Author Archives: Dave

WHERE ARE THE OLDER FOLKS?

Picture of yours truly with a compelling older Christian, Dr. Dave McCoy.

I’ve been thinking more about aging and the aged these past few years.  Sure, part (much?) of it is due to being 59.  Hard to believe.  Turning forty was somewhat surreal, but sixty? 

In any case, it is clearer to me that ever than older people are not typically the lifeblood of churches as they should be.  Some is due to them.  Did they prepare themselves spiritually as younger folks?  I’m sad to say many did not.  Lackluster Christians in their twenties and thirties make terribly unimpressive Christians later in life. 

Of course, God is gracious and I know examples of those who made course corrections later in life.  I also know those who were intentional about their walk with the Lord in earlier life, so it is not surprising they remain so.  I am grateful for the men and women I know like this.

This aging stuff has me noticing new things.  For example, I check out several blogs and Twitter accounts on a daily basis.  One thing that has struck me of late is how so few older people are featured.  Sure, there are older people if they are well-known Christian leaders, but that is about it.  Where are the older folks?  Most feature just the younger folks.

 

LEARNING FROM THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH

There is an irony of sorts with the quote below.  Greg Boyd, who mentioned it on his Twitter account, is a pastor and scholar.  He holds to Open Theism, a position, I do not.  Boyd wrote a terrific book called The Myth of a Christian Nation.  I recommend it highly. 

Lesson: All of us must be careful to listen and learn from others, even when we are predisposed to write them off.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0310267315/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

“You are truly open minded when, instead of looking for what’s wrong in your opponent’s position, you’re looking for what might be right.” (Greg Boyd)

WOODROW WILSON: AMBITIOUS ASPIRATIONS AND PROBLEMATIC POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Image result for barry hankins woodrow wilson

Though it is a little over 200 pages Barry Hankins has packed quite a bit into this little/big book.

There is much to learn from this fine book, but I will limit myself to three things.

First, Hankins does a fine job of demonstrating the impossibility of having good Christian practice when it is shorn of Christian doctrine.  Wilson was a learned man, but terribly naive when it came to thinking there could be solid ethics without solid theology.

Second, there is fascinating background on Princeton and other educational matters.  Wilson lived during a pivotal point in American education.  The Johns Hopkins University, where Wilson did his PhD, was the first American school to adopt the German model of specialization.  It was a seismic change for the American educational landscape. 

Last, I love to read biographies where you learn some truly surprising things about the subject and the times he/she lived in.  Hankins does a nice job here.  Among other things, you will probably be surprised to find out how fun and light-hearted Wilson could be. 

If you are looking for a biography on Wilson that covers the full man, but isn’t unduly long, this is a terrific choice.

MY FELLOW AMERICANS…READ THIS BOOK!

 

Image result for misreading scripture with western eyes

I am coming to this terrific book about five years after its publication, so no long review here.  I will say it is an extremely well done piece of work, both witty and wise, entertaining and educational.  You will learn a lot about Scripture and yourself by reading it!

American Christians are especially in dire need of reckoning with this fine book.

https://www.amazon.com/Misreading-Scripture-Western-Eyes-Understand/dp/0830837825/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

WHAT MAKES A GREAT BOOK?

For me, the answer has come from a simple mathematical equation.  I take the total number of pages in a book and divide by two.  If my total marginal notes exceeds that number then most likely the book was invaluable to read. 

This does not mean, of course, that I agree with everything in the book.  It does mean the book provoked much fruitful interaction.

The photo above is my copy of the terrific, Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South by Ralph Woods.

FAN YOUR BRAIN

Dan Siegel offers three things that greatly help one’s overall mental health.  I rearranged the list (as found in Curt Thompson’s Anatomy of the Soul) so I could make the word FAN.  Here are the three things:

Focused attention exercises.  These are things such as prayer and meditation on the Word of God.

Aerobic activity.  Forty-five minutes a day at least five times a week.  We think better when we our body feels better.

Novel learning experiences.  Pushing yourself to learn something new.  Could be gardening, cooking, a new language, really just about anything that forces the brain to make new connections.