Monday, August 31, 2009

Straight Up

At what point does God stop working with you to conform you to the image of Christ? To bring you healing? When a person is in a coma, how much of what is going on around them can they know? What is the capacity of the spirit of a person who is unconscious to the physical world? How far does God's mercy pursue us? How deep is the well of His grace from which he pours it out on His children? How do our choices affect our friends and families? These are some of the questions that Lisa Samson explores in her book, Straight Up.

The book meanders around the lives of cousins Georgia, a jazz musician, and Fairly, a creative interior designer. It is evident from the beginning of the story that God has a plan for both of these women, and they can't see what He has for them. Both are running away from genuine living and loving, and each has her drug of choice.

This is not a book with easy answers, but God's faithfulness is the scarlet thread that runs through the story of each of the people in the book. Samson's narrative moves from person to person, and weaves the story on the loom of God's purposes among the children of men. It doesn't have all of the answers, but Samson asks some good questions, and makes some interesting suggestions.

Straight Up by Lisa Samson; published by Waterbrook Press Copyright 2006

Monday, August 17, 2009

Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess


Contentment in an Age of Excess

by Will Samson

Beware: this book will make you think and evaluate. It may make you wonder how we got to the place of excess, and if there is a way out of this prison. Samson asks some hard questions about consumerism in America. Some of his answers are hard to hear. He touches on some sacred American cows, and, he manages to do all of this without a side serving of condemnation.

What does it mean to have enough? Samson points out that we live in a consumer culture. No matter which way you may turn, someone is trying to sell you something. They hope to convince you that, without it, you will not experience the abundant American life to which sales people will try to convince you that you are entitled.

In the book, Samson explores the results of a consumer culture. He points out the “lifestyle diseases,” and connects them with American consumerism: “We are not well physically and we are not well mentally. Our wealth, status, and privilege have not translated into a culture that is whole.” Samson suggests, among many other things, that we think about where we are investing our time, money, and resources. He asks us to study the Bible and see how our priorities align with God’s—to “re-imagine the way we live.”

Will Samson and his wife, Lisa, have done more than just evaluate and think. They left a comfortable suburban lifestyle in Baltimore, Maryland for a run-down neighborhood located in urban Lexington, Kentucky. Their goal is to move from consumption to being consumed with living out the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in practical, tangible ways.