Category Archives: Christianity

CUTTING UP THE BIBLE

“On display now at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is a special exhibit centered on a rare Bible from the 1800s that was used by British missionaries to convert and educate slaves.

What’s notable about this Bible is not just its rarity, but its content, or rather the lack of content. It excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.”

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/09/674995075/slave-bible-from-the-1800s-omitted-key-passages-that-could-incite-rebellion

HT: JOHN FEA

SHARING THE GOSPEL TODAY

This came to mind the other day:

The combination of globalism and connectivity via media makes this generation much more perplexed, even immobilized, to know how or whether to share the gospel. Sharing the gospel seems more scandalous than ever.  We are more proximate to other religions and thus have a growing difficulty believing we are right and everyone else is wrong.

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Want a riveting read?  Well, this book certainly qualifies.

As a young Christian, I read a collection of King’s sermons titled Strength to Love.  In college, I took a rhetoric class where our professor regularly reminded us that King was the “greatest speaker he ever heard.”

Rosenbloom’s book chronicles the final 31 hours of King’s life.  And what a life it is.  The author does not paper over King’s adultery, but clearly thinks King was a great man.

King challenges us to live focused life with courage and compassion.

The publisher is to be thanked for making a beautiful book at a reasonable cost…a rarity in our day!

ROMAN CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL

There are many reasons I am not a Roman Catholic, but one certainly is the pervasive, historic, and systemic secrecy. Many examples could be offered. For example, the secrecy of the curia coupled with the condescending clericalism I’ve seen firsthand from priests in spite of what Vatican II says about learning from the laity are just a few.

It stretches credulity to think the Roman Catholic church can properly handle the ongoing (that word is key) sex abuse given the Roman Catholic’s long and problematic history.

And for the record, I taught in Poland and know many dynamic Christians who are in the Roman Catholic church. I just think the overall system is badly broken and lacks the proper theology in doctrine, leadership, and praxis to make things right.

There are similar, but not identical reasons that I’m not Baptist.  Though I am sympathetic to Baptist theology, and though the Southern Baptist Convention is not as secretive as the curia, there is much that still gives me concern.

HOW TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER

Theologians are generally leery, even disdainful (usually in quiet, socially accepted ways!) of “lay” people. And so-called “lay” people tend to return the favor. There are many reasons for this, and Keith Johnson helps unpack them for us.

Johnson’s book is desperately needed since the animus between professional theologians and the church is acute and does not seem to be getting any better.

The author provides a good historical sketch of how theology moved away from the church and found itself in the academy. This offers perspective for how we ought to proceed in understanding the challenge of wedding theology to the church.

Johnson writes with a gracious touch but makes clear how we all need to make amends for our less than Christlike behavior.

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND DESIGNED!

It is wonderful to see publishers who care about a book’s design and aesthetics. Baylor University Press consistently hits home runs in these areas.

John Swinton has written a terrific book that makes us look more honestly at our ideas of time and how they impinge on our treatment of those with disabilities. Non-spoiler alert: we don’t do very well at either!

There is much to like about this book. It helps us wrestle with issues of great consequence and yet maintains a gracious tone throughout.

Perhaps this quote by Scott Bader-Saye from page 57 well describes the tenor of this terrific book: “The ways we experience, name, and interpret time contribute to the kinds of communities we imagine and inhabit.”

Highly recommended!

GIVE A GIFT TO YOURSELF!

This is the third book I’ve read by Tim Larsen. I interviewed him on the other two books.

There is so very much to like about this book. I will simply list out four of my favorite things about the book:

Some shorter books like Larsen’s pack in plenty of content. If a lecture series becomes a book (as is the case with this book), there is a better than average chance that the smaller size book will have great content. You can see this with books (from another lecture series) like Andrew Delbanco’s fascinating, The Real American Dream. Larsen’s book does not disappoint as it offers the reader plenty of material.

Even though there is much content, the writing is lucid and engaging.

Larsen is an eminent historian of nineteenth-century Britain. You can always count on him to do careful archival work and know the primary sources. This book showcases those strengths.

Larsen is sensitive, as was George MacDonald, to Christians who struggle with doubt. As one who knows firsthand these struggles, I greatly appreciate Larsen’s treatment in this book.

Perhaps it is too late for a Christmas present, but how about a present for yourself for the new year?!