“It’s the person one imagines can hardly do anything, that end up doing something no one has yet imagined.” This is the leitmotif of ‘The Imitation Game’, a very fine film indeed which is receiving all kinds of award nominations during this season. We seem to love our stories about socially awkward, eccentric, geniuses. Interestingly, the two most memorable roles that Benedict Cumberbatch has thus far played both involve such persons— the fictional character Sherlock Holmes and the very real… Read more

I’ve been a Lindsey Davis fan for a very long time. Of the truly excellent novelists about the Roman Republic and the Empire, Coleen McCullough, Stephen Saylor, and Lindsey Davis, none of them are as clever and add as much humor to the telling of the tale as Lindsey Davis. None cook up the atmosphere or ethos of the era any better than her either. I’ve read all twenty or so of the Marcus Didius Falco novels and loved them… Read more

Of the making of books about Paul there is no end, but that doesn’t mean there don’t continue to be valuable ones produced. In fact, I am planning on doing a second updated version of my own Paul Quest book with a collaborator before long, but for now, I have two books to suggest to you which are both entry level texts on Paul, surveying his life, letters, and his thought. Both are beautifully illustrated and with useful maps. One… Read more

Here is the second in the series of videos I did with Dr. Michael Halcomb, my former doctoral student. This one is on the Bible and History. Read more

Today, on the British calendar, is Boxing Day. No it’s not about hitting people while wearing gloves and confined to a ring. It’s about boxing up some of the Christmas stuff and giving it to the less fortunate. In his discussion of Jesus’ saying ‘I’ve come that you might have life, and have it abundantly’ Wendell Berry warns us that Jesus is not advocating avarice. “In an age of materialist science, economics,art, and politics, we ought not to be much… Read more

‘What should I give him, poor as I am, If I was a shepherd, I would give a lamb…’ Well here’s a thought on Christmas day, why not give him your obedience to his teachings? I doubt there are many things that would please Jesus, young or as an adult, more than the gift of his followers’ obedience. We need to resist the tendency to trivialize, rationalize, domesticate or otherwise water down the teachings of Jesus. As Wendell Berry insists… Read more

Wendell Berry reminds us that the Gospels ask us many embarrassing questions not the least of which is, ‘If we had lived in the time of Jesus and heard the teaching found in the Gospels, would we have become one of his followers?’ Wendell says the way to decide whether you’d pass this test or not is imagine you were walking past the court house one day and heard someone unknown, say named Joe Green, sharing verbatim what you hear… Read more

In talking about the reason Christians have so flagrantly ignored the demands of the Sermon on the Mount, Wendell Berry puts his finger on one of the keys when he says “They have justified their disobedience on the grounds of the impracticality of obedience, though we have little proof of the practicality of disobedience…The implication invariably has been that for a few feckless worshippers of God to obey Christ’s commandments may be all right,but in practical matters such as war… Read more

One of the usual ploys used to domesticate the teachings of Jesus about non-violence is to point to a couple of texts which might suggest Jesus was perhaps not quite as much like Gandhi (or vice versa) as many have believed. Wendell Berry in his recent book Blessed are the Peacemakers deals succinctly with these texts, and in devastating fashion. He refers to “the two passages that loose interpreters might interpret as justifying war: Matthew 10.34-37 and Luke 22.35-38”. He… Read more

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

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