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Notable Books

Notable Books | Christian books about work, death, and trust

Issue: "Food stamps surge," Nov. 19, 2011

Finishing Well to the Glory of God

Is it possible to die well? Physician John Dunlop, a specialist in gerontology, has seen many patients, both Christian and non-Christian, die. He writes that "dying well is rarely a coincidence. Rather it results from choices made throughout life." Writing from his perspective as a Christian, a doctor, and a cancer survivor, Dunlop suggests nine strategies for finishing well. This book is a good starting point for thinking through a biblical view of living and dying, and then making practical decisions about medical treatments, living situations, time, and the use of medical technology. Whether we are pondering our own death or the death of a loved one, this book offers wise counsel that challenges our tendency to postpone thinking about it.

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well

Billy Graham writes in the introduction to this book, "I will soon celebrate my ninety-third birthday, and I know it won't be long before God calls me home to Heaven." He covers some topics-estate planning-that are covered better elsewhere. But his wisdom shines when he writes from his own deep well of experience and relationship with God. His life and walk give him authority to write about grief and hope, loneliness and depression, and influencing the young and living for Christ until the end. He encourages the elderly and challenges the rest of us to build our lives on the sure foundation of the gospel.

Work, Love, Pray

Christian women can find plenty of books about motherhood, marriage, and childrearing, but career-minded women have fewer resources, so Paddison's book fills an important niche. She weaves her personal story throughout this engaging, practical guide to achieving professional success. As a Harvard MBA and the chief strategy officer of a big commercial real estate company, Paddison has the credentials to offer frank and honest counsel to women just starting out: Here are pitfalls. Learn from my mistakes. Let your employer know that family and faith take priority. The book does not pretend to be a theology of work or women's roles. Instead it provides insight and advice to Christian professional women who want to balance work and family while being faithful to God.

Enough

This 78-page pamphlet packs a lot of wisdom into a small package. Helen Roseveare was a long-time medical missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was brutally kidnapped and held hostage in the 1960s. She learned through her life that "God has enough to supply all our needs. Enough for salvation, enough for forgiveness, enough to overcome temptations, enough to persevere in adversities, enough to calm our fears and anxieties. Enough grace, enough love, enough power." Each chapter expands on one of these themes, with anecdotes drawn from her own life. She doesn't offer her life as an exemplary template. Instead, accounts of her failures draw attention to God's ample provision.

Spotlight

Tim Goeglein, President George W. Bush's liaison with the evangelical community, left the White House after plagiarizing newspaper columns (WORLD, April 5, 2008; Oct. 23, 2010). Goeglein tells his story in the unvarnished first chapter of his White House memoir The Man in the Middle (B&H Books, 2011), and also gives useful background on issues like the Bush position on stem-cell research.

That said, his portrait of the president verges on hagiography, and he's too soft on a host of others: his boss Karl Rove, Republican National Committee Chair (now a gay activist) Ken Mehlman, and Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter, who worked to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and was unpredictable on abortion votes. Despite these shortcomings, this book and Goeglein himself-now Focus on the Family's point man in Washington-are inspirations to those looking to turn humiliation into humility and to surmount the rubble of past failures through repentance.

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