I re-read Dallas Willard‘s book The Spirit of the Disciplines. It’s a great book on entering into the deep life with God. Willard is never an easy read, but this book is well worth sustained attention.
Willard challenges the typical approach to the spiritual life for most evangelical Christians. Before I jump into some reflections about individual disciplines in the days to come, I thought I’d offer a few key ideas from the book. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Books and Quotations
Christianity is mainly wishful thinking…
Dreams are wishful thinking. Children playing at being grown-ups is wishful thinking. Interplanetary travel is wishful thinking.
Sometimes wishing is the wings the truth comes true on.
Sometimes the truth is what sets us wishing for it.
When people critique Christian hope as simply an unattainable dream, we may respond by saying that perhaps another name for our wishful thinking is faith. Further, perhaps faith is a way not of avoiding reality, but of accessing a reality that is not readily apparent to our senses. Even further still, perhaps the reason we dream about such a thing like Christian hope is that the truth has birthed such a dream in us at the first place. Perhaps God, the Creator, has made us with a yearning for something more because that is actually the way things are and fighting against it is more wishful thinking than pursuing it.
[This is a continuation of this week's theme of "Beginning to Live with Hope."]
One of the titles for Jesus that means so much to me is that He is Emmanuel, which means God with us. As we continue in this season of Advent, that title of ‘Emmanuel’ says so much about the way in which Jesus’ coming as a human reveals who God is.
Stanley Grenz, a twentieth century Christian theologian, speaks of this revelation of God in a powerful manner:
As the advent season through which we have recently moved suggests, Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. That is, Jesus is the revelation of the eternal God. But at the same time, he discloses to us what God created us to be, and thus in him we find true humanity as well. Not only does Jesus model for us true humanness–what it means to live as persons before God–he also is our Savior, for he opens the way for us to live as persons in community with God and each other.
One of my favorite bloggers, Dr. Scot McKnight of Northern Seminary, offered his picks for the top books of the year today on his blog, Jesus Creed. It’s worth a look for those who enjoy biblical and theological studies.
He mentions one of the books that I would consider in my top five, Tim Keller’s Center Church, as well as a number of other fascinating books. His top pick was one that I hadn’t heard of yet.
Every year we choose Books of the Year for the Jesus Creed readers, and this year’s choices are a bumper crop — but also see the note at the end of this post. We sample books in a variety of areas. I hope you enjoy our choices.
Book of the Year: David Swarz, The Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism. Swarz unveils a history largely ignored, a history of a movement that has a decisive impact on the church today, and which is (so I think) destined to have a bigger impact in the next two decades. Exceptionally well researched; clear prose; focuses on people and their impact….[read more here]
What about you? What has been the best new book, whether fiction or non-fiction, that you have encountered during this past year?
As I prepare my messages each week this Fall in our series, The Real Jesus, I utilize a number of resources alongside of my direct study of the Bible. Some are basic and others are academic. While I often turn to specific books or articles for each week’s text or topic, here are five resources that I regularly turn to and wanted to share.
- The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary) by R. T. France – an academic commentary directly from the Greek text that is weighty yet accessible. France’s commentary is the one I chose this time for my study through Mark’s Gospel.
- Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall – this is part of the widely acclaimed InterVarsity Press Bible dictionary series. I turn to this for deeper research on topics such as the Pharisees, the Kingdom of God, or an overview of the Gospel of Mark.
- Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright – While not specifically on the Gospel of Mark, Wright does an apt job of giving an overview of the life and ministry of Jesus. This is a more popular rendition from his more academic works, like Jesus and the Victory of God.
- King’s Cross by Tim Keller – Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I have a great appreciation for Tim Keller as a pastor who ministers in the urban setting with both a thoughtful mind and a personal concern. King’s Cross is Keller’s overview book on the Gospel of Mark.
- Here Comes Jesus by Ed Stewart – This book was passed along to me by one of my staff members and has been a very helpful look in a straightforward manner at Mark’s Gospel. I don’t know who Ed Stewart is but this book is a small treasure of pastoral insight.