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Archive for May, 2006

Are They Related?

At Costco recently, I saw a book entitled 23 Minutes In Hell sitting in a large display of beef jerkey (right in front of one of the bags). Are the two related? Is a statement being made about the relative merits of that particular brand of beef jerkey? Does the author of the book think Hell was like beef jerkey? Was it a Freudian slip of some kind? Just wondering.

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Book Buying

I went on a book-buying binge today (I should probably see someone about the problem, but I don’t really want to!). Here’s what’s on my summer reading list:

Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. It comes highly recommended by quite a few people — we’ll see.

Their God Is Too Small, by Bruce Ware. It’s a theological response to Open Theism. I bought it primarily because Bruce was one of my professors at Western — an excellent one at that.

America: The Last Best Hope, by William Bennett. This is the first volume of a history of the United States (1492-1914).

Confessions of a Reformission Rev., by Mark Driscoll. Driscoll pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I’ve listened to a couple of his sermons and have loved them.

God of Promise, by Michael Horton. This book is a survey and explanation of Covenant Theology. I’ve enjoyed most of Horton’s writings and assume I will with this one, too.

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Private confession of sin is one thing (I don’t do enough of it, I know that), but public confession of sin seems to be entirely another.

Many of us seem to be content with the notion that confession is good for the soul, but only if it’s done individually. The corporate confession of sin sounds, well, too “Catholic” for many of us. But should it? I don’t think so. Public confession of sin, which is followed by absolution (or the assurance of forgiveness) has a long history in the church. Although it’s been largely ignored or forgotten by the contemporary evangelical church, I think it’s something we need to get back to.

By the way, the “public confession” I’m talking about doesn’t involve going up and down the pews, standing up and confessing the previous week’s sins. I’m talking about a general confession that’s spoken in unison with time given for silent, private confession.

Philip Ryken, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, has written a sample confession that was used there. It’s convicting – personally and corporately. Here’s where you can find it.

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Memorial Day

Have a great Memorial Day! In the midst of all of your grilling, visiting, eating, drinking, and recreating, make sure to take time to give thanks to God for those who have given their life in service to our country, and for those who serve now. We owe them a lot. If you know someone in the military (or even if you don’t), express your gratitude! It doesn’t take long and it’ll mean a lot.

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More people need to find their inner adult.

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I came across this quote from Paul Ford while going through a stack of papers and notes. I don’t know where it came from (a book or an article or something else), but it’s good and makes me think about my own journey of following Jesus.

“The English style of spirituality is a rhythm of worship, work, reading, and leisure. This is an unfrantic response to who God is. What we see in (C.S.) Lewis is the steady place of his parish church; the quiet regularity of his Bible-reading and prayers; the natural place for his main work of study and writing; the large blocks of time for lesiurely conversations with special friends; and the importance of letter writing, especially with those who sought his help in the matter of Christian pilgrimmage. His life was marked by a spacious, unfrantic rhythm or worship, work, conversation, availability, and intimacy.”

That’s definitely worth thinking about! Our North American busy, busy, busy lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to this kind of Christian pilgrimmage. We have to be more “intentional” as they say in order to make it so. Lord help us!

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Did you happen to notice the type of coverage that was given to The DaVinci Code by the press before it’s release? Glowing. Supportive. Enthusiastic. Almost gleeful. Other adjectives could be used here, too. It seemed that reporters and hosts were falling all over themselves to get an interview and bask in the glow of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard (a little less so for Ian McKellan). I would describe the coverage as overwhelmingly positive. Sure, those of us who have problems with the thesis of the book were given snippets of attention here and there, but nothing significant (at least in the mainstream media).

Contrast The DaVinci Code coverage with that of The Passion of the Christ. What type of coverage did Mel Gibson and the movie get? Anything but glowing, supportive, and enthusiastic. In fact, much of it was downright hostile. Gibson himself and the premise of the film (the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus, which included a graphic depiction of His suffering and death on our behalf) were questioned, attacked, and derided. A considerable amount of time was given to detractors and protesters (maybe more). Gibson’s mental health was questioned.

The coverage of these two films is so different that it can’t be missed. Tim Graham of the Media Research Center has put together a study of it called “The Trashing of the Christ.” It’s worth a read.

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