Thursday, January 01, 2009

Books Read in January 2009 (6)

1. The Practical Christianity of Malcolm Muggeridge by David Porter

I knew the author as a friend and also visited the Muggeridges at their home. David was an evangelical Christian interviewing Mug just before he announced his move to Rome. Mug was a very different kind of Christian and David sympathetically brings this out in this fascinating book which has some great quotes by and about Mug. I can first hand concur with Davis as to why Mug joined the RCs. I asked him and he replied with one word. Abortion. He thought only the RCs had a clear position against it.

2. Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War by Hugh Bicheno

I was disappointed by this book. There is no real analysis of the causes of the war not details of how it affected ordinary people. This is military history only. I did not find the subject nor the style gripping.

3. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

I was given this as a gift from friends politically much to my left. it is not the sort of book i have ever read or would buy, even from a politician on my end of the spectrum, but I am glad I was given it. It is a good read.

Obama comes across as an able writer and politician, a fair man not slow to praise those from whom he differs and to learn from them' he seems to be mature and wise beyond his years.

Yes he is a liberal politically and as a Christian. I am not. But he states his case well. He is very articulate though od course I remain unconvinced as to his policies. He tells us where he stands on lots of things. He wants the rich to pay more tax and even has Warren Buffet on side. Not me. He wants death duties. I do not. He wants redistribution of wealth by taxation. Not me. He does not see government as the answer to all problems. good. It is not, but he will want a far bigger state that i would, but then so will most of you. He wants a strong America, He is no pacifist.

He leaves us in the dark on Islam, the EU, the special relationship with the UK, global warming etc. Bur what he says is enlightening. It is well said and as a result of reading this book he has my good will for his future. I expect him to be President for the next eight years so we shall see if hi promise is fulfilled.

Many admire him for being the first black to be president. My admiration is more for a man without his own millions getting there.

4.The myth of over-population - Rousas John Rushdoony

Written in 1969 this short book seems dated. It could not take account of present Western demographics where the indigenous populations of so many countries are not reproducing but their populations rise due to immigration and immigrant fecundity. The book also predates most Western abortion, AIDs, and the fall of that socialism which the author blames for food shortages in planned economies. Rushdoony ranges far and wide in his historical writing. I agree with his thesis that over-population is not our problem. It is the failure to produce food under statist regimes whether of left or right. Food is plentiful if free markets are developed for it.

5. A distant grief by F. Kefa Sempangi

On January 25 1971 Idi Amin overthrew the Ugandan government of Milton Obote. That June, the author, his wife and baby returned home after study and marriage in England and The Netherlands. he was to lecture in art history at Makarere University, quickly start an orphanage and eventually to pastor a large, rapidly growing Redeemed Church of Uganda. By May 1972 they were a congregation of over 4000 with 35 elders. August 4 1972 Amin gave Uganda's Asians 90 days to leave the country. Two days later Chef saw himself the brutal evidence of torture, rape, mutilation and murder beginning to mar the land. Reacting against this horror, a prominent outspoken atheist businessman and politician professed faith in Christ and joined the church. In January 1973 Kiwanuka was a godly chairman on the church board. Preaching In November 1972, when Chef pronounced the benediction, a young boy , crippled from birth was healed. The mother brought the boy to an amazed preacher and with them came to witch doctor whose medicine had failed to heal the boy. The witch doctor asked for the power that healed the boy. She trusted Christ and brought her many fetishes to be burned. By the next month 150 more witch doctors became Christians burning their idols. Another feared witch doctor cursed the Redeemed church only to suddenly drown during a magic ritual. min sought help from Libya to make Uganda Muslim. An estimated 90,000 people were killed in 1972. The church ministered to heal and counsel suffering families. In February 1973 Amin ordered his Nubian assassination squads of the State research Bureau to torture and brutally murder 2,000 prominent leading Ugandans. There were televised public executions. Muslim army officers were now the rulers of the land. No-one dared resist the brutal open violence. Easter 1973 over 7.000 attended worship, among them five secret police who were to kill Chef after the service. Threatening him with instant death Chef heard himself telling these men that they were the ones in danger of eternal destruction. The soldiers asked Chef to pray for them. They left promising to protect him. The leader returned asking what was a born again man to do, one who had murdered over 200 people. He and his comrades were now among 14,000 attending the church. They protected many fellow believers. In April 1973 Chef and family flew to Amsterdam escaping the growing persecution. In September, against the advice of their friends, the Rookmakers, they flew back to Uganda. They found themselves R targets. They had to flee to Kenya and returning to Amsterdam narrowly escaped deportation back to Uganda. Amin's thugs were now murdering Ugandans in Europe too as they had done in Kenya. In February 1974 the family moved to America for theological studies. By the next year a ministry was established to send material help to suffering Ugandans. The book was written in 1978 with Amin's estimated death toll at over 300,000. It is a remarkable testimony to God's grace among a suffering people, of lives transformed.

6. Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English
This is a fine history of English. It dates from before the Norman Conquest which was in danger of making French our national tongue. but Henry IV took the court back to English. Then the big names are Chaucer, Wycliffe and greatest of all, Tyndale. Bragg has a real appreciation for the role of these two Bible translators in forming our language. Their influence exceeds Shakespeare. Next, the language crosses the Atlantic and moves on westwards. Bragg gives us the origins of many words, especially those form other tongues. However his derivation of redneck from suntan is I think wrong. My understanding is a derivation form the kerchiefs worn by Scottish Covenanters who settled in the southern USA. Similarly I have heard a differenet origin for on the wagon.

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