I was given an advance reading copy of Held Hostage by Ken Cooper and published by Chosen. This book is due for release in August 2009 and I would suggest this book be reading if you have a heart for prisoners or just to minister to the least of these like Christ told us to do and showed up from His life.
Held Hostage is about Ken Cooper’s double life, one of family man and the other a ‘gentleman bank robber’. It starts out with the robbery and backracks through getting married, having a child, robbing banks and up through his time spent in jail and prisons. He held a job as a publicity director for a Christian college all the while robbing banks, taking a hostage and then letting them go – unharmed.
There were moments in the book that had lots of shock value, Mr. Cooper does not gloss over prison life to spare the reader. I was appalled at the behavior described because surely while I am not as naiive to think that some of this stuff doesn’t go on but surely the gaurds would stop it. Not so. I cannot imagine men living like animals, and don’t forget their are plenty of women in prisons too who I am sure are not immune to this sort of behavior. After many years of his mother praying, he finally gives his life to God.
The changes that occur in him are testimonial to God’s great works. I am not saying that he is perfect, none of us are perfect, no not one but his life changes for the better and he is free even in prison. This book is one that will make Believer’s see Christ’s life changing power at work and will make a non-believer rethink what they thought they knew – or at least I pray it will. Truly this is a book that doesn’t come along often and should be a must read especially those who want to know how to help those in prisons – including the appalling parts, they too must be read so that the rest of Mr. Coopers transformation in Christ to be understood.
I had the chance to read and review a book written by Mark Tabb titled How Can a Good God Let Bad Things Happen? I thought this book was fitting for this time in my life and was glad that I requested this book from NavPress.
Mr. Tabb uses the book of Job to help the reader understand that bad things, terrible circumstances in our lives aren’t from God and we need to continue to praise Him even if we think we will never get through it. Through Mark Tabb’s book I saw that what I see as trials in my life aren’t as bad as they could be. I still have a house, two vehicles, a husband, my three children are alive and healthy, even if our house isn’t big enough, our van is constantly breaking down, our house needs a lot of repairs – our circumstances could be much, much worse.
Reading this book helped me understand God a little more. The evil in the world is the result of the first sin, and Satan is alive and well in this world. While I never doubt and I do my best to never blame God for the bad things in my life – I am not sure how I would react if my children were to die, we were to lose our house, etc. Could I continue giving God praise? I would like to think so. Would I want to hear empty words from friends and family? Definitely not. I heard the empty platitudes when we lost our first baby, “oh it’s God’s way of taking care of it now” and so on. This isn’t what grieving and hurting people need to hear. Mark Tabb does a great job of getting this point across without belittling anyone or hurting anyone’s feelings. He does it with grace and maturity and in the end, his book is well written and gives sound Scriptural basis for his findings.
The only thing I could find wrong in the book, and it could just be personal preference, is that when Mr. Tabb refered to God or Christ as “him” it was a lower case ‘h’. I was always told that it’s a sign of respect to use a capital ‘H’ when refering to the Lord. Like I said it could just be a personal preference, but even with that pet peeve of mine the book was very enjoyable.
Please visit NavPress to see their other books and even place an order.