Review: Englewood Review of Books, Vol. 1

I remember when one of my sons came home a few years ago with an armload of vinyl LP's. "That's dinosaur technology," I said. He disagreed. He loved the warm sound (complete with a few pops and crackles), the cover art, the liner notes and the experience of holding a piece of the artist in his hands. An MP3 just can't deliver that experience. The Englewood Review of Books has carved out a niche for itself in cyberspace as a thoughtful and wide-ranging book review site, with a side of … [Read more...]

Happy meal

I remember the stage of life where a wave of "We're pregnant!" announcements would sweep through my circle of friends and acquaintances. It seemed that babies came in clusters, like sweet little grapes. One of the joys of being a grandparent: walking in the woods and swapping storiesWell, I've now come to the part of life where my friends are proudly announcing to the world that they're about to become grandparents. I had coffee and a bowl of cabbage soup (there's a grandma version of a … [Read more...]

Review: Transform A City

The prayer Jesus prayed at the conclusion of the final Seder he shared with his disciples has been debated, parsed, over-theologized (no, that's not a real word), misapplied and ignored. And it has gone largely unanswered. True, some of us have experienced some appetizer-sized moments of brilliant oneness with other believers, but for the most part, the 35,000+ identified denominations, along with the countless other individual independent congregations, house churches and miscellaneous … [Read more...]

Not this, but that

Last week, I wrote about a pastor who'd insisted that his congregation pastor him by, among other things, shielding him from their problems so he could concentrate on visioneering. (Click here to read my original post.) I got some interesting feedback, particularly from those reading the reposts of this blog on facebook. It led me to ask myself what my understanding is of my responsibility toward church leaders. Rather than doing an exhaustive Bible study here, I thought I'd simply give you … [Read more...]

This is your shepherd speaking…

Church leaders, past and present, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.A facebook friend posted this link on his wall a couple of weeks or so ago. (It'll take you about sixty seconds to read it. Go ahead. I'll wait here.)Did you read it? Your thoughts?In my exchange with the guy who posted the link, I suggested that nowhere in Scripture do you find that the the flock is charged with protecting their pastor's faith, working to keep him optimistic and shielding him from problems without … [Read more...]

The life of the party

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a friend who is a part of a local branch of a connecting ministry that links people in need with churches who are willing to meet those needs. She told me that an unemployed woman named Jenny* had contacted the ministry's local office in search of financial and food help. Jenny's boyfriend was in jail on domestic abuse charges, and she had nowhere else to turn. The ministry got involved in putting together emergency rent help, providing her with … [Read more...]

Book review: Seeds Of Turmoil

After we returned from our first trip to Israel, I was talking with a friend, describing the paradox of worship and tension that exists in the country. He said, "Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is about the place. It's just like anywhere else in the world, right?"The short answer is "no".Israel never was, and never will be just like anywhere else in the world. Historians, archaelogists, anthropologists, linguists and academics from a variety of other disciplines may have helpful … [Read more...]