3 out of 4 stars
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How many times do you look yourself in a mirror? A few times? A lot of times? The fact is that we do use the mirror every day and it’s a common item in our daily routine to see our reflection. What about using a mirror that could reflect our inner desires, feelings, and thoughts. That’s precisely what the Bible does to its readers. When reading the Bible, the reader can see his own reflection and change his imperfections. Do you read the Bible every day? No Reflection by Christopher Johnson invites you to do so in order to take advantage of its outstanding advice.
Nowadays, people distance themselves from God. Trying to close this gap, Mr. Johnson took up the task to write this book to stimulate people to seek God’s guidance. His voice is firm, yet sometimes preachy. The eighteen chapters of this book deal with different topics that are meant to induce the readers to meditate (see their reflections) and make the necessary arrangements to please God and achieve happiness in life. Topics like the cause and effect of our actions, vanity, selfishness, integrity, forgiveness, greed, deception, among others, have each a chapter in this book, and each is analyzed in a general matter.
In his writing, Mr. Johnson uses clever metaphors to make people understand the level of his spirituality and the state of mind that a person has when not having a close relationship with God. For instance, a person distanced from God could suffer of a “Vampire Syndrome”. The person behaves as a vampire. He sucks the blood of others to survive in this world (cares only about himself), avoids the light (spiritual things), and looks for darkness (sins). I often found myself agreeing with the message behind these metaphors. My favorite ones were “The Yogi Bear Syndrome,” “The Puppet Syndrome,” and Jesus is “Superman.” These metaphors help whet the reader’s appetite for knowledge in order to draw close to God.
Moreover, I delighted in reading the biblical passages quoted directly from the Bible. Seeing the Bible texts written had a positive effect. You know the relayed message isn’t from Mr. Johnson but God. Nonetheless, Mr. Johnson primarily uses the King James Version, and only occasionally, cites from other versions. Using primarily only one version of the Bible is disadvantageous. I personally do not think the Bible versions disagree on context but on syntax. Unfortunately, not everybody thinks so. Therefore, it could have been appropriate to use different Bible versions as much as possible to mark the points he wanted without bringing out controversies.
On a funny note, I couldn’t help laughing when I read Mr. Johnson’s warning at the beginning of the book. He explains why the word Satan is not capitalized throughout the book. He considers this is a privilege that the Devil does not deserve. As a Christian, I understood his point of view. As a teacher, my heart wavered every time I saw this proper noun without the proper capitalization. Nevertheless, I could sense his determination not to do anything that pleased God’s enemy, which is admirable.
While repetition is the key of retention, I would say the amount of times you repeat a phrase in a chapter must have a limit. There are instances in which the author repeats unnecessarily phrases, verses, quotations, and ideas. I got tired of reading them over and over. “I’m just saying” is a perfect example of this. In lieu of repeating the same ideas, which I think were meant for emphasis, I was expecting to learn more about specific situations and advice on how to apply what the Bible says regarding that X situation. Rather, the author generalizes.
On the other hand, I found it annoying to see the cited scriptures all together without any space. For example: Heb. 11:6KJV instead of Heb. 11:6 KJV. The missing spaces and commas in some paragraphs should be corrected to make the writing flawless. Inconsistency was another disruptive downside when reading this book. Some scriptures were hyperlinked, and you could read the verses directly from www.biblestudytools.com, which I found it useful, but not all verses were hyperlinked. On the same note, sometimes the names of the books of the Bible were abbreviated while other times they weren’t.
Besides, I would have loved to read about the life experiences of the people that are quoted in the book. I think it would have made the message stronger. Actually, that was the reason why I decided to read this book in the first place. Based on the description of the book, I was led to believe I was going to read about people’s life experiences. Nevertheless, you find none here.
Last, but not least important, the cover of the book needs a re-touch. It’s obvious to the reader the intention of the author when positioning a man in front of a mirror, but the man has no reflection. You get the message that you won’t have a reflection unless you draw close to your Creator. However, the cover is dull. The man’s t-shirt in the picture has almost the same color of the frame of the book. The font letters are white, so they make no contrast with the sky-blue color of the cover, so they have no visual impact.
Despite the drawbacks mentioned before, the message conveyed in No Reflection surpasses them. So, I consider this book is useful for the purpose it was written. Therefore, I deduct one measly star and rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. There’s no doubt Mr. Johnson wrote this book for all kinds of people in his effort to help them draw close to God. So, I would recommend it to people that care about how to better themselves. Religious people and Bible readers are definitely welcomed to read it too.
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