Review: The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me four tries to read this book, each previous attempt has ended maybe 50 pages in, eveyone said it’s a great book, I just could not push myself to read it. I am not a fantasy fan. I am especially not a great fan of high fantasy. The idea of learning tons of strange to pronouce names and new magic systems was just too much for me.
On the fourth try I told myself that I have to read at least 20% of the book before I quit it for the final time. Well it worked. I now finished this monster of a book (over 1000 pages!!!) and I can’t wait for more.
I loved this book, and now consider Brandon Sanderson to be one of my favourite authors. I love every character he creates, and the world they live in is fantastic. There is so much to discover here, so much mystery and strange ideas. I think I’m becoming a fan of this genre.


Review: Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church

Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church
Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church by Rev. Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A difficult book. I may have to read it again few times to get more out of it. This is by far the best treatment on predestination I have ever read. It states clearly the different schools of thought within Catholicism. It also shows the errors of various heresies.

Few quotes from the book:

We shall return to this point. But in any case, from this minimum admitted by all we get three propositions to which all Catholic theologians subscribe. They are: (1) Predestination to the first grace is not because God foresaw our naturally good works, nor is the beginning of salutary acts due to natural causes; (2) predestination to glory is not because God foresaw we would continue in the performance of supernaturally meritorious acts apart from the special gift of final perseverance; (3) complete predestination, in so far as it comprises the whole series of graces from the first up to glorification, is gratuitous or previous to foreseen merits. These three propositions are admitted by all Catholic theologians. But Thomists and Augustinians on the one hand, and Molinists and congruists on the other, differ in their interpretation of them.

We see that the teaching of the Church against these conflicting heresies may be summed up in these profound words of St. Prosper, which the Council of Quierzy makes its own. Against Pelagianism and Semipelagianism the council says: “That some are saved, is the gift of Him who saves.” Against predestinarianism it says: “That some perish, is the fault of those who perish.” Holy Scripture expressed the same thought in these words: “Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in Me.”

“Predestination is a part of providence. Now providence, as also prudence, is the plan existing in the intellect directing the ordering of some things towards an end. But nothing is directed towards an end unless the will for that end already exists. Whence the predestination of some to eternal salvation presupposes, in the order of reason, that God wills their salvation; and to this belong both election and love.”

Review: On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century
On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Jorge Mario Bergoglio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title should be different.

This book is a series of conversations between Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now our new Pope Francis) and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. They talk about a wide array of topics giving both Jewish and Christian answers respectively.

I really liked the style of this book. The respectful conversation between these two men really impressed me.

It offers a great insight into the mind of our new Pope. This is maybe the best look at what he thinks about issues that I have found to date.

I was also very impressed with Rabbi Skorka. He is a very intelligent man and I’ve learned a lot about Jewish views on many issues.

I highly recommend this book for both Christians and Jews alike! We have a lot to learn from each other.

Review: When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers

When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers
When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When it comes to books about the early church fathers there are many options out there. I must say that I was not really looking forward to reading this, I’ve read quite a bit about the early church and was suffering from a little fatigue, when it comes to this subject matter. I am glad that I didn’t listen to my inner lazy self.

This book is great. In fact if I was to recommend a book on the early church fathers to someone it would be this book. Unlike other books you really get to know the fathers. Their lives and circumstances present the context for what they wrote and how they contributed to God’s plan for His Church.

One of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

Review: By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition

By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition
By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark P. Shea
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe that this is the first Mark Shea book that I have ever read. I’ve read a lot of apologetics books over the last 10 years. This one has always been on my radar but I never got around to reading it. Now I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Shea’s blog for as long as I remember. It is one of few blogs that I follow daily.

Perhaps I was over saturated with apologetics. Each new book pretty much outlined the same arguments in doctrine by doctrine basis. This got tired for a while.

Another reason in the recent years was my lack of space at home and my preference for ebooks. Mark’s books have not been converted to ebook format for some reason, so I did not pick them up. “By What Authority?” is finally an ebook and now I have no excuses.

This book is amazing. I don’t remember reading a clearer explanation and reasons for Sacred Tradition. Mark reasons his way out of an evangelical understanding of Bible alone to the Catholic understanding of Sacred Tradition and Scriptures. He throws every argument that an evangelical may raise at each step of the journey. The journey that he himself has completed. The objections┬áthat he himself has worked through.

It is always more refreshing to hear Catholic doctrine described by a former non Catholic. We Catholics tend to take so much for granted. Our doctrine seems so obvious to us that sometimes it boggles the mind that others can’t see it. Converts have this ability to point out things that Catholics would not readily think about.

I am sorry that I didn’t read this book sooner. Mark is a great writer. Now I want to read every other book he has ever written.

Highly recommended.