“The Dog Who Was There”–Review

51bjP8hjO+L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Set in first century Jerusalem, this story is told from the point-of-view of Barley, a dog who was abandoned and nearly drowned when he was a puppy, until a husband and wife rescued him and brought him to their home. While Barley grows up in the home of the compassionate woodcarver and his wife, tales of a special teacher from Galilee are spreading throughout the villages. While it causes quite a stir for many, others are influenced in positive ways and want to follow this teacher.

When life unexpectedly changes, however, Barley is on his own again, wandering the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is there that he meets Samid, a homeless and petty criminal. Soon the two become friends. With his new master, Barley experiences new struggles and new revelations. After his encounter with the Teacher, Barley learns the lessons of forgiveness, compassion, and love after witnessing events to what has been known as “the greatest story ever told.”

I enjoyed reading this book. It was so sad, yet it had some moments that made me smile. The ending really surprised me and that’s when I knew I already loved the book. In fact, when I got home from work, I immediately hugged my dog. Whether you’re a dog person or not, I still recommend this book. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Ron Marasco’s first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. He cowrote the book About Grief: Insights, Setbacks, Grace Notes, Taboos, which has been translated into multiple languages. His most recent work is Shakespeare: Portals to Prayer and he is currently writing a book about Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Ron has acted extensively on TV in everything from Last to West Wing to Entourage and has done recurring roles on Freaks and Greeks and Major Crimes. He appeared opposite screen legend, Kirk Douglas, in the movie Illusion, for which he cowrote the screenplay. He has a Ph.D in Theatre History from UCLA and is a professor at Loyola Marymount University.


“Counterfeit Gospels”–Review

“The Real Deal or a Cheap Imitation?”

“The best way to identify a counterfeit bill is to know the real thing.  The same is true with the gospel.  We need to know the truth if we hope to discern the imitations.”

In “Counterfeit Gospels,” Trevin Wax talks about the most common assumptions people make when they think of the gospel.  Other people, on the other hand, have felt misled in the topic, causing them to question their faith or to walk away from it.  What Wax points out is how common it is for people to be confused because they, more likely, don’t understand the entire story.  He suggests that we need to learn the entire story from the very beginning.  When describing the gospel, Wax refers to it as a “three-legged stool”: the gospel story (the narrative of Scripture); the gospel Announcement (about Jesus Christ); and the gospel Community (God’s church).

The six, most common counterfeits mentioned are: Therapeutic, Moralist, Activist, Judgmentless, Quietist, and Churchless.  Wax states, “Counterfeit gospels are appealing because they cost us less in the eyes of the world.”  His solution is for people to understand what the gospel really means in order to truly welcome Christ.

Although I am neither spiritual nor religious, I did like reading this book.  It isn’t really for me, to be honest; however, other people may appreciate the book.  I would recommend it for those who would like to educate themselves more on the topic of the gospel, or for 41CCGd2rZ8L__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_those who want to read it for personal development.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from Moody Publishers, free, in an exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are based on my own experience.