Showing posts from July, 2011

book preview: Letters to the Church by Karen Jobes (2011)

In our Bible study at work, we've been working through the New Testament book of Hebrews. It's great for small group studies because it provokes many questions which make for good conversations. In the meantime, a partial preview of this new biblical survey came out on, so I was very interesting in reviewing it, so they sent me partial copy to look through on my Kindle. I've been working my way through it slowly, taking time to digest what Dr. Jobes offers. She writes very well. She's engaging, open and not dogmatic, and thorough. I'm sure the primary market for this book is for seminaries and Bible colleges, but I'm a church elder who teaches classes and facilitates Bible studies, and I'm the other, though certainly smaller, market for this type of book. Jobe's background is in science, physics and computer science, and I appreciate her presentation of the data. Hebrews provides mysteries so there are several questions. When was it writte…

book report: Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World by Brad Wright (2011)

As a UConn alumnus, there is much to be proud of. Multiple basketball championships in both men's and women's teams. A degree program that got me into a career related to my major. And a sociology professor who has written a second winner, Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World, by Brad Wright has proven once again that this particular field of study is not for those students who can't pick a major. I really enjoyed his first book, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media, which came out last year. Not only did I feel better as I read the first book but I learned a great deal. This new book does all that but allows more of Wright's voice, sardonic and self-deprecating, in the presentation of the data. This new book also presents vignettes of individuals and groups acting altruistically, as Christians, to make the world a better place. I love data, bu…

book report: George Washington Carver by John Perry (2011)

John Perry has contributed to Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters series with a new biography on George Washington Carver. Carver's life is fascinating. Born at the beginning of the Civil War in Missouri into slavery, orphaned when he and his mother were kidnapped by slavers, raised by the childless couple who owned him and his brother as free children. Being a sickly child, possibly due to being born prematurely, kept him near the house and out of hard labor, allowing his brilliant mind and keen observation skills to blossom. He withstood racism his entire life, when his merits preceded him, earning him a welcome, only to be rescinded when his presence revealed the melanin levels in his skin.
The author, John Perry, brings a beneficial extra perspective to this biography as he has previously written about the life of Booker T. Washington, the great African American statesman who hired Carver to Tuskegee Institute, which he presided over. Their dynamic was fiery. Carver would…

book report: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne

I have always enjoyed these short biographies in the Christian Encounters Series from Thomas Nelson and this one on J.R.R. Tolkien is no exception. I prefer biographies, but I don't always have the patience for 700 page tomes, nor will brief internet posts or encyclopedia entries suffice either. However, I am not a Lord of the Rings fanboy either. I read them in elementary school and enjoyed the ideas in my head more than the story. I also enjoyed the movies. But this short book intrigued me because it showed me his life as an orphan with his brother in a rented room, unsupported by his extended family because of his mother's conversion to Catholicism before her death. I wish I learned more about his relationship with his brother, who became a farmer, into adulthood. In that boarding house, he met his future wife, 3 years older, and Protestant.
Like the other biographies in this Christian Encounters series, this is a mere biographical appetizer, and this appetizer is the bacon…

How come Jesus doesn't define what is manly for pastors like Driscoll?

This rant has been pent up for a week or so, since Driscoll came out with this taunt on Facebook, since pulled down. So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed? My first response is, "what a #%&*." But Rachel Held Evans was more polite and simply called him a bully. For some reason, someone like Anthony Bradley, of all people attacked her for libeling Driscoll in the comments and in an article in World Mag. Why would one Christian defend the "right" of another to pile on a third Christian who doesn't look like them, especially when brother one spends so a great deal of effort explaining the american black experience to clueless white americans? Driscoll admitted his elder board called him out on it and confessed he "erred." But that's not a confession if he doesn't tell us what his error was. Part of his error could be his endorsement of violent cage matches in…

Loving polygamists in our churches

What? You don't have any bigamists or polygamists in your church? I think Paul's disciple Timothy did, why else would Paul mention them as not eligible for the role of elder/overseer/bishop/presbyter or deacon in 1 Timothy 3, verses 2 and 8? In cultures where Christianity is the minority/missionary religion this is not a rarity. As culturally Christian areas of the world slip toward post-Christianity, this reality in our own churches is becoming more likely. It may already be true in sub-cultures where Christian churches are the minority outposts. What will churches do for those families who leave fundamentalist Mormon splinter groups that practice polygamy or those who convert from polygamous Muslim culture in Utah or Detroit or your own increasingly diverse neighborhoods? I don't see anything in the Bible encouraging divorce. However, Paul does say if one spouse converts and the unbelieving other initiates divorce then let them go, 1 Corinthians 7:15. If there are childr…