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Reading Old Books

I heard a quote recently about C.S. Lewis saying that every third book we read should be from a different century. He says that this will help us see our cultural blind spots.

Many people read books from the same group of authors if not the same author. Some only read mainstream evangelicals, others only charismatic writers, still others only reformed writers. Reading old books would help us break out of our own tradition enough to see beyond the set of problems usually addressed by the books we read and might help us to see issues that authors of our own culture fail to see because they all have very similar lives.

Sometimes we avoid old book because we think they will be difficult or irrelevant. However, classics, Lewis says, are classics because they are so accessible and I would add relevant. Surviving the test of time is proof that they are readable and relevant.

I haven't picked my "old book" yet, but I am planning to. I have a few seminary that I could reread. I am sure it would do me good. It's not like I really remember all of what is in them. Plus, I am a different person now: I am sure I would different ideas would stick out to me.

Walking the missional tightrope

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom 12:12)

I became all things to all people. (1 Cor 9:22)

I listened to an interesting lecture by Piper on Athanasius. One of his big points is that the principles from these two passages must not be viewed as sequential but as equal and ongoing.

On one hand we must be missional in that we must be able to communicate our faith in terms that others can understand. On the other hand, the God described in scripture is so far beyond a culture's pre-existing categories we must not be afraid to, and indeed must be committed to, showing the truth in scripture in such a way that it overloads the circuits of the culture.

It often seems that we are at war with each other along these lines. Both are taught in scripture. We must do both.

Finishing Blue Like Jazz

Well, I finished Blue Like Jazz (BLJ) tonight. I think Dave mentioned it to me a couple of years ago. I wish I had read it then. Most of the ideas are things I have heard through other sources. I think I particularly liked his thoughts about living with the hippies and the confession booth where they confessed to their classmates.

I think I would really like to go to his church. In large part, I am very much like him. One way that I am not is that I am married and I am not a writer. It seems to me that the church really needs some regular Joes like me to live the Gospel. In some ways it will look similar to the thoughts in BLJ. It is one thing to be a missionary, pastor, writer/speaker and forge a path of discipleship. It is another to live in a mid-sized town in Texas, work 40-50 hours a week and have a family to support and find a way to live a righteous and holy life to God. Should I serve more? Should I give more? Should I work less? Should I buy less? Should I...Should I...Should I. It is almost enough to make one want to give up.

Incidentally, my good friend, Rusty accused me of worshiping an idol with my desire to live such a life. It is so hard to ferret out the line between really fighting against fear and wanting to live a life of radical discipleship and making such a life an idol and worshiping it apart from the living God.

I am not sure about his conclusion. It is hard to live a free life. Even when I think about my children, they get jealous and end up being suspicious of us playing favorites. I am particularly thinking of my two-year-old. It starts young. I can see this in myself. I hate it, but I often begin to compare myself to my peers when I see their stuff or find out how old they are. Why can't I be free?

Miller in BLJ talks about learning to accept love. This is the struggle of the Christian life. It is hard to believe the kind of love that God has for us. We almost refuse to believe it. I can see that I have often rejected it. I feel like I need to do something to repay God. This is just not true. Why can't I get that through my head!?

Beginning Blue Like Jazz

I just started reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It is a really good book. It is fun to read because I recognize so many of the thoughts and themes as things I have thought before but never put down. I can see that we have both had similar influences. However, we have gotten them from really different places.

Christmas For Families Servant

Late, the night before Christmas Eve, we got a message from a strange voice asking about Santa Pal. She said that one of her children did not receive her gifts. I was suspicious, but Courtney called and left a message. Early Christmas Eve, the lady called back. Courtney asked if she meant the PDI Christmas for Families (CFF) program.

Broken Blog

For some stupid reason, I decided to update the software that runs my blog at the busiest time of the year. Not surprisingly, there were some difficulties. That is why some of you might have seen a strange theme or blank front page.


Every quarter or so, PDI, the company I work for, has a staff meeting. Kirk Fischer, one of our VPs usually gives an inspiring presentation of some sort. It is always good, but this time I really think he hit on something.

Amos Readings

For Advent, I am reading the year B readings from lectionary in the PCUSA Book of Common Worship. I am really enjoying reading scripture. It is exciting to see connections between the readings in different parts of scripture throughout the week.

Am I Emergent and other quandries?

I thought this was pretty funny. I fit some categories and not others. I seem to be a square peg in a round hole pretty much everywhere I go. I felt like that at church today.

My Church

My church was the emergent church of 20 years ago. Like today's radicals, they were breaking away from traditional structures and seeking a more authentic model of discipleship. It has evolved into the thing emergents are rebelling against.