insofar that it makes claims that demand a verdict. He's has carried off an impressive task, drawing live issues from a historical narrative, and explaining them clearly and briefly.

But if his writing takes as much care to explain the issues as the Puritans took to explain their theology, his narrative is also as down to earth as the language of the preachers he so admires. So, for example, we learn that: 'In Zurich, they didn't do revolts and rampages. They ate sausages', and that the American puritan Coton Mather resolved to 'shape in my mind some holy, noble and divine thought' when 'emptying the cistern of nature', ie. having a pee. It's all great fun, very informative, written in clear and succinct language, and shorter than many novels. Ideal commuter reading. I was engrossed just hours after having dental surgery, which I hope says something!

Criticisms? Well, if one strength of the book is the way it links events on the continent to subsequent developments in Britain, it does tend to go on about the Puritans a bit. Reeves' careful explanation of different stages of reformation - what historians call the Henrician, Edwardian, and Elizabethan reformations - is exemplary, given the common assumption that Henry's break with Rome meant that Britain became a protestant country. He clearly admires the Puritans, and I think he sees in them a model of evangelical ministry, not only on a pastoral level, but also in a hostile political context. But if they are so relevant for Christians today, it's a shame he doesn't talk about other key figures such as John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, or Martin Lloyd-Jones. To do so would be more consistent with his view that the Reformation, which he says was not a 'movement away from Rome' but rather 'a movement towards the gospel', is far from over.

Overall, this is a super book. Its key strength is the way it uses the study of historical events to identify, clarify and even amplify key issues which concern us all: 'What will happen to me when I die? How can I know?'. Is justification a gift, or is it a process? Does Christ justify me, or do I need to justify myself too? It's an approach which drives a narrative of compassion and great conviction.
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