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Customer Reviews for Bethany House Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook

Bethany House Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook

Average Customer Rating:
3.1 out of 5
3.1
 out of 
5
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4 out of 1040%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Review 1 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Expected more from the book

Date:December 26, 2012
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Jim Cantrell
Location:Okla.
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This book came highly recommended. This book did not meet my expectations.
The author Matthew Lee Anderson is too free with is interpretation of scripture trying to make his designed response. He does ask some provocative questions that require the reader to reconsider common human problems.
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Review 2 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not at all what I expected

Date:June 23, 2012
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ThomasRFellerJr
Location:North Carolina
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
This was not one of the easier books I have ever read - in fact, I've been at it for months. To be honest, I just couldn't get into it. I ordered the book at the beginning of the year thinking that it was going to be about how we need to take care of our bodies - you know, eat healthy, exercise, etc - and how that was one way in which to honor God (with our bodies). But it wasn't. The book was really more about laying out what I'll call the theology of the body - addressing some of the false doctrines that remain from the period of the Gnostics (the whole "flesh is bad" thing). Honestly, what I was looking for was Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas - a book I ordered at the same time and reviewed back in February. What I got was significantly more academic than I desired, and the focus wasn't what I was anticipating. Perhaps that my fault for misunderstanding what was written about the book in its description, but either way I never could get into this book.
I'll give it 2/5 stars. For the record, yes I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.
-1point
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Review 3 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

not what i expected . . .

Date:September 14, 2011
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ATaylor
Location:Texas
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
“Earthen Vessels” is not what I expected. I selected it to review because I am passionate about stewardship of the body and this book appeared to tackle the topic, which it does -- just not in the way I had hoped. (I should note that, in my opinion, the author spends too much time convincing the reader that this topic is important. I wouldn’t have selected the book if I thought it didn’t merit discussion!)
Matthew Lee Anderson takes a very external perspective of the body. The overarching lesson is that, when we are unaware of how our bodies relate to the world around us, our ability to glorify the Lord with our lives is muted. Anderson’s catch-phrase seems to be “holy attentiveness,” as in we should pay that to our bodies; what they do, why they do it, how they do it, and how our actions are molded by the world in which we live (read: consumerism and its counterparts). This is compared, of course, to how Scripture should shape all of these things instead.
In our day of hyper-processed foods and a growing movement to return to “real” food, I expected something about that between the covers of this volume. In this regard I was a bit disappointed because what we put into our bodies can also affect our ability to glorify the Lord.
Anderson is a fantastic writer -- descriptive and clear -- but this book is not targeted toward the layperson. Rather it seems written for pastors and seminarians. The author assumes knowledge of movements within the church (past and present), and many doctrinal terms that only come through a certain amount of study. While tackling tough topics such as piercings and tattoos, general human sexuality, and even homosexuality, some passages feel a little “stream of consciousness,” which I don’t tend to enjoy reading as that style of writing becomes less clear (and increasingly wordy) as it progresses. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to Anderson for sticking to Scripture and relating only truth.
I recommend this book, but not wholeheartedly. I enjoy a meaty theological volume, and even I had much trouble finishing this one. Only dive in if you’re already very studied in modern Christianity, or if you’re prepared to do many Google searches along the way.
In exchange for my honest opinion, Bethany House provided my review copy free of charge.
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Review 4 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Important Conversation Starter

Date:September 3, 2011
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JF Arnold
Location:Buena Park, CA
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This book is important, especially for those who are concerned with evangelical intellectualism. While many have lambasted evangelicalism for its lack of intelligent writers, Anderson bucks that trend and steps up to the plate with a well researched and important book.
The book is intellectual in nature, surely, but manages to be rather readable. While not the same stylistically to a one hundred percent down-to-earth readable book, it certainly does not read like a textbook.
The topic has not been written on much within the evangelical world, though in the Christian tradition at large it has been covered by numerous thinkers (many of whom are quoted in the book). Physical bodies are important, and Anderson provides a convincing argument for that statement.
The book is worth a read, and hopefully will begin a conversation, as that is what it is intended to do. Definitely recommended.
+1point
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Review 5 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

style dependent: love it or suffer through it

Date:August 30, 2011
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
In "Earthen Vessels," lay scholar Matthew Lee Anderson presents something of an evangelical theology of the body. With Anderson admittedly being influenced by JPII's "Theology of the Body" (which is an important but intimidating piece), "Earthen Vessels" seemed like the perfect chance to explore the topic at a truly lay level.
Wrong! "Earthen Vessels" was a tremendously laborious read. The structure and style of this book reminded me of my years working in a university research lab, reading research documents and reports. Just a truly strange and difficult style for a book.
Despite my personal distaste for Anderson's style, I must admit that I found his ideas very thought-provoking. "Earthen Vessels" has given me much to consider, and I imagine I will refer back to it in future discussions and writings.
I received this book free from Bethany House for the purpose of providing my honest review.
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Review 6 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Earthen Vessels

Date:August 22, 2011
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CKendall
Location:Burlington, NC
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I want to start this review with a brief preface. I have recently made it my book review policy to leave my personal opinion out of reviews about books that are about touchy topics. I don’t want my personal feeling to affect whether or not another person decides to read a certain book. Earthen Vessels is one of those books that can be a bit touchy to some readers, but I was very interested in what the author had to say about our bodies being a reflection of our faith.
While this is an interesting topic, I’m afraid this book wasn’t very interesting. I found that it read much like a research paper in that it was a bit dry and somewhat lacking in personality. On the other hand, the author did do extensive Biblical research for this book and it shows. I just found it a bit hard to get through at some points, but other points where the author used current examples from pop culture helped move things along at times. Overall, Earthen Vessels is an important topic, but this particular book misses the mark ever so slightly in that it just wasn’t terribly interesting. I would have liked to see a bit more personality from this youthful author.
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Review 7 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great book. I recommend it

Date:August 12, 2011
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Chris Land
Location:Wichita Falls, Tx
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
We live a culture where people have done some intense stuff to their bodies. We have people who are overweight, people covered with tattoos, and people who alter their body to look like their favorite celebrity. As a follower of Jesus, we wonder if our human bodies matter. That is what Matthew Lee Anderson, in his book Earthen Vessels addresses.
This book addresses various topics regarding the body including the Biblical worldview concerning the body. That we are formed from dust by God to be a temple What is that temple? It is "the place where God himself dwells within his people...but the temple is in ruins. The incarnation of Jesus affirms the body's original goodness. The death of Jesus reminds us of its need for redemption. And the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for its restoration" (pg 31).
Great book. I recommend it.
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Review 8 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Weak and disappointing book

Date:August 4, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Coffeyville, KS
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
“Earthen Vessels” starts as a promising book. The author is interested in reminding us that our identity depends on God and not on the consumption-oriented society that we live in today. He also points out that humans, as social beings, constantly offer his body as a living sacrifice; he illustrated this point with parents taking care of a newborn, often losing sleep. He also makes a clear difference of what is culturally accepted but not biblical.
However, it all becomes really disappointing and contradictory. The good concepts introduced in the first part of the book are gone; the author even proposes that, as long as the heart is in the right place, the action should be accepted. This after pointing out the very true fact that Christians are at “risk of letting ideologies that oppose our Christian witness shape us more than Scripture” (p.104), in such a way that practices become the norm and “eventually we quit caring” (p.106). This just makes me wonder if the author is trying to justify shortcomings rather than being apologetic. For instance, one of his examples about our relation with our bodies is how our fingers would allow us to play the piano or not; he states that even a disciplined person won’t be able to reach a determined goal if their body is just not made for that activity. Although this might be true for most of us, I wonder what people who have gone through impairing accidents or physically or mentally challenged athletes have to say about that. I strongly disagree with this kind of generalization the author constantly includes in his arguments. If anything, God gets more glory from this kind of weakening impairments.
The overall feeling is that there is no direction at all; moreover, there is no aim and conclusions are never offered, as if there were no purpose to reach. It is a slow, lukewarm book in which the author displays his own knowledge and familiarity with humanistic teachings. Also, I strongly disliked the way in which he tries to include jokes, which turn out to me more cocky and disrespectful than funny; the latter, along with events that are used with the intent of illustrating a point, turn out to be highly distracting, taking meaning away from the text.
Unfortunately, the scope that this book could have had is not reached; because of its structure and lack of depth, it reminds me of a term paper by a very good student who knows a lot about the topic, but is unable to arrive to any conclusion. I do recognize there are some areas that can lead into a good debate – and a good learning experience, but do not expect to have questions answered nor issued clarified; on the other hand, get ready for misleading information. It could be interesting to have this book, just because of the numerous references included, although poorly used throughout the exposition of the text.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. This did not bias my opinion on the book or the author.
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Review 9 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

A Disappointing and Frustrating Read

Date:August 2, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Savannah, GA
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
"Earthen Vessels" by Matthew Lee Anderson was a disappointing and frustrating book for me. I chose it for review because it sounded similar to a previously reviewed book that I truly enjoyed. That book taught how our brains and souls interact and was a fascinating read. "Earthen Vessels" was supposed to tell why our physical bodies matter to our faith.
If I hadn’t made a commitment to read the book for review, I would have closed it right after the preface. Anderson’s tone is arrogant and he makes no attempt to write for the average reader, even joking at one point about how the use of one word he chooses doesn’t even belong in a book you pay less than twenty dollars for. According to the back cover, "Earthen Vessels" sells for $14.99.
Because I’d promised to read the book, I continued to read—and absolutely loved the first chapter. I underlined all kinds of things and hoped the rest of the book would continue in that way. But it didn’t—not consistently. Anderson devoted the whole first page of the second chapter to telling readers what he believes is wrong with "Precious Moments" figurines. (I think he was taking them too seriously.)
He also turned his focus away from faith to evangelicalism. I don’t know why. I wasn’t looking for a book that told me how evangelicals consider physical bodies from a different perspective than other Christians might or for a comparison and contrast of evangelicals and Gnostics. This book was to tell why bodies matter to faith.
Though the book made some interesting points and had some value, I don’t think I would have missed much if I’d closed the book after reading the preface. It isn’t one I would choose to recommend.
Bethany House Publishers sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
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Review 10 for Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life Into a Broken Faith - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book on an important issue

Date:July 26, 2011
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kingfishers
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Any book on evangelical theology that begins with the sentence “I once spent a week of my life being entranced by noses” is bound to be pretty interesting, but Earthen Vessels, by Matthew Lee Anderson, was much more than an entertaining read. Earthen Vessels was the kind of evangelical book I like to see: engaging, in-depth, and focused on an issue that evangelicals tend to ignore to their detriment. In fact, it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. In it, the author attempts to correct the evangelical misunderstanding of the purpose and importance of the body.
Aside from the almost complete silence on the issue of gender, I found Earthen Vessels to be a wise, thorough, and necessary work. Because Jesus became a person, occupied a body in all of its tragedy and mess and pain, we can have hope. The Sacraments and spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, are intimately connected to our physicality, so that when we kneel before God something different happens than when we stand before Him. The redemption of the body means that what we do in it matters, that ordering our lives within a community matters. “The inner nature of the Christian life is made visible in and through the practices of the church” (209). If we emphasize, intentionally or not, that this physical world is not as important as the spiritual one, that how we live in this life is not fundamentally important, then we run the risk of treating people and this planet without the proper gentleness and respect.
Earthen Vessels made me very uncomfortable at times, and that’s a good thing. May this book further discussion on the importance of the body in our understanding of God and his church.
I got this book for free from Bethany House Publishers. I did not have to post a positive review.
+1point
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