Review of Why Men Hate Going to Church (Revised and Updated) by David Murrow


Genre: Gender Studies/Church Growth

Loosely Recommended.

This is a love it or hate it kind of book and I experienced a bit of both.

Murrow makes many sweeping generalizations of gender differences and occasionally even of denominational differences, many of which I found offensive. He comments frequently that women are smarter than men, more studious, musical, and religious, while church-going men are wimpy, effeminate and unmanly. I see where he’s going with this–that some personalities are fit for “church culture” while others are not–but his gender stereotypes are grossly exaggerated.

I also had a problem with his goal-oriented interpretation of history. Throughout his writing, he briefly explains moments in church history, each time giving story-telling precedence over facts. He has interesting theories, but they aren’t grounded in evidence. In fact, most of his writing is based on observation rather than good research.

If we followed his advice, every congregation would be a mega-church (in style and growth). But is this what we want? It’s not what I want.

But despite all this, he does make some interesting arguments, bringing many insights to the table that would otherwise be overlooked. He mentions, for instance, that a sense of mission and adventure have been missing from the way churches present and carry out the gospel message. I agree. I don’t think this is a gender issue so much as a whole church issue. He also demonstrates that the church operates in a very slim selection of spiritual and practical giftings while many “more manly” giftings are left out. Again, I don’t see this as exclusively a gender problem, but I’d agree that the traditional church set-up does not cater to every learning style or personality. I also liked his criticism of the “romancing” of the gospel. While the Bride of Christ is one of my favorite analogies, it’s taken too literally in many circles, and this kind of Jesus-is-my-husband thinking isn’t healthy for men or women.

This would be a great book for small group discussion. It brings up so many questions and is an excellent starting point for many heated (and productive) discussions–largely due to the the author’s strong and controversial opinions.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogging Program through


Review of Waiting for Dawn by Susan May Warren


This is a guest review by my grandma, Beda Stewart.

Genre: Romance/Action/Novella


Department of Defense heroine, Lacey Galloway, spices up her predictable life by trekking overseas to rescue her MIA, secret crush, Sergeant First Class Jim Micah. Micah’s best friend and Lacey’s ex-boyfriend, Lieutenant John Montgomery, aids in the rescue, which stirs up Lacey’s heart and divides her feelings between the two men.

I enjoyed Waiting for Dawn, but was surprised it was so short. The story was fast paced and held my attention. I especially felt it was nice to be reading a fiction book that wove scripture into the plot; it was great to see references to God and his love interspersed between the story lines! Also, the characters obviously knew each other and had been in other books together. I enjoyed their chemistry and would enjoy reading more about their adventures together!

I also found it rather interesting to learn about the tribes and some of culture of Afghanistan since it is so much in the news today!  Warren’s descriptions really gave me an idea of what the land was like.

Furthermore, I appreciated that the romantic moments were real but not so in depth as in some of the secular romance novels. It’s nice to read a book with a Christian touch!! I’m excited to read some of her other books!

I received a complimentary digital ARC from the Tyndale Blog Network through NetGalley.


Review of The Crossing by Serita Jakes


Genre: Contemporary Fiction; Mystery/Crime


I really enjoyed reading The Crossing. The story immediately caught my attention and kept my interest. But it’s not traditional light-hearted Christian fiction. The characters deal with real issues (Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anger issues, drunkenness, high spending, adultery, etc., etc.) and are honestly portrayed. It’s probably not the story for the reader who wants neat happy endings, but the depth and honesty of the characters and events is what makes the story so compelling.

A ten year old murder case is reopened in a small rural Texan community: a masked gunman had targeted and killed the cheerleading coach after a high school football game while the bus was stopped at the railroad tracks. ADA Victor Campbell is eager to find the killer and bring his wife (a witness and close friend of the victim) the closure she needs. Football player, Casio Hightower, now a police officer and assistant in the investigation, was also shot that day, and has a personal stake in finding the killer. As they investigate the murder that happened at the railroad crossing long ago, each of the characters are also at crossings of their own. Will any of them find THE cross and reconcile with the Lord, Jesus Christ?

I loved the style of the writing and the depth of the story. As the characters contemplate their lives and work through their issues there is lots of room for personal introspection. I look forward to reading more from Serita Jakes!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah.


Review of Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart


Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Not Recommended.

I did not enjoy reading this. It’s very slow, and the writing lacks the momentum to propel the story. I was excited to read about how about how a wealthy family in Charleston adjusts to living radically for the Lord–especially when the husband and wife are not initially on the same page. But Sunrise on the Battery fell short of my expectations. It wasn’t until the very end that the husband becomes a Christian and begins to act radically in his faith (an event described in the back-of-the-book synopsis). I would say that the book redeemed itself a bit at this point, but it was too late.

There were also multiple theological problems that bothered me, most of which were very small but stood out more because of the slow pace of the book. For example, we don’t turn into angels when we die, and the priest should have corrected the character who was wrongly believing this.

There are some good descriptions of Charleston and the Southern way of life, which may make this book more exciting to some readers. And an Episcopalian reader would likely connect better to some of the theological aspects than myself. But overall, it’s not one I can recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogging Program through