Daily Open Windows: Excerpts from the messages of T. Austin-Sparks (Four Stars)


Book Review: Daily Open Windows: Excerpts from the messages of T. Austin-Sparks

(Four Stars)

“The Kingdom is so much bigger than conversion.”

366 meditations on Christianity from the writings of a largely forgotten early twentieth-century British Christian evangelist. Each reading is self-contained and sufficient for both the dedicated worshiper and the inquirer, but assumes the reader a Christian. Exhortation over evangelism; holiness before works.

“The key to faith is this dividing of soul and spirit, or, in other words, the complete abnegation of self-interests.”

Austin-Sparks basic message involves Christian growth after conversion. He represents the strand of western Protestantism which returned to the basic Christian message or divided the church, depending on point of view. His ministry had a global impact.

“What, in the thought of God do Christians exist for? What does the Church exist for? There is only one answer … to be an expression of Christ. It is a reproduction of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Man cannot make, form, produce or ‘establish’ this.”

Quibble: the publishers seem to have been driven by a quantity-first measure. Many passages wander. Several could have been divided in two.

“So long as we are in line with God’s purpose His work can go on in us. What matters is not first of all our activity. God is more concerned with what is done in us than what we do for Him.”

(This review is of the paperback, but the cover shows on the kindle edition only.)

Book Review: Ike’s Bluff by Evan Thomas (Four Stars)


Book Review: Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas

(Four Stars)

“It is remarkable how little concern men seem to have for logic, statistics, and even, indeed, survival: we live by emotion, prejudice, and pride.” DDE

Another timely correction to the popular and scholarly evaluation of the presidency of Dwight David Eisenhower. For years both the media and academia have repeated a false, sometimes willfully so, image of our 34th president.

“The hatchet job was one of the most lasting and effective in political history.”

Thorough research and clear prose undergird Thomas’s work. Unlike what we read at the time and since, he reveals Continue reading

Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (Four Stars)


Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith by Thomas Merton

(Four Stars)

“By the gift of faith you touch God.”

Thoughtful and thought-provoking.

“The only law we (student Communists) had to obey was our own ineffable little wills. And if, afterwards, we changed our minds–well, were we not our own gods?”

Hard to believe this book was so popular when published in 1948. Merton sounds like a man from a different century, if not a different planet. His generation may have been the last to routinely learn Latin. He touched all the best his world had to offer in Cambridge, Columbia and the fleshpots of New York City and, while still relatively young, he left it–converted to Catholicism and became a Trappist monk.

“I had been suddenly illuminated by being blinded by the manifestation of God’s presence. I had to be led by a way that I could not understand and I had to follow a path that was beyond my choosing.”

Many parallels with C. S. Lewis’ conversion at about the same time, as reported in Surprised by Joy. Many converted to Catholicism in mid-twentieth century. That the converts had good and sufficient reason Continue reading