Friday, November 2, 2012

Catholic Religious Education and a Book Review

Well, here we are again at Stuart's Study. The lesson plan for this week can be found at this link. If you recall, a few weeks ago both myself and my aide were no shows, so my kids never received this lesson. So this week, they will be learning about Jesus. In fact, I am going to let my aide teach the lesson herself this week. I will be there as backup, moral support, and making sure she doesn't say anything heretical. But it will be good practice for her, and will give the kids another voice to hear besides mine.

Saints Museum was last week. Five of my nine saints showed up including St. John the Baptist, St. Anne the mother of the Virgin Mary, St. Luke, and two others who I am ashamed to admit I forgot. While, all of them didn't appreciate having to do it, it was definitely a creative way to get them to learn about their faith. The little kids also enjoyed walking around hearing about saints they had never heard of, and I played teacher and asked the saints facts they should know about their saints to test them. As for my four no-show saints, they will have a report they have to turn into our Parish Catechetical Leader.


Now for the book review. Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God's Will is another book that Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) sent me in exchange for a review. I was super excited to read this book, as Fr. Larry Richards gave a men's retreat in Mobile, I was unable to attend due to Catechist training. My friend talked for months about how great the retreat is, and got this very book from his conference. When, OSV I opened my box and saw this book in there, I was super excited to dive in this book.

Unfortunately, the book did not meet my expectations. For starters this book had tons of typos in it. I understand one or two, but there are several in each chapter, including spelling errors and typing two verbs in a row where it seemed like the editor (if there was one) forgot to remove one of the verbs. Another thing, I didn't like about the book was the style it was written. Each chapter was roughly twenty pages, but it was written like a stream of consciousness, where Fr. Larry just started a thought and rambled in ink for twenty pages. Chapter breaks would have been immensely helpful. Those were my two biggest gripes with the book, and it definitely made the book harder to read than it should have been.

Those two gripes aside, the message in this book is solid. I like Fr. Larry's in your face attitude, and how he tells you things, like "Be a saint, or go to hell." Each chapter also builds on the previous chapter to provide a very clear road map for surrendering our entire life to God. And while surrender has such an ugly connotation in our society, surrender is exactly what we need to do to God, so that we can live a life pleasing to Him.

I also enjoyed the steps Fr. Larry gives at the end of each chapter to help us surrender our life. Though, the steps are simply written, they aren't simple to follow, which should be an obvious statement. If it was simple to follow God and surrender everything to Him, everyone would do it. One such step, Fr. Larry gave was to Write down the names of people we don't like, and pray that God will change our hearts toward them. This is extremely hard for me (and I'm sure most people), as certain people just rub me the wrong way.

My overall rating for this book is somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars out of 5. The message was solid and spot on and something all of could stand to hear. However, the typos and stream of consciousness made it difficult to muddle through. This book would be better served as an audiobook, but only if Fr. Larry Richards agreed to read it, as he has a very distinct speaking style.