5 Puritan Women by Jenny-Lyn de Klerk–Book Review

This short book gives us a glimpse into the faith lives of five Puritan women. Each essay highlights a spiritual practice which was influential in way that particular woman related to her family and the world.

  1. Agnes Beaumont– Memorization
  2. Lucy Hutchinson — Theology
  3. Mary Rich — Meditation
  4. Anne Bradstreet — Prayer
  5. Lady Brilliana Harley — Spiritual conversation

The author has consulted primary sources such as letters, poetry and other writing to create these portraits, but her style is not academic, and will be easy for lay readers to understand. These women were grounded in their own time and history, so often their influence was limited to their family and community. That doesn’t make them insignificant. After all, that will be true of most of us. Their experiences should inspire and encourage us to find our own unique way to spread the love of God in the places and with the people we’ve been given.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Well done and interesting.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

If you would like to purchase this book follow this link: https://www.crossway.org/books/5-puritan-women-tpb/

For more about the puritans see these posts:

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

The Saints Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter –Book Review

Jonathan Edwards on Walking With God

The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin–Book Review

My theme this month is teaching, and in my life, books have often been teachers. There is the Bible, of course, but also the spiritual experiences and insights of others. In this short but moving book, Christina Baldwin explores the spiritual practices that have become meaningful to her after years of listening to the Divine. They are:

  1. Maintain peace of mind
  2. Move at the peace of guidance
  3. Practice certainty of purpose
  4. Surrender to surprise
  5. Ask for what you need and offer what you can
  6. Love the folks in front of you
  7. Return to the world

This book is for anyone who is struggling with a busy life when the really important things often disappear in our preoccupation with doing what seems expedient. It’s about taking time to listen and to discover who we really are. It’s about finding a purpose in life and pursuing that purpose with our heart as well as our mind.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved this book. There was much food for thought and ideas for journaling. However, be advised that the author speaks of her beliefs and practices as spiritual, not specifically Christian, so you may have to filter her suggestions through your own theological lens.

For another book by Christina Baldwin see:

Life’s Companion by Christina Baldwin–Book Review

For more books about spiritual disciplines see:

Spiritual Discipline For a Spiritual Life by Donald S. Witney –FTF Book Review

Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen–Book Review

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — Movie Review

Yes, the Mr. Rogers you may have watched as a child on television was the real Fred Rogers — not a character he invented.  And no, he was not a “living saint” but a real person who had learned through certain practices to control his anger and to be fully present to others.  What were those practices?  Nothing we can’t each easily undertake.  According to his wife, Joanne, he read Scripture, swam laps, prayed for people by name each day, and wrote many affirming letters.

In the film, Lloyd Vogel, investigative writer for Esquire is given the task of interviewing Fred for a series on heroes.  He has a reputation for revealing the worst about people in his articles, and has his doubts about Rogers.  Could anyone really be that good?  However after his initial meeting with Fred, he tells his wife (in a rather disappointed tone), “he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” He also finds the tables are turned– instead of interviewing Mr. Rogers, Lloyd becomes the interviewee.  Through his genuine interest in people, Rogers questions Lloyd about his life and family and helps him to reconcile with his father.  The plot is based on a true story.

Tom Hanks makes a very believable Fred Rogers.  I remember how our daughter, Beth, would watch the program as a preschooler and actually answer Mr. Rogers if he asked a question.  Not surprisingly, in the film Rogers says his goal is to look into the eyes of a single child, being fully present.  In my experience, he succeeded.

If you watched  Mr. Rogers as a child, or with your children, as I did, this movie will bring back many good memories.  It is poignant without being sappy.  I enjoyed it and would certainly recommend it to others.  We could all use a good dose of Mr. Rogers’ practices in our lives;  and we could all use a friend like Fred, who really listens to what we say and accepts us “just the way we are.”

VERDICT:  5 Stars.  Make every effort to see this one if you can.

For another movie about Fred Rogers see this post:

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — Movie Review