Quick Picks: Mixed Media's May Reviews

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The Enneagram for Spiritual Formation: How Knowing Ourselves Can Make Us More Like Jesus

By AJ Sherrill

Reviewed by Lorilee Craker

In this wise and insightful book, AJ Sherrill offers readers an advanced course in the Enneagram, a personality theory with ancient roots that includes nine different personality types. He goes beyond the basics to unlock new ways of viewing identity, personality, discipleship, evangelism, and the Bible.

One of the most fascinating and helpful aspects of the book is how Sherrill connects each type to a biblical character, for better or for worse. Every personality has a healthy, bright side and a darker, more problematic side. We are all fallen creatures. Sherrill helps us “excavate” our darker sides  to reveal more and more of our true identity as children of God. “To be made in God’s image,” he says, “is to be agapetos—beloved.” (Brazos Press)

A Black Women’s History of the United States (Audiobook)

By Diana Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross, narrated by Janina Edwards

Reviewed by Michelle Loyd-Paige

Did you know that Isabel de Olvera, a woman of African heritage, explored much of North America in the early 1600s as a free woman? That was news to me. I didn’t know there were women explorers in the 1600s, let alone free Black women explorers. Most of my classes on Black U.S. history started with slavery. But we were not always slaves.

This book is a history of the U.S. from the 1600s to 2000—but one in which Black women and their contributions are on full display. Janina Edwards’ narration is arresting and comforting, whether she is narrating the brutality of slavery or the wonder of discovery. I see God’s hand of grace and mercy on the lives of Black women in the United States. (Not recommended for young readers. Audible, 10 mours, 2 minutes)

The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Poetic Retelling of John Bunyan’s Classic Tale

By Rousseaux Brasseur, illustrated by Katja Longhi

Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

In 1678, John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory depicting the Christian life. Since then, the novel has been translated into more than 200 languages and has never been out of print. In this poetic retelling of Bunyan’s work, Rousseaux Brasseur makes the tale accessible to a young, modern audience. The narrator, Christian, experiences trials and temptations as well as companionship and refreshment on his journey from the City of Destruction to the Cross and then to the heavenly City of Glory. The book is recommended for children ages 8-12. Its allegorical content and spiritual meaning will be better understood and appreciated with adult guidance. Katja Longhi’s bright, animated illustrations enhance Brasseur’s rhyming couplets. (Harvest House Publishers)

No Stupid Questions (Podcast)

Reviewed by Kristen Parker

Which gets you further: talent or effort? Is optimism a luxury or a good? How much do your friends affect your future? All of these questions and more are talked about on the No Stupid Questions podcast.

Author Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics) and research psychologist and author Angela Duckworth (Grit) use this podcast to create an environment in which they can ask each other anything, because there are “no stupid questions.” Their casual conversations are interwoven with intellectual insights.

No Stupid Questions leaves the listener feeling like a fly on the wall listening in to two people chatting over coffee. It can be found on Apple Podcasts, Good Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast streaming services. Each episode is under 40 minutes.

 

The Lowdown

Posting Peace: Author Douglas S. Bursch offers practical ways to model online peacemaking and reconciliation. (IVP)

The Princess and the President: A friendship forged in war is beautifully portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Swedish star Sofia Helin as Norwegian Crown Princess Martha in Atlantic Crossing, based on a true story of passion and politics. (April 4, PBS)

Godzilla vs. Kong: It’s the showdown we’ve been waiting for since 2014’s Godzilla. Director Adam Wingard helms this climactic entry in Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse series. Who will win when the giant ape takes on the lizard king? (PG-13, Warner Bros., March 31)

Malcolm Gladwell’s Latest: In The Bomber Mafia, Gladwell ponders how technology and people’s best intentions collide in the heat of war while examining the bombing of Tokyo during World War II. (April 27, Little, Brown and Company)

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