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Showing posts from August, 2011

On Literature and Culture

Words made Fresh: Essays on Literature and Culture by Larry Woiwode

Although not being familiar with Woiwode’s works of fiction nor his essays, this book was a welcome treat to read. First, in this collection of essays, we see Woiwode’s keen eye for the details of literature in the likes of both Wendell Berry and John Updike. In the chapter on Wendell Berry, Woiwode comments that “The heat of indignation rises through his prose, but finally the prose is able to remain irenic” (41). Woiwode is here capturing Berry’s aggravation at a government who takes great care to dismantle the wilderness to create human ‘lesiure areas.’ There is an eloquent sensitivity in the way Woiwode approaches the writing of Wendell Berry, taking into account his grand vision of nature and God’s good creation while entering into Berry’s continual frustration with the way land is handled by larger corporations and entities. You feel when reading this chapter on Berry that Woiwode has carefully memorized and sel…

A Good Intro to Tolkien

Mark Horne has written a good introduction to the life and thought of J.R.R Tolkien, the acclaimed writer of the Lord of Rings Series. A few of the highlights that I found in the book were Horne's discussion of Tolkien's part in WWI. Not only did Tolkien fight in the Battle of Somme, but he was taken back to England due to Trench fever. I also did not know that Tolkien earned some extra money doing some work on the Oxford English Dictionary (71). Overall, Horne gives the impression that Tolkien was a man of keen sensitivity to language, a man who was brilliant by any standard and who strove for the precision in his writing and teaching.

On pp.2-3 Horne writes that Tolkien included the spiders of Millwood in his books not because of his boyhodd encounter in South Africa with one, but because his son Michael completely hated spiders and so Tolkien thought this would give me a good scare. I read this and laughed out loud because of the keen sense of humor Tolkien had and also be…

The Hope of Every Christian

I haven't posted in a long while concerning theology or issues regarding the Bible, but I decided that this time was appropriate.

The Hope of Every Christian
Just recently I gave a sermon on Romans 8:18-25 regarding hope and the Christian life. After the sermon, I began to think concretely about the true hope that every Christians have in the future and in their Savior.  I wanted to mention a few points drawing from that text that I think are crucial to our thinking about the future and about creation.

1.  Although great calamity and ruinous events take place here on Earth, they are not to be compared with what God will do in the future.  It seems trite to say this, almost as if we shouldn't take suffering, pain, and devastation seriously. These are matters that are to be taken very seriously.  However, even in the face of great anguish, the Christian believes that the hope of the resurrection far outshines the dreadful consequences of the fall upon this Earth.  For the resurr…

The Coming of Jesus

Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wanegrin
This little book by Walter Wanegrin is a series of meditations on the coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom. The entries are divided up by a Scripture reference, Wanegrin's writing, and then a prayer at the end of the section.

Overall, I thought the book was interesting in its approach. For some characters in the Scriptures, Wanegrin's seems to want to get into their head, for others he looks historically at what it might have looked like in Jesus' time. What caught me by surprise in reading was the particular way Wanegrin drew us into the story of Jesus and let us see some details that we might have missed before. For instance, "But here in a child comes God, the light! And light in darkness is a frightening thing" (60). He earlier mentions our condition as (we should be that walking dead) and yet we dwell with God and with his Son. Wanegrin tenderly draws us to the profound truths of the gospel story in a wa…

The Apostles and the Spirit's Power

Who is the Holy Spirit by Amos Yong (Paraclete Press)

This new volume in the Paraclete Guide series is designed to take the reader on a journey through the book of Acts in step with the activity and person of the Holy Spirit. The author, Amos Yong, Professor of Theology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, carries the reader on a very insightful, practical, and thoughtful journey through Acts.

Instead of just harboring on a few aspects in the book of Acts (Pentecost, Paul's speeches, etc.), Yong dives into the cultural milieu that the apostles dealt with as they proclaimed the good news throughout the region. For this reason, Who is the Holy Spirit makes a definite point that the message of the kingdom the apostles bore witness to was radically opposite of the prevailing class structure of the Roman Empire. Yong writes in the first chapter, "The Acts of the Apostles are also the acts of the Holy Spirit in the church, acts that are subversive of the empires of this world&…