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Book Summaries and Reviews

  • December 25, 2020 5:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What would you do if faced with disaster? In her book The Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley examines the various human responses to disaster. She explores peoples’ natural responses compared to those that have been trained or had previous experiences with disasters. She explores both natural and man-made incidents allowing the reader to draw solid conclusions on potential response patterns and similarities.  The book is filled with practical steps the reader can take to enhance their planning, mindset, and awareness prior to a disaster.  

    The book is divided into three parts each describing an element of the typical human response to disaster. The elements of denial, deliberation, and the decisive moment are each explored in depth and ways to move quickly toward the decisive moment are considered and suggested. If these three elements of disaster sound familiar, it maybe you recognize them from the ALERRT CRASE[1] course material.  

    The denial phase is linked to our experiences and training (or lack thereof). Ripley does a fantastic job explaining the causes of denial, which result in a delayed response by those facing a disaster situation. This delay can result in the loss of life or serious bodily injury if the person does not transition to deliberation and ultimately the decisive moment. Ripley explains normalcy bias which can result from our brain trying to convince us everything is okay, especially because it has been most of the time in our lives, thus leading to a greater delay and difficulty recognizing the danger.

    The Unthinkable is a well written, researched, and an enjoyable read as Ripley blends the real-world events with the strategies, we must embrace to increase our chances of survival in a disaster. We should take two significant points away after reading this work. First, we need to take responsibility for our own survival including awareness, skills, mental and physical preparation and training.  Second, we need to recognize the importance of becoming an immediate responder, there is just not enough time to wait for the arrival of first responders, to save us and our loved ones.

    [1] Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training- Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events

  • July 14, 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Carl Chinn makes the case for security in Faith Based Organizations in his book Evil Invades Sanctuary. The book begins making the case for security extensively in the first two chapters. Mr. Chinn provides a first-hand account of why churches should have a safety/security team in place regardless of the size of the ministry. He provides a detailed account of the Focus on the Family hostage situation where he was present throughout the incident.  In addition, he shares statistics on Deadly Force Incidents at Faith Based Organizations and describes the care he takes in collecting and sharing the data on these incidents. He then concludes the book with his first-person account of the active killer at New Life Church.

    The book can serve as an excellent primer on church security. Topics addressed range from forming an initial safety and security team, to policies and procedure formation, and the balance of safety and security in a ministry context.

    One of the strengths of Evil Invades Sanctuary is the practical experience that Mr. Chinn brings to his writing, based on his experiences. He not only shares his actions in these instances but, provides insights to what he did well and what he learned to do differently after the incidents. His experience leading and training church staff and volunteers provides powerful insights into how to form and operate a successful team.

  • July 08, 2020 8:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Steve Jones provides a brief Biblical Theology of self-defense in his book Stand Your Ground. Pastor Jones begins his text with a description of three different views Christians hold regarding self-defense. He points to pacifism, semi-pacifism (his term describing the belief that only government agents may use force), and intuitive guardianship (his term describing those who believe protecting their loved ones is the right thing to do). His purpose in writing this book is to move this third position “beyond intuition and on to Biblically justifiable grounds. (pg. 9)”

    The first two parts of the text focus on the Old and New Testament Scriptures that address self-defense types of situations. Pastor Jones is careful not to stretch the context of verses, but rather using solid Biblical interpretation of the cited verses to point to an individual’s right to self-defense, including deadly force under specific circumstances. Though he clearly lays the foundation for the use of deadly force to defend yourself or others, from these Scriptures, he cautions in part three that this may not always be the best option.

    Part three continues to address Matthew 5:38-39 where Jesus issued a corrective to the Pharisees and Pastor Jones concludes “Jesus’ admonition to ‘turn the other cheek’ does not preclude self-defense, but that doesn’t mean that Christians should go to the opposite extreme of looking for trouble. (pg. 35)” He provides real world examples of using wisdom to determine when it may be better to deescalate, ignore, and/or disengage from a situation rather than using force. Pastor Jones balances the use of restraint (Proverbs 19:11) with the use of force depending on the type of situation.

    Stand Your Ground concludes with part four dedicated to countering potential objections to the use of force in self-defense by Bible-believing Christians. Pastor Jones addresses a variety of popular objections in both the scriptures and church history.

    Overall, this is a balanced work clearly providing support for a Biblical Theology of the use of force, for self-defense in situations individuals may encounter. The author is not quick to seek out the use of force, including deadly force. Rather he clearly articulates the need for restraint and de-escalation skills while demonstrating that a Christian may defend themselves or others from harm using force, even deadly-force if necessary without violating the tenants of the Scriptures. This brief work, though only 58 pages, provides a tremendous, well thought out framework for those who struggle with their faith and the need to physically protect themselves and their loved ones.

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