newthingsold

The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

What do you get the family man as a present?

Go to "Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (Signature)" page

While I am a fan of the television show Duck Dynasty, and admit that Duck/Buck Commander put out some quality products, overall I have felt pretty nauseated by the total amount of Robertson Clan merchandise overload the past couple years.  When the opportunity was given to me to review the Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, I was hesitant.  I’m glad that I ultimately decided to give this book a shot.

The copy with which I was provided is in NKJV; since I have read the NKJV through cover-to-cover a couple times and think it is a solid translation, I’m not going to focus on the text of the Bible itself, but rather on the companion material inserted throughout the pages of the book, which is what I critically focused on.

There’s a reason I posed a question as this blog post’s title.  The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible is a quality gift to give him.  There are devotional Bibles for men, fathers, and the like.  But whether the reader knows who Al and Phil Robertson are or not, the men do not use their celebrity status as a reason to establish credibility with the reader; they acknowledge that they are well known individuals because that’s a part of who they are, but that does not drive the companion material they provide.  Approaching the “52 Days with Phil and Al” plan is like conducting a Bible study with a couple of those old guys from the Church who have plenty of life experience that can be immediately applied.  When reading through their comments, I felt as if I was sitting down with a church mentor who was talking me through some heavy life moments which every man should be thinking about, such as facing responsibilities as a man, showing grace to others, and maintaining manly integrity.  The “LifeChangers” devotional plan provides similar information with points to ponder, kind of like mini devotionals or sermons from the local men’s ministry pastor.

Throughout reading through the material that makes this the Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, the big thing that reminded me that this was a “branded” Bible was the presence of duck images throughout the pages.  I liked that.  I would call this a Duck Commander product that is not a Duck Commander product.  I’d call this a men’s life application BIble without a lot of the extra frills.

I received my copy of this Bible for free through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for reviewing it.  I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions contained are mine.

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The joy of the Gospel.

This is a review of the book The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis.

 

 

People all over the world -religious and irreligious alike- do not know quite how to take Pope Francis.  In his short time as the head of the Catholic Church he has done things to both encourage and confound people.  On one occasion he makes statements that could hint towards a more progressive view of marriage, but another time he takes a pretty conservative stance on birth control.  What does one make of this guy?  The Joy of the Gospel gives the insider/outsider some perspective into what lens to apply to view the actions of the Pope.

 

The Joy of the Gospel, much like his actions, seems to be motivated by a desire to connect and engage with people on the topic of the message of the saving love of Jesus.  The book deals with topics broad and applicable to an entire Church community as well as those which can be narrowed ones which focus on the individual in Community.  He discusses the role of the Church as messengers and its members as emissaries.

 

What is refreshing about this book though is how Pope Francis addresses some of the other issues which seem to be overlooked.  This is not a Pope motivated by hardline rhetoric, but love and dialogue.  The best chapter in the the book is the chapter “The Social Dimensions of Evangelization.”  In it, Pope Francis provides almost a primer on how navigate daily life and living the Gospel.  He advocates for thinking clear-headed and realistically, leaving space for the realities of life, even when they stand in direct opposition to our beliefs and ideas.  He endorses interfaith dialogue and showing patience/tolerance for those who might disagree.

The Joy of the Gospel would make a good read for a daily devotional.  Taken in segments, it can provide some thought-provoking material which overdosed on could become lost otherwise.  Take this book slow and let the point of the material sink in.

 

I was provided with a copy of this book for free through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for reviewing it.  I was not required to post a positive review; the opinions expressed within are my own.

 

Questions- Part 3

Hello and thank you for stopping to read the next installment in the ongoing “Questions” series.  For an explanation, visit the introduction post. 

Genesis 39 can be paraphrased concisely like this:  This dude named Joseph is sold into Egyptian slavery to the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Potiphar) and while working for him, everything he does prospers.   Potiphar’s wife has the hots for Joseph and when everyone is out of the house but Joseph who is doing his daily work, she tries to seduce him.  He refuses her advances and like a scorned lover, she lies and sets up a frame job to make it look like Joseph did.  Potiphar has Joseph thrown into prison where the jailer puts Joseph to work and again, everything he does prospers.

Of course, providing a Spark Notes summary glosses over plenty of nuance throughout this chapter.  A surface reading like this can give us the takeaway that good can always come out of bad situations, or maybe that we should be careful about where and when we go places because it can place us into compromising situations.

But so what?

Where is the call to transformation?  How does a story like this set us up to view our own Humanity through the lens of Love?  If this is all a passage like this is good for, we’re just as good to read Aesop’s fables and go on.

In the middle of the scene where Joseph is standing alone in front of Potiphar’s wife, he looks at her and asks her this:

“How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

Joseph is in Potiphar’s house as a slave.  He was sold into slavery because of jealousy on the part of his step-brothers (he had been Daddy’s favorite, a story that could take a few posts on its own to cover.  So if you’re curious, grab a Bible or look online and search a little earlier in Genesis).  Joseph asks this question to Potiphar’s wife as a way to stand up for what is right and in the end he is still punished as if he had done something wrong.  The end result is that he is back in jail.

Life is not fair.

When I was in college, I dated a girl who broke up with me from a distance of 65 miles away over the phone.  I went from feeling like I was on top of the world to feeling like everything was falling apart.  All I could think about was

Life is not fair.

My Uncle Dave was one of the reasons why I started playing music in bands.  He died in 2007 of cancer.  The whole time before that, so many of us prayed continually for a miracle to take place.  It didn’t happen.

Life is not fair.

A few weeks back, my wife and I came back home from church to find that our pug had pooped in his dog crate and smeared it all over the place so that everything looked like a cross between a sanitarium, a massacre, and Jackson Pollock painting.  As I was outside in sub-freezing temperatures trying to wipe down and rinse off the floor to the dog crate, I kept thinking about all the other things I had to get done and thinking

Life is not fair.

How many of us have sung the “Life is not fair” refrain time and time again, as if calling out the unfairness of life is somehow going to make things better?

If we’re honest, we say things like this in the face of doing all the right things as a reaction to being confronted with the fact that we control nothing in this life.  So what do we do about?  Nothing.  What can we do about it?  Nothing.  And that is what Genesis 39 is all about.  Live life day by day and realize that things are going to happen that do not make sense.  In his messed up situations, Joseph’s work still succeeds.  Fast forward a few chapters and Joseph’s circumstances change for the better.  It doesn’t make much sense and it’s really weird how things change, but they do.  This doesn’t mean it will happen to all or any of us, but we won’t know if we don’t go through daily life and try.

Levi McAllister (Levi the Poet) brilliantly writes that: “Life is pain, highness, anyone who tells you different is selling something.” Ah, it’s not true. The Dread Pirate Roberts may have been awesome, but that kind of theology is a hell of a downer to subscribe to.”  Holding on to a mentality that there is no point in trying to live because bad stuff is going to happen is the easiest way to cheapen life.  Yes, the bad/unjust/unfair/terrible things happen, but their happening only makes the beautiful moments more beautiful.

“How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

You will.  You won’t.  That’s life.  You’ll do good things and the results will be good.  You’ll do bad things but the results will be good.  You’ll also do good/bad things and the results will not be positive.  But that’s life, working through each situation day by day as it comes.

A Comment on the President’s SOTU

To anyone who cares about public education, so concerned about all the “reforms,” and does not know who Diane Ravitch is, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with her…

Diane Ravitch's blog

There was a new tone in the President’s brief comments about education in his State of the Union address. Of course, he promoted his proposal for 2 tuition-free years of community college and the need to help students from debt incurred when pursuing higher education. That was welcome but not surprising.

What was welcome was the absence of fear-mongering about our public schools. No crisis talk about how nations with higher scores would take away our jobs and ruin future economic growth. The President instead highlighted the facts (that I documented in “Reign of Error” in 2013) that the high school graduation rate is at an historic high, as are test scores.

I don’t know if anyone gave much thought to this shift to a positive tone, but it definitely represents a repudiation of the “reformers'” sky-is-falling rhetoric. No reference to “obsolete” high schools, to “failing schools,” or to the…

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