Monday, April 07, 2014
This atlas provides a similar service. The first few chapters of the atlas discuss the geography of the Middle East which is useful for understanding why some of the events unfolded the way they did. Subsequent chapters take readers through Biblical history with maps and charts detailing the movement of the Patriarchs, the conquest of Canaan, the kingdom united and divided, the time between the Testaments and the time of Jesus and the early church.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of information that Zondervan packed into this 160 page atlas. (It's a bookshelf book that would fit into a tote bag--not a coffee table book.) Readers have around 200 detailed maps and photographs to examine, plus color charts, tables, and graphs that provide historical context and relevant information for each section. Carl Rasmussen's articles on the different periods of Biblical history are detailed and his writing style is easy for laypeople to follow. He provides ample Biblical citations and explains where archaeologists are still trying to determine location for Biblical events.
This is much more than just an atlas to look up places on maps. The articles are a helpful companion as you study the Bible and the Scripture index helps locate maps and charts relevant to a passage.
Highly recommended. An essential reference for anyone who's serious about Bible study. Also useful for anyone planning a trip to the Holy Land.
I received a copy of this atlas from Booklook Bloggers in return for an honest review.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
This particular frame focuses on America's public schools. Barna's research found that 46% of Americans think public schools are on the decline and fewer than half of Americans view public schools favorably. While more than 77% of Christians believe that they should get involved in public schools, many are unsure how to get involved or feel that schools don't want Christians to be involved.
Author Nicole Baker Fulgham introduces readers to the world of students at low-performing (mostly urban) schools and the need for Christians to take an active role in mentoring, tutoring, and otherwise supporting schools as they work to overcome overwhelming social and educational problems.
The final chapter briefly introduces us to a church in Oregon that has gotten involved and provides advice for finding ways for churches to partner with schools in crisis.
I was interested in this Frame because I work at an urban school that is succeeding, largely through the efforts of dedicated staff and numerous volunteers who support teachers and students. My own church partners with several local schools to address the needs of children who run the risk of going hungry on the weekend when no school breakfast or lunch is available.
I applaud Nicole Baker Fulgham for her call to Christians to engage this social problem head on. She invites Christians to get involved directly through volunteering, but also encourages Christians to take on the role of advocate with local school boards and state and local governments to provide better funding and to learn about the social issues that impact the community.
Although Schools in Crisis is brief--a mere 72 pages of discussion--it packs in a good deal of well documented research and personal stories. I agree with Fulgham; this is an issue that Christians should engage--not to throw stones at public schools, but to help lift up the teachers, staff, and students in at-risk schools.
This is a social issue that impacts everyone in America, whether you have children or not. Highly recommended.
I was provided with a copy of this book by HarperCollins Christian Publishing in return for an honest review.