Tuesday, September 30, 2008

24: Redemption

So, I know some of you aren't interested, but I certainly am. If you click on my side link to the 24 home page, you can watch the trailer for the 2-hour special that will air on November 23rd. I am super-stoked about it. Take a look. I will put the link here also:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Summer Reading

In my post-seminary craze, I did a lot of reading this summer and really enjoyed it. Here are some of the highlights.
I will begin with fiction.

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva. I have really enjoyed Daniel Silva's books, and I think this was my favorite. Daniel Silva writes espionage thrillers that have to do with Israel and the middle east. I think he has grown as a writer, and the books get better with each new installment. They revolve around an Israeli named Gabriel Allon, and I think there are 6 now. I recommend checking them out. I didn't think the first one, The Kill Artist, was all that great. I recommend starting with The Confessor or The English Assassain.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. I still am not totally sure how I feel about this novel (I have never seen the movie, by the way). I was pretty taken, though, with McCarthy's The Road, and, while I have not read the book, I was enthralled by the movie version of No Country for Old Men. All the Pretty Horses was certainly interesting, and there were a couple of scenes at the end that pretty much made the whole book worthwhile to me. McCarthy's writing style is very choppy to me, and at the same time that communicates a mood. I think there is some sad pessimism in his worldview, but I still find him interesting because he deals with issues that have great significance.
Paranoia by Joseph Finder. So, nothing terribly deep about this book, but I did find it to be an enjoyable read. Think John Grisham, but set in the corporate business world instead of in the legal system. The book kept moving and certainly made me think about corporate America (something I have never been terribly ambitious to be a part of). If you like a fast read and some pop fiction, this might be worth it. I picked up used copies of a couple of Finder's other books at Powell's. I haven't read them yet, but I look forward to it.

Now, some favs from nonfiction.
Woodrow Wilson by H.W. Brands. My dad has been reading books in the American Presidents series for a while, and he caught my interest when he talked about the book on Woodrow Wilson. I also ended up reading the one on Teddy Roosevelt, but I was much more interested in Wilson. There are some interesting things about his engagement with the world (pretty non-antagonistic). It was short, and I thought it was very, very interesting. Well-worth it.

The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. This was my favorite book that I read this summer. I think this is a significant book when it comes to talking about where the church in the U.S. currently is and where we need to go. It will be a tough read for some of us because it really challenges a lot of our normal patterns (when it comes to both politics and church life). It is part story, part theology, and part exposition of the life of Jesus. Claiborne has lived a very interesting life, and he has sought to take his discipleship to its logical end.
Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. I read this largely at the prodding of David Knepprath, who consistently raves about it. I thought was worthy of some raving. N.T. Wright talks about the resurrection, and he really reveals how absent this doctrine is from our teaching, our lives, and our theology. And when we do talk about it, it is usually only in terms of proving that Jesus is God or securing our future escape from the world. Wright really challenges this escapism and demonstrates how the resurrection impacts discipleship, environmentalism, social justice, and church life. Well worth a read.
I did a lot of other reading, but these were the ones that I thought I would mention.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Freedom Sonnet

At college group this past weekend, David Knepprath did something that I thought was unique and creative. Because Good Shepherd went through some different Psalms during the summer, David challenged us to spend some time reflecting and writing our own psalm about what we experienced during the summer. I thought it was a great idea and it caused me to take some time for reflection and thanksgiving.
Anyway, I ended up trying to work my thoughts into a sonnet. I am not sure if I will try to edit this a little more, but here is what I ended up with.

Freedom Sonnet

Our God is clothed in garments royal, bright,
And watches as the kingdoms take their stand.
A champion to those devoid of might,
While walking with the broken, hand in hand.
You bid Your servants, "Walk in freedom Mine,"
And in your freedom we will walk, our Lord.
In boldness we will drink Your Son's rich wine,
Fear's power is ended at Your finished word.
Our sins You pardon, and our wounds You heal,
Kingly strength You give us day by day.
Our confidence and hope we find so real,
With grace our food, and trust our narrow way.
O Christ, our freedom, give Your grace so free,
That liberators we might, with you, be.