Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Reading List

26. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (hc), by Brian Selznick
27. Santa Clawed (ua), by Rita Mae Brown
28. A Case of Nosy Neighbors (ua), by Lori Copeland
29. Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, vol. 2 (gn), by Sean McKeever, et. al
30. Murder Inside the Beltway (ua), by Margaret Truman
31. The Last Days of Krypton (ua), Kevin J. Anderson
32. The Expected One (ua), by Kathleen McGowan

Monday, May 25, 2009

Music Review

Shine, by Jeff Capps.

This is the second release from the Ft. Worth-based Capps, and is an excellent effort. The 4-song EP features Capps' interesting take on modern worship.

A pair of more mellow rock tunes, "Anchor of My Heart" and "Only the Blood" fit in with the hard-driving "Shine" and "Merciful King." The lyrics are well within the norms of worship -- it is tempting to consider the lyrics "traditional," although the instrumentation is very 21st-century.

Capps has made the album available on a "pay what you want" basis through his mySpace page. Check the album out and send him what you think it's worth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Day

Today is one of those days that I realize just how much I've missed by being in a Christian tradition that does not attend to the liturgical calendar. With the possible exception of Pentecost, many Protestants, certainly most evangelicals, just glide smoothly from Easter to Advent. I am part of the majority of evangelicals who have never paid much attention to the rhythms of the church calendar. But I'm trying to learn.

Today is Ascension Day.

Without the Ascension, Jesus is just Lazarus, albeit with miracles and insightful teaching. What separates Jesus from others in the New Testament who were raised from the dead -- and from those in the church age who have been raised from the dead -- is that they will all die again. Jesus did not. Because 40 days after the first Easter, in the sight of many followers, he was caught away to the heavenlies, from which he will one day return.

Of course the hinge-point of human history is the Crucifixion, but it matters only because of the Resurrection. And the Resurrection only matters because of the Ascension. It is not outrageous to claim that the Ascension is the clearest proof of Jesus' divinity.

Points to ponder. Happy Ascension Day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thanks Be To God

From this week's liturgy:

For the fruits of His creation, Thanks be to God
For the gifts to every nation, Thanks be to God
Silent growth while men are sleeping
Future needs in earth’s safe keeping, Thanks be to God

In the just reward of labor, God’s will is done
In the help we give our neighbor, God’s will is done
In our worldwide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing
In the harvest men are sharing, God’s will is done

For the harvest of His spirit, Thanks be to God
For the good all men inherit, Thanks be to God
For the wonders that astound us
For the truths that still confound us
Most of all that love has found us, Thanks be to God

Saturday, May 02, 2009

St. Athanasius

May 2

The life of St. Athanasius, my favorite church father, is celebrated today. An Egyptian, he eventually rose to the position of bishop of Alexandria. His major contribution to the faith – and the main reason he has been declared a doctor of the church – was his fight for theological orthodoxy, especially his defense of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ.

Many take this doctrine for granted now, but in the early 300s, many church leaders were Arians, deniers of this doctrine. Athanasius’ steadfast defense of this key tenant of the faith led him to be exiled by Arian bishops and emperors five separate times.

During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His biography of St. Anthony of the desert laid the groundwork for the monastic movement of the next three centuries.

This combined understanding of deep theology and Christian living makes him a wonderful role model.