Monday, May 11, 2015

Bruce Cockburn on Discovering the Mystics

"I discovered Tielhard de Chardin, the Jesuit priest/paleontologist whose writings defied Church doctrine, and behind him I found a trail of Christian mysticism I had not known existed, a strain so powerful that it had been strategically sidelined by mainstream church leaders whose temporal power was anchored in mythic history and rule-maikng"

  -- from "Rumours of Glory: a memoir"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review

This review originally appeared at Alan's Eyes & Ears:

Little Black Sheep: A Memoir, by Ashley Cleveland. NOOK.

I have known of Ashley Cleveland since her debut album Big Town came out in 1991, and have had positive feelings about her and her music since. She was on the fringes of the Christian music scene in the nineties, and I was a fan of a lot of artists who were on the fringes of the Christian music scene in the nineties.

I lost track of the specific of her career over the years, other than the vague notion that she put out a critically-acclaimed album a few years ago. That album, Before the Daylight's Shot, in fact won a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Rock Gospel Album.

But I knew nothing about her life. This book fills in all of the gaps. Raw and vulnerable, Cleveland details her troubled upbringing with disconnected parents, and her own struggles and addictions. Even as she was winning Grammy winner in the Gospel music world, she was an alcoholic and addict.

The nice thing about memours by songwriters, is that they tend to be very good writers, and Cleveland's skill with words and images are obvious in the writing. She has come to a nice place in her life and her career as she approaches 50, and she hopes all her worst days are behind her. But as she details in the book, every day has its own struggles, and its own little victories.

Source: A group on Facebook posted that this book was free for a few days through the Nook store, and I grabbed it during that window of opportunity.

Friday, March 27, 2015

N.T. Wright on Jesus' Empire

"Instead of the eagle with its talons and claws, Jesus summoned people to a different kind of empire: peacemaking, mercy,humility and a passion for genuine and restorative justice."

  -- from "Paul and the Faithfulness of God"

Monday, March 09, 2015

John Paul II on Invitation

"We are all invited to participate in this process of leaving behind the well-known, the familiar. We are all invited to turn toward the God who, in Jesus Christ, opened Himself to us, "breaking down the dividing wall of enmity" (Eph. 2:14) in order to draw us to Himself through the Cross."

  -- from "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way"

Sunday, February 08, 2015

NT Wright on Evil

"Monotheism of any kind always faces a challenge in dealing with the fact of evil; particularly human evil, but also the sense that the whole creation is somehow infected with a sickness that thwarts the creator's purpose, which is that his glory and power should fill the whole world."  --  from "Paul and the Faithfulness of God"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review

This review originally appeared on the Alan's Eyes & Ears blog:

 The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, by The Venerable Bede. Unabridged audio.

I am a sucker for church history, but it took me a while to get around to reading the most famous piece of church history from the first millennium.

The focus is on the Christian history of the British Isles. This has been a particular interest to me since I ran across the music of the UK-based band Iona more than 20 years ago. Bede hits the main characters and locals that I was hoping for, such as Iona, Lindisfarne, Columba, and Columcille.

There are certainly moments of dryness in the accounts, as many of the people and circumstances have been lost to time (save this book). But many of the accounts were colorful, and so although some of the chronologies did not stick with me, many of the stories did. The relationships between the various British peoples, both with each other and with the authorities in Rome, form a backbone for the history.

In terms of theology, the issue that Bede spends the most time on is the correct dating for Easter. Although backing the Roman interpretation, he is gracious to other believers who believe differently.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

John Paul II on Faith

"Beginning with Abraham, the faith of each of his sons represents a constant leaving behind of what is cherished, familiar, and personal, in order to open up to the unknown, trusting in the truth we share and the common future we all have in God."

  -- from "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

John Paul II on Trials

"We will certainly encounter trials. There is nothing extraordinary about this, it is part of the life of faith. At times our trials will be light, at times they will be very difficult, or even dramatic, In our trials we may feel alone, but God's grace, the grace of a victorious faith, will never abandon us. Therefore we can expect to triumph over every trial, even the hardest."

  -- from "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way"

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review

This review first appeared on the Alan's Eyes and Ears Blog.

Rooted in Good Soil, by Tri Robinson. Paperback.

A third-generation farmer, as well as being a pastor, Tri Robinson has an interesting vantage point from which to analyze Jesus' parable of the sower. Robinson notes that the differences in outcomes in the story are due to the underlying condition of the soil. Robinson combines his knowledge of Scripture and farming to explain how we can develop the "good soil" required for spiritual growth.

The chapter relating the Trinity to the forces of soil, sun, and rain was the strongest part of the book. In it, Robinson tells vignettes from his life to show his own personal understanding of the roles of Father, Son, and Spirit in his own life. The chapter on the miracle of photosynthesis was also strong, discussing personal growth in a way I had not heard before.

The founding pastor of a large Vineyard church in Idaho, Robinson has written about the intersection of faith and the natural world before. His prior works, Saving God's Green Earth, and Small Footprint, Big Handprint, both argue for evangelical approaches to environmentalism and sustainability. He argues persuasively that a biblical worldview includes care and concern for creation.

This is not a theological tome, but is instead a readable treatise of discipleship, from a man who has been a church leader for many decades.

Source: borrowed from a friend.

Monday, October 13, 2014

John Paul II on Physics

"With regard to other disciplines, most of my contacts were with physicists. In the course of our many encounters, we would speak, for example, of the most recent discoveries in cosmology. This was a fascinating study, which confirmed for me Saint Paul's dictum that certain knowledge of God can also be reached through knowledge of the created world."

  -- from "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way"