This past Lent, I decided to read books on the Christian faith. During that time, I was able to read three books:
- Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) by Scott Hahn
- The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis and translated by Oonagh Stransky
- Becoming Jesus: The Making of a Prophet by Michael Berens
I have to admit it ended up being a mixed bag. Here are my thoughts on this three very different book.
Joy to the World by Scott Hahn
Joy to the World talks about the Christmas story from the viewpoint of all the players: Mary, Joseph, the Three Kings, etc. It puts all the various aspects of Christ’s birth into historical and spiritual perspective.
Hahn’s writing style is both informative and accessible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would totally recommend reading it yourself. If you are Christian, it will give you deeper insights into your faith. If you are not, it will help you understand a Christian point of view.
It has inspired me to check out more of Hahn’s work. He’s a really good writer.
The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis
I’m on the fence about this book. On the one hand, there was some very insightful and hopeful commentary on the nature of God and His mercy. However, on the other, there were some confusing and somewhat disturbing implications to what was said. Ultimately, I finished the book confused and scratching my head.
Becoming Jesus by Michael Berens
What I got was a book that pretty much told me there is not enough information to tell that story. There was some interesting insight into the history of the time of Jesus. And a lot of speculation based on the belief that Jesus was simply a charismatic man and not God.
I’m a devout Catholic. To me, there is no other explanation for the history of Jesus other than that he was God. Looking at his life through any other lens just doesn’t make sense.
That said, Becoming Jesus is well written. However, because there is no historical data to fill in the blanks, the book really seemed pointless to me.
Joy to the World was hands down the best book of the three. When it comes right down to it, the book was just really well written and enjoyable to read. The other two book just couldn’t compare.