BOOK REVIEW: "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream"

(David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, 2010, 231 pages.) David Platt, the pastor of a four-thousand member megachurch in Birmingham, Alabama, boldly highlights near the beginning of his book that Jesus, at the time of his death, was at best a “minichurch” pastor with far less than four-thousand followers (2). Even Jesus’ closest and most loyal followers fled when the Romans arrested him. This insight is one of many contrasts that Platt draws between the … [Read more...]

Paul, Evolution, and the Labor Pains of Creation (Romans 8: A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Sunday, July 24, 2011)

Paul writes to the church in Rome that, “The whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.” I invite you to consider that part of what Paul is hinting at in this verse is the process that we witness every spring as the barren landscape of winter bursts forth into the flowering of spring and into the lush green of summer in which we currently find ourselves immersed. We humans don’t do anything to make the flowers bloom; nonetheless, new life springs forth each year before our … [Read more...]

BOOK REVIEW: "Mother Teresa, CEO"

When you think back on the life of Mother Teresa, the first words that come to mind might be “Saint of Calcutta’s Slums” or “Caregiver to the Poorest of the Poor,” but, I suspect, that your first association with Mother Teresa is not "Chief Executive Officer" or "CEO." Nevertheless, Ruma Bose and Lou Faust, in their recent book Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership mount a case for us to consider what lessons we may be able to learn by viewing Mother … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Seed Parable and Merton’s “New Seeds of Contemplation” (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Sunday, July 10, 2011)

I invite you to consider viewing Jesus’ “Parable of the Sower” — about a farmer sowing seeds — through the lens of the third chapter of Thomas Merton’s book New Seeds of Contemplation. Merton was a twentieth-century Roman Catholic monk, who lived in Kentucky and was a prolific writer.  I will share with you two separate excerpts from Merton’s words then briefly reflect on each one for some of the meaning I see in them for us today. Merton writes: Every moment and every event of … [Read more...]

REVIEW: “Buddha Standard Time” by Lama Surya Das

(Lama Surya Das, Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now, HarperOne, 2011, 216 pages.) What time is it? Who decides? If I look at a cell phone, I am told 'AT&T Standard Time' or 'Verizon Standard Time.' To counterbalance or double-check this industry-approved time standard, I could look at my watch for a time that I calibrated myself, but I haven't worn a watch in more than a decade, and I don't know how to read a sundial! Moreover, I learned in high school … [Read more...]

BOOK REVIEW: The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity's Compassion for Animals

(Laura Hobgood-Oster, The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity's Compassion for Animals. Baylor University Press, 2010, 227 pages.) As a longtime owner of animals ranging from dogs to cats to rabbits (my wife and I currently own three cats and one dog and are on a list to adopt a second dog), I was pleased to be asked to review Laura Hobgood-Oster's new book which invites us to think theologically about animals. Also, our ethical approach as humans to our companion animals is one of the … [Read more...]


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