Friday, October 7, 2011

The Rogue Shop by Michael Knutsen

In the LDS novel, The Rogue Shop, author Michael Knutsen takes his main character Chris from the threshold of the Baptists and dumps him in Mormon country, without a wallet.

The Rogue Shop is a fun read in more ways than one, and to be truthful, it wasn't only the story that kept me reading, but Knutsen's unique writing style. I wanted to know what words he'd put together next.

The reader who picks up The Rogue Shop knows from the start it is a conversion story that has something to do with tuxedos, but has no clue they will know the business from front to back by detour of the basement before the tale is over. There also is no warning of all the fun characters they will meet: Travis the eloquent, Eva Chandler the resurging dress designer :-), Pablo the landlord. Knutsen doesn't candy coat Mormons, (okay, just a little), but sits you on the couch with their weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. At times, doctrine is explored, but with good taste.

From the back cover:
Trying to escape from his Texas Baptist upbringing and a troubled past, Chris Kerry came to Salt Lake City to get an education -- and nothing else. But keeping his promise to stay away from the Mormons proves difficult, especially with two cute college girls living across the hall. And when Chris finds a new job at a tuxedo shop, his promise unravels as he discovers new friendships, hidden secrets and a lost heritage he never imagined he had. The Rogue Shop illuminates how we recognize truth even in the most trying of circumstances. Michael Knudsen's hilarious debut will remind you about the value of faith, family, and friends as Chris learns from his past to move forward into a better

I enjoyed The Rogue Shop and recommend it. Meet Michael Knutsen at his blog.

Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem by Ester Rasband

Liberating. Insightful. Inspired.

I discovered Ester Rasband's book Confronting The Myth of Self-Esteem by chance one day. The title spoke peace to me. So many people, including myself, have struggle with the concept of self-esteem. It seems the more we try to grasp it, the further it slips away.

Rasband explains why the search for self-esteem will always frustrate. We can't find it without humility, which seems ironic. Our worldliness would tell us not to face our nothingness. Genuine confidence and peace found through gratitude and service brings the happiness we seek. She uses examples, quotes and stories from church leaders, and many scriptures to make her point.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
"We must be willing to lay our self-esteem at the feet of the Lord and seek instead to love and obey him."

"Peace and confidence are gifts from God, and they are gifts given only when we are willing to give up our self-esteem and approach him in total humility."

I particularly loved chapter nine, "Always Remember Him" that focuses on Jesus Christ and our relationship to him. As members of the Church, we are taught we are "A Child of God" and the birthright is ours--which should add to our self-esteem in itself. But, "The inheritance, however, belongs only to the birthright son: Jesus Christ" Through his atonement, we are "adopted" and he shares his inheritance with us. This chapter gives better understanding of our relationship with Him.

I found the book healing. Read a few pages a day and let the concepts digest.

Rasband explains: “Inadequacy is the human condition and unless we tap into the adequacy of our Father in Heaven, we live in a somewhat fearful state — fearful that our inadequacy will cause us to fail and will stand in the way of our being loved and valued.”

Confronting the Myth of Self Esteem can be purchased at Amazon, or on the author's website.
Watch the book trailer and another here.