I just had the privilege of reading and reviewing some new books that will be released this month. Here's a snapshot of what I submitted to the great people at YouthW0rker Journal.
The Church Of Facebook: How The Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community
By Jesse Rice
David C Cook, 2009, 240 pp., $12.99
This book’s title suggests a study of Facebook and potential implications for how the church understands community. The real study presented, though, is how people and things fall into sync with one another in ways that seem “unnatural and inexplicable.” Rice utilizes “three realities” that explore how a population can be spontaneously synchronized with one another, the outcomes that creates, and the contagious adaptation that occurs.
Reading this resource feels like a journey with a flashlight – it’s easy to track with the narratives the author utilizes, and yet not see the punchline until he lays it in front of you. It’s also not clear who the target audience is, for any mention of Christianity comes across as seeker-sensitive and initially apologetic. Still, there are solid Malcolm Gladwell-style takeaways for church leaders looking to intelligently maximize social networking and understand how a changing culture defines feeling “connected.”
Ignite Your Faith: 365 Devotions to Set Your Faith on Fire
By Baker Publishing Group
Revell, 2009, 384 pp., $14.99
The editors at Campus Life have successfully identified some of their best devotions for teens and young adults and forged them together into this thick resource. The book’s size is arguably more comforting than intimidating in that it offers young people a highly empowering approach to spend time with God each day. With almost fifty categories that group it all together, students will feel empowered by the unique blend of Scripture with the everyday issues they face.
What makes this kind of book so practical, though, is that it creates conversation that teenagers can explore with their parents, youth group, or friends. Many of the challenges that the devotions offer really seem able to push readers forward in their faith in both public and private ways. Whether you grab this as a gift or read it in community, this is one compilation you won’t want to miss.
God Guy: Becoming the Man You're Meant to Be
By Michael DiMarco
Revell, 2009, 176 pp., $14.99
God Girl: Becoming the Woman You're Meant to Be
By Hayley DiMarco
Revell, 2009, 176 pp., $14.99
Michael and Hayley DiMarco have clarified and simplified a bold challenge for young men and women to become “God Guys” and “God Girls.” These are more than tame, gender-specific books that say the same things we’ve read in other places. There is a real sense of biblical wisdom and seasoned confidence that help reestablish godly manhood and womanhood to the emerging generation.
God Guy looks and feels like a “guy’s book” that challenges young men to not fake their faith but instead become truly connected to Jesus. The author pulls no punches in describing a biblical-masculinity that empowers one to feel strong in every area of life.
God Girl pushes that same envelope on a feminine level, helping young women to reexamine life through core Scriptures that lead to practical life change. No area is off limits, from external and internal beauty to how the Lord defines true friendship.
These resources are the real deal, and you will be hard pressed to find something better. Get them into the hands of your kids and help them take hold of their original God-given identities.