A short stack of mini-reviews

Is there anything more inviting than a stack of books waiting TBR (to be read)?Whether they're piled on a nightstand, a coffee table or next to a Adirondack chair parked alongside a freshwater lake, the promise of new worlds awaits between the covers of the books in a TBR pile. And there's something almost as delightful as hitting the "on" switch on a Kindle, and seeing a fresh list of *new* books waiting TBR.My internal red pen offers a quick reminder that TBR is a passive voice … [Read more...]

Teaching to indoctrinate or to educate?

It took me a long time to understand the difference between teaching (informing, enlightening) and preaching (re-presenting the Good News). It is unusual in our culture to find a church with leaders who are gifted preachers. Most churches we've attended have had teachers in the pulpit. Even those who claim to have a deep commitment to exegetical preaching typically teach the passage rather than endeavoring to form Christ in lives of the hearers. Both teaching and preaching are spiritual gifts, … [Read more...]

Like Being At My Own Funeral, Kind Of

A few months ago, my sister told me she was making me something for my birthday. She does seem to enjoy handyman-type projects like replacing toilets, but I never figured her for a crafter. Her gift box arrived last week, and a CD and flash drive of this 5 minute, 29 second video was inside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ext1fo4SAkM&feature=youtu.be She'd snagged pictures from my facebook account and combined them with some from her own photo albums. I cried like a baby at the effort she'd … [Read more...]

Let it begin with me…

I spend a lot of time online. It is poach-an-egg-on-the-windshield hot outside. Combine the two, and it is entirely possible that my perceptions of today's overheated rhetoric about the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the individual mandate in the national healthcare bill may be warped. Today's polarized rantfest of despair or gleeful celebration (pick one) over this morning's announcement reminds me once again that our opinions are never just words. Mark Twain said, "Our opinions do not … [Read more...]

Piper, Israel and me

This week, Christianity Today's website featured the first round of volleys between David Brickner, the head of Jews for Jesus and John Piper, author and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. The question being debated is "Do Jews Have A Divine Right To Israel's Land?" Here is Brickner's post, here's Piper's response.The question is not merely an academic exercise in Biblical hermeneutics about modern Israel's divine right to exist. It also speaks to ethnic Israel's continued … [Read more...]

Parrots Can Not Sing A New Song

Maybe it was the parenting book loaded with cliches written by someone whose oldest child was 6 years old. Or it could have been a Biblegateway.com concordance word search of strung-together topical verses masquerading as a sermon. Or perhaps it was the blog post that was nothing more than regurgitated words the author parroted from his or her favorite superstar teacher/preacher.The content of each was solid enough, I suppose. But in each instance, the speaker's words came across as an echo of … [Read more...]

Short sale by the numbers

It is finished. Thanks be to God.The contracts have been inked, the checks exchanged. We have been released from ownership our Round Lake, IL townhome. We were underwater on the property, and after lots of anguish and consulting with all sorts of professionals (and a bunch of amateurs, who each had opinions to share with us), we decided to try listing the house as a short sale. Our realtor and lawyer both warned us that there were absolutely no guarantees that our bank would approve a short … [Read more...]