Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Inspection: A Christmas Carol Special Edition by Stephen Skelton

Title: A Christmas Carol
Subtitle: Special Edition: The Charles Dickens Classic with Christian Insights and Discussion Questions for Groups and Families
Author: Stephen Skelton
Topic: Christianity/Christmas
Chapter Titles: Introductiton, Preface, Stave One: Marley's Ghost, Discussion One: Selfishness, Stave Two: The First of the Three Spirits, Discussion Two: Regret, Stave Three: The Second of the Three Spirits, Discussion Three: Repentance, Stave Four, The Last of the Spirits, Discussion Four: Salvation, Stave Five: The End Of It, Discussion Five: Rebirth, Resources, Bibliography

Precis: Stephen Skelton has taken Dickens' classic tale and infused it with discussion points, pertinent scholarly annotations pertinent to Christianity, and applications to help readers of A Christmas Carol use the story to find the real meaning of Christmas through introspection and family discussion. Each Discussion chapter has four parts, I. Telling the Story (where you discuss what happened in the text), II. Telling Your Story (where you take what happened in the text and relate that to experiences or decisions you've made or will make in your life), III. Telling the Story of Christmas (where you relate the story to the story of Christ and Christmas), and IV. Living the Story (where he suggests action points for you to use what you've discovered in the previous three sections to help yourself be more Christlike.) There is also a section of Biblical verses at the end of each discussion chapter for Further Discussion in case you want to delve deeper.

Verdict: I Heart It! Here's what amazed me about this book, I'm not your mainstream Christian. The doctrine I follow often conflicts with mainstream Christianity, but it did not conflict with this book. I was worried that I would have to weed through and be like, well that's valid, and that's iffy, but I didn't have to. The discussion framework allows you to incorporate your doctrinal beliefs into discussions with your family or with members of a fellow congregation, but it doesn't force any type of doctrinal beliefs regarding rites or rituals. Those are completely left out, as are any topics that could be controversial. There is a lot of talk about putting Christ at the center of the celebration, opening our hearts to Christ, repentance, loving one another, and ways we can do these things. I think that every Christian family should have a copy of this in their home this Christmas. And at a cover price of $7.99, it doesn't just make a great gift, it falls under the must give category for me. I'm not a fan of Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities is the book I despise in this world the most, but this rendering and enriching of A Christmas Carol is magnificent and not to be missed.

Acquire It:

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