Friday, February 22, 2008

It's not what you know . . .

It's nice to have famous relatives. At least, I think Kevin Rudd must be our relative. How many branches of the Rudd family tree can there be? We are undoubtedly close of kin back on the beautiful Irish island.

Check out our "cousin" at

Actually, my VERY BEST relationship is that as a result of Jesus' redemptive work, I have become part of the family of God. Wow! God is my Father and Jesus my brother. What a privilege! John 1:12 and 1 Peter 2:9ff.

It's not what you know, it's whom you know.
I borrowed my son's Rev! magazine and am enjoying a lot of very helpful articles...nearly all rather short, likely reflecting their understanding that we live in a "Google" culture today rather than the "Gutenberg" culture people my age grew up in and too often still assume.

One article on "being a team player" had some good reminders: understand that your way is one way and not the only way; remember, if you always agreed with others, it wouldn't be called "submission;" and do what's asked of you first, ask questions later.

Those are good reminders for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today is my mother's 91st birthday.

She's been in heaven since October 1999, joined by my father not quite two years later.

It's hard to believe they've been gone that long. I still miss them greatly and think of them virtually every day. Even after this many years I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call them to share some news about us, or about our children or grandchildren.

My brother and I both lived a minimum of 300 miles away from them from the time we graduated from high school (except a few summers), I sometimes feel pain for how they must've felt isolated from their children. I wrote to them often, but wish I had phoned them more.

The unselfishness, love, generosity, prayers, affirmation, and Christ-centered values of my parents is an amazing legacy. I hope our children and grandchildren will be able to say the same of us.

Hope of eternal reunion is one of the most wonderful aspects of our Christian faith. My heart aches for those who lack that hope.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Christianity Today magazine sends out an online version which arrived this morning. One link connected me to an article by Tim Stafford, "This Samaritan Life."

Starrord responds to the suggestion that American Christians often behave as if they are living in Jerusalem when in fact, they live in Babylon...or, more precisely in his view, in Samaria. Hmmmm. The article is very insightful about church history, the enlightenment, post-modernity, and how to live out our faith "in Samaria."

I would highly recommend reading the entire post: It's fairly long but definitely worth the read.

Here's the opening...

"Denis Haack, who critiques films, books, and music on his Ransom Fellowship website, says that Christians often act like they live in Jerusalem. Not so, argues Haack—we live in Babylon, as aliens and strangers. Why, therefore, are we surprised when we see a movie that offends our values? Babylonian movies reflect Babylonian values, not Christian ones.

I liked Haack's point, but I had a nagging sense that he was missing something. Eventually I figured out what: We don't live in Babylon. We live in Samaria.

Babylon is far from Jerusalem and doesn't know much about its religion. What you believe or how you worship is of little significance to Babylon, so long as you keep the peace and contribute to civic life. Daniel and other Jewish exiles did. They got in trouble only when they were perceived to undermine the government or got caught up in petty politics.

It's different in Samaria. People there know plenty about Jerusalem's religion (though some of their information is distorted), and have a definite grudge against it."

Don't read it if you prefer to live in blissful (but dangerous) ignorance of what's happening in the culture.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I read an article today that suggested that if evangelicals elected a pope, it would be John Stott.

Hmmmm. I'm not sure I agree and, of course, by definition, evangelicals would not elect a pope. But of course, that wasn't the author's point. He was merely engaging in a bit of overstatement to suggest the level of respect and confidence which is stirred by the name of English theologian, preacher, author, and rector of All Souls Church in London, John Stott. To that I agree. Stott is a giant. He has always been one of my favorite authors--one who stretches and challenges my thinking.

Anyway, the article quoted Stott (from his book, THE LIVING CHURCH):

“We cannot proclaim the gospel of God’s love with any degree of integrity if we do not exhibit it in our love for others. Perhaps nothing is so damaging to the cause of Christ as a church which is either torn apart by jealousy, rivalry, slander and malice, or preoccupied with it’s own selfish concerns. Such churches urgently need to be radically renewed in love.”

"....especially in the West, if I may generalize, the church is not growing. Its development is stunted. Its waters are stagnant. Its breath is stale. It is in a state not of renewal but of decay. We long to see it continually being reformed and renewed by the Word and the Spirit of God."


Saturday, February 02, 2008

This is the second time in the last couple of months Gloria has said to me, "You HAVE to read this book NOW!"

The first time it was TALE OF THREE KINGS. It was extremely helpful in helping me understand some very painful things going on in our lives. I don't agree with everything the author (Gene Edwards) says, but then, I don't agree with a lot of things I say shortly afterward. The book was immensely helpful to me.

The new book was recommended to us by our dear friend, Barb Yates. I ordered it but hadn't gotten to it yet, and Gloria picked it up and read it while I was in PA this week.

That's when the new recommendation/ultimatum came. "You HAVE to read this book NOW."

So, knowing where my bread is buttered, I've started reading WHO STOLE MY CHURCH. The author is one I have greatly appreciate in the past, Gordon MacDonald.

Gloria was right. I'm almost half way through it beginning last night. To all my readers who are struggling with change in church, this is a must read.

Perhaps every Christian over 40 who has been a Christian for 10 years or more needs to read this.

Back to the book . . .