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May Book List

I've been writing book reviews kind of randomly, but I like Suzanne's (at The Glorious Mundane) idea of reviewing all the books read in month at the end of the month.  So for this blog we're going all the way back to May, in which I finished four books.

The first is called The Unseen Face of Islam written by Bill Musk.  This is a book I would highly recommend for anybody living in an Is[am]c country or who has Mus[]m neighbors.  In the first half of the book Mr. Musk gives a case study, telling a story that illustrates world view that might be other than what you think you would see in that religion.  In the second half of the book he goes into greater detail about what is often referred to as "folk Is[am".  For example, here in Niger, during the fast month, little boys paint themselves white, glue cotton balls on themselves, or put paper on themselves.  They call themselves "tobey" (bunny rabbits) and go around during the fast month asking for money.  It's very similar to trick or treat.  You won't find that any where in the K*ran or in the Had*ths, but it's a common practice.  Another example is a wide spread belief in the "evil eye", in the power of curses, and in the need to protect yourself from harm.  Mr. Musk does a great job of broadening our knowledge of what Is]am looks like for an ordinary Mus[]m.

When we were in England I grabbed a book off the shelf of our hosts.  I've heard a lot about it, it was short enough I knew I could finish it while I was there, and I wanted something to read on bus rides.  The book was Marjorie Foyle's Honorably Wounded. She writes about what good member care for missionaries and other full-time workers should look like and some of the unique struggles they face.  The book was the original 1987 version I think, and it was gratifying to see how many of her recommendations are done as common practice in SIM today.  I'd like to see how the updated version differs.  One of the biggest things I took away from the book is that she talked about how she doesn't like the term "burnout".  Technically, in space craft, when burnout takes place, the craft is rendered useless.  However, in people when burnout occurs, they are not rendered useless.  They inevitably have to cut back and have a time of recovery and they may never again be able to do all they did before.  But they can still have a very useful ministry.  They aren't finished.  She prefers to call out "brownout" which is like our power here in Niger sometimes.  It just isn't up to full speed and the lights dim, the voltage regulators start clicking.  Something is wrong and it's wise to turn off all electronics until the voltage stabilizes.  Similarly a person going through "brownout" needs to unplug and remove themselves from the situation until they stabilize.  But they aren't forever useless as the term burnout indicates.

The third book was The Warrior by Joyce Swann.  I got this book free on my kindle and when I started reading it, I thought, well, this will be hokey.  But I really got into it and even though the writing style seemed stilted to me, I ended up thinking it was an excellent book.  I don't want to give away the entire story, so I'll just summarize by saying the author successfully shows the importance of intercessory prayer by telling a powerful story while never being preachy.

And the fourth book was Pride and Prejudice.  This was a repeat read for me, but, you know, everybody needs a little Jane Austen now and then.  I'll have to watch the movie again now.  Did you know lots of classic books are free for Kindle?  This was one that I got free.
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