I know, I know — I already reviewed this book. But I’m dissatisfied with my review. It doesn’t capture how deeply The Myth of a Christian Nation resonated with me and challenged me. So I wanted to give it a chance to speak for itself by offering an excerpt. Here Greg Boyd is talking about how the “quasi-Christian civil religion” established in our institutions, official discourse and national self-image actually harms the real thing: A second thing that happens when we fail to distinguish the…Continue Reading “‘Myth’ Revisited”

During the last election season, I began to realize that I didn’t really believe the presidential election was a religious issue. For one thing, running a country is about things the Bible doesn’t speak much about, like foreign policy and taxes and power management and institutional organization. For another, the political system is flawed and corrupt no matter who’s at its head. There is really no substantial difference between the two major political parties. And finally, no candidate could be said to fully represent my…Continue Reading “The Myth of a Christian Nation”

…I believe that most people who read the Bible as Scripture do so in one of two ways: compliantly or conversantly… …Compliant readers are individuals whose basic instinct is to read the Bible trustingly. Those who read this way accept the Bible’s claims, adopt its values, and embrace its assumptions without necessarily giving serious consideration to the implications of their consent. Rather than questioning or challenging the text, compliant readers take what the Bible says — or at least what they think it says —…Continue Reading “Two Ways of Reading”

“Is this a good story, or a bad story?” Some friends were over, and the kids were watching Prince of Egypt. They were up to the plagues, before we even got to the part where the firstborn sons are all killed, and before the Egyptian army and all their horses are drowned, when the little boy asked his question. It’s a good question. I suppose the answer is, “It’s both — depending on your perspective.” For the Egyptians, it was a bad story. For the…Continue Reading “The Violence of Scripture”

I downloaded Jeff Goins’ You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) for free on my Kindle a few days ago. It’s not a long book, but it’s one that refreshes and refocuses and inspires. The main thing a writer does, Goins points out, is write. So what are you waiting for? The book outlines some of the reasons writers don’t write, such as waiting to be chosen, or not believing that they have anything to say, and offers a dose of encouragement and…Continue Reading “You Are a Writer”

From a young age, most of us are taught the value of social skills. We learn how to introduce ourselves, how to smile and be polite. We are told to be friendly and make friends. These are all useful abilities to develop. But how many of us are taught the value of solitude skills? How many of us are taught to protect our boundaries, to foster imagination, to be alone? How many of us are encouraged to withdraw from social activity and nurture the life…Continue Reading “Introvert Power”

We’ve been reading Hal Perkins’ If Jesus Were a Parent: Coaching Your Child to Follow Jesus in a Sunday school class for a couple of months. It’s a book that has stimulated some very lively discussion and strong feelings of all kinds. I wasn’t going to try to write about it here, yet I find myself wanting to find some order in my responses to the book. So here goes. First, the good. I love Perkins’ emphasis on the heart. Those of us who are…Continue Reading “If Jesus Were a Parent”

There are currently 1,545 reviews of this novel already listed at Amazon. What can I possibly add? Nothing. Yet I’ve just had my own personal experience of the book nonetheless. I blog partly to come to terms with reading experiences, and after such a weighty, sprawling, powerful novel as this, I feel the need to come to terms — or to find the terms — to describe and remember it. Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible centers on the family of missionary Nathan Price. In 1959, he…Continue Reading “The Poisonwood Bible”

There are so many ways a book like this could go wrong. It could be super-saccharine. It could be self-righteous, or narcissistic, or overly introspective. It could be pushy. But in telling the story of a year in her life — the year her two sons were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and she made a New Year’s resolution to pray for a stranger every day — author River Jordan walks the path of authenticity, earns my liking and my trust, and inspires me. Praying…Continue Reading “Praying for Strangers”

It’s Edith Nesbit all the way this week. Well, for the purposes of this post, that is — I’m writing about Edith Nesbit. In our reading we’ve zipped about among some other writers too, but I’m focusing on just Nesbit because The Book of Dragons is the first time I’ve been won over. My previous forays into Edith Nesbit have been so-so, but she is definitely growing on me. It started last week when Amy recommended this picture book version of The Book of Beasts….Continue Reading “Dragons Galore”