Category Archives: Book Reviews

They Fired The First Shot

They Fired The First Shot 2012 By A Friend of Medjugorje might very well be the most important book of our time. It reintroduces the principles and concepts that lead to the American Revolution, and ultimately would undergird our Constitution. In addition it thoroughly addresses the Spiritual issues behind the times we have come upon as a nation; and then proceeds to introduce a practical, workable solution that every American can work out.

Let me begin by saying that I only read this book because it was highly recommended by one of the very few people on this earth whose advice I take with little reservation. The reason I wouldn’t have read it is this: The book was written by a devout Roman Catholic who chooses to center much of the teaching in the book around the appearances of the Virgin Mary to the Medjugorje visionaries.

This whole concept will be, without a doubt, very foreign to protestant and evangelical readers; but I would urge you put your qualms aside and read this book anyway. To be honest, I have no real reason to either believe or doubt the testimony of the Medjugorje visionaries; but I chose instead to simply apply the test our Lord gave us to the teaching that was presented. That is, I looked instead to the fruit of the words conveyed and not the source. The teaching, in my opinion is glorifying to Christ and edifying to His body and therefore should be accepted as good teaching regardless of my belief or unbelief in the source.

My only other qualm as I read the book is that at least at one level it probably could have gone deeper into the forces arrayed against our nation. The author chooses to address primarily actions taken by the Obama administration during the first few months of 2012, and while he hints at forces working behind the scenes to place Obama in power, he doesn’t really choose to address them other than a brief chapter on George Soros and some veiled references to communism. This, however has its advantages, information about the false two party paradigm and the powers behind the scenes that are manipulating our government has become fairly mainstream and is relatively accessible. With the focus being mostly on things going on behind the scenes within our current government, this book is easy reading for average conservative readers who don’t trust the current administration but have as of yet been unwilling to admit to the gravity of the situation. If you are already better informed than to focus solely on the actions of this administration, you will still learn a good deal about actions being taken through executive order you were likely unaware of and can just make a mental note that there is more going on that just “liberalism” or “socialism”.

That said the author goes much deeper into the issue than the average author, because he recognizes that the real issue is a struggle between good and evil. As a devout follower of Christ A Friend of Medjugorje recognizes that evil cannot rise to a place of power and prominence unless Christ’s followers turn aside from holy living and fail to uphold Christian moral values in the pubic square. The ultimate responsibility for what has now begun to happen lies not with the government, but rather with the American Church, which has largely failed to positively impact our society. In presenting his solution, the author focuses on the fact that no change will be possible without first shedding tears of repentance and turning back to God. In doing so the author lays out very clearly how a Christian principles can, and indeed must, underpin the nation in order for it succeed.

In addition to a passionate cry for repentance, the author gives a phenomenal reintroduction to the Constitution and founding principles of the United States. I have read a good bit of the writings of our nations Founders and found this book to be just as clear and well written on the principles of liberty. The author addresses key issues, such as the concept of Natural Law, the responsibility of Christians to resist tyranny (for a brief look at this issue see my post Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God), the difference between Democracy and a Republic, and the balance of power between the States and Federal Government just to name a few. In addressing these issues the book is filled with quotations from the founding fathers, which help point to further reading in the future.

After addressing the need for personal heart change as well a change in mindset the author delves into a detailed plan to restore our nations liberties. He chooses to focus on changing things we have control over, or can easily get control over rather than on some vague attempt to “take our country back”. The author instead advocates forming small, Constitutional Prayer Groups and allowing them to lead to a move back towards, small, rural, sustainable pockets of freedom in small towns across America. He then advocates moving at the county level to elect a constitutional sheriff, and does a good job explaining the ability of the sheriff to put a stop to all the various forms of tyranny that are currently being wielded against American’s today. My post A Revolution in Miniature sums up many of the concepts the author addresses in detail.

This book is essential reading for all God-fearing patriots in America today, focus on the truth of the message and don’t be distracted by the more Catholic references. I would also advocate as many pastors as possible read this book and in so doing rediscover the role you ought to be playing in preserving American liberty.

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The Bard’s Book Reviews: The One Straw Revolution

Hat tip to JB for suggesting this great read!

The One-Straw Revolution, written by Masanobu Fukuoka the father of “natural farming” or “do nothing farming” reads like a treatise on the philosophy behind permaculture.

Let me begin by saying the book is most definitely influenced by Bhuddist and eastern metaphysics, particularly the view that everything represents an integrated system and that mankind cannot improve upon this system but should instead strive to be in harmony with it. While these philosophical roots will occasionally fly in the face of the Christian worldview, the book is still worth the read for a variety of reasons:

I am deeply concerned by the level of compartmentalization in American and other western cultures today. Particularly in agriculture this compartmentalization is very dangerous as it is largely responsible for our industrial, monoculture based system. While Fukuoka probably goes to far the other way, his influence deeply helps Western readers to be pulled back to a healthy middle ground n this issue.

In addition this book provides a beautiful philosophy of permaculture both I. Terms of the good of mankind and of the earth, while pointing to some of the dangers of an overly scientific approach. All of this is wrapped in fascinating narrative with neat first hand accounts of Fukuoka’s success with his very unusual approach to farming.

I don’t know that this book would be on my top recommended reading,list for those interested in sustainability, particularly since most of the technique is tied to Japan’s unique environment. However, it is a short and delightful read and well worth your time if you are looking for more of the “heart” of sustainability.

The Bard’s Book Reviews: Folks This Ain’t Normal

I fell a bit behind on my book reviews over the last several weeks, and since I read quite a bit there will be a few over the next week or so. 

Folks, This Ain’t Normal is the latest book from lunatic farmer, Joel Salatin. For those who aren’t familiar with Mr. Salatin, he became well known after being referenced in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and appearing in the movie Food Inc. Mr. Salatin’s farm, Polyface, has been an active player in the local sustainable movement longer than most of what we would consider the local sustainable agriculture movement has existed and is a leading source of innovation in sustainable agricultural technique.

I have read a number of Joel Salatin’s books in the past and have always found them to be excellent, fast moving reads. In addition they are consistently packed with useful information about realistic solutions to the complex problem’s we are facing as a nation today, particularly in our food industry.

I would argue that Folks, This Ain’t Normal, is the most lay friendly book Mr. Salatin has written thus far. Anyone interested in agriculture should read his other books, particularly You Can Farm; but Folks, This Ain’t Normal is packed full of information for any reader looking for solutions to the issues we are facing with our industrialized, chemical food supply.

The book takes on a variety of issues and lays out how our move away from personal stewardship and responsibility over our food supply is directly responsible for many of the social and political issues today. Mr. Salatin doesn’t stop there, however, he provides common sense, non-government solutions to each problem he presents. Specifically, he presents many small scale solutions that can be implemented by the reader personally.

In addition to laying out practical solutions to difficult problems, Mr. Salatin also references dozens of other excellent books for further reading and like all good non-fiction works should the index in the book is lengthy and well put together.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone concerned, are not informed enough to be concerned about the dangers of the industrial food system, GMO’s, energy independence, sustainable agriculture, or the return of common sense.

The Bard’s Book Reviews: History of the Church, By Eusebius

History of the Church by Eusebius is the oldest known history of the Christian church. It begins at the life of Christ and ends with the formation of the peace under Constantine.

To be honest, particularly since it is now in the public domain and available free for the taking, this book should be required reading for everyone who calls them self a follower of Christ. This book provides a basic overview of the various church fathers beginning with the apostles and through the period of early persecution and the eventual rise of Constantine. The events that take place are the events that shaped the church in its infancy and in many cases we are still living under the effects of these events. I have long been concerned that the church is losing touch with its oldest and most cherished values, this book is a great starting point on this path. Being well aware of the testimony of the most ancient and apostolic Christian witness’s goes a long way towards preventing false doctrine in the church today. For example it would be very difficult for any serious reader of Eusebius to cling to the false notion that the Gospel brings with it prosperity and worldly riches, seeing as the book is filled with the stories of individuals who gave up everything for the Gospel’s sake.

In addition, tracking the available sources Eusebius references will give the reader an even larger reading list of early church leaders that would be difficult to compile elsewhere. This allows for an even more thorough reading of early church history.

And finally, in addition to reacquainting the godly bard with some very important historical reference points, this book will help the modern western materialist to reembrace mythic Christianity. The testimony of the early church is full of true stories that will bring you out of your comfort zone and force you to accept the fact that God is not limited by our perception of scientific law.

As I said above, this book is a must read for all godly bards, and all Christians in general. When I finally release my recommended reading list this book will be in the top tier.

The Bard’s Book Reviews: The Quest of the Simple Life

The Quest of the Simple Life, by William J. Dawson is the story of one man’s journey from the urban world of early 20th century London to a life living off the land in the countryside. The book has a more unique topic than most such books, however. Rather than seeking to be a handbook of useful skills or a how to on sustainable living topics which, in my opinion, have been thoroughly covered elsewhere; it instead takes on the more difficult topic of the moral and philosophical motivations behind the back to the land movement. If you are looking for more of a homesteading handbook then my current recommendation is Abigail R. Gehring’s Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills.

Mr. Dawson takes on his topic in a way that most modern readers will find fascinating, since all of our modern knowledge about the consequences of an overly industrialized society is absent from the book. The author argues instead that the countryside is better suited towards men’s happiness than urban life, and that it represents a better stewardship of his economic and physiological resources. For my part I was often shocked by the authors deep understanding of his material, and in particular areas where he frequently anticipated the negative consequences of urbanization. For example, the author argues for the paying of all expenses in cash, lest the we forget just how much were spending on any given object. This topic of course has come more and more into the spotlight as our society gets more and more reckless in its spending.

The author proceeds to explain how it was that he finally managed to take his leave of London, and then in response to criticism from a friend gives a moral defense of his move. This may represent the most interesting part of the book for some as it works towards reconciling the happiness of the author with his country life with the collective good of his society. As noted above this particular section is particularly interesting since it is written well before we realized the environmental and sociological damage that industrial based urbanization would ultimately cause.

Particularly if you are day dreaming of one day escaping to the countryside yourself and living in a more traditional human relationship with the earth this book is for you. This book is also available as a free, public domain download for your e-reader.