Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Book Review: On This Day in Christian History
The book is set up with one page per day of reading, and I started reading aloud to my kids in November. In addition, I read about a month's worth of earlier entries before writing this review, hop-skipping through the book, mostly reading entries for important dates in my family.
I love it. Some well-known stories, some less-known stories, and some pretty obscure ones as well. The mix is interesting, and we are definitely going to enjoy continuing to work through this book.
Each day's entry includes that date in some way. Ulrich Zwingli was born on January 1, 1484, so his is the first entry in the book. On February 24, 1208, Francis of Assisi made the decision to become an evangelist. On April 24, 387, Augustine was baptized. On July 29, 1794, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was born. On November 30, 1864, John Clough headed for missionary service in India, to a place known as "Forlorn Hope."
My only caution about this book -- particularly if you are thinking of it for the family -- is that there certainly are a lot of martyrs included. Like February 16, 1688, when James Renwick smuggled a final note to his mother before being led to the scaffold. Or May 1, 1685 when John Brown had his brains blown out as part of the "Killing Time" in Scotland.
To round out the family birthdays, on March 19, 1229, Frederick crowned himself king in Jerusalem. November 9, 1938 of course was Kristallnacht, which led Dietrich Boenhoeffer to race back to Germany.
Flipping through the book, I noticed that there are entries from a broad range of years (evidenced above, I think) and from a broad geographic area. There are entries relating to Constantinople and to Rome, to Protestant persecution and to Catholic persecution.
I love this book, and it is likely that in reading some of these entries, we are going to be moved to do further research, as the stories themselves are pretty basic overviews. Each ends with a brief scripture verse, or other quote (October 31, for instance, ends with a verse from Luther's "A Mighty Fortress").