Showing posts from December, 2010

book report: The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by Holmes (2006)

David Holmes contends in his book, The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, that our first few presidents of the United States were not orthodox Christians, but probably deists. I think he has done an excellent job of making his case but in a poorly organized fashion. All of his chapters are excellent, but I wish they were shifted around some. He starts the book by describing the religious trends in the american colonies, then focuses on the Anglican church and Deism. He launches off from the deism chapter and looks at the writings, speeches, letters, and actions of various revolutionary leaders: Franklin, Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and their wives and daughters. After all this does he provide a "Layperson's guide to distinguishing a deist from an orthodox Christian." In this chapter he lists his method for evaluating an historical figures faith. This is an excellent chapter that should have been put before an evaluation of any figure.
First he distinguish…

25 free Xmas songs from Amazon

This promotion supposedly ended on the 25th, but tonight I downloaded these 25 free Christmas songs from Amazon.

book report: Fasting by Scot McKnight (2010)

I have read another book in The Ancient Practices Series edited by Phyllis Tickle, The Liturgical Year, which I liked but had frustrations with. Scot McKnight's contribution to this series on fasting did the same thing to me. No matter what complaint I have with this book, it did re-awaken my interest in the spiritual discipline of fasting. Scot contends that fasting is so foreign in our Christian culture because the church rejects the body's role in worship by elevating the soul or spirit. Each chapter is a description of how the body worships God in a fast as a response to an encounter with God, or repentance, or supplication, or mourning, or training, or liturgy, or social justice, or community, or eschatological hope.
When he quotes from the church's fathers, he let's them inspire his readers, as I certainly was. He also quotes from less ancient, and even contemporary writers who, likewise, make me look forward to finding a rhythm of fasting. I used to fast lunches…

great quote from the movie Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

I took the family to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader before Christmas last week and we greatly enjoyed it. The movie had significant differences from the book, but I'm not a purist, so it was fine by me. One part at the end of the movie, which was not in the book, that I enjoyed is a quote from Prince Caspian on the shore of Aslan's country. He longs to cross over to be with his father, who might be in Aslan's country, something Aslan will neither confirm nor deny. But it's an irrevocable choice. The gallant mouse, Reepicheep, decides to go for it, but Caspian muses, and my quote is very loose, I have spent my life fighting for what I don't have instead of enjoying what I do have.
Caspian is speaking of finding his father, but it made me think of the older brother in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, see Luke 15:11-32. When the prodigal son returned to his father, who celebrated, the older son complained, that he worked so hard for his dad and never got ev…

book report: Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill (2010)

This book convicts me of my sin. Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill, a celibate homosexual Christian, showed me how to discuss the issue with compassion unlike any way that I have ever done.
In my scientific mind, I want to deal with cold, hard data. But this is not a discussion over data but a discussion with people, my friends, my co-workers, my brothers and sisters. Hill does not ignore the data, but he speaks to the heart from his heart. His struggle in coming to terms with his homosexuality started in his childhood as someone raised in a fundamental church, which he kept secret until he started to open up at Wheaton College, a conservative Christian college in Illinois. He has read broadly while coming to a resolution regarding his attractions in the context of his faith. He has read the theological reflections from Catholics and the Orthodox as well as the Protestants, both from the United States, Boston, as well as Britain. He also introduced me to poets, like Gerard Manley Hopk…

win a Bible Give a Bible

Hey peeps, I know contests and free stuff drive traffic to blogs. I'm thinking of purging my library some, but, today, I can give away other people's stuff. Tyndale has a contest to give away their Bibles and help some other ministries. Details at their Facebook page.Merry Christmas!

Highest hit posts in 2010

I'm disappointed that none of my posts in 2010 made the top 10 in popularity for this year's hits. I am surprised how many people come here to read about bicycles. Only a few posts in 2010 cracked the 100 hits ceiling.My cinema review of the Book of Eli got the most. My post on the Binishell, generated a cluster of hits recently, that pushed it over the century mark. None of my Haiti posts exceeded the 100 level, but collectively, the ones in February, generated many hits, including my trip report from February.
Here are the top 10 hits overall for 2010. 10. Yummy Land Shrimp 9. Picture of the Electra Royal 8i and my bike crush on it 8. my personally positive experience at Family Life's marriage retreat, A Weekend to Remember 7. Someone else's negative review of the Cruzbike, which I pointed to (but I still want one) 6. the announcement of my new bike 5. a review of my Actionbent recumbent, which is still for sale, email me to buy it 4. a picture of the Gabion house, I still thi…

book report: Commentary on James by Blomberg and Kamell (2010)

The good, the goofy and the egregious, a review of a new commentary on the epistle of James by Blomberg and Kamell in Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.
I received this copy for free on the condition of a review from me. I was very excited to receive a commentary for review. I was even more excited that it was on James which I had been studying with my church's young adult group this autumn. There were questions from the group we couldn't answer, and I hoped some of them could be answered in this commentary. I have a bad habit when it comes to perusing new books and magazines. I tend to start at the end and work towards the front. At the end, I encountered a goofy statement, which I will specify later, that put a bad taste in my mouth. So I realized I need to start at the front of the book. I know that it's hard to write at the end with the same passion and clarity that one started with in the beginning, and that I had to let them show me their bes…

December cycling

December biking is the best month for winter biking. When I leave in the morning it's really cold, but I only need to add layers. Doubled socks, long johns on the legs, then a t-shirt, flannel shirt, thick fleece, and an anorak for a wind breaker, head sock, ear muffs, and ski goggles under my helmet, and winter gloves are enough for me to break into a sweat in temperatures under 30 F.Image via Wikipedia The bike traffic over the narrow bridge path is light, which is very different from the summer. The worst part of winter cycling is ice and snow on the road, but there is hardly any of that in December. The road is dry and clear. The only draw back in December is short day. I either bike in early in the dark to ride home in the twilight or I bike in morning light to bike home in the dark. So in addition to blinking lights I also have a reflective vest and reflective bands on my ankles. Yes I am a little crazy to continue biking, but I'm not as crazy as some of the other guys I…