Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jesus and Justice

Jesus and Justice - Christianity Today Magazine: I learned something new about Billy Graham today. This article describes how Billy Graham tactfully led evangelicals on race at his first New York City crusade.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Quote of the day

The hero's journey does begin by leaving the safety of the village.
- Sandra Tsing Loh

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Would you like to be a reviewer?

Mind and Media are still accepting reviewers for a variety of Christian books, sometimes also DVDs or videos. The books are free - you review them on your blog! Check it out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Review: Escaping the Matrix


Disclaimer: "Escaping the Matrix" by Gregory A. Boyd and Al Larson was given to me through Mind & Media as a gift from the Publisher who donated the books for reviewers.

Summary: The premise of this book is that it is not enough to know or to be able to recite true information, because it doesn't result in transformation, only experiencing the truth will lead to transformation.

The authors call the total package of lies that infiltrate our minds "the Matrix" in reference to the "Matrix" movies. After explaining in detail the nature of this Matrix in part one of the book, the second part deals with ways of escaping the Matrix. They propose a number of exercises that change the representations of some key events of your life.

Commentary:
There are a some passages of the book that I really liked. One example is the illustration they use about the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" as acting as though you knew ultimate good and evil. Another is their description of God's perfect love.

But the fact that the authors are trying to translate everything they say into Matrix lingo often makes the text cumbersome to read. This language of "Matrix", "neurochips", etc is hard to follow even if one is familiar with the Matrix movies.

The authors suggest exercises to fix things on your own instead of real experience in community with others. I'm not a psychologist, but to me it seems dangerous to try the suggested exercises on your own. Either you don't have a severe traumatic experience to work through. Then good information presented with conviction and the experience of a loving Christian community, worship, and real stories have a deeper and more wholesome effect. These can provide the experiences that lead to true transformation. Or you have a severe phobia, history of abuse, or other traumatic experience. Then you need an experienced counselor, not exercises to do on your own (Even the authors' own examples come from counseling sessions they did).

Read other people's reviews.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Want to read a couple of books each month?

Recently, a friend mentioned that she doesn't get a lot of reading done. She did mention that she did some reading a couple of times before bed, though. When she checked her bookmark, she was surprised that she'd already read a couple of chapters.

If you'd like to read more, but are not sure how to fit it into your schedule, commit to reading just a few pages before bed. Or if you regularly take the bus, like me, read on your commute.

Each night before bed, curl up with a good book and commit to reading one chapter each night, if the book chapters are fairly short. If the chapters are long, simply commit to reading 10 pages each night.

In doing this, you can read anywhere from two to three books each month!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lukewarm or on fire?

Robin writes:
A backslidden or lukewarm Christian who is not in prayer, who is not serving the Lord, who is not reading the Bible, who is not growing in faith is no problem to the devil. After all, he has already lost that soul. He can't drag a believer into hell, but he can hope to keep them ineffective. When he sees a Christian beginning to get fired up for Christ (as was happening in me though I didn't recognize it yet), Satan doesn't like it because when said Christian gets fired up and begins to pray and live for God, he or she will make a difference for the kingdom. Guaranteed. You cannot love God and not have it spill over onto other people.

This paragraph reminds me of my own life.

I used to be a lukewarm Christian. Then I was basically dragged away from church entirely for a few years. But God intervened via the move of significant other and via a friend so I began to get fired up and pray and live for God. From then on, no amount of mocking could drag me away from Him anymore.

It's Meme Time!

Northern 'burbs blog has tagged anyone who hasn't been tagged with this meme yet. I'm biting.

Total Number Of Books Owned Ever:
Too many to count. Currently a few hundred. But I've given away and sold a lot of books when moving and just inbetween after reading them.

Last Book Bought:
The last one I remember buying was Catching Katie by Robin Lee Hatcher. But I might have bought something at the thrift store after that.

Last Book I Read:
The last book I finished reading was Escaping the Matrix by Gregory A. Boyd and Al Larson (my review is in preparation).


Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

The Bible - Obviously :-)
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis - A senior demon, Screwtape, coaches his diabolical nephew Wormwood in the finer points of tempting his "patient" away from God.
Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee and Leslie Strobel - It contains lots of useful advice if you are in this situation. You know you're not alone.
Quo Vadis by by Henryk Sienkiewicz - I read the German translation when I was about fourteen years old after watching the movie which had a big impact on me.
Information Storage and Retrieval by Robert Korfhage - Written by my advisor in the PhD program.

Tag someone else?
Please consider yourself tagged if you haven't done this meme yet. I think all my favorite blogs have already been tagged. Please leave a note in the comments if you are answering these questions following my invitation.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Rachel's Challenge

"RACHEL'S CHALLENGE": A FINALIST IN AMAZON'S SHORT FILM COMPETITION
- posted by Peggie Bohanon
June 15, 2005 -- ViaMedia, a Midland, Texas, Christian video
production company, has produced "Rachel's Challenge," a short film now
in a finalist position for the Amazon/Tribeca Film Festival Short-Film
Competition. The film is a Christian testimonial to the life of the
late Rachel Scott, killed in the Columbine High School shooting when
she refused to deny her faith. Jon Lindgren, ViaMedia owner, comments,
"ViaMedia...specializes in positive moral programming. And I'm a
producer who specializes in spiritual and inspirational productions.
The story satisfied both those areas by incorporating positive moral
programming into its story line, while revealing a Christian message at
the same time." Christians can view and vote for this film at Amazon's
screening room, with voting closed at 6 p.m., Pacific Standard Time,
on Saturday, June 18.

From: INTERNET FOR CHRISTIANS Digest from June 10, 2005 to June 17, 2005 (Copyright 2003 Gospel Communications International)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Conversation with Philip Yancey

This is a great interview that is a must-read, it starts like this:

Mars Hill: Philip, you grew up in a fundamentalist family in the Bible belt, an environment which you described as having "vaccinated you against spiritual truth." What does this mean?

PY: Well, a vaccination is when you get a small dose of something that is very similar to a real disease organism. The smallpox vaccination started out with cowpox, but it was close enough to smallpox so that if you got a cowpox vaccination you wouldn't get smallpox. When smallpox came around, then your body automatically rejected it because it recognized cowpox as an enemy and found ways to cope with it. I think that's what happened to me growing up. The words of the Bible were used but they were misused.

To read the whole thing, go to: A Conversation with Philip Yancey. Michael Cusick probes the heart of one of Christendom's best thinkers. Copyright © 1994 Mars Hill Review 1 Founded in 1994 · Premier Issue: pgs 89-102.

(Via Christian Book Classics)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Have you ever contributed to a wiki?

Here's a definition of what a wiki is: Wiki on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which is itself a wiki, too.

Have you ever contributed to a wiki? What are your experiences?