Ian Morgan Cron, an Episcopal priest, walks his readers through the torment of a childhood with an alcoholic father and a waxing and waning relationship with Jesus. Cron, who spent the majority of his child living in the northeast, tells his story of falling in and out of love with Jesus as he copes with a father who splits his time as a debilitating alcoholic and a CIA operative. Cron does this in a manner full of self deprecating humor and a mastery of the english language befitting his little ivy education. Cron wrestles deeply with a disappointment in God, ultimately leading to his own bout with addiction and alcoholism; and the subsequent journey of reconciliation. Cron’s story is a fantastic picture of what the gospel is. As noted pastor and speaker Craig Groeschel wrote, “Each turn of the page will draw you closer to God”
This book is well written, engaging, humorous and an easy read. Cron sprinkles his memoir, or autobiography, with pop culture references perhaps limiting its shelf life. However, as Cron blends factual autobiographical writing with well crafted story telling he creates a vivid picture of a life spent trying to substitute alcohol, drugs etc for the longing to have a meaningful relationship with his earthly and heavenly fathers.
This book does not delve deep into theology, it is a light read, at 250 pages could be completed in a day. I’d say 4.5/5 stars.
Richard Stearns, President of World Vision Inc a non-profit humanitarian aide and child advocacy organization authors his latest book Unfinished in a masterful way. Whether or not you’re familiar with, or have even read, Stearns’ previous book, The Hole in Our Gospel, you’ll be sure to love this book. Stearns is an engaging writer, and a gifted storyteller with an incredible passion for connecting lives to changing the broken world in which we live.
Stearns advocates for an incredible commitment to building God’s Kingdom as the way to finding and enjoying purpose. Stearns says God has invited us to join him in changing the world. God has a dream for this world that Jesus called the Kingdom of God. God created us to play an important role in his kingdom vision. We will never find our deepest purpose in life until we find our place in building God’s Kingdom.
This book rightly calls into questions the American Church’s fulfillment of it’s commitment to the Great Commission. Noting churches are facing a decline in churchgoers and people impacting the world with the gospel as our relationships with Christ dwindle and lose fervor. The call is to get involved, and committed, to building the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
This book was well written and engaging. It’s an easy read but is important as well. I highly recommend this book, and Stearns’ previous book, The Hole in Our Gospel. Stearns’ next book is slated to be released in October of 2013. I’d say 4/5 stars.
The Coming Revolution: Signs from America’s Past That Signal Our Nation’s Future is the fifth book from Dr. Richard Lee, founding pastor of First Redeemer Church in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Like each of the four previous works by Dr. Lee, The Coming Revolution takes a close look at the necessity of strong bonds between the evangelical church and the success of America. Without digging too deep, and with minimal effort, this book implies the success of “liberal” politicians signals the start of America’s disintegration. As the title suggests, the book hopes for a groundswell of conservative, evangelical, ideology; returning America to its “traditional conservative roots.” This call for revolution would be the American “Arab Spring” in the town square and more importantly in voting precincts across America (This book was written pre-2012 election).
I accept the premise of Dr. Lee’s position, I understand it as a viewpoint. However, this text is quite biased and doesn’t present any opposing viewpoints with much if any credibility. While this book isn’t quite propaganda, it blurs the line between legitimate opinion based writing and propaganda. I did, however, find the book to be engaging, mostly well-written and a good read if this subject is of interest to the reader. If the plea for Americans to return to Christ and conservative evangelical ideology is a subject of interest, then this is the book for you. The few negatives I have about the book (beyond the disagreement with it’s thesis) is its seemingly unapologetic divisive tone. Lee makes sweeping assertions in this book based solely on an incredibly small sample of history.
I wouldn’t say it’s a must read, but it’s an engaging read. 2/5 stars.
My social media timelines have been in an uproar lately, over the perceived injustice against Louie Giglio, recusing himself from offering the benediction at the upcoming Presidential Inauguration, over some comments he made in regards to “What God thinks about Homosexuality.”In this talk, Giglio called for Christians and the church to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” of some in the gay community.” He goes on to warn that widespread gay marriage “would run the risk of absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.”
While I certainly don’t agree with Giglio’s proclamation on the effects of gay marriage, I support his fundamental, first amendment, right to express his views. However, what concerns me the most is reading, and hearing, Christians gravely misinterpret the situation. The situation surrounding Giglio is not a reduction, or removal, of freedom of religious expression at all. In fact, Giglio fell victim to the court of public opinion on a very divisive issue. Giglio wasn’t asked to remove himself from the inauguration; instead, according to his statement he felt the event “will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.” Giglio made a decision to not be part of the conversation surrounding gay marriage, the church’s response to gay marriage and progressing equality of rights for homosexuals.
Please don’t continue to misinterpret the court of public opinion as a reduction in legal rights and protections. This is not an example of the United States Government taking away rights that evangelicals once had. Instead, its a response, by citizens, to a statement made by another citizen. I am thankful for the grace Louie Giglio has displayed throughout this situation. He has represented evangelicals well; while others aggressively represent evangelicals poorly.
Recently, Mike Huckabee explained the gruesome, horrific incident in Newton, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary as a result of a nation that has removed God from the public sphere as well as from schools. Following the devastating shootings, Friday, Huckabee asked why we “should be so surprised” at the violence when “we have systematically removed God from our schools..”
I [optimistically] assume Mike Huckabee did not mean to state that violence is a direct result of not allowing prayer in public schools. Certainly, there is nothing more than misguided anecdotal support for a claim such as this. If, in fact, Mike Huckabee did mean this, then it represents a far deeper issue: a misunderstanding of God and his love.
To Huckabee’s credit, he backpedaled, and clarified his on-air remarks. However, he mentions, according to the Huffington Post “I think it’s important that we quit apologizing for having a spiritual conversation,” Huckabee said. “Quit being ashamed that we believe in God.”
We often ask, “Where is God in this tragedy” or claim “this is because we’ve turned back on God.” Mike Huckabee pointed out POTUS’ use of scripture during the the multi faith memorial service as proof that we only mention God following a tragedy. I often struggle with how/if religion and politics should interact with each other. I often echo the sentiment when you mix religion and politics, you get politics. However, the notion that God didn’t stop the Newton, CT school shooting because we have as a nation excluded him from schools is stupid. The notion that God’s excellence and sovereignty is dependent on human actions and attitudes is incredibly dangerous.
As a believer, it is important to really understand and grasp God’s unconditional love, and that God is not retaliating against our rebellion by sending disasters our way. This incredibly devastating event is proof that a broken, fallen, creation is groaning for a savior; not that a vengeful, hateful God is sitting in Heaven “keeping score.” This is the gospel: we are broken people, in a broken world, desperately seeking hope and redemption.
In late September, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, who is conservative and has actively been involved in government at the state and local level. We were talking about the upcoming presidential election and we both agreed that it was likely that Obama would retain the presidency. At the time, polls had Obama up by 6-8% nationally, and as much as 12% in key swing states. All signs and trends showed an upswing to Obama. I made the statement that, if things hold the way they were going, Obama wins the election by 12%. 12% is a huge margin.
Fast forward a few weeks to the three presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate. Obama performed poorly in the first debate, excuses aside, and took a hit in the polls. In the next three debates (vice presidential, and presidential) the Obama/Biden ticket performed remarkably better than the Romney/Ryan ticket, but treated the debates and the discourse within the debates as beneath them. This “classless” “unprofessional” response hurt Obama/Biden in the polls as well. The latest polls show a dead even race with less than a week to the general election.
Hurricane Sandy, which was devastating, could be the turning point of the election. There are two fundamentally different responses by the candidates in the storm’s aftermath. Whether it’s a function of incumbency, or whether it is sincere, I cannot prove. Barack Obama has garnered praise from Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, over his preparedness and quick response to the storm; he specifically notes how Obama cut through the red tape of government to expedite his request. Obama’s response: be the president, to do what’s right and most of all to not politicize the event. Whether it’s a function of not having presidential responsibilities, or not, I cannot prove; but, Mitt Romney changed the framework of a pre-existing campaign fundraiser to give the proceeds to charity. Romney collected supplies while hosting his “Disaster Relief” event. Whether it was genuine, or not, I cannot prove; but as an undecided voter it comes across as opportunistic and a bit cheap.
With less than a week until the election there is absolutely no chance that my prediction of Obama carrying the presidency by double digits will hold true. However, do you think the differences in perception regarding the candidates’ response to Sandy will have a drastic result in the results of the election? Do you think the winning candidate will win by more than 3%?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, President Obama was quick to crassly chide Governor Romney’s assertion that the American Military was fading away, stating, “ Our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917.” Obama’s response was “We also have fewer horses and bayonets” alluding to the fact that warfare has changed over the years.
Several key GOP members were quick to jump on the President’s remarks as being unprofessional and insulting.
I think the president belittled the military,He compared the modern Navy to bayonets and horses — I thought that was an amazing statement. — Marco Rubio (R-FLA)
Romney looked like a commander-in-chief, President Obama looked like a frustrated politician who knew he was losing momentum. He looked angry- Dan Senor (Romney Advisor)
However, its interesting that the former secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig, was quick to back President Obama’s claim saying,
The basic point that didn’t get mentioned, that I would add, is the number of ships actually went down during the years of George W. Bush and have gone up in the Obama years, So the notion that Republicans are more effective in building the Navy is not a correct one. The Navy is stronger than it’s ever been.
Yesterday the focus was evaluating the accuracy of Romney’s. Today is the focus on the way President Obama responded, do you think it was “unprofessional and insulting” or do you think he was right to respond absurdly, to an absurdly false claim?