Book Review & Giveaway – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior

booked

A while back, my former college professor and friend, Karen Swallow Prior, sent me a copy of her new book to read and review. She also gave me a copy to giveaway on my blog. I’m excited to finally share this with you as Karen is very dear to me.

Review – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me 

In Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me author and beloved friend Karen Swallow Prior writes a beautiful and insightful memoir connecting her love for literature to her own life experiences and personal faith in God. From a very young age, books (and animals) have been an integral part of Karen’s life so it’s only natural that her first published book is titled Booked.

In each chapter, Karen skillfully weaves a great literature classic (Charlotte’s Web, Great Expectations, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Gulliver’s Travel and Jane Eyre to name a few) and relates the main and subtle themes of the novel to her life. Karen helps you see these classics through a biblical lens, ultimately leading you to a greater discovery of self and ultimately God.

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Whether you’re familiar with classic literature or not, you’ll fall in love with Karen’s humor, intellect, story-telling, authenticity, depth, and ability to “show” rather than tell a life story. It’s as if you were there with her in every emotion and experience. It’s difficult not to read on to the next chapter.

Having sat under Karen’s teaching for four years as a college student, Booked brought me back to my undergraduate years in Liberty University’s English Department where I fondly remember her contagious passion for the written word and for students to truly grasp just how much words have the power to change a life.

When you finish reading Booked you’ll be encouraged by the truth that God will meet you anywhere at anytime. As Karen writes, “He met me where I was. In the books.” And He reveals Himself in such a way for the purpose of redemption and life transformation.

priorAbout the author: Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University and an award-winning teacher. She is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, where she blogs frequently at Her.meneutics. Her writing has appeared in Relevant, Think Christian, and Salvo. She is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She and her husband live on a 100-year old homestead in central Virginia with horses, dogs, and chickens. And lots of books.

** To enter to win a free copy of Booked, please leave a comment on this post. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on Monday. 

SmallGroupExchange.com: The Place for Small Group lovers

PrintIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Scott (our Director of Operations) and I got on the phones and started calling small group pastors and leaders across the country to see how they might contribute to SmallGroupExchange.com.

I like to say that SmallGroupExchange.com is the place for small group lovers. It’s our desire for small group leaders, pastors, volunteers, and more to exchange their ideas about small groups and to share from their own wisdom and experience. My role in the site is communicating with all the contributors and collecting their articles and editing them. I love my role because I too, am passionate about the life-change that occurs within the small group setting.

I was immediately plugged into a small group of 6 women at Liberty as a freshman on the dorms. My leader, Kristie, had a tremendous impact in my life (still today). Her love and devotion to our group made me want to become a leader. So I did the next year and the next. Jeremiah and I were leaders earlier in our marriage. And today, we’re involved in one focused on young married couples. Our leaders John and Pam mentor us and take us through key issues in marriage like communication, finances, sex, past/present baggage, and more. We just love getting together with them. I think all of us in our group can say our marriages are stronger because of the haven it provides to reveal life struggles and the accountability to help overcome them.

If your church presently does not have a small group model, I would encourage you to be the catalyst to help usher them in. If you have them, are a leader, or interested in becoming one, please check out our site’s plethora of free video training, resources, reviews, and articles. You’ll also find that this is an unbiased resource so we have quite a variety when it comes to the teachers, authors, and writers you’ll see.

You can also become a fan on facebook.

Paul in Rome Writing Project

 I was asked today by Phil, our director of production and Jackie, our Senior producer if I would write the leader’s guide curriculum that goes with our upcoming video series on the Life of Paul in Rome with teaching from David Nasser. The study is geared for youth and will release August 1.

I feel very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to write on this video series and reach teens in this way. One, I love that it is based in Rome and is about the life of Paul. Two, I am a huge fan of David Nasser. He spoke often at Liberty University when I was a student there and the Lord always used him to speak to me. I also love that he is scripturally-focused and has a heart for the next generation. Third, of course I love that Bluefish is behind it all. Our producers have worked really hard on it.

I am excited to start plugging away at this in the upcoming weeks.

 

Remembering Dr. Jerry Falwell

Today marks the one year anniversary of Dr. Falwell’s death. It’s so hard to believe one year has already gone by. I remember the funeral like it was yesterday. Jeremiah and I flew from TX to VA. We were interviewed twice by reporters in Lynchburg and for CNN. It was such a surreal time and so hard to grasp the reality. We were in shock for several weeks. Still today, it’s hard to believe.

Dr. Falwell’s legacy will continue on in our hearts just as I told CNN. He founded Liberty University with the purpose of raising up Champions for Christ. He had a mission to fulfill on this earth and he accomplished more in a lifetime than a person could in one year. I really got to know Dr. Falwell better when Jeremiah took care of him in the hospital in March 2005. Jeremiah was his nurse. They would watch LU basketball together and Jeremiah would bring him hot chocolate at his request. For a seminary class assignment, I was able to go up to his room and interview him (we still have the recording). I saw him in his hospital gown with his wife, Masel. He was the first to say he would marry me and Jeremiah. We took him up on his offer and in December he married us.

He remembered our names where we were from and he always had an encouraging word. He truly loved people and those who rubbed shoulders with him the most, knew he did. He was a man of great faith and inspired multitudes, many of which we have no idea. He inspired my entire family and my Dad in his new faith. He invested in his family, college students, Liberty University, Thomas Road, the Liberty Godparent home, politics and so much more. My college experience was what it was because of his influence. Liberty changed my life and changed countless of my friends’ lives.

What a joy to know today that he is with Jesus- with the One we’ve all been waiting for. He is missed greatly, but his legacy will continue on in the hearts of those who really knew him. Thank you, God, for using Dr. Falwell in my life. How has Dr. Falwell influenced yours?

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