Apr 22, 2010

Review of Wild At Heart by John Eldredge

Stated simply, this book is about men being men. In his revised an expanded edition, John Eldredge sets out to explain Biblical masculinity, arguing that men need a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. These characteristics make up the man who is Wild at Heart. Eldredge looks into the depths of men's souls to analyze what keeps them from being wild at heart. Throughout the whole book, he relies heavily on the Bible to make his case.  At the heart of this is the message that masculinity is bestowed by God. He emphasizes his point in chapter seven writing that, "True masculinity is Spiritual."

I approached this book wondering if another book about manhood was needed, but Eldredge hit a home run. I think that he had it right, however, that men need permission to be men. There many obstacles keep a man from fighting his battles, having adventures, and pursuing the woman in his life. In the beginning, I was skeptical that this would be all about being a tough guy and doing "manly" things, but Eldredge changed my mind when he said that Biblical masculinity is about being the man that God created me to be. God has endowed men with certain characteristics and responsibilities and in Christ we have the freedom to do those things. We all want to be like William Wallace and Elderdge says that we can. This is a fantastic book; I would recommend it to any guy looking to be inspired.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Apr 21, 2010

A weekend in Cincinnati

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Stone Campbell Journal Conference in Cincinnati.  I went last year (although I didn't write a post about it) and had a great time. This year, I had a great time as well.  I went there, first of all, to support my friends in the student paper competition.  Students from colleges and seminaries submit academic papers to this competition and the top three present their papers.  My friends David, Michael, and Nathan were all selected to present.  Michael presented in undergrad competition and his paper on the apocalyptic imagery of Matthew 13 won.  My friends David and Nathan presented their papers in the graduate competition.  Both papers were fantastic. David's paper was on the Celtic practice of peregrination and Nathan's was on the advancement of nanotechnology and it's affect on the world. Unfortunately, they did not win, but these papers, along with the paper that won, were fantastic papers and honestly, each deserved to win for one reason or another.  I also went to enjoy Skyline Chili.

This was not all that happened at the conference.  For those of you who are not familiar, conferences put on by journals or societies (like the Society of Biblical Literature, SBL, or Evangelical Theological Society, ETS) will typically consist of some main presenters and then a lot of other people presenting papers they have written in elective fashion.  This conference was hosted by the Stone Campbell Journal (if you're not familiar with the Stone-Campbell/Restoration movement, check out this).  When I was not hearing my friends present, I heard various scholars read papers and give presentations on different subjects.  The main theme of this years conference was Spirituality Old and New, which is fantastic because this is one of my main areas of interest.  The highlight was hearing Scot McKnight speak on spirituality in two of the main sessions.  I took copious notes and got some great (and funny) quotes.  My favorite quote was from his presentation on Spirituality in a Postmodern Age.  He said, "People who can combine Jeremiah, Thomas Paine, Max Lucado, Harold and Kumar, and Dr. Suess are postmodern. . . whatever that means."

The most challenging of his talks was on Spiritual Disciplines for Today. He left us with many thoughts, but the most challenge being that any discipline that does not lead us to love God or love others, is essentially a misused discipline.  I was certainly challenged by that, since many times I find my self using a spiritual discipline to make myself better and not to simply fall in love with God more.  So here's the question I want to leave you with, how can we better use our disciplines to love God and others and not simply do it to make us better people?

Apr 7, 2010

The Easter Season and Other Updates

The Easter season is upon us.  Most of us think of easter being one day, but it's really a seven week season known as Eastertide.  On the Fiftieth day after Easter, Pentecost is celebrated (see Acts 2).  Fifty days are to be dedicated to the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection from the dead and its impact on our lives.  This season is a time to remember the resurrected life in which we live.  Dustin said in sunday's sermon at Jeff St, Jesus' resurrection not only means that he's not there any more, but we won't be there either.  Because of Jesus defeated death, we in the end will too.  We live in hope of the future resurrection from the dead for all of us.  I would suggest that for the Easter season, we should all read through NT Wright's book Surprised by Hope. He discussed what impact resurrection has on our lives.  I'm going to start (actually pick it back up again) reading it as soon as I finish the book that I'm currently reading.  As a side note, if this interests you and you live in Lincoln, Jeff St Christian Church just started a series called "Beyond a Better Place" dealing with the impact of resurrection on our lives and what happens when we die.

I review for BookSneezeNow for the other updates: I joined a site called Booksneeze.com that distributes books to bloggers for free in exchange for a blog review and a review on a site like Amazon.  So you can look forward to seeing more book reviews from me.  The first one will be the Revised and Expanded edition of John Eldridge's book Wild at Heart.  I'm also hoping that I will be able to get a copy of a book called Plan B that they are making available on tomorrow.

Last update, this weekend, I'm headed to the Stone Campbell Journal Conference at Cincinnati Christian University.  So, there will be an update on my time there.

Have a good Easter Season.  He is risen...

Apr 2, 2010

Good Friday

It's Good Friday, and I don't need to add my own words to what this day is all about. Instead, I will leave you with this:

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means,“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Sonc of God!”
 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.