Book in Review: "When We Say Father"

When We Say Father is a short booklet where author Adrian Rodgers walks through the Lord's Prayer in a topical, almost devotional style. Each section is broken up and expounded on in simple layman's terms. Personal examples and short stories abound. Rodgers does not go into the exegetical, left brained particulars of the Lord's Prayer; quite the contrary, this is a quick and easy read that is directed towards the heart. A book any literate Christian can read!
While there may be certain particulars that I may not agree with: for instance, Rodgers' insistence that God is a respecter of the human will, and will not draw anyone unless they freely choose him--the main thrust of this book is something I truly celebrate. Chapter 4 entitled "The Freedom of Forgiveness" was a great refresher of what it means to be forgiven from our own debt; and a stern warning against the epidemic of bitterness (often reflected in the church!). Chapter 5 was a quick topical look at th…

"Double Listening"

One thing I have been thinking about recently is: "How do we proclaim the gospel truths to the unique problems of our day?" I was reading the introduction to John Stott's book entitled The Contemporary Christian (which was written in the pre-internet, pre-millennial world of 1992) and it summarized what I thought was an excellent approach to ministering in any age: "I believe we are called to the difficult and even painful task of 'double listening'. That is, we are to listen carefully (although of course with differing degrees of respect) both to the ancient Word and to the modern world, in order to relate the one to the other, with a combination of fidelity and sensitivity...It is, however, my firm conviction that, only if we can develop our capacity for double listening, will we avoid the opposite pitfalls of unfaithfulness and irrelevance, and be able to speak God's Word to God's world with effectiveness today."
Because every age has its own …

Book in Review: The Screwtape Letters

As many of you know I enjoy a lot of C. S. Lewis' writings. My Dad read the Chronicles of Narnia to me and my sisters growing up, and since then many of his other writings have become personal favorites. Lewis has a truly unique way of writing and framing ideas, which is part of what makes him so enjoyable to read.
The Screwetape Letters is a good rehashing of much of Lewis's thought, presented in the negative perspective of a senior devil giving advice and admonishment to a junior devil. The junior devil has been given a human "patient" and it is the devil's duty to ensure that he does not end up in "the Enemy's" possession. For those of you who may be new to Lewis, this book is an easy to read synopsis of many of his writings—and therefore a great place to start.
As usual, Lewis's understanding of pure human pleasure and desire as something God given is refreshing. The devils decry their inability to create a new positive pleasure with which to …

The Consequences of Ideas

A week and a half ago I cracked open The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer: a massive encyclopedia of a book that I have dabbled with in the past, but never finished. Shirer had a front row seat as a reporter to the pre-war years of Nazi Germany (1934-1940), making his history unique and riveting. He is also a very gifted writer.
But I love origins. One of the reasons I love history so much is I am fascinated with how great things, or incredibly terrible things come about. The “Fall” may not interest me as much, it is the “Rise” that really grips me. What were the influences on a young Austrian youth wandering the streets of Vienna? What was the literature this man digested? What was the worldview he developed? What were the cultural and philosophical ideas already long in motion in the German mind that set the stage for what Shirer calls the very “logical” development of the Third Reich? Such reading will unquestionably be very dark, but it is necessary to understand …

Coach Doug

As a life-long eagle fan, I remember not liking the Doug Pederson hire. To me it seemed like an over correction from the failures of the previous regime. And the jury was still out on Chip Kelly (the previous Eagle's coach) in my mind. The prestigious college coach with the innovative, speed of light offense had only just gone 7-9. Yes, he had wheeled and dealed some of my favorite players; but Kelly was also fun to watch. He had a vision of what his team wanted to look like—and I couldn’t help feeling that then that we should have given him one more season to see what he can do. I even wrote a blog post thanking him for "trying something" as I phrased it then.
But I was wrong, and not for the last time either. The Eagles brought in Doug Pederson, a former backup quarterback who had been coaching High School football only 8 years prior. An Andy Reid retread who led an unimaginative Kansas City offense the year prior. I decided at that time to rebel against my sensitive di…

The Burden of Truth

My pastor preached yesterday on the incredibly dark passage that is Jeremiah 20; and I am thankful that passage is in the Bible for our help.

It is not without reason Jeremiah is known to us as the weeping prophet. The man lived in a time where the people were living in open rebellion against God. In that context, it was Jeremiah who was given the unrewarding task of speaking the truth to a people opposed to the truth. Page after page is filled with the sorrowful message: Judgment, wrath, destruction is coming. But you can still turn. God is still a merciful God.

The people did then what people still do today: reject the truth.Jeremiah’s warnings were left unheeded and ignored, and in chapter 20 their response surpassed simple disregard. They attacked Jeremiah physically. The prophet of the Lord was first beaten and secondly put in stocks outside the Benjamin Gate where, as my Pastor noted, Jeremiah’s family would pass through and see him, only compounding his personal shame.

Here we fi…