Thursday, April 28, 2011

True Courage by Steve Farrar (thoughts; not a full review)

True Courage: Emboldened by God in a Disheartening World
By Steve Farrar
Copyright 2011
David C. Cook
234 pages, incl. bibliography

I have mixed feelings about True Courage. I'm currently on page 151, so I haven't finished the book but I feel like I've read enough to talk about it. Some of the reading has already been a struggle and I'm considering just setting it aside. I almost didn't bother reading past the introduction, which I found extraordinarily negative. The comment that stopped me in my tracks:

Things will not get better and better.
They will get worse and worse.
And then the Lord Jesus will return and set it all straight forever.

--from the introduction to True Courage

I believe Jesus will return, but I don't hold a lot of stock with people who believe they can say for certain that we are living in the "end times". A lot of civilizations have fallen, world wars and ecological disasters have devastated the planet, and yet humanity has still soldiered on. We are definitely living in a time period that is turbulent. Does that mean it's the beginning of the end? Only God can say, in my humble opinion.

However, I decided that 21 pages of introduction was simply not enough to stop reading the book. I needed to give it a better chance. So, after a few days of pondering, I picked True Courage up, again. It never did make it into my sidebar and even if I finish I don't think I'll say anything more. I've read enough to know about the author's style and what he has to say to form my own reaction. You can read the first chapter of True Courage, here, to get an idea of Farrar's writing style and theme.

What I like about True Courage:

The author is good at telling stories about his own challenges, how prayer has often led to surprising results that some may even refer to as "miracles" and how he learned from them. He also shares plenty of stories about other people. I particularly liked reading about a time when Winston Churchill was so desperate to talk to evangelist Billy Graham about hope that he made the Duke of Windsor (the former King of England) wait while he spoke to Graham. In at least two cases, stories quoted from other books have been so interesting that I marked books in the bibliography for future reference. A good portion of the book refers to Daniel and his life in Babylon. I absolutely love the book of Daniel, so I've enjoyed those references.

True Courage is also fairly light reading. Steve Farrar apparently ministers mostly to men in the same way Beth Moore has a women's ministry, but you don't have to be male to enjoy his writing.

What I dislike about True Courage:

Too many catch phrases have gotten on my nerves. This is the main reason I've found the book frustrating. I have a tendency to set repetitive books aside and this author has repeated the words "acts and facts" and "flummoxed and flabbergasted" so many times I've begun to grind my teeth when I see them. Okay, not literally, but the repetition is annoying and the most common reason I tend to ditch instructional non-fiction books is heavy repetition.


Having said what I like and dislike about True Courage, I've just talked myself into finishing the book. I neglected to say what it's about, although the title pretty much speaks for itself. In general, I'd say it's less about courage than faith. Daniel's faith was so strong as to be courageous, though, and Daniel's story provides the framework for the book.

The bottom line:

I would not tell anyone to avoid True Courage. While I don't agree with everything the author has to say (occasionally, in fact, there will be a statement that actually makes me a little angry) and it seems as if the author is spending a lot of time saying the same thing over and over, again, it has some solid scriptural grounding. Be forewarned that the book is very repetitive and the author does not specifically say so, but he is apparently of the camp that believes we're living in the final years of the last stage of civilization before Jesus returns.

A side note:

Given the earthquakes, tsunami, volcano, massive destruction from tornadoes and historic flooding in progress on the Mississippi River (the worst is, at this point, nowhere near us but flooding has already begun in Vicksburg) . . . well, who knows? Combine that with political upheaval and economic disaster and you do have quite a volatile mix.

In other news:

This has been quite a week in the South. I am grateful that in our area there were only downed trees and power outages -- no hits from tornadoes. My heart goes out to all of the people affected by the massive storms that spawned devastating, killer tornadoes.

Personally speaking:

We've had a sick kitty and a between various appointments, errands and little sleep from the noisy storms, it's been a pretty tiring week. Miss Fiona had half of her shots on Monday. They always hit her hard, so it's not unexpected that she's been hiding and eating very little. It's still distressing, though, to see her so sluggish. On the plus side, she's been very cuddly. During yesterday's early round of noisy storms, Fi was completely freaked out. Her response was to knock things off the bedside table. After she'd climbed across me to knock things down, several times, I picked her up and plunked her on my tummy. She immediately sank down and relaxed as I rubbed her ears and neck. Since she's not a lap cat, that was a real thrill for me.

Tomorrow's Fiona Friday pic will be from last week. I haven't taken a single picture of either cat. When she hasn't been hiding and we haven't been cast into darkness by storms, I've been out of the house. Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze in a review or two before my Fiona Friday post.

What I'm reading:

Having unplugged for a couple of days because of the weather (I checked messages from my iPad, Petunia), I have also not updated my sidebar. In addition to The Lightkeeper's Ball, which I actually set aside for a few days, and True Courage, I've just read the intro to Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems, ed. by Harold Bloom.

This is not as ominous as it sounds -- not death-bed poetry but sometimes simply a poem that marked the final effort of a poet before he abandoned poetry or poems which, "were intended to mark the end, though the poet survived a while longer and continued to work." The editor says, ". . . knowledge, not pathos, is my purpose in gathering this anthology," and, "everything in this volume is here because of its artistic excellence." Regardless, I'm looking forward to digging in and hope to find a poem to share by Saturday.

I'm also reading the mental_floss Genius Instruction Manual for pure fun. The cover says, "Disguise Yourself as a Genius!" I don't think I'm going to be able to do that after reading the book, but maybe if I reread it a few times I'll be able to fake genius. Probably not. I live with a guy who has 3 degrees and occasionally have had to hang out in a room full of professors. I find it's best for me to just shut up, smile and nod a lot. At any rate, the mental_floss Genius Instruction Manual is good for plenty of laughs.

It's about time for a kitty fix:

Here's a picture of Isabel that makes me smile . . .

Last bit of silliness:

A thought from the husband, whose plane was diverted, yesterday, due to 30+ knot winds that caused a forced landing in August, Georgia and who is carefully watching the flood news through his workplace: "Maybe they were right about 2012 and we should lay odds the world will end." My response, "Yeah, but who exactly would be around to collect on that?"

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Thanks for the honest thoughts, and the general update - I always love seeing your kitty pics! Hope all is going well with you and yours down South, and my prayers are with you all!

  2. Chelsea,

    Thanks! All is well in our town. Tuscaloosa, AL seems to have been the worst hit, although I know there were tornadoes in Smithville and Philadelphia, MS. Yesterday was such a disastrous day. There are a lot of people searching through rubble, today. It's sunny and beautiful, here; I hope it is elsewhere in the South.

  3. I am not sure I would like this book, because I don't like repetitive and I don't like catch phrases. I also didn't like that little comment right at the beginning of your review. Too much doom and gloom I'm afraid. I do like Beth Moore though, and have done several of her studies. In fact, I just finished the David study.

    I am sorry to hear that Fiona is not feeling well, and I hope that she soon returns to her happy self. It can be pretty miserable to have an ailing pet.

  4. Zibilee,

    I went ahead and finished True Courage, last night, and I *still* have mixed feelings about it! Repetitive catch phrases do bug me and they continued to do so, but I love the way he inserted unexpected stories. So, it fit my rule -- I liked the book (but didn't love it). It did turn out to be hopeful, not gloomy, thank goodness.

    Thanks, it's been very odd having a sluggish Fiona. She let out a huge howl, last night, and all she wanted was for me to sit and pet her for a while, then she was happy. Sorta funny. She's really a pretty quiet girl, but she knows how to let you know what she thinks! :)


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