Category Archives: Death


I am currently reading through this terrific book with our youngest son, Chris, who is on a summer missions trip in the Dominican Republic.  Courtesy of Skype, we were able to talk through the first two chapters this past Sunday.

One excerpt for your reading pleasure:

“On one occasion a widow put into her husband’s coffin two cans of the spray adhesive that the dead man had used to paste on his toupee, causing an explosion that bent the furnace door.”

(Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright, p. 12)



The image is from Grant Horner’s Bible and it leads to a pleasant challenge for all of us.

How about writing in your Bible (and other places like journals) to leave a wonderful gift to your children, their children, and who knows whoever else!  

Personally, I mark up four Bibles: two in English and two in Greek.  We have two sons so each will have somewhat of an idea of the things which struck me most.  I try to keep my penmanship fairly neat, but even when it is unclear what better gift could you give someone from your family?

My wife, Doreen, has a heavily marked up Bible, but because of smudges from the wrong kinds of writing instruments, some of the notes will only be known in eternity!

I was glad to see this post last year:


Ronnie blessed our family with his compelling “history of redemption” which you can see in the second link below. 

May God use Ronnie’s life and death to be a continuing witness of the greatness, joy, and wisdom of living for Jesus Christ alone.


I am 55.  My lovely wife is 53.  And she is lovely so many ways, not the least of which she loves to read (more below).

We have a very good library: diverse and some of the best books in their respective categories.  It was put together over a lifetime.  Our library did not cost a lot because we have gone to library sales, used bookstores, received books from friends and family, and get many wonderful books to review from publishers.

I read on Scot McKnight’s blog that Michael Quicke is “retiring” from teaching at Northern.  In one of Quicke’s posts about his move back to England, he talks about the painful process of downsizing his library.  Quicke has about ten years on me, but for years I’ve been whittling a little bit every month to make the process a bit easier.  Not easy to be sure.  For the foreseeable future our library will most likely hover around 2500-3000 books.  Without my regular whittling it might be twice that size by now, and much more painful to address.

As I get older, I find myself rereading more frequently, especially the books which have truly formed my convictions.  And the books which showcase a craftsman at work.

So I will keep chopping up our library with my metaphorical ax.

Here is Quicke’s wonderful, but poignant piece:

If you don’t want have time to read the entire piece, consider these words of wisdom:

“And saying goodbye sometimes comes with cruel reality checks as I realize I cannot possibly read all that I once hoped to delive into.  For example, I have collected books on particular subjects that I was going to dive into,  that I even imagined that I could write books about, but I now realize time is running out! I remember an athletic deacon in my first church saying that he had suddenly realized that certain things would never happen for him, like playing cricket for England. I remember being amused, but then realizing he was being serious.  (I appreciate US friends would not likely take this seriously anyway!)   Yes, what once seemed limitless pastures are now ring-fenced.  I am grateful that I shall still be able to graze but I can see a fence.”


RIP: Jean Bethke Elshtain

I had the great privilege of interviewing Jean Bethke Elshtain.  She was a formidable intellect who consulted and corrected presidents.  Elshstain was a wonderful communicator both with the written and spoken word.  Her book on Augustine is beautifully written and contains loads of insight.



I did not know Edmund Morgan, but several of his books are some of my favorites in studying and teaching American history.  Two books on the Puritans were early reads and ones I have gone back to on many occasions since.  His book, The Challenge of the American Revolution, was a companion on a trip back east and his biography on Franklin was my most recent read of his books.  He was that rare historian who could write lucid, interesting, insightful, and competent works.  Scholars had to pay notice, but anyone could read Morgan.  He was not afraid to be clear.

There are many tributes about Morgan, but here is one by Joseph Ellis, who studied under Morgan.  Not surprisingly, Ellis also writes competent and accessible books.  Founding Brothers, which won the Pulitzer, is a book I have read and reread with great profit.



Lots of food for thought here!

Albert Mohler reflects on a lecture where he heard an insight that was life altering, “Several years ago, I attended a lecture in which I seized upon a thought that has never left me.  The lecturer was Doctor Heiko Obermann, the great and now late historian of the late Medieval and early Reformation eras.  In the midst of his lecture, he looked out at the audience, paused, reflected, and then said,

‘I can see that you do not understand what I am saying to you.  What I am saying to you is that you do not live life as Martin Luther lived life.  You do not wake up in the morning as he did, nor do you go to bed at night as he did.  You need to understand something about changed conditions of belief.  Do you not understand that in the time of Martin Luther, almost every single human being in European civilization woke up afraid that he would die before nightfall?  Eternal destiny was a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute thought.  Every night, as the late Medieval or early Reformation human being closed his eyes, he feared that he would wake up either in heaven or in hell.  You do not live with that fear.  And that means that your understanding of these things is very different from Martin Luther’s.  That’s why he threw ink pots at the Devil, and you close your notebook and sleep well at night.'”

(Excerpted from atheism REMIX, p. 15-16 by R. Albert Mohler Jr.)