Category Archives: Guest Reviewer

The Lost Virtue of Happiness by J.P Moreland & Klauss Issler

The Lost Virtue of Happiness is about accessible, balanced Christian spirituality.

In a bipolar culture overrun by two diametrically opposed philosophies of happiness, Moreland and Issler offer an alternative. They assert while that happiness comes not through the mindless pursuit of pleasure through consumption, neither does pleasure darken virtue into shades of vice. They help us understand that true happiness comes from within, not without and that it is actually a virtue—the natural outcome of giving up the things that diminish our joy.

Having laid a strong foundation, Moreland and Issler move on to an remarkably simple presentation of how engaging our whole lives in spirituality through discipline is related to happiness. And then, chapter by chapter, they provide a framework of simple disciplines and suggestions to improve our relationships with God and others, focusing on opening our hearts, strengthening our minds, and taking risks.

There is even an entire chapter on applying some of these disciplines when dealing with anxiety and depression. While this particular application may not speak to everybody, it is certainly relevant in a culture where we are anxious for nearly everything.

I found The Lost Virtue of Happiness an intellectually stimulating, personally challenging, and practical book. It was easy to read and is well organized. But make no mistake, this is no “one-size-fits-all” self-help road map to supposed success. Rather, its goal is that we be united with God and formed into the image of Christ and enter into his joy.

Bryan Entzminger is a saxaphonist, supply chain analyst, elder at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center, and a superhero to his wife and daughter. His widely read personal blog is bdentzy – Thoughts for the Journey.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay

Lost is a television phenomenon with strong cult following; combining strong character development with mysterious plot lines, bound together by strong writing. The premise of this book is to connect Lost to the gospel of Christ. The unsaved who follow this series might well be attracted to such a book and Mr Seay, for the most part, does a serviceable job of making this connection.

I say “for the most part” because several of the chapters involve something of a reach causing a few of the “connections” to feel contrived. Nowhere is this more evident than the chapter on Jacob where the biblical references even get a little fuzzy. Still, there is some good stuff here for a seeker.

Another group that might find this book worthwhile would be a gaggle of Lost geeks in search of material for a Bible Study / Lost discussion.

I basically enjoyed this read but couldn’t help the feeling that it is a bit premature. I doubt that the writers of Lost really have the gospel in mind and where they take this last season could completely undo much of this book’s premise.

Ronnie Meek is is a guy who likes to share good reads with other people and warn them about boring or bad stuff. His personal blog is It’s In There Somewhere where he is currently blogging through the New Testament.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Once an Arafat Man by Tass Saada

Once an Arafat Man is the amazing story of a Palestinian sniper, well located within the PLO – he was even a chauffeur for Yasser Arafat – turned chef in the US, who then converted to Christianity and returned to his homeland to help those he once hated.

Likes: illuminating insight into the perspective of the Palestinian’s plight from refugees from their homes to unwelcome residents of neighboring Arab states. This story takes you deeper than the typical world news headlines to understand the the hatred and perspectives of the people of the Holy Land and offers hope into what the power of love and faith can achieve.

Dislikes: conversational tone/style of the book is abrupt and sometimes lacks smooth transitions between topics and events. Recommended for anyone interested in the middle east conflict on a personal level or the issues surrounding converting from Islam to Christianity.

Joel Freyenhagan is the husband of a wonderful wife and is the father of three children. His wife blogs at BooyaBooks.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.