Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life

 Do you like to read parenting books? Maybe you are past that stage, or not in that stage at all, but you would like to be able to recommend a good parenting book. Harriet Connor’s Big Picture Parents is like a breath of fresh air in a world filled with blogs, lists of top tips and Instagram pictures of everyone else’s perfect family. Sometimes it’s all a bit overwhelming and you need to step back and see the big picture.

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Reformation Women - Part 3 - A book for all women to read

Reading about the life of each woman in “Reformation Women” has given me a wider picture of what happened as the Reformation spread across Europe during the 1500s and 1600s. It was encouraging to follow the work of the gospel down through generations and also sobering to see how many endured terrible persecution. Here is a little more about some of the remaining women profiled in Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s book.

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Di WarrenComment
Reformation Women - Part 2

In Reformation Women, Rebecca Van Doodewaard profiles 12 women and their influence on the growth of the Protestant church throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. They came from different countries, backgrounds, families, and socio-economic levels, and but each of them was committed to sharing the true gospel. Here is a snapshot of each of these women we learn more about… (VanDoodewaard writes about these women using their maiden names, mainly to avoid confusion between them when some were married multiple times.)

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Reformation Women - 500 years from today

What would someone say about you in 500 years? That’s the question that struck me as I read this month’s book, “Reformation Women” by Rebecca Van Doodewaard. I don’t expect that anyone will be writing about me in 500 years, but it’s a good way to reflect on who we are and what we hold as important, don’t you think? Well, here’s a possible suggestion…

“She used her gifts for gospel change in her own sphere in whatever ways possible.” (p24).

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Di WarrenComment
Recovering the Source  (90 Days...Part 4)

What was church like on Sunday, 500 years ago? The church itself is staggering, the soaring vaults, the smell of incense and the spectacle of the mass: Christ being re-sacrificed all over again. But you wouldn’t have had much choice as to whether or not to go. There’s images of purgatory and hell assailing you everywhere and the church is omnipresent in life. You definitely go. Can you understand any of the service? Not if you don’t speak Latin, and only the highly educated do. You go into the box and confess your sins to a priest. You have no sense of assurance and no way to address the alarming fact that you still sin. The emphasis is on doing good works to earn your salvation. God seems distant and your predicament is rightly desperate and frightening. Well might you cry, “How on this earth do I get right with God?”
Reading the final section of this book on the Psalms has made me totally shocked at how spiritually needy and starved ordinary people must have felt at this time.

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Introduction to 90 Days in Genesis, Exodus, Psalms and Galatians with Calvin, Luther, Bullinger and Cranmer

Balloons and Streamers

This year marks the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation! If this were an iPhone text and not a blog post you’d read that sentence while confetti rained down around it.  On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther, greatly distressed by the corruption in the medieval church, nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. This sparked a debate about repentance and where forgiveness is truly found and so the Reformation began.

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The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Rosaria B)

When you’re writing about a book, it goes without saying that you refer to the author once by their full name, and just their surname from then on. But all the while that I was writing this post, I kept catching myself typing the writer’s first name (and yes, here I am, clumsily giving away my routine adherence to one timeless piece of writing advice – always write the introduction last!). Where most books tend to situate characters or ideas in between the writer and the reader, creating space between them, an extra step for the reader to take in understanding something of the writer, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert instead offers an open invitation into the writer’s own, very personal journey. In reading the first few chapters, I came to feel that I had a familiar relationship with the writer. Each page extended reflections on her extraordinary journey to faith, with the generosity and vulnerability of a new friend, Rosaria.

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Di WarrenComment
7 Women and the secret of their greatness: Eric Metaxas [Part 3]

Saint Maria of Paris. Before reading Metaxas’ book I had never heard of this woman. Her life is intriguing. Maria was a Ukrainian Orthodox Christian, born in Latvia, but raised in Russia and Paris. She married, divorced, married again, had that marriage annulled, had 2 children and became a nun! As a nun she smoked, drank alcohol and did not follow the rituals required of her according to the Orthodox Church. She was not what I was expecting when I read her name in the contents page of this book!

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7 Women and the secret of their greatness: Eric Metaxas [Part 2]

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” says Percy Bysshe Shelley, and indeed this would be a fitting epitaph for the life of Hannah More who we meet in “7 women”. She had such a profound influence on history that it is amazing that she is not better known. One of the joys of reading “7 Women” has been discovering the wide and long ranging impact women have had on society, motivated by their deep faith in God and the way He used them to speak out.

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7 Women and the secret of their greatness: Eric Metaxas

I’ve really been enjoying reading ‘7 women, and the secret of their greatness’, but I have to admit, the subtitle of this book (‘and the secret of their greatness’) put me off at first. I was worried the book would focus only on the worldly successes of these women which led to their ‘greatness’. But since reading the book, this misconception was unfounded. Metaxas revealshow these Seven women all lived with courage and humility often in the face of incredible suffering and opposition. Metaxas shows the secret of these women’s greatness lies in their Christ-like humility and that by reading their stories from the past, we can be encouraged to live for Christ in our time and culture.

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