The author begins his book with a description of his religious affiliation, “I grew up in an extremely secular home in New York City. I am officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.” As an editor at Esquire magazine and author of the New York Times bestseller The Know-It-All, Jacobs is an engaging, humorous writer, and I enjoyed his wry, self-deprecating honesty. He began his religious quest after telling a friend at a coffee house about his infamous Uncle Gil, the “spiritual omnivore.” Jacobs realized he didn’t know very much about his own heritage, much less anyone else’s, so he decided to try to live the Bible as literally as possible, and being a writer, to make it a project. [Read more…]
A few weeks back I had a routine Doctor appointment. I mentioned in passing a slight discomfort in my lower right abdomen. The doc pressed into said sore spot and feared the worst; appendicitis (read in same tone as the old gingivitis commercials for added affect). I went to the hospital and after many more nurses, doctors and even my own mother made it a point to poke the area of pain, it was confirmed that I did indeed have appendicitis. Pro tip to any of you that may one day in the future have appendicitis: I recommend you make a shirt or a sign that states , “Yes it hurts when you do that, so don’t!” if it prevents one unneeded prod, it’s done its job.
An appendectomy followed, and I found myself with ample free time during the healing. I decided with this free time to tackle a book that I have long hoped to read but have been intimidated by, Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Biography. Now it wasn’t the subject of said book that had me intimidated but rather the length of the book. Coming in just under 1,000 pages, it is a mammoth work,, but with ample healing time on my hands I decided now was as good a time as any. [Read more…]
Let it be know up front, if you have come to this blog hoping to discover what the “W” in W. Travis McMaken’s name is, you have come to the wrong place. For whereas this book, The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, proved to be informative and challenging in many ways, it left the reader to wonder “what about that W?!”. I can only imagine I have lost half of my readers at this point, the mystery remains, but for those of you left I would like to write a quick review of this book; which, spoiler alert- was very good. [Read more…]
Let it be said up front – if you think this text is a biography of Tolkien you’re likely to leave disappointed. However, if you read this text for what it is, the tale of how Tolkien came to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, then you will find a great read, full of interesting tidbits and striking biographical connections between the life of Tolkien and the world he created.
Tolkien was my first encounter with the author Devin Brown though a quick Google search showed me this was not the author’s first foray into Tolkien, having already written a book titled The Christian World of the Hobbit. Further, it appears that he also teaches a class on Tolkien and CS Lewis at Asbury. His comfort in the world of Tolkien shines through this book as he makes connections that might otherwise be missed and speaks at times of Tolkien as if he knew him. I appreciated the knowledge and perceived comfort that Brown brought to this topic. It made the text very readable and easy to recommend to a wide audience. [Read more…]
Then he said,“The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 CEB
I think the above Scripture reference is one of the more familiar texts of the Bible. Unfortunately it’s familiarity doesn’t equate to an understanding of this saying of Jesus. Often it’s quoted by a would be Biblical scholar as a defense or justification for his or her upcoming Sabbath plans. The ambitious Bible quoter often fails to appreciate the context in which Christ made this quote and further seems to think that this passage ought be the starting point for a discussion of Sabbath rather than seeing it as a qualifier that it is. Now this is not to say those who quote this passage are completely off, and in fact there is value to considering Christ’s words on the matter, for they do serve to avoid legalism that can too easily befall this particular commandment. The fact is that many (myself included) could use a reeducation on Sabbath.
In comes Walter Breuggemann with his recent text Sabbath as Resistance. [Read more…]