Frank Viola’s New Book


If Christian novels are your thing, here is one to check out.Just a quick note that Frank Viola has just released an interesting looking book called God’s Favorite Place on Earth which is a hybrid of fiction and nonfiction about Jesus’ many visits to the village of Bethany, told from the perspective of Lazarus.While I’ve not read the book, it has some impressive recommendations: Craig Keener, Joel B. Green, John Ortberg, Mary DeMuth, Jack Hayford, Greg Boyd, Mark Batterson, Leonard S … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Four


Anyone who has read the Chronicles of Narnia will be well familiar with Turkish Delight. But that is hardly the only sweet in the Turkish arsenal. For example, check out this...Or this....Or did I mention this...Or this...Or finally this...In short, the Turks have as bad a sweet tooth as the Brits. And don't even get me started about the baklava (a Turkish word.... not a Greek word... so guess where that dessert was first made?), or Kunife-- a honeyed … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Three


Life in the antique Greco-Roman world often moved at a snail's pace.And one of the major problems in antiquity was water, fresh water, especially in the Mediterranean where, in most places the rains stop in the late spring, and do not show up again until late Fall or Winter. This problem was compounded by the necessity of having defensible cities, which not surprisingly were often built, at least in part on high hills, acropoli. But this made the water problem even worse. Take for … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Two


As many trips as I have taken to Turkey,usually in May, but this time, since I am on sabbatical, in April, there are always more interesting Biblical, Greco-Roman, and early Christian sites to see. One such site is Side, on the coast where the western harbor for Pamphylia was. Paul and Barnabas may have landed here, though it's more likely they landed in the eastern harbor of Pamphylia coming from Cyprus, which is at Antalya.Mark and his wife Dindy live in a seaside apartment overlooking … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part One


So here I am in downtown Antalya Turkey with my old pal Kermie. Antalya is one of twelve or so cities in Turkey of a million people. There was a meeting of ACEME pastors-- pastors of American Churches abroad, from Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, London, Tokyo, Brussels and lots of other places. They get together once a year for a conference, and this year it was in Antalya, a beautiful south coast resort town in Turkey. They get together for some fellowship, food, fun, learning, and … [Read more...]

A Question of Identity– Susan Hill Strikes AGAIN


It is easy, all too easy, to underestimate how difficult it is to write a whole series of novels with enough variety and differences on the one hand, and enough continuity on the other to make it continually interesting. I should know, I'm just finishing up the first draft of the seventh novel in my Art West thriller series, and A Question of Identity is Susan Hill's seventh in her detective crime series starring Simon Serailler and his sister Cat Deerborn.I would rate her latest entry in … [Read more...]

Jonathan Winters— A Comedic Genius


Jonathan Winters was indeed a comedic genius. I remember buying and listening to one of his comedy albums, over and over again. There was a Robin Hood routine, there was a Frankenstein routine, there was a Maud Frickert routine of course (his most famous character). He was the true master of the improv long before Robin Williams and others became famous for improvising routines on the spot. As the first picture above with attest, he was also the hilarious character Mearth (what an appropriate … [Read more...]

‘The Shadows in the Streets’– Susan Hill Strikes Again


I was listening to the sermon, and suddenly Susan Hill was mentioned.... as someone who got involved in ministry in a cathedral and it made her 'giddy with happiness' when she committed herself to it. The same Susan Hill, who writes these British crime novels I've been devouring. The Shadows in the Street is installment five in the series, and it is shorter than some of the others (372 pages). And in some ways, it is my very favorite thus far of this series. The plot is linear, the pace is … [Read more...]

The Durham Chronicles— Sunday Appeals


I awoke to the sounds of bells, and the wind. It was something of a conspiracy, a glorious re-bell-ion, so to speak. The bells were not merely pealing, they were appealing, they were saying on this side of the river and on that side of the river and downtown and on the edge town-- "it's time to come church. It's Sunday." As for the wind, it was rattling my shutters, no chance of going back to sleep. It was a 40 mile an hour wind, but at least it was much warmer than the previous winds in the … [Read more...]