January Book Review

I know that we are well into February, but here are some books that I read in January and what I thought about them.

Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell

Velvet Elvis

I had previously read Rob Bell’s Love Wins and enjoyed it so much I decided to get this book. It seems to be in a similar vein to Love Wins. Rob Bell talks about his journey with Mars Hill church, how quickly it grew and overwhelmed him. He seems real and vulnerable in this book and gives some great idea for the church.

He talks about the church and his ideas about where it’s at and hints at where it should go. One idea that he provides that is particularly powerful to me is the idea of redefining God. He talks about how the church has put God into a box and how we should still be trying to figure out who He is.

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

Yes Please

I listened to this book on audiobook, and it was hugely enjoyable. Amy Poehler brings her life to light in the most hilarious way. I know Amy Poehler from Parks and Rec as the hilarious Leslie Knope.

After listening to this book, I feel like many of the things in Poehler’s life are mirrored in her characterization of Leslie Knope. Throughout the book she speaks of how hard she worked to get to the top. She expresses how it was not about her having connections or money, but rather about all the groundwork she put in to get better and better comedy jobs. In Parks and Rec, Leslie Knope works her ass off even when she knows nobody’s watching, because she knows what’s best for the community. I feel like Amy knows what’s best for herself and works hard to get it.

She has a chapter about sleep and how it escapes her constantly. She is so busy working, and raising her kids, and writing the book, and doing everything else. Leslie Knope never seems to sleep. She is always working to make things better. Amy works so hard and this book shows it.

The book is rife with poetry, letters, and prose that she has written about things in her life as well as her narrative. The poems and letters are hilarious, and reading just one of them will lure you into the book.

Amy Poehler is an inspirational person and I would definitely recommend this book. If you pick up the audiobook copy, it even has guest stars.

Does Jesus Really Love Me?, Jeff Chu

Does Jesus Really Love MeWhat a touching book: Jeff Chu, a Chinese-American gay Christian journalist, takes a journey across America interviewing various people about the stat of Christianity and the LGBT community. In a true journalistic fashion, he includes many perspectives from varying sides of the argument.

Near the beginning of the book, he interviews members of Westboro Baptist Church. He makes a bold statement by interviewing these people who are clearly opposed to his worldview and including the results of the interview in his book. I applaud his boldness.

He interviews various people who have been involved in Exodus groups. Exodus groups are Christian groups who claim they can pray the gay away. It seems from the interviews that these groups have unsurprisingly low success rates.

Throughout his interviews he intersperses his own story as well as some emails from a touching story of a Christian person who is struggling with coming out.

This is a rough issue to cover, and I feel that Jeff does a great job covering all sides. He covers everything from gay atheists and Westboro Baptist Church to gay non-celibate pastors. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about how Christianity can work with the LGBT community, as the church has a long road to acceptance.

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I’m F*cking Sorry

In December of 2014 I started a new job. I have encountered the most bizarre phenomenon people apologize to me for swearing as if I were a priest. I’m not quite sure the reason of this. I’m not sure whether they are embarrassed, uncertain if I will be offended, or if I unconsciously give them some sort of look that says that I don’t like what they are saying. I try to keep my word-based antics to a minimum at work to be “professional,” however I don’t feel offended when other people speak as they would like to.

I’ve been saying a few swear words than I normally would at a place-of-work to see if I can get out the idea that I don’t care, but it hasn’t seemed to work yet.

Dear co-workers,

You can say what you like without apologizing. It’s ok. I’m cool with you talking how you feel. Anyway, I know that you are still getting used to me as I am getting used to you. But fucking seriously, I’m okay with your shit. ;)

With love,

–Matt Farah