Reading the Gospels Wisely

For many of us, reading and applying the stories of the Bible are a very difficult task. Sure, we can pick up Philippians and understand it well enough. But if you drop into the New Testament in Matthew 1, most of us scramble for the red letters.

My friend and mentor, Jonathan Pennington, has written a very helpful book on how to read gospel stories well. The book covers a wide range of topics (a short synopsis of each chapter).… Continue Reading

N. T. Wright Talks at Google

Let’s face it, we all watch at least one sitcom daily, so you have at least 30 minutes to spare today. Consider watching this  brief and immensely helpful lecture from N. T. Wright when he was invited to speak at Google for their “Talks at Google” series. The first half is his lecture, the second half is a wonderful bit of question and answer. Enjoy!

You can read Wright’s full argument in his recent book, Simply Good News:

Wright also references this book (which I am pumped to read): Continue Reading

Top 10 Books, 2014

I do not profess to be cutting edge. Nor do I profess to have read dozens of books that makes my selection of ten that eventful. But these were the books that most shaped me in 2014. Most were not written in this calendar year, and a few of these books I’ve read multiple times. Here they are in no particular order.

The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles by Scott Hahn

This was my favorite commentary whilst preaching through Chronicles in the first 4 months of 2014.… Continue Reading

Why Reading Fiction Isn’t a Waste of Time

There was a great post over at Desiring God recently reflecting on why J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, didn’t “waste his life” by writing fanciful stories (some might say “escapist fiction,” a waste of time for heavenly-minded Christians). I highly commend the article to you.

But the writing of fiction is not what I’m concerned with here. I’m rather interested in the reading.

Is Reading Fiction a Waste of (Precious) Time?

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On Being Human

I’ve only just begun reading Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, The Killer Angels. In my short time reading this novel I’ve been confronted with a gut-wrenching reality.

Take The Time

At the end of chapter 1, Robert E. Lee, general of the Confederate (Southern) army is in conversation with James Longstreet, a lieutenant general and now close friend. Lee did not “own slaves nor believe in slavery” yet he still led the South in battle.  He was by all accounts a quiet and humble man whom desired to honor God with his life.… Continue Reading

“Conversion of the Imagination”

I was tipped off to this lovely phrase, “the conversion of the imagination,”  in Scot McKnight’s excellent book, The King Jesus Gospel, whilst on a run this morning. It is amazing how you process a book differently on multiple read-throughs, this being my 3rd time through Scot’s book. This time, the phrase assaulted me like a shot across the bow.

After returning home from my run, I stopped my audiobook, and promptly found the reference in the book. Lo and behold, it is a quote from the always-enlightening Richard Hays, and now his book is tops on my to-read list: The Conversion of the Imagination.… Continue Reading

The Narratives We Consume

There are two ways that we can be affected by the narratives we consume; watching movies/shows, reading books, or talking to and sharing with others.

1. Benefit

To see someone struggle with depression, the loss of a loved one, or overcome (or be consumed by) a traumatic life event can be an exercise in processing.

In life, we seem to process events in our own lives with hindsight and can rarely process the present in helpful ways. Other narratives, whether the experience of a friend, a movie, or your favorite book, can help us process life on-the-fly.… Continue Reading

C.S. Lewis & Friendship

Here are few quotes lifted from C.S. Lewis’ masterful chapter on Friendship in The Four Loves. Enjoy!

Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company. Especially when the whole group is together, each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others. Those are the golden sessions; when four or five of us after a hard day’s walking have come to our inn; when our slippers are on, our feet spread towards the blaze and our drinks at our elbows; when the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us.… Continue Reading

Dinah, Downton Abbey, and the Justice of God

Let me setup a story for you. The main character is a momma’s boy, he’s fearful and bends to the will of every man he encounters, and the women in his life get everything they desire for good and for ill.

Similarities aside, I’m not speaking about Lord Grantham. This guy works hard for a shady step-father, escapes in the night, sleeps with no less than 4 women (whenever and for whatever purpose they want), eventually fathering 12 sons (and 1 daughter is mentioned; more on her later), he fears family reunions, and capitulates to his wicked neighbors amidst the most horrible of situations.… Continue Reading

Stories and Resolution

If you’ve ever ventured into (or cut through) the book aisle at a local supermarket you’ve likely noticed the glut of shirtless, ‘roided out men holding scantily clad women on the top of a mountain. There is a reason these stories, commonly called romance novels, sell very well: escape.

They promise to transport their readers from the monotony of an unaffected husband or the repetitive schedule of motherhood. The stories help people to escape from their real story, but just like conquering an enemy in a video game, you don’t really escape, you don’t really conquer anything.… Continue Reading