Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Reading List

33. Daredevil: Visionaries (gn), by Frank Miller
34. The Black Shadow (ua), by Steve Saylor
35. Sunrunner's Fire (pb), by Melanie Rawn
36. Throne of Jade (ua), by Naomi Novik
37. Rejected (pb), edited by Jon Friedman
38. The Fall of the Evangelical Nation (hc), by Christine Wicker
39. Too Fat to Fish (ua), by Artie Lange
40. The Reformed Vampire Support Group(ua), by Catherine Jinks
41. Magic, Mensa, & Mayhem (pb), by Karina Fabian

Friday, June 26, 2009


A devotion from James H. Kurt on Abram and Sarah laughing at the thought of their being parents at such advanced ages:

"It’s an understandable reaction. Who would not find the thought humorous? Abraham does something more than laugh. He prostrates himself before the Lord, face to the floor. How many of our modern scoffers would do such as this? It is human to question, to doubt, but it is godly to humble oneself in faith. There is a world of difference between a laugh of wonder and the scoffing of the skeptic. The latter shall remain barren, never finding the living water that would make him fertile and fruitful. The former by his fear of the Lord, opens himself to his favor, to his blessing. And such life-giving breath of blessing will make him bear fruit abundantly."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon & Kate plus Zondervan

Evangelical publishing has put out some embarassing stuff over the years, but this may be the worst I've ever seen. This is from the book jacket of Jon & Kate Gosselin's recent book, put out late last year by the venerable Zondervan House.

"Kate and Jon Gosselin have learned that through God, all things are possible-though sometimes slightly improbable. Just three years after giving birth to twin daughters, Kate and Jon learned she was pregnant again-with sextuplets. In Multiple Blessings, Kate candidly chronicles the emotional and exhausting challenges she and Jon faced from the time the babies were conceived through the first two years of their lives. This amazing story of faith provides a heartening lesson in what it means to trust the faithful hand of God to provide the strength and courage to make it through life's seemingly impossible situations."

Question: Why does the world mock and look down on us?
Answer: Because we so often deserve it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scripture and tradition

We evangelicals are proud of how we eschew tradition, bragging that we find our rule of faith in "sola scriptura" -- the Bible alone.

I love the way this sounds, the certainty with which I can mouth these sentiments. Until I remember that the specific books that make up the Bible were argued about for the first 2 centuries of the church's existence, and not finally agreed upon until into an ecumenical church council. And the books those church fathers determined we take from granted as Scripture, as God-breathed, inerrant, inspired.

In other words, it's our tradition to accept these books as canon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Podcast Review

Full Circle

Jerry Bryant hosted one of the very early "Jesus Music" syndicated radio programs in the '70s. A few years ago, he began Full Circle, playing the same music he played three decades ago. Looking back "on where it all began," Full Circle -- available in podcast as well as syndicated radio -- plays classic Jesus music from the early 70's through the early 90's.

I came into the Christian music scene shortly after becoming a beliver in the mid '80s, so the songs that Bryant plays from that era (DeGarmo & Key, Petra, Farrell & Farrell, Allies, Mark Heard, 77s, Bruce Cockburn) definitely bring back the memories. I appreciate the stuff from before that era (Andrus Blackwood & Co, Honeytree, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Randy Thomas) but I don't recall most of it specifically.

The show runs right at an hour, and comes out every week. It's fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book Review

Justice in the Burbs, by Will & Lisa Sampson.

I want to be sympathetic to the "emergent" movement, and indeed am sympathetic to many aspects of it -- the ancient-future movement, the 500-year cycle, creation care. But I do have a problem with the attitude of many in the movement, who extend little grace to those who are not 100% on board. It seems that with many emergents, if you agree with them on 4 out of every 5 issues, they consider you a 20% enemy, not an 80% friend. Their judgmentalism is not the harsh and hurtful type, but more of the sanctimonious variety.

This book typifies my relationship to the movement. Much of the time I read the book, I saw the value of what they were saying -- that God cares about what we eat, where we live, how much electricity we use, and to who we minister to. Some of the economic analysis was simplistic, but much of the material was interesting and challenging. But then they would stereotype the (non-emergent) church, insult me for where I worship, where I work, and much of how I live.

Many of the chapters open with brief introductions from a range of interesting authors, and I find these a strength of the book. But on a purely stylistic note, I found the mix of fiction and non-fiction annoying, and (again) more than a little condescending.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Charles Lwanga (d. 1886)

One of 22 Uganda Martyrs, Charles Lwanga is remembered for defending himself and his faith at the hands of King Mwanga, the Bagandan ruler. Lwanga served in the Mwanga's royal court as the head of court pages. In addition to instructing the pages in their duties, he trained them in his Christian faith.

King Mwanga demanded that all converts to Christ renounce this new faith. Lwanga and the others resisted the homosexual advances (eventually demands) of King Mwanga and for this refusal, was impriosoned. In prison, he continued to instruct his pages (aged 13-30) in the church's spiritual and moral teaching.

For his unwillingness to submit to immoral acts and for not renouncing his faith, Mwanga ordered Charles and 21 companions killed.

He was burned to death on this day in 1886.