Monday, July 31, 2006

resonating with mike todd regarding the silence over lebanon and israel

Today I read in my Washington Post the article "A Refuge that Became a Place of Death":

"Cradled in his arms was the 27th victim pulled from a partially buried room that had sheltered 63 people in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The victim's name was Abbas Hashem, and he was 1 year old. His blue pacifier still dangled from his green tank top


Twelve-year-old Hussein Hashem was removed, curled in a fetal position, his mouth covered in dirt. He was rushed to an ambulance, the jostling making him look lifelike.


Then Abbas Hashem, the baby, emerged, his frail body held above the crowd. A purple bruise covered his forehead, his tongue hung out. He was coated in dust. At one point, a rescue worker gingerly wiped the dirt off his cheek."

One of my co-workers is Lebanese - a 1st generation American born in DC. I asked her this AM if she had any people there. She said that she did but that - for now - they're ok. I told her that I would pray for them.

I posted a few days ago on the morality of modern war. Not one comment. I was surprised when the post hardly received any traffic, compared to other posts.

I really resonate with mike todd's complaint as to the church's silence on this issue.

kudos, however, to Christianity Today who has been posting a variety of viewpoints on the situation.

I repeat, I don't believe our response to this is just to debate just war theory versus pacifism. One of the things that made me proud of the American (and Canadian) church had been her response to Katrina - I think I am only aware of one church that didn't send someone down to practically help. So surely there are some practical steps we can take to address this situation, including blogging about it as mike has done. I would love to see a discussion break out about what those steps are and then see some of us taking those steps. I'm open to suggestions. Please make suggestions.

With regards to the Israel-Lebanon conflict, there seems to me to be some no-brainer ethical violations going on here on both sides of the conflict. Israel is our ally (US) so I think we have the most influence with them to work very hard to protect innocents. I was encouraged to read about the 48 hour cease fire, even if it was limited - though now it seems that's not going to happen (reports seem confused). But I fully realize that Hezbollah needs to be held accountable too.

What do you think?

Darrell Bock on Gospel Commentaries

Dr. Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, has been blogging on the best commentaries for the Gospels. He's posted on

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kyle's Film is Done

Josh Franer announces that the DVD has finally been shipped off for replication.

- more on Kyle, the film, and his death.

Is this Real?

My Dad forwarded me an email with this picture - called a Fire Rainbow - that had been forwarded a zillion times. My experience has been that 49x out of 50 when I get an email like this it's a hoax. So I simply googled "fire rainbow" and hoax and discovered...

...that it's real!


"This is a real photograph of an atmospheric phenomenon known as a circumhorizon(tal) arc, the example shown above was captured on camera as it hung for about an hour across a several-hundred square mile area of sky above northern Idaho (near the Washington border) on 3 June 2006.

In general, a circumhorizontal arc (or "fire rainbow") appears when the sun is high in the sky (i.e., higher than 58° above the horizon), and its light passes through diaphanous, high-altitude cirrus clouds made up of hexagonal plate crystals. Sunlight entering the crystals' vertical side faces and leaving through their bottom faces is refracted (as through a prism) and separated into an array of visible colors. When the plate crystals in cirrus clouds are aligned optimally (i.e., with their faces parallel to the ground), the resulting display is a brilliant spectrum of colors reminiscent of a rainbow. "

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Katrina By The Numbers

We're coming up on the anniversary of Katrina and it's truly amazing how much work still needs to be done. But when the scope of the storm's damage is surveyed, it becomes less surprising that the recovery will take years.

While we were in Covington, LA in June with KatrinaGrace, I picked up Tulane University's Professor of History Douglas Brinkley's The Great Deluge where he chronicles events surrounding Hurricane Katrina from Saturday 27 August (Katrina hit LA and MS on the Monday 29 August) to Saturday 3 September 2005. As I've been reading, I've been jotting down some of the numbers (some of these numbers are from other sources as noted, primarily the wikipeida article on Katrina):

  • 90,000 - the number of square miles declared a federal disaster - this is almost the size of Great Britain
  • 1836 - estimated deaths
  • 705 - number of still people missing as of 19 May, 2006
  • 460,000 - the population of New Orleans before the storm
  • 230,000 - estimated population of New Orleans in June 2006 [from Reuters via Wikipedia]
  • 125 miles per hour - top sustained winds when Katrina hit the Louisiana coast
  • 150 miles - the number of miles inland Katrina traveled before she lost hurricane strength
  • 2,430 - number of children separated from their parents
  • 112,000 - the number of New Orleans residents who didn't own cars
  • 1,500,000 - the number of folks who requested FEMA assistance after the storm
  • 27.9% - percentage of New Orleans' population below the poverty line before the storm
  • 11.7% - percentage of New Orleans' population 65 or older before the storm
  • 181 square miles - size of New Orleans
  • 50,000,000 cubic yards - estimated amount of Gulf Coast debris (equivalent to 400 football fields stacked 50 feet high)
  • 350,000 - number of automobiles destroyed in New Orleans by Katrina
  • 35,000 - number of boats destroyed in New Orleans by Katrina
  • 230,000 - number of Katrina evacuees who went to Texas
  • over $150 billion - possible total economic impact

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at Goddard Space Flight Center

Former Bush Speechwriter and Advisor Michael Gerson on Christians in the Public Square

"I think there are lots and lots of young people, in their 20s to 40s, who are very impatient with older models of social engagement like those used by the Religious Right. They understand the importance of the life issues and the family issues, but they know the concern for justice has to be broader and global. At least a good portion of the evangelical movement is looking for leaders who have a broader conception of social justice."

- full CT interview

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Full Obit on Leon Morris

can be found here.

I actually can't remember when I didn't own his Commentary on John.

ht: brother maynard

scot mcknight remembers leon morris

"I once wrote Leon a long letter, explaining to him how grateful I was to him for his writing. I explained to him that I began atonement studies with his Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, which I have read three times. The book truly was seminal, and many to this day use it to construct a penal substitutionary theory of the atonement. In seminary I read his commentary on John, and when I began teaching at TEDS I read his New Testament Theology. I simply told him that he had a big influence on my life.

He graciously wrote me back, I stuck his letter in one of his books on my shelf, and occasionally I have opened the book to have the letter fall to the floor. Today I pulled it out and read it again, and I gave thanks to God for who he was."


Wednesday, July 26, 2006


it made me feel so dumb.

on sunday i was running the same path i've run near our house for a decade when suddenly i tripped on a sidewalk block that was a bit higher than its neighbor. i think i then took one more step and then landed on my knee, hands, left shoulder, and - most significantly - my head right on the sidewalk in approximately that order.

i lay there for a while self-assessing and then sat up with a bloody cartoonesque bump growing over my left eye. a kind elderly gentleman slowed his car, backed up, rolled down his window and asked, "are you alright?" honestly not sure, I responded, "am i?" "you don't look so good," he informed me. i walked up to his car and looked in his mirror. he was right.

he graciously drove me home and dropped me off. at that moment, beth drove up, looked at me and said, "we're going to the emergency room." we got there, they signed me in and let me know that i was going to get a cat scan. my knee was also banged up so they xrayed that. 3.5 hours later i left seriously bruised, bleeding and banged up but now with word that there was no concussion, no bleeding in the brain, and no broken bones. but i felt (and feel) that i had been hit by a truck and look just a bit like frankenstein (now with a black eye to boot). and - being diabetic - it's done a number on my blood sugar and i'm having to make adjustments to drive that back down.

it's been very humbling and instructive.

we are so dependent.

i went walking today for an hour over the same path i ran and noticed how many sidewalk blocks are higher than their neighbor. after a decade of running i just happened to hit one higher block just right. and i tumbled down.

it's been otherwise a humbing year. we had to put down our dog after it bit someone working on our house (and it wasn't the first time sage had bitten someone). she was the first dog i had ever really bonded with. and - far more significantly - i recently lost one of my best friends, maybe forever - i really don't know.

these and other things have really driven me toward god.

i realized i was doing it again - living by myself - gliding by on strength and passion and gift and intention and busyness and needs and wants and desires and work and projects and fun and fear. some things good - some things bad. but not living by Him, with Him, for Him, to Him. not doing any of that.

and so I turn.

photo courtesy of jesper markward olsen on stock xchng

Leon Morris

Justin Taylor announces that the great New Testament scholar passed away on Monday 24 July. He was 92.

- wikipedia entry

note: because wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia and article are generally editable at any time, its articles can sometimes be unreliable.

rick warren has...

...started a blog.

ht: The Blogging Church

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Morality of Modern War: Noncombatants

"How should I respond to my seven-year-old daughter when she is terrified by the news and images of destruction in my country? The bombing of bridges we recently traveled upon, the demolition of our only airport, where my daughter was happily running around just a few weeks ago. What should I say to her when a house was destroyed and 11 people in it killed in one air strike? What should I say to her when a two-year-old child was literally cut in half in a vicious air strike?"

- Riad Kassis from West Bekaa, Lebanon in Christianity Today

"They say they're hitting Hezbollah, but they're hitting the people. They're hitting the children," said Hussein Yaacoub, who fled his border village of Houla on Saturday. He grabbed the shoulder of his 5-year-old son, Mohammed. "Is he Hezbollah?"

-"Residents of Besieged City Feel 'Just Left Here to Die'", Washington Post, Friday 21 July 2006

"The road returns to Tyre, where the city prepared to inter in a temporary grave 81 corpses collected from the villages of southern Lebanon. Once the fighting subsided and the roads were safe again, their families would bury them in their own towns. ...

"This is so inhuman," said Rabia Abu Khashb, 28, as he surveyed the coffins, 15 sized in half for children.

"God protect them," he said softly. "God awaits them." ...

Down the row were the coffins of two children from the same family: Qassem Mohammed Ghannam and Zeinab Mohammed Ghannam.

A women in black sobbed. "My sweetheart, yesterday you were playing with me. Who will I play with tomorrow?"

- Road Through a Landscape of Death, Washington Post, Sat 22 July

"During the 1930s, when the Spanish town of Guernica was bombed and the Japanese used similar tactics on Chinese cities, the world responded with moral outrage. In 1939, after the Nazi bombings of civilian populations, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that:

'The ruthless bombings form the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population...has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.... I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publically to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and in no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities.'

In 1940 Winston Churchill also denounced air bombardment of cities as 'a new and odious form of attack.'

The British Foreign Office stated:

'His Majesty's Government have made it clear that it is no part of their policy to bomb non-military objectives, no matter what the policy of ht German Government may be. In spite of the wanton and repeated attacks of the German Air Force on undefended towns in Poland, Norway, France, Holland, and Belgium, His Majesty's Government steadily adhere to this policy.'

Later in the same year in response to Luftwaffe attacks on British cities the Royal Air Force began to raid German industrial cities. In 1942 the British started a policy of ' obliteration bombing' intended to terrorize the German people and reduce their 'will to resist.' By 1943 the United States Air Force joined the English in obliteration bombing. On August 3, 1943 after Hamburg had been pounded by ten days of concentrated air raids, 60,000 acres of the city caught fire and turned in what was to be called a 'fire storm.' This meant that the entire city began to function as a huge furnace. those who had taken refuge in shelters were gradually roasted alive as the temperatures mounted, and others who tried to escape the inferno were carried back into its center by high winds. The effect at Hamburg was unintended, but the obliteration bombing of Dresden in 1945 was deliberately planned. The city was crowded with refugees and, despite later claims that it was the center of poison=gas production, in reality it was of slight military importance. Waves of British bombers laid a fire storm over eleven square miles of the city. Temperatures soared to 1000 degrees centigrade and hurricane-strength winds swept people and objects into the core of the city. The number o bodies was so enormous that it took weeks to dispose of them and estimates of the dead vary between one hundred thousand and a quarter of a million."

from Robert G. Clouse's War: Four Christian Views (featuring Herman A. Hoyt, Myron S. Augsburger, Arthur F. Holmes, and Harold OJ Brown), pp. 189-191 of Clouse's Postscript (emphases mine)

The recent quotes above are about the dead in Lebanon. I could easily find similar quotes about innocent dead in Israel.

I think that we in the church need to have a conversation that transcends Just War versus Pacifism.

That conversation needs to be about "collateral damage" or the seeming disregard of combatants from the injury and death of innocents during wartime. It seems to now be an accepted part of warfare, but Roosevelt and Churchill's comments above show that has not always been the case.

We need to decide what's right (I think I know) and then we need to use our voice.

- resources on the current Middle East conflict

More Background on Hezbollah, Israel, and Lebanon

I've built out a faithmaps page on the Middle East with background information on Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon and the current conflict.

If you're aware of a good resource, please let me know in comments.

summaries of many fine books

by David Mays including

and many, many more.

ht: Steve Addison

Sunday, July 23, 2006

educating yourself on hezbollah, lebanon, and israel

jordon points us to a good place to get started here.

it's stories like...

....this one that make me think we need to be careful not to go too hog-pig wild about postmodernism!

ht: jordon

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

"Evangelical Blindness on Lebanon"

- link

"Martin Accad is the academic dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon. He was teaching at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, last week and is now unable to return home."

Christianity Today writes:

"When covering international crises, such as the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Christianity Today takes care to listen to evangelical Christian leaders in the places most affected. We may find their views corrective, provocative, or even abhorrent at times, but in each case we learn about areas where we stand together and areas where we disagree. In the case of this submission from Martin Accad, academic dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, there are many areas where we strongly agree, and there are some areas (particularly his characterization of Israel's history and U.S. diplomacy) where we strongly disagree. We present it here to illuminate at least one Lebanese Christian leader's perspective."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Missional Baptist Goes Dark

Steve McCoy, one of the most influential blogger-pastors serving at the nexus of the Southern Baptists and the Emerging Church Conversation, has decided that Missional Baptist has served its purpose.

""Because of this blog I'm often introduced as "Steve McCoy...the blogger." I've even been recognized as "THE Steve McCoy," which I suppose is better than "A Steve McCoy." I'm looking forward to the day when I'm recognized as "Pastor Steve McCoy, the guy with that church that is changing the world."

Steve, however, will continue his online missional adventure on Reformissionary.

Dr Rikk E Watts on the Gospel of Judas

"So yes GJu is a new and interesting discovery for students of an aberrant and marginal second century group. But I suspect that once the circus has left town, more sober minds will see the present media brouhaha for what it is: a great deal of overblown fuss about a mildly interesting curiosity. Perhaps the more interesting question, at least for me as a member of the academy, is why do scholars who really ought to know better behave in this way? Would you buy a used car from them?"


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a heart-rending letter from lebanon

"What should I respond to my seven year-old daughter when she is terrified with the news and images of destruction of nearby bridges where we were traveling on hours ago, the demolishing and burning of our only airport that she was running happily in a few weeks ago? What should I say to her when a house and eleven people in it were all killed in one air strike? What should I say to her when a two-year old child was literally cut in two halves in a vicious air strike?"


ht: Mike Todd

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

KatrinaGrace Team VII Pics and Update

For those of you interested in our work with Katrina Survivors in the New Orleans Metro area, we've just gotten pictures from our 7th Team that returned a couple of weeks ago. They can be found here. You can get just an idea of how much work still needs to be done.

When I went down in May/June, I was particularly struck by how much damage there still was in the Lower 9th Ward.

We've just learned that Habitat for Humanity in Slidell, LA (pics from May-June in Slidell) wants to build 100 homes in a year and very much need volunteers. We are just beginning planning to send teams there. Our host church when we are in Covington - Trinity - just agreed to let us stay there while we work in Slidell. We'll be doing the work under their auspices.

The 8 Teams we've sent so far have been

  • Work Teams - gutting out houses, clearing out trees, etc
  • Compassion Teams - meeting with those who need pastoral care
  • Cooking Teams - cooking for the Work Teams
  • Planning Teams (quick and small) - we did one of these to map out 2006
Trinity has asked for more Compassion Teams and it looks like we might be sending some Building Teams. We expect to be visiting the area well into 2007 if not beyond. Though it's not in the news as much as it was, the amount of devastation still in the area is difficult to comprehend.

There are at least three good things rising out of the devastation:
  1. I personally have only heard of one or two churches that aren't sending people to the area to help. The response of Christ's church has been wonderful.

  2. The people that we've met have a very high opinion of the church in the light of all the folks working to help.

  3. Most importantly, as Katrina has been a major paradigm shifting event, people in the area are seeking and finding God.

making blogger better

jordon gives us some good thoughts.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beginner's Guides to Podcasting and Vlogging

I don't do either but good friends of mine are considering getting into the fray (and I'm toying with the idea).

And so I asked the very knowledgeable and extremely wired DJ Chuang if he might recommend some good introductory sites/articles.

6.3 seconds later, he responded with

If you're saying to yourself, "He should have listed..." then please by all means educate me in the comments and I'll add the site.

frappr: where are my friends?

a dear friend introduced me to frappr and then one or two of the 'mappers got into it. it's a pretty cool way to graphically represent where your online friends live. frappr also has a widget that lets you automatically garner all your friends email addresses from hotmail, gmail, yahoo, or aol and then select which ones you'd like to invite to your map. i've found it a great way to get back in touch with old friends who i hadn't emailed in ages.

emergesque readers are free to add themselves to my map!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A New EZine!

Announcing Serve! a new ezine.

The publisher, Steve Sjogren - who is the founding pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Oh - writes:

"The writers of each of these issues come from a variety of backgrounds. Some will be well-known. Others will be people you’ve never heard of, but they will all have one thing in common: They are doers, not theorists, of outwardness. They are all ones who live, day after day, a lifestyle of walking out the generosity, kindness and practical love of Christ that changes the world around us. Therefore the stories they share are practical… and they work! " (emphasis mine)

The editor is Charlie Wear, who himself is the publisher of the well-known emerging church organ, Next-Wave. The production values are also good with the zine being done by Malcolm Hawker of webDesign Studio in Australia. Hawker also has done work for The Ooze, Allelon, and DTour.

A online publication that focuses on practical spiritual issues is to be applauded!

Check it out!

a great quote

Some/most of you know I work for USA TODAY. I rarely mention it here, but today I was in a meeting with some of our VPs and my VP made a quotable remark:

"Don't provide advice when what is needed is time."

I thought it was worth repeating.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Stephen Covey quotes (that has served me well in my marriage): "Don't try to talk yourself out of something you've behaved yourself into."

Part of an addiction to propositionalism can manifest itself as striving to resolve every problem with words. Some situations are best addressed by time, effort, and love.

freelance writing: how much should I charge??

This article, from Writers Market, was enormously helpful to me recently in determining a fair rate for a new writing project.

on ji packer

Justin Taylor was given the happy task of hosting JI Packer at the International Christian Retail Show (sponsored by the Christian Booksellers Association) that's going on right now in Denver. He's been posting some of his observations after spending time with the renown author.

- first post
- second post (how to be a better writer)
- third post

Worth reading.

The Implosion of Liberal Christianity

a helpful caution on becoming laissez-faire about doctrine:

"When a church doesn't take itself seriously, neither do its members. It is hard to believe that as recently as 1960, members of mainline churches — Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and the like — accounted for 40% of all American Protestants. Today, it's more like 12% (17 million out of 135 million). Some of the precipitous decline is due to lower birthrates among the generally blue-state mainliners, but it also is clear that millions of mainline adherents (and especially their children) have simply walked out of the pews never to return. According to the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, in 1965, there were 3.4 million Episcopalians; now, there are 2.3 million. The number of Presbyterians fell from 4.3 million in 1965 to 2.5 million today. Compare that with 16 million members reported by the Southern Baptists.

When your religion says "whatever" on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church."

- the entire LA Times opinion piece

update: i'm not endorsing every single word of the article and would have phrased some things differently, but I affirm her larger point that we need to take care to pay attention to doctrine.

ht: andrew jackson

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

new book by mike frost

from the publisher:

"Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture presents a biblical, Christian worldview for the emergent church—people who are not at home in the traditional church or in the secular world. As exiles of both, they must create their own worldview that integrates their Christian beliefs with the contemporary world. Exiles seeks to integrate all aspects of life and decision-making and to develop the characteristics of a Christian life lived intentionally within emerging (postmodern) culture. It presents a plea for a dynamic, life-affirming, robust Christian faith that can be lived successfully in the post-Christian world of twenty-first century Western society. This book will present a Christian lifestyle that can be lived in non-religious categories and be attractive to not-yet Christians.

Such a worldview takes ecology and politics seriously. It offers a positive response to the workplace, the arts, feminism, mystery and worship. Exiles seeks to develop a framework that will allow Christians to live boldly and courageously in a world that no longer values the culture of the church, but does greatly value many of the things the Bible speaks positively about. This book suggests that there us more to being a Christian than meets the eye. It explores the secret, unseen nooks and crannies in the life of a Christian and suggests that faith is about more than church attendance and belief in God. Written in a conversational, easy-to-read style, Exiles is aimed at church leaders, pastors and laypersons and seeks to address complex issues in a simple manner. It includes helpful photographs and diagrams."

this will be a must buy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Breaking News: One of the Founders of Pink Floyd Dies

"Syd Barrett, the troubled talent who co-founded Pink Floyd but spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, a spokeswoman for the band said Tuesday. He was 60."

-the Associated Press story

Andreas Kostenberger on The Gospel of Judas

"We conclude, therefore, that the Gospel of Judas is not truly a Gospel; it does not go back to the “historical Judas” and does not preserve reliable tradition about Jesus or the Betrayer; and, while probably authentic, it contributes to a better understanding of Gnosticism but not of the biblical gospel or the true meaning of the sacrifice of Christ."

NT Scholar Andreas Kostenberger blogs on the Gospel of Judas.

Monday, July 10, 2006

are there emerging church shibboleths - revised

next-wave picked up my earlier post on the topic. I've also made some revisions.

Sen. Barack Obama on Faith in the Public Square

"'s wrong to ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square. Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Martin Luther King Jr. — indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history — were not only motivated by faith, they also used religious language to argue for their cause. To say men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality."

Barack Obama, US Senator from Illinois (Dem) in a USA TODAY editorial today.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mark Driscoll on the Reformed Emerging Church

"Traditional churches have either leaned toward being fundamentalist and separated from culture, which has led to legalism and irrelevance; or they have leaned toward being liberally synchronized with culture, which leads to compromise and irrelevance. Either way, many traditional churches are irrelevant, whether they lean to the Left or the Right theologically and politically. Most contemporary churches are not very theological beyond a few evangelical basics, because they are guided more by pragmatism and programming than theology. At Mars Hill Church, we are driven by Reformed theological convictions and emerging missional methods. I like to say we are theologically conservative and culturally liberal."

- the full CT interview.

5 Quick Tips to a Better Blog

- worth reading (pdf)

ht: jordon

Friday, July 07, 2006

TR Revisited

I posted the post below 3 years ago. I repost it today after discovering to my delight that Time Magazine has devoted their 3 July issue to Teddy. Beth had picked up a copy for me and it provides a good primer to his life with several articles. Great stuff and I love this guy. You can get a taste below.


The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

I just finished reading Edmund Morris' wonderful The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which was originally published in 1979 and won a Pulitzer. It hit my radar screen when some weeks ago I decided to join the History Book Club and choose Morris' Theodore Rex as one of my selections. After I began reading and enjoying it, I discovered that it was the second in a projected three volume series that Morris began on TR two decades ago. So I set Rex down and purchased vol 1 and drank it in. It's wonderful and now I'm a bona fide TR fan. This man was incredible. Here's a quote from Theodore Rex that quickly summarizes TR's life in terms of accomplisments:

"He had been a published author at eighteen, a husband at twenty-two, an acclaimed historian and New York State Assemblyman at twenty-three, a father and a widower at twenty-five [TR lost his first wife and mom on the same day just after his first daughter Alice was born], a ranchman at twenty-six, a candidate for Mayor of New York at twenty-seven, a husband again at twenty-eight, a Civil Service Commissioner of the United States at thirty [appointed by the President]. ...Police Commissioner of New York City at thirty-six, Assistant Secretary of the Navy at thirty-eight, Colonel of the First US Volunteer Calvary, the "Rough Riders," at thirty-nine."

TR went on to become Governor of New York at age forty, then Vice-President and then an assasin's bullet made him the youngest President ever at age forty-two (Kennedy was the youngest person *elected* President at forty-three; Clinton was forty-five when we became president).

TR spoke German and French, attended Harvard. He was an amateur boxer, a policeman, started a finance club, a stockmen's association and an extremely influential hunting-conservation society (connected with the start of both the National Zoo and of Yellowstone National Park). He climbed the Matterhorn and "became a world authority on North American mammals."

TR wrote 38 books, including his first book, The Naval War of 1812, which he published when he was 23 years old. It was instantly considered by both England and America as the definitive work on the subject and within five or six years the US govt established a requirement that every US Navy ship have at least one copy on board. Morris adds,

"Eleven years later, when Great Britain was preparing her own official history of the Royal Navy, the editors paid Theodore the unprecedented compliment of asking him to write the section of that work dealing with the War of 1812" (p. 136).

I loved this book and found much to admire in TR.

Two things stood out to me: 1) his activism. TR was a doer. He made things happen. 2) his joie d'vivre. One contemporary said, "The important thing to remember about TR is that he's about six years old." His favorite exclamation was "Deeeelighted." He was a commendably optimistic individual.

I recommend this book and his life as worthy of study. I'm now rejoining Theodore Rex and dreading finishing it already.


I went on to finish Theodore Rex and found that Teddy's pre-presidential life was more interesting than his days in the White House. I've also found this to be true with other Presidents, especially Lyndon Johnson as portrayed by Robert Caro in the most magnificent set of biographical work I've ever read.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

just a prayer request

One story of so many from Louisiana.

What is the Emerging Church?

A pretty good around-the-room list of resources for those who wish to begin to wrap their brain around the emerging church.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New African Bible Commentary

Steve Knight, who has taken on a new role as SIM's International Communication Coordinator, reports:

"I’m writing to let you know about an exciting project that SIM has been involved with called the “Africa Bible Commentary”! It’s the first-ever complete commentary of the entire Bible written in Africa by African theologians for African pastors and practitioners. Of course, Zondervan is publishing and distributing it in the U.S., and Rick Warren and John Stott (among others) have given it rousing endorsements – so we’re hopeful it will gain an even broader, international audience.

The launch event for the “Africa Bible Commentary” is today in Nairobi, Kenya, and our SIM International Director, Malcolm McGregor (he’s Scottish), is there to speak, along with former President of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi, who is giving the keynote address. This is BIG news for the African church! "

Learn more here!

The New Discerning Reader Online Bookstore

the domain, formerly owned by rob schlapfer, has been purchased by tim challies. he's now running a new bookstore at that address.

ht: andrew jones

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

the brotherhood of man

"Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.

Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today."

a fascinating AP article on geneology and mathematics

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Book Recommendation: Reinventing Jesus

I just started reading Reinventing Jesus by Daniel B. Wallace, M James Sawyer, and J. Ed Komoszewski. It's an excellent and unique treatment that deals with three critical issues surrounding the development of early Christianity:

  • The development of the New Testament canon. One of the unique features of the text is that while some wonder why the early followers of Jesus didn't pen gospels earlier, the authors discuss the early church emphasis on proclamation and the importance of oral tradition.

  • The view of the Ante-Nicene and early church of Jesus' divinity.

  • The question of primary Christian concepts deriving from other ancient religions.
Though the book is being marketed in response to the Da Vinci Code, its purview extends beyond Brown's speculations to several other key Search for the Historical Jesus/Early Christian Development discussion threads.

I'll post a fuller treatment when I complete the book but I've read enough to say that this one is highly recommended.

Darrell Bock, who has written one of the best Da Vinci Code treatments - Breaking the Da Vinci Code, also recently recommended the book.

For more information on the book, see the Reinventing Jesus Website.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

getting post-definitional

scot mcknight discusses categorizing resonance streams within the emerging church and helpfully points us all to a post-definitional praxis stage!

though - as I indicated earlier - i find categorizations helpful for the purpose of description and mutual understanding, i appreciated scot's comment because it's not too difficult to imagine spending too much time discussing definitions and not enough time giving bread to the hungry and telling them about our Savior.