SURROUNDED BY BOOKS

In my Amazon review of John Lukacs terrific book I wrote:

If all historians wrote like Lukacs, more people would read history. Insightful and full of practical implications.  I enjoyed my reread of this fine book as much as the initial time through.

So here are poignant and penetrating reflections from the author of one of my favorite books, Five Days in London: May 1940

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Days-London-May-1940/dp/0300084668

https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2017/December/41/12/magazine/article/10842995/?utm_content=buffer97f8d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

 

SIX TYPES OF READING

Below Ben Myers shares his different types of reading.  His are different than mine, but there is some similarity.  Mine roughly fit under the acrostic GROWTH:

GREATS (CLASSICS)

REVIEW (OR INTERVIEW)

OTHER (CATCHALL FOR THOSE THAT DON’T FIT IN THE OTHER CATEGORIES)

WORD (BOOKS RELATED DIRECTLY TO THE BIBLE LIKE COMMENTARIES)

TEACHING (BOOKS THAT RELATE TO SOMETHING I AM TEACHING)

HISTORY

 

CONSIDER THIS BEAST OF A BOOK!

Image result for fleming rutledge crucifixion
I am currently reading this amazing piece of work with my good friend, Bill Bridgman.  It comes in at a little over 600 pages, but each page I read makes me wish it was longer!
 
Rutledge is an anomaly.  She is a life-long Episcopalian preacher, but conservative theologically.  Lest you wonder about that, consider that the conservative Gospel Coalition listed ten reasons why you ought to read her book.
 

10 Reasons You Should Read Fleming Rutledge’s ‘The Crucifixion’

Rutledge recently tweeted the following which made me smile:

 

Tweet if you are an “evangelical Reformed Episcopalian” (as differentiated from Anglican)… I may be one of about 5 in the whole USA 

NOT JUST FOR ROMAN CATHOLICS!

Image result for Strangers in a strange land chaput

There are many things to like about this book, no matter which one of the big three traditions (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) you belong to.

Chaput is a lucid writer who has clearly done his homework. His book ranges over many significant thinkers, past and present. His analysis of our cultural moment is sobering, but never gloomy. He well understands the indispensable virtue of Christian hope.

I read Dreher’s The Benedict Option, but find Chaput’s approach much more in keeping with the entire record of Scripture.

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW!

*Have you ever heard a sermon on a developing a theology of work? If you have, did Bezalel and his buddy, Oholiab, figure prominently?

*Have you ever heard an entire sermon on a theology of rest?

*How often do Christians ask what you are learning from God’s Word?

*With respect to the previous question, how often do you ask your Christian friends?

*Has anyone ever told you that a minor prophet was formative in their spiritual development?

*With respect to the major prophets, has anyone ever mentioned Ezekiel?

*Have you ever heard a sermon on the silence of God?

*Have you ever heard a sermon on biblical rewards?

*Have you ever heard a sermon on how to obey the two commandments of Jesus in Mt. 10:16: Being both shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove?

*Have you ever heard a sermon on not confusing the flag with the kingdom of God?

*Have you ever heard a sermon on how we ought to treat “foreigners,” especially as applied to refugees?

 

 

1+1+1=3 NOT 1!

It is common to see Christians use the 1+1+1=1 equation to describe the trinity.  Their intention is good, but I think utilizing this equation as an illustration of the trinity is misguided.

When we look at the equation we conclude that the trinity is irrational.  All our lives we have known 1+1+1=3 not 1.  But now we are instructed that there is a heavenly math of sorts where it equals 1.

I was sharing the gospel with a Muslim years ago at the University of Texas in Dallas. He said he could never become a Christian because the trinity was irrational.  I shared with him that irrational was not the right word.  Mysterious to be sure, but not irrational.

Irrational would mean we are saying God exists simultaneously as one Person and three Persons.  Another irrational option would be to say God exists simultaneously as one Being and three Beings.  But of course, Christians don’t believe either one of these things.

We do believe that God is one in His Being or Essence, yet three in Person.  Each Person is fully God not 33.333% God.  That is why you can’t conceptualize the trinity.  It is indeed beyond our understanding, but that does not make it irrational.

I asked my Muslim friend if he could conceptualize everything about Allah.  He conceded that he could not.  He could not get his head wrapped around such things as God being uncaused or self-existent.  I asked if he thought uncaused or self-existent would be irrational.  “Not if He is God,” he replied.  Of course, it would be irrational to say God is both self-existent and dependent on someone/thing else for His existence.

So let’s drop the 1+1+1=1 for the trinity.  We don’t want to give the impression that belief in the Christian God is irrational.  Mysterious and beyond our comprehension to be sure, but not irrational.