I’ve been blessed to live in the same state with a very great writer,poet environmentalist, pacifist, Christian farmer named Wendell Berry. Wendell has a wonderful little book which came out in 2005 entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers which I had occasion to read recently. In style it is much like the writings of Fred Buechner. It involves only 23 pages from Berry, and then a quotation of selections from the Sermon on the Mount. Berry freely admits that besides Jesus,… Read more

Whether you call such a person a guide or a guru, it has become increasingly and painfully clear to me that pastors need some personal guidance about the use of online resources for preparing sermons, Bible studies, etc. The first point I would stress is that there is a reason a lot of the resources online that have to do with the Bible are free. There is some truth to the old dictum ‘you get what you pay for’. Some… Read more

If you are old enough to remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and the Praise the Loot (err…. Lord) Club, and the Jessica Hahn scandal, all courtesy of a little place just south of my home in Charlotte N.C. then you may remember that the Bakkers could rightly be called world-class prosperity Gospel scam artists. And guess what—– their back, and selling survival kits for the Apocalypse. Here is the link to the story…… http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/09/16/disgraced-televangelists-now-selling-end-world-biscuits/?intcmp=sem_outloud Among my favorite items they… Read more

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I was having lunch with my friend Jerry Sumney in Lexington. He’s a very fine NT scholar at Lexington Theological Seminary, which in essence has stopped having regular semester on campus classes. It does online classes, and has intensives in January and in the summer. It does not take a seer to see that in the next ten or so years many seminaries are likely to go this route, or to simply shut down. The decline of so many churches,… Read more

For those of us who read the Hobbit B.C., (by which I mean Before Computers, Before Cellphones), before the digital age, back when books were books and kindle was what you did to a campfire, there is something more than mildly unsettling about seeing a 3D version (real 3D, high frame rate, no less) of this children’s story. What would Tolkien (who was anti-industrial revolution never mind anti-technology) say, especially about a slender book made into three movies, which climaxes… Read more

Here is a thoughtful presentation by Emma Watson, who has become a U.N. ambassador for a special cause. See what you think of it. My own views include the following points: 1) men and women are indeed created equal, not because they are exactly the same in nature and all functions etc. but because they are both created in the image of God. They are equally beings of sacred worth; 2) gender matters in a variety of roles we play… Read more

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Some things are best saved until later. On the basis of the fine review by my friend Philip Jenkins, I ordered the Irish film ‘Calvary’ from Amazon.UK. This review is here during Advent due to the luck of the draw. Personally, I recommend saving watching this movie until after the New Year. Maybe even wait until Lent or Easter week for full impact. The film, all 98 minutes of it, has been called a classic, and perhaps the best Irish… Read more

The French would call him Mssr. Malaprop, but Peter Lawrence Berra was not just a funny guy, and even his funny sayings, taken in context make a lot more sense than they do in isolation. Most recently you may have run across the guy for whom a famous comic book figure (Yogi Bear) was named, set up against another animated figure— the AFLAC duck (in a barber shop no less, in which he says ‘and they will give you cash,… Read more

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