Monday, October 26, 2015

Music Feature

Introducing Rend Collective's new album, "As Family We Go", reviewed from the recesses of Rob's mind:

    "Right from the beginning, the first pop/rockish track "Celebrate" sets up the start of a glorious recording of Irish anthems.  Peace, grace and forgiveness are the song themes and the passion of these worship leaders shines through.  This lightly sprinkled folk CD enhances a Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin feel."
For more information on "As Family We Go" by Rend Collective, visit our website here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Troubled Minds

Mental Illness and the Church's Mission, [foreword by Marshall Shelley]

     This is a hard read. It's a good read, but a hard read, because there is so much truth inside that it hurts. It hurts my mind and it pains my heart, with story after story of suffering, as Simpson unveils the agony of life with mental illness and the common responses in the church.

     As much as Troubled Minds is a collection of stories from different people with different illnesses, it is also a compilation of facts; a plea for help, and a desperate cry for change - help and change outside of the mental health care system. As Simpson so graciously points out, the system was not made to do what many people need it to do.

     "[The mental health system] was designed to help people who were going to deteriorate. Now we need a mental health system that facilitates folks who are going to recover."
(Chapter 4, page 81)
     --William Anthony
     Executive Director; Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University
     There are things in the mental health system that have come a long way. Knowledge. Facts. Information. Technology. Medication. Counseling. Naturally, there are also things that still need a lot of work, and other things that may never be fully understood. Diagnosing and treating mental illnesses is a practice saturated with hesitation and theorizing, and within the church it is a practice heavily stigmatized. For many Christians, receiving and/or accepting medication for the ailments of the mind is a moral dilemma, and because mental illness is something majorly kept to oneself, it is not an issue that anyone can bring up confidently in the places where they ought to have the most support.

     What happened to caring for the tired, the hungry, the weak, and the hurting? Where in the name of love were the mentally ill discounted among the suffering? When will families be able to come out in confidence and share their pain with a church body that will not condemn them for it?

     One of the most important things for people struggling with mentally illness is safety. Amidst all the stigma and the sheer volume of misunderstanding, sharing these experiences with the church is not seen as safe, and often times this drives people away. But of all people, should not the church be drawing them in? In support, in love, in prayer?

     Mental illness, while unbelievably common, is still a category so unknown to so many. Amy Simpson does an impeccable job at shedding light on the subject. Anyone looking to care, to understand, or even to know that they are not alone, can gain much from what she has to say.

     "Denying the reality of mental illness has the same effect as denying the reality of other illnesses: it discourages treatment and stands in the way of redemption. It hinders agonized people from crying out their pain, bringing their sickness to Jesus and finding ease for their suffering. It forces sick people and their loved ones to choose between the church and life."

For more information on Troubled Minds by Amy Simpson, visit our website here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Music Feature

A little bit about Lauren Daigle's "How Can It Be", from the studio of Rob's mind:

     "The single "How Can It Be"  playing on the radio immediately envelopes you to soak it in. Her voice and music style are exactly what draw people to secular music.  Fresh new worship/pop sounds with a solid message and vocal similarities to Adelle and Misty Edwards."
For more information on "How Can It Be" by Lauren Daigle, visit our website here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Curse of Crow Hollow

     I'll be honest - the cover is what drew me in again. And the title was just so fitting, I couldn't help but be interested.

     With good reason.

     Not 30 pages in, I decided that I would do a review on this book. I was unsure about the first chapter, but as it got into the story it became what I had hoped for from the cover.

     Curious. Dark. Chilling. Engaging.

     There is a writing style for every emotion and every mood under the sun, and Bill Coffey has managed to capture a very peculiar, very rare atmosphere in a Frank Peretti-Ted Dekker-esque way, while still maintaining a style of narration unique unto himself.

     He introduces his story first as the narrator, welcoming you into town and spilling all of the place's deepest, darkest secrets all at once before he decides to explain more fully what has happened in the area to make everyone act so strangely. So he opens the story with some details about a few teenagers going to a party for the most popular people in the town. It's the place to be. If you're not there, you're not anywhere worth being, and kids take that to heart.

     What starts off as a daughter borrowing her mother's bracelet without permission - with every intention of giving it back, mind you - turns into a case of a lost valuable in a forbidden wood with four terrified teenagers awakening the wrath of a dormant witch.

     Coffey paints a very dark picture with the hard lives of his characters; the sin that they're enveloped in and the generational pain that just keeps coming back around. This witch that they disturb is years bitter as a widow after her husband was killed, and she blames everyone in the town at the bottom of the mountain. They avoid her at all costs - or they're supposed to. It's not hard, with her living as secluded as she does. But with the town kids as they are, daring, curious, and rebellious, even ingrained terror and rumours don't keep them away.

     They awaken the curse, and there is no going back.

For more information on The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey, visit our website here.

Fog Harbor Series by Nicole Deese

Every once in a while, we find an author that speaks to us…Nicole Deese is one of those authors for me. As often happens, I was first attrac...