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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Keeping your eyes on Christ

I'm a Roman Catholic, but found this book after praying for some insight into difficulty with forgiveness.

Several decades ago, I experienced clerical sexual abuse at the hands of a young priest. I reported this to the bishop, who lied as he made promises to remove the priest from ministry. Two successive bishops have protected the now aged priest who remains in active ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte to this day. When I admitted my struggle to forgive the priest in confession (to another priest), I was given as a penance to pray for my abuser's soul. I was left with anger, resentment, heartbreak, and a sense of betrayal that I could not put into words.

I came to Lotz's book with the idea that going to any church is the best way to lose your relationship with Christ, not to strengthen it. How many of us must feel this way? Now that I have read it, I have a (slightly) more hopeful perspective.

I found Lotz's book to be enlightening. I was naive about her, suspecting Billy Graham's daughter would be treated with the greatest respect. I was so wrong! She is forthright, candid, and without self-pity as she reveals her own struggles with a far less-than-perfect spiritual experience with the people of God.

The Bible stories I've always loved are explained in a way particularly relevant to those of us who have struggled with forgiveness, have felt alienated and alone, or have been betrayed by those who acted in ungodly ways in the very name of God. Those wounds are with us always and we take them everywhere. But there is an answer, and Lotz builds up to it gradually as she offers truly helpful suggestions and ideas for those whose hearts have been broken by fellow Christians.

I am so pleased and blessed to have read it and recommend it to anyone who is struggling with these issues. It's an easy read, but by no means a slight or insignificant one. I truly believe it can give a new perspective, and look forward to considering its meaning over the following months.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-18

Grace and gravitas

Each of us has a style of teacher we prefer. For me, Father King is perfect. I love his voice and quiet, unassuming delivery with just a touch of dry British wit. He encourages us to read the New Testament and to decide for ourselves whether or not the Christ we find therein is someone to whom we wish to give our lives. This is not a throwaway comment or altar call invitation: it is a foundational question of the Christian faith.

I found much that I had not considered before, even after decades of reading the Bible. Sometimes we are too familiar with what we have read for so long. His questions and considerations were very useful to me. His erudition and scholarship are evident in his historical and textual comments.

Truly, Father King is a gifted teacher who encourages the student to investigate and contemplate the truth. He doesn't preach and yell and make a spectacle of himself as he does so. How rare this is!I found this title after listening to many other Bible studies. What I liked best about this title is that here the New Testament is the star, not its teacher.

Protestants often repeat the libel that Catholics do not know what is in the Bible. This is a calumny, an ad hominem attack aimed at us when we fail to submit to the heresy of Sola Scriptura. Many Catholics do read the Bible, know what it is in it, and love the word of God. If you are not yet one who does, this title may change that. If you are, Father King will deepen and enhance your faith and study. I recommend it without reservation.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

Extraordinary narration, questionable translation

I could scarcely imagine a more captivating, charming narrator than Katie Scarfe for this incredible book. I adore Julian and her message of love. However, I was not aware that this was the Mirabai Starr translation, which is no deeper than the plot of a feel-good movie. The translation, if you can call it that, glosses over difficult linguistic and conceptual realities in favor of an upbeat modernization. The result is a shallow, overly simplistic rendering. Had I know this, I wouldn't have purchased it. So five stars for extraordinary narration, five stars for Julian's original message, and one star for translation.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

Excessive interviewer intrusion

I really enjoyed Parke's imaginative treatment of Meister Eckhart, in which he visits the Dominican monastery and chats with him, bringing out the essence of his teachings with intelligent, down-to-earth questions. I expected something similar here, but was disappointed. Instead of the thoughtful, well-spaced questions of the previous title, the interviewer is intrusive and detracts from the message and teaching of Jesus. It is as if Parke were trying to be cute or witty throughout. I could hardly listen to it. For example, when Jesus said he saw Satan fall like lightning from the sky, Parke's interviewer says, "That must have been funny." For me, this is a typically shallow comment. On the other hand, Andrew Havill, the actor who speaks the words of Jesus, has a beautiful voice. His tone reminds me of character actor John Shrapnel, and his voice lends gravitas to an otherwise incredibly annoying display. I've never been clear about why Parke left the priesthood of the Church of England after 20 years. Perhaps if I did, I could understand why he would go to such great lengths to make a mockery of the New Testament. If you are interested in what Jesus said, you might look into David Suchet's reading of the canonical gospels and leave this where it is.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-18

Excruciating narration ruins a good book

I was exited to see this on audible and purchased it. Unfortunately, Barry Peterson is without a doubt the worst narrator I have ever heard. It was like listening to someone read aloud who is unaccustomed to doing so. He rushes ahead, has no sense of pacing, and his pronunciation of names is simply unbelievable. The worst part is that when he makes a mistake, he just backs up and starts the sentence over. This is not a rehearsal, Mr. Peterson. You should be word perfect before recording or have the self respect to fix the errors. The sound quality is so poor it sounds as if he recorded it on an old battery powered cassette recorder. None of the faults were fixed in post production. It is incredible to me that this was ever put on the market!

If you are interested in the basics of Neville Goddard's teachings, you can do no better than to listen to THE POWER OF AWARENESS, narrated by Grover Gardner. It hits all the basics this book covers.

If you get a chance to read this book in print, by all means do so. The stories and experiences within are inspiring.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-18

An insufferable satire about insufferable poets

When will I learn? Once again Sue Limb's writing is puerile, vulgar, and completely without humor. I thought the idea of a satire involving several English poets I find insufferable might be fun! Sadly, I stopped listening halfway through because this title is equally insufferable.

If you enjoy cringe-inducing puns, lame farcical situations, and relentless repetition, all in a setting devoid of imagination, by all means, listen to this mess.

I like most of the actors in this, so it's even more disappointing to hear them performing such dreck.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-18

Sadly lacking and somewhat annoying

Each one of us finds different things annoying. The thing at the top of my list is the mispronunciation of foreign words. Why oh why did they get an instructor with no familiarity whatsoever with Scandinavian speech to do an oral history of the bloody Vikings? Why a classicist? He slaughters every single place name and proper name with abandon.

There are also many words in English that Harl pronounces with what can only be called eccentricity. I found this so aggravating I almost stopped listening several times.

In terms of content, what I was looking for was less religion and culture and more economic and political history. Women are virtually unmentioned, Christianity's abuses are entirely glossed over, and much of the content is simply lacking in substance or sources.

I suppose it depends upon what one is looking for, but I didn't find that this course added much to my understanding of this period. If the subject is entirely new to you, you might find it useful.

I had some of Harl's courses in my Wish List, but after this ordeal, I will remove them. There's a teacher for each of us and he is not for me. Perhaps he will be for you. I wish you better luck.

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3 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-18

Unforgettable journey into the past

This title was an accidental discovery: I found it while searching for something narrated by Anton Lesser. I decided to try it, knowing I'd like anything performed by someone to whom I could listen were he to read Inland Revenue regulations aloud.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the book is not only narrated beautifully, but well written, fascinating, and highly entertaining.

If you enjoy the minutiae of history, this is great stuff. Go ahead and double that if you're already familiar with London. Ms Picard brings the city to life in truly unforgettable detail. I've studied a lot of English history, but I've neglected the Victorian era in favor of other periods. This book reminded me how much reading I've yet to do. That's a real treat with this kind of history: it leads you onward to still more discoveries.

I know this is a sign of getting old, but I find myself more and more unable to deal with people whinging and moaning about absolutely nothing. I'd like to put every snowflake (and helicopter parent and anyone else lacking what used to be known as a backbone) into a room with this book and let them listen until they could consider their blessings.

I enjoyed it so much I picked up the other three titles offered by Ms Picard. If they are as good as this, I'll be in for a triple treat. I recommend it without hesitation.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-02-18

Every Christian should hear Dr Neiman

Dr Neiman's lecture series is simply outstanding. Whether you are a Christian or a Jew, you will enjoy him tremendously because he is an absolutely unparalleled teacher.

But if you are a Christian, you may need to listen to this information because it covers history that is almost entirely neglected in a so-called Christian education and upbringing. In my experience, this entire history is ignored, if not exactly intentionally neglected, in the Christians I have known. It is appalling to find so few have any historical knowledge of the religion out of which their own emerged. But this need not be so.

Coming from a family background of mixed Christian and Jewish heritage, and having married a man who is of the same, we've often talked about how we've felt as if we didn't quite belong in either group. In this series, I found greater, older echoes of this sense of ambiguity.

The Church has never quite known what to do with the conflict between their new religion which was built upon Judaism and their belief that the Jews had rejected Christ and were therefore damned. This is the conundrum (for the Church) with which the series opens.

The discussion of the Diaspora and the Sephardi and Ashkenazi contributions to European culture is thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening throughout. Persecutions, forced and/or nearly inevitable conversions based on the need to survive and preserve one's family, and ghetto segregations are also a shameful, but inseparable part of their story. Obviously, modern persecutions did not simply arise out of thin air, and this, too, is an especially neglected area of history for those Christians who seem to think Hitler just came up with some bad ideas and have no idea how far all of this reaches back in history.

Neiman handles it all with equanimity, bringing in his immense erudition and knowledge of multiple languages to enliven his presentation. I could listen to him for years.

I've found all of Dr. Neiman's work to be edifying, thought provoking, and meaningful. Please listen to him and share this title with others. I promise you it will be time well spent!

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-26-18

You can't go wrong with Dr. Neiman!

It's David Neiman. You won't be disappointed! His breadth of knowledge, erudition, and comprehension of the ancient world are impressive. More to the point, he has such an easy, accessible way of communicating what he knows. Never dry, but always insightful and often witty, you'll enjoy your time with him. If only my college professor who taught us ancient history had been so gifted, I might not have fallen asleep during a lecture on Gilgamesh. As with all Dr. Neiman's lectures, I found myself wanting more. I've sought out books on Assyria, Sumeria, and other ancient cultures since I listened. That's the beauty of his teaching: he tempts you to study deeper and further. Obviously, I'm a fan. I've enjoyed all the titles audible offers from him. I hope they will bring out more in the future!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful