Showing posts from February, 2011

book report: "If God, why evil?" by Geisler (2011)

Norman Geisler has written a short book on theodicy, as if that were possible. I read this over two days in 4 hours or so. Theodicy, is the philosophical area dealing with the problem of evil. Does the existence of evil disprove the existence of God, or God as described in orthodox Christianity, a perfect, all knowing, all powerful, all present, always good God? In order to keep it short, Geisler returns to the form of syllogisms repeatedly. The very first syllogism he discusses is this,God created all thingsEvil is somethingTherefore, God created evil. p.17-18
this is then solved by discussing whether evil is a "thing." The response syllogism then follows, God created all things.Evil is not a thing.Hence God did not create evil. p.19
but, there is not much room for nuance when dealing primarily in syllogisms. Certainly, there is discussion, but sometimes not enough. His metaphor of God as author, but not responsible for his characters evil actions was incomplete and unsatisfa…

book report: Servolution by Dino Rizzo (2009)

As a book review blogger for Zondervan I get to pick the books I want to review. But the book I wanted was not available, so I got Dino Rizzo's book instead, Servolution: Starting a Church Revolution through Serving. My expectations were pretty low. I had never heard of this pastor, nor his church, Healing Place Church, and I'm just not in the market for church growth books. But I am interested in the local church becoming the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus Christ to those around them. That is the church Rizzo set out to be. His church is based in radical generosity, not just in material, but in time as well. I listened to a sermon today from John 13, when Jesus washes his disciples' feet. Rizzo seems to get Jesus's lesson from that example. 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, "Do you understand what I was doing?
13You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true.
14And since I, the …

even more gabion houses in Grand Goave, Haiti

Conscience International is doing alot with rubble and housing in Haiti on the southern finger of that nation in Grand Goave, which was 90% destroyed in last year's earthquake. I visited the nearby towns Fouche of Petit Goave, on either side of Grand Goave, last year. Their website is full of pictures, construction drawings, volunteer opportunities, funding, and video from a report by the Discovery Channel. They have done engineering for these houses. They don't seem to use a bunch of gabions to layer up a wall, but single cages for each wall. It's very impressive and earthquake safe as well as hurricane safe and thug safe, for about $3500. They are also trying to avoid sourcing any materials at all from outside of Haiti. They want to support Haiti, and Haitian businesses, as well as abundantly available Haitian labor. If you have any ability to contribute to this effort please do. They seem to be ahead of the progress of Oxfam in this style of house, see this note by an A…

book report: When Helping Hurts by Corbett and Fikkert (2009)

In light of my experience of visiting Haiti before and after the earthquake in 2010, the idea of aid, and how to do it right, is a struggle for me, and this book, When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert has been very helpful in sorting out the issues. I learned a great deal from these authors and I think any church leader who wants to jump into ministry to those in need would benefit from the research and anecdotes presented in this book.
This explanation of how the poor view their poverty is an enlightening example. "While poor people mention having a lack of material things, they tend to describe their condition in far more psychological and social terms than our North American audiences. Poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness." p.53 Since that is the case, one should recognize that a…

book report: The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster (2011)

Charles is very direct in the preface to his new book, The Jesus Inquest, I saw that a common method of Christian argument was to say: "Professor Smith thinks that the Christians are correct, and he has an enormous brain and lots of degrees." That's the method of Lee Strobel uses, and I'm afraid it's not impressive...You don't decide the truth of propositions by comparing the brain weights of people who believe them with the brain weights of the people who don't. p.x I agree with his premise, but I'm not sure it was necessary to throw Strobel under the bus. It's Strobel's personal story of coming to Christ, who is Foster to criticize it? I think his barb might better apply to McDowell's book, Evidence that demands a verdict, which is a very large outline in book form with abudnant quotes from everyone. But, again, McDowell is writing for a younger audience. Foster is writing for a more demanding audience. When he isn't writing apologet…

book report: iShine Bible (NLT) for tweens

I wish I was a tween, because I would love this Bible. However, I am a parent of a tween and former tweens, and I have the tween boy Bible, not pink, and my tween would prefer the pink one. Nevertheless, there is much to like about this bible.I like the New Living Translation. It's very accessible to the tween readerI like the introductory chapters: What is the Bible?, Finding your identity in Jesus, Growing in Faith, The Bible Talks AboutI like the concluding chapters: Great Chapters of the Bible, Great Stories of the Bible, Great Verses of the Bible to MemorizeI like these additions to the Bible because they provide focus to a young person who might be overwhelmed with such a long book There is another aspect of this Bible that detracts from it just a little for this old man. That does not mean it will be a negative thing for a tween, but there are three sections in the Bible on thicker stock paper to draw the attention of a tween on the important topic identity.What matters to …

heaven and hell: places or not

Tony Jones has a new blog post today, Christian Universalism: Cosmology, in which he goes from being one of today's intelligentsia who look "curiously at earlier cultures, in which people believed that there was a physical place populated by damned souls and governed by demons. No longer can we say that Hell is “down” and Heaven is 'up.' ” I'm already feeling like the un-intelligentsia. He then tells us "it’s impossible to think of Heaven and Hell as places in the universe as we know it." I do have to interject that part of how I know the universe is from what God tells me about it. In some way, Jesus descended to hell to proclaim the gospel (1 Peter 3:19) and he ascended to heaven after 40 days in his resurrection body. He told the believing thief on the cross he would be with him in paradise, Luke 23:43. Those prepositions seem to indicate location and proximity. Since his body was physical, Thomas touching him and all, eating meals with his disciples…