Monday, December 12, 2011

Ma, Krauss and the Wexford Carol

Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss give us a rendition of the Wexford Carol that is really quite sublime.

Preschoolers Tell the Christmas Story

Children from Hilltop Preschool & Kindergarten, at the Portland Christian Center (Portland, OR) tell the Christmas story. Some know it better than others, but it is all pretty cute.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 138

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 138,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 136

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 136,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 133

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 133,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 131

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 131,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 130

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 130,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 128

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 128,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 127

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 127,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 121

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 121,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 118

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 118,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 116

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 116,

Psalm Cloud ~ 115

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 115,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 112

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 112,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 101

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A word cloud based on a personal confession based on Psalm 101,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 94

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 94,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 71

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 71,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 66

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 66,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 62

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 62,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 57

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 57 ~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 56

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 56,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 52

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 52,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 46

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 46,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 40

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 40,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Psalm Cloud ~ 37

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A word cloud based on a personal confession of Psalm 37,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Reading: The African Memory of Mark

This is the last of the summer reading. Then I move on to my fall list : )  Took this book on my summer vacation at the beach and have enjoyed it very much. I did not realize that there was such a strong tradition of John Mark, author of the Gospel According to Mark, in African tradition.

The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition
by Thomas C. Oden

From the back cover
We often regard the author of the Gospel of Mark as an obscure figure about whom we know little. Many would be surprised to learn how much fuller a picture of Mark exists within widespread African tradition, tradition that holds that Mark himself was from North Africa, that he founded the church in Alexandria, that he was an eyewitness to the Last Supper and Pentecost, that he was related not only to Barnabas but to Peter as well and accompanied him on many of his travels.

In this provocative reassessment of early church tradition, Thomas C. Oden begins with the palette of New Testament evidence and adds to it the range of colors from traditional African sources, including synaxaries (compilations of short biographies of saints to be read on feast days), archaeological sites, non-Western historical documents and ancient churches. The result is a fresh and illuminating portrait of Mark, one that is deeply rooted in African memory and seldom viewed appreciatively in the West.

The African Memory of Mark honors the way the Coptic Church has been the faithful, preeminent carrier of the Markan tradition in the church, and does that by weaving the different genres of sources into a narrative whole. Oden is not unaware of standard depictions of Mark and the Gospel that bears his name in which the African note is rather marginal — where it is acknowledged at all — but he challenges established scholarship by marshaling the evidence and refocusing it on the continuity of the Coptic memory of Mark. Whether or not the reader agrees with the argument of the book, Oden has raised the bar of scrutiny and challenged many of the unstated assumptions of conventional scholarship. From critic and fan alike, Oden deserves credit.” ~ Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity, Yale University

The African Memory of Mark is a timely reassessment of Mark, Gospel writer and propagator of the message of Christ to Africa. It rehabilitates a neglected tradition and deserves serious consideration by everyone who has been influenced by the historicist understanding of Mark's life and work.” ~ Tite TiĆ©nou, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Reading: Should Christians Embrace Evolution?

Recently finished reading this one, along with several other books this summer on the them or origins (evolution and creation).

Should Christians Embrace Evolution: Biblical & Scientific Responses
edited by Norman C. Nevin

From the back cover:
We are witnessing an aggressive attack on the credibility of the Christian faith. Christians are increasingly called to embrace Darwinian evolution — or acknowledge that they are altogether opposed to science.

But for the contributors to this volume, this is a false premise. Committed to the authority of Scripture, the need for careful exegesis, and the importance of rigorous scientific investigation, these thirteen scientists and theologians offer valuable perspectives on a controversial area of debate for concerned Christians who are determined to draw their own conclusions.

“Helpful to [anyone] who wants to expose their thinking to top-quality, cutting-edge arguments.” ~ Richard A. Carhart, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Illinois, Chicago.

“The experts in science and theology who have contributed [these] chapters … will be very helpful to Christians who are struggling to sort out conflicting claims and arrive at the truth.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson, Author of Darwin on Trial, Cofounder of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

“This is a most helpful compilation, which is designed to make one think very seriously about the whole issue of evolution and the Bible. To those who love the Scriptures, and seek to be faithful to them, this will prove enormously helpful.” ~ Rt. Revd. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Reading: Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?

The kids may be back in school, but there is still a good bit of summer left. So I'm still working on my summer reading. Earlier, I read C. John Collins' Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary. Now, I am following that up with this.

Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care
by C. John Collins

From the product description:
“We need a real Adam and Eve if we are to make sense of the Bible and of life,” argues C. John Collins. Examining the biblical storyline as the worldview story of the people of God, Collins shows how that story presupposes a real Adam and Eve and how the modern experience of human life points to the same conclusion.

Applying well-informed critical thinking to questions raised by theologians and scientists alike, Collins asserts that only a real man could participate in God’s plan to use his human partners to bring blessing to the whole creation, a blessing that requires “redemption” for all people since sin entered the world.

Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? addresses both biblical and Jewish texts and contains extensive appendices to examine how the material in Genesis relates to similar material from Mesopotamian myths. Collins’s detailed analysis of the relevant texts will instill confidence in readers that the traditional Christian story equips them better than any alternatives to engage the life that they actually encounter in the modern world.

C. JOHN COLLINS (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis. With degrees from MIT and Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, he pursues such research interests as Hebrew and Greek grammar, science and faith, and biblical theology. He is the author of The God of Miracles.

“Dr. Collins has presented a careful defense of the existence of the historical Adam and Eve. This methodologically rigorous study reflects a critical awareness of contemporary discussions on both biblical and extra-biblical literature and further contributes to the wider discussion on science and religion. Perhaps more importantly, he has successfully demonstrated the theological significance of this traditional reading, all the while using language that an informed layperson can digest and engage. This work deserves to be widely circulated.” ~ David W. Pao, Chair of the New Testament Department, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Working through questions of myth and history, Bible and science, harmonization and complementarity, Collins brings fresh arguments to stimulate wide-ranging thought and improved appreciation of the way the first chapters of the Bible affect the whole.” ~ Alan Millard, Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, The University of Liverpool

“I could hardly imagine a more honest book on this controversial topic. Its openness (in a user-friendly format) is no naivety—it is combined with undeniable competence on the ancient Near East, recent literature, and methodological discussions. Standing firm on vital issues, accepting diversity on others, the reader meets in C. John Collins a sensitive and godly guide.” ~ Henri A. Blocher, formerly Gunther Knoedler Professor of Systematic Theology, Wheaton College Graduate School

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Reading: Four Views on Tithing

Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views

Was the tithe just for  Old Testament Israel or is it also applicable to Christians under the New Covenant? Must a tithe go only to your local church or can it be received by any Christian organization? Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount?

Perspectives on Tithing presents, in point-counterpoint fashion, four common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the questions that surround this issue.
  • Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Eklund (Eklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute “The Foundations of Giving.”
  • David A. Croteau (Liberty University), who is the editor for the project and wrote the introduction, presents his view: “The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant.” In addition, he also wrote the appendix on “A Short History of Tithing in the Christian Church.”
  • Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) offers “Tithing in the New Covenant? ‘Yes’ as Principle, ‘No’ as Casuistry.”
  • Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks at “The Covenantal Tithe.”
  • Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) writes an excursus on “What’s Happened to Giving?”
The view I have the most affinity with is that of Reggie Kidd. His style was very irenic and measured, which is quite an accomplishment for a discussion of this controversial topic that can quickly turn vicious. His approach stands in contrast to the heavy-handed manner of Hemphill and Eklund, or the bombastic style of North. In a response to Kidd, North warns that if you reject his (North’s) exegesis of Hebrew 7 concerning the tithe, then there will be no peace for you. And if you disagree with North’s view, he makes it known in his own presentation that, well, you’ve been warned.

My own view on and experience with tithing can be found here, Learning to Tithe. As I said, it is most like that of Reggie Kidd, and contrary to Gary North, I have wonderful peace.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Read: Scripture and the Authority of God

I've become a fan of N. T. Wright over the past couple of years and have read a number of his books. His style is a as readable, and helpful, as C. S. Lewis'. His eschatological viewpoint is one that I have held, more of less, for a while, and his books have brought it together for me in a greater way and moved it forward. His view on Scripture and the authority of God is one I think would be very helpful for the Church.

Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today
by N. T. Wright

From the product description:
“But what does scripture say?”

That question has echoed through a thousand debates in the life of the worldwide church. All churches have officially endorsed strong statements about the centrality of scripture and its authority in their mission, life, doctrine, and discipline. But there is no agreement on what this might mean or how it might work in practice. Individuals and churches struggle with how to respond to issues such as war, homosexuality, and abortion, and especially how to interpret biblical passages that discuss these topics. These disagreements often serve to undermine our confidence in the authority of the Bible.

Bishop and Bible scholar N. T. Wright delivers a new model for how to understand the place of scripture and God’s authority in the midst of religious confusion. Wright gives new life to the old, tattered doctrine of the authority of scripture, delivering a fresh, helpful, and concise statement on how to read the Bible today, restoring scripture as a place to find God’s voice.

In this revised and expanded edition of the previously titled book The Last Word, Wright provides two case studies that delve into what it means to keep Sabbath and how Christians can defend marital monogamy. These studies offer not only bold biblical insights but also showcase Wright’s new model for how to interpret scripture and restore its role as the church’s main resource for teaching and guidance. Removing the baggage that the last 100 years of controversy and confusion have placed on this doctrine, Wright renews our confidence in the Bible and shows how it can once again serve as the living Word of God for our lives.

“This wide-ranging whirlwind-tour account of Scripture channeling God’s authority, with its tweaking of distortions back into shape and its first-class approach to Bible study, is masterly throughout.” ~ J. I Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College

“In a fashion that is both old fashioned and new fangled at the same time Bishop Wright takes us through a sane and helpful study of what it means to treat the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. Highly Recommended!” ~ Ben Witherington, author of The Brother of Jesus

“[P]robing, provocative, insightful…This is a book of uncommon wisdom for all who read and love the Bible.” ~ Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Executive Editor of Christianity Today

“Written by one of the leading Christian thinkers in the world today, this book is a refreshing and accessible resource concerning the perennial question of biblical authority that moves the discussion beyond the liberal-conservative impasse of our times. Highly Recommended.” ~ John R. Franke, Professor of Theology, Biblical Theological Seminary

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Reading: Mere Christianity ~ C. S. Lewis

Mere Christianity
by C. S. Lewis

I've been reading C. S. Lewis for years, but I had never read Mere Christianity ~ until now. Enjoying it very much.

From the review:
In 1943 Great Britain, when hope and the moral fabric of society were threatened by the relentless inhumanity of global war, an Oxford don was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. Over half a century after the original lectures, the topic retains it urgency. Expanded into book form, Mere Christianity never flinches as it sets out a rational basis for Christianity and builds an edifice of compassionate morality atop this foundation. As Mr. Lewis clearly demonstrates, Christianity is not a religion of flitting angels and blind faith, but of free will, an innate sense of justice and the grace of God.

From the back cover:
Mere Christianity is the most popular of C. S. Lewis’s works of nonfiction, with several million copies sold worldwide. Heard first as radio addresses and then published as three separate books — The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality — this book brings together Lewis’s legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to “explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” It is a collection of scintillating brilliance which remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader, and which confirms C. S. Lewis’s reputation as one of the leading Christian writers and thinkers of our age.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Reading: Only Believe ~ Paul L. King

Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies
by Paul L. King

From the product description:
While there are many diatribes against the modern Word of Faith Movement and as many defenses of it, little scholarly work has investigated, analyzed, and compared and contrasted modern faith teaching with earlier evangelical writers. Only Believe is such a ground-breaking book scholarly book that is written for non-scholars and scholars. Among its many accomplishments, Only Believe . . .
  • theologically engages both the teachings of the Word of Faith Movement and their critics, examining from the unique viewpoint of the elliptical nature of truth the counter-polarities of faith teaching and practice; 
  • traces the origins of faith teachings such as revelation knowledge, logos and rhema, point of contact, seed faith, faith as a law and a force, covenant rights and inheritance, positive confession, and attitudes toward doctors and medicine through the church fathers, mystics, reformers, Pietists, Puritans, and the 19th-century Wesleyan, Keswick, and Higher Life holiness and healing movements; 
  • draws upon the faith teachings and practices of a wide variety of theological and denominational backgrounds: Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian/Reformed, Episcopalian/Anglican, Lutheran, Congregationalist, holiness, Brethren, Catholic, Pentecostal/charismatic, and many others; 
  • highlights positive, balanced principles and models of faith of respected evangelical leaders, guiding the reader away from questionable teaching and practice and yet encouraging a walk by faith that is both strong and sound; 
  • contains a treasure house of preaching, teaching, Bible study, examples of faith, and research material.

Summer Reading: God and Evolution ~ Jay W. Richards

God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics and Jews Explore Darwin's Challenge to Faith
Jay W. Richards, editor

From the product description:
What does it mean to say that God “used evolution” to create the world? Is Darwin’s theory of evolution compatible with belief in God? And even if Darwin’s theory could be reconciled with religious belief, do we need to do so? Is the theory well established scientifically? Is it true?

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin first proposed his theory of evolution, Christians, Jews, and other religious believers have grappled with how to make sense of it. Most have understood that Darwin’s theory has profound theological implications, but their responses have varied dramatically.

Some religious believers have rejected it outright; others, often called “theistic evolutionists,” have sought to reconcile Darwin’s theory with their religious beliefs, but often at the cost of clarity, orthodoxy, or both. Too few have carefully teased out the various scientific, philosophical, and theological claims at stake, and separated the chaff from the wheat. As a result, the whole subject of God and evolution has been an enigma wrapped in a shroud of fuzz and surrounded by blanket of fog.

The purpose of this anthology of essays is to clear away the fog, the fuzz, and the enigma. Contributing authors to the volume include Jay Richards, co-author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery; Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design; William Dembski, author of The Design Revolution; Jonathan Witt, co-author of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature; Denyse O’Leary, author of By Design, or by Chance?; and David Klinghoffer, author of Shattered Tablets.

About the Author

Dr. Jay Richards is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and Director of Research for the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His previous books include The Privileged Planet; Money, Greed, and God; The Untamed God; and Are We Spiritual Machines? Dr. Richards holds a Ph.D. (with honors) in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. His work has been covered in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has appeared on many national radio and TV programs.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Reading: Genesis 1-4 ~ C. John Collins

Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary
by C. John Collins

From the product description:
Much controversy surrounds the opening chapters of Genesis. They are "front-loaded" with all manner of vital topics - such as God’s work of creating the world and mankind; what it means to be human; why our present experience is so different from what we find in Genesis 2; how we come to know God and to be sure of his love.

Collins employs a literary-theological method informed by contemporary discourse analysis in order to read passages as coherent wholes. He shows how later biblical and inter-testamental writers have used Genesis 1–4, and reflects on how these chapters shape a Christian worldview today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doing the Ugly Dance

This is me doing the Ugly Dance. Lotta fun. Click the link and mess with the buttons.

My wife says this is how I dance at church.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Flash Mob in a Beirut Mall

This is a flash mob in a Beirut mall, sing that Jesus is risen.

This it the day the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Jesus is risen from the dead,
Defeating death by death
And giving life to those in the grave.
You can read the English subtitles by clicking on the little red CC button on the control bar.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marry Me Everyday

Today my wife and I celebrate 12,053 days (33 years) of marriage, and I am happy for every one of them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is the Nature of Hell?

A brief discussion by N. T. Wright on the nature of hell and why what we do in this life matters.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Parousia and Our Citizenship in Heaven

Interesting, especially in regard to "parousia" (the Second Coming of King Jesus the Messiah) and our "citizenship" in heaven.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Listening at the Cross

This is the music of my brother, Gary Doles, and the artwork of his wife, Jan Richardson, for a wonderful Lenten reflection. The song is called, "This Crown of Thorns."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Faith Cloud

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A word cloud of Hebrews 11 ~ the Hall of Fame of Faith.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Love Cloud

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A word cloud of 1 Corinthians 13, a.k.a. "The Love Chapter."