Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
by Matthew Kelly
(Beacon Publishing, 2015)
Running into forty short chapters, this book gives us in the simplest language what a real encounter with Jesus can mean and how it can change our lives. Kelly says: “I only ask that you stay open to the possibility. He wants to have a dynamic relationship with you.” The book is “not about the words on the page. It’s about an encounter. … because, whether we are aware of it or not, what you and I need more than anything else is to encounter Jesus.”
God the Father wants us to know His Son. The important question for the Christian is how well we know Him, not through books, but through a personal encounter. Becoming a true Christian means developing a personal relationship with Christ. “It is time to stop looking for something and start looking for someone—Jesus of Nazareth.” This is what we are invited to. In the early chapters Kelly deals with the person of Christ—his historicity, his personality and the claims to divinity, the radical nature of his life and teachings, and the fact of the Resurrection that is perhaps the most compelling truth of all his claims. The ‘main event’ in Christian history is the Resurrection. Kelly quotes the experience of the atheistic journalist Lee Strobel who studied the Resurrection, leading him into faith. For Kelly, “the soul and the heart of the Gospel” is “give and forgive.” Forgiveness brings peace. Life is a course designed to teach us love. Prayer brings us closer and closer to Christ. “If you want to stay warm, it is best to stay close to the fire. If you want to live a Christian life, it is best to stay close to Jesus.” Sin is the problem, the sickness that keeps us away from God. We are called to lead joyful lives and share the joy of the Gospel to inspire others. “Allow God to inspire you, to fill you with His power, because he wants to send you to inspire others.”
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It.
By Paul Collier
(Oxford University Press, 2007).
The book has received superb reviews, such as:
“The best book on international affairs so far this year”; “set to become a classic”; “Terrifically readable”; “Read this book. You will learn much you do not know”; “Provides a penetrating reassessment of why vast populations remain trapped in poverty”; “”One of the most important books on world poverty in a very long time”; “If you care about the fate of the poorest people in the world, and want to understand what can be done to help them, read it.”
The author is the director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University and a former World Bank economist. It was Collier who pointed out that nearly two-fifths of Africa’s private wealth is held abroad, much of it in Swiss bank accounts.
Collier speaks of four traps that keep the poorest countries poor: Conflict, presence of natural resources (!), which often increases the corruption and violence, being landlocked with bad neighbours, and bad governance.
Aid alone does not solve these problems. Globalization often makes the situation worse. What Collier proposes is a bold new plan supported by the Group of Eight industrialized nations. If failed states are ever to be helped, the G8 will have to adopt preferential trade policies, new laws against corruption, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions.
Collier recognizes the need for international cooperation in addressing the four traps.
A book that makes the reader look at a tragic situation in a new way.
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