Showing posts from October, 2012

Happy Halloween


This Meme Is About BOOKS

As usual, this meme is courtesy of the RevGals.

1. STUDYING:What is your favorite book or series for sermon prep or study? Or have you moved from books to on-line tools for your personal study? I'm going with the new series Feasting on the Word edited by Barbara Brown Taylor and David Bartlett. It's a one-stop resource for multiple perspectives on the same text, which I appreciate.

2. IN THE QUEUE:Do you have a queue of books you are longing to read or do you read in bits and pieces over several books at a time? What's in the queue? But of course! On my nightstand stack at the moment is Keirkegaard, Nouwen, a book about the Examen, a book by bassist Victor Wooten, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (which I read every couple of years), and a few others I can't think of.

3. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME:What's one book that you have to have in your study? Is it professional, personal, fun or artistic? I'm going to go with Gordon Atkinson's books based on his RealLivePreacher …

On Being the "Wrong" Kind of Christian

This past Sunday, CNN's John Blake posted a blog post with an incredibly stupid and misleading headline: Is Obama the "Wrong" Kind of Christian? While the individual page headline seems to have been changed ("The Gospel According to Obama"), the front page still carries this headline, which may raise doubts about the president's faith in the reader right off the bat before one even reads the article. But sensationalism gets hits, so whatever.

The article's title takes its cue from a quote from Jim Wallis included within:
“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.” Th…

Small Sips Put It Through the Uprights

Take THIS, "Tweet the entire gospel" hipster types! Jamie the Very Worst Missionary shares some fortune cookie wisdom (read: wisdom based on fortune cookies, not from fortune cookies):
I'm pretty sure I've never read a life changing tweet.Not one. And I'm certain I've never written one.That's because the fullness of the Gospel will never be captured in a single sentence. Or a paragraph. Or a clever blog post. Or even a tacky three page Bible tract.Instead, it lays itself out over a lifetime; threading its way between morning and night, quietly abiding our self created chaos and gently bearing our indiscretions. It seeps into our bones over time. It nurtures us slowly, whispering light into our dark places and shoring up our weak spots.Grace doesn't fit in a fortune cookie.And the whole grand scope of Redemption can't really be conjured into a couple of words on the internet. Now, I like playing those 140-character gospel games sometimes as well, an…

Pop Culture Roundup

I don't have much to report this week. My reading is mostly classwork-related, I haven't seen any new movies, and my TV viewing has consisted of Michigan football, the Tigers in the playoffs, and the debates. So I guess we move straight to...


The Insyderz, The Sinner's Songbook - Much like their friends Five Iron Frenzy, Christian skacore band The Insyderz recently re-formed and initiated a Kickstarter project to put out a new album. The result is The Sinner's Songbook, in which they don't sound like they've missed a beat at all. Joe Yerke still growls his way through each song overtop grinding guitars and gut-busting drums. FIF's Reese Roper and the Supertones' Matt Morginsky provide guest vocals on the title track, which helped me relive fun ska-saturated days of yore. Yore.

The O.C. Supertones, Faith of a Child - Continuing my trip down memory lane, I listened to this disc that my onetime favorite ska band released back in 2005, but that I&…

Fraternities and Churches

I've mentioned before, but not often, that I was in a fraternity back in college. It's not something that I planned to do before I began those years. I'm actually not sure how often people say to themselves, "When I go to college, I'm going to join a fraternity/sorority." I just don't think that it happens that way.

I imagine that the reasons I ended up joining a fraternity are pretty common. The very first group of people I met on campus either were members or were part of their female corollary. Two others lived across the hall from me; I remember watching a lot of baseball playoff games in their room the fall of my freshman year. I found them to be friendly and welcoming, and seemed to reach out to me in genuine ways, first as friends and second as frat guys rushing a potential new member. And it was through these relationships that I decided to pledge.

Apparently, times have been more difficult for the guys on campus, if the alumni page on Facebook i…

I Can't Fix You

When you try your best but you don't succeed 
When you get what you want but not what you need 
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep 
Stuck in reverse 

And the tears come streaming down your face 
When you lose something you can't replace 
When you love someone but it goes to waste 
Could it be worse? 

Lights will guide you home 
And ignite your bones 
And I will try to fix you

Every once in a while, a movie is made featuring an unlikely, unorthodox mentor figure who transcends him or herself in order to help another character see how they can be more than they are. The title character of Mr. Holland's Opus used unconventional ways to get through to certain difficult students, having heartwarming talks with a clarinet player to feel the music rather than read it and taking another to the graveside of a former student to show him what music can do. And, in simple Hollywood fashion, these kids would understand. He broke through. In a way, he fixed them.

I also think of Sean M…

Small Sips Is All About October Justice

Justice Issue the First. October is Fair Trade Month. You should know that the coffee referenced in this blog's title is fair trade, and knowing is half the battle. The other half is beating Cobra, and supporting small farm co-ops in developing countries.

Here, from Equal Exchange's website, is a list of ways to observe the month:
Shop at food co-ops when possible. Find one near you.Organize or suggest an Equal Exchange fundraiser at your child’s school. Learn about the co-op difference! Check out and explore the seven co-op principles. Watch "Black Gold," a documentary about the coffee industry and trade. It's available on Netflix! Look for Equal Exchange coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas in the places you shop. If you don’t see them, ask for them!Serve Equal Exchange products at your place of worship through our Interfaith Program. Tell your friends and family about Equal Exchange! Share your favorite products with them (they make great gifts).Want to s…

Pop Culture Roundup

I recently finished reading Alone with a Jihadist by Aaron Taylor. In case you missed it, here's my review.

I'm still making my way through Bo's Lasting Lessons. I was a bit distracted by the Taylor book and my classroom reading, so it's been a little slow-going lately. I'm still enjoying it, though. Bo does a pretty good job of relating how he ran the football program to how one could run businesses. Lately I've read about accepting blame as the leader, not giving special breaks to stars, motivating middlemen, and recognizing that people on the ground (players) will relate to peer leadership (the seniors) in a way different from how they relate to the guy at the top. I've particularly found that last one true as a pastor. I'm not sure how well every lesson he shares translates to a church environment, but maybe I just need to think more creatively about that. Even if the lessons don't always seem to fit, I still get to enjoy the anecdotes that Bo …

Book Review: Alone With a Jihadist by Aaron D. Taylor

"A common tendency among human beings is to separate the world into 'us' versus 'them,' empathizing with those whom we perceive to be 'us' and dehumanizing everyone that we perceive to be 'them.' The interests of those whom we perceive to be 'us' need to be protected no matter what the moral cost is to those we perceive to be 'them.' The 'thems' are at best an inconvenience or at worst our enemies. Even the 'thems' that have little to do with the conflict between 'us' and 'them'--like innocent civilians--are disposable commodities to serve the interests of 'us.' The tragedy in all of this is the Body of Christ is supposed to be a spiritual entity that transcends 'us' versus 'them' distinctions, especially the ones created by national boundaries." - Aaron Taylor, Alone With a Jihadist

Before he became a senator in Minnesota, many will recall that Al Franken was a comedian a…

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