newthingsold

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

Month: October, 2017

Worn out.

“I’m tired; I think I’ll go home now.” –Forrest Gump

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”  -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

“I’m smiled out, talked out, quipped out, socialized so far from any being, I need the weight of mortal silences to get realized back into myself.” -John Ciardi, This Strangest Everything

“Here I am I am tired I am tired of running of having to carry my life like it was a basket of eggs.”  -William Faulkner, Light in August

 

If you identify with the quotes above, this last one is for you:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus, Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

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“As we live forward from here”

I first met John Eldredge through his book Wild at Heart, a book that at the time seemed to speak to me in the place where I was in life. His newest book, All Things New, feels like a response, not just to the current condition of the world, but to the condition of my heart and soul as well. I cannot say enough about this book, and feel like everyone who is weary could use a reading of it.

All Things New can be boiled down to this idea: one day Jesus will redeem and make all things new, and the thought of this Great Redemption should fill each of us with hope. This is a message/reminder which I needed to hear, and if you are taking the time to read this, you probably need to hear too.

As Eldredge moves from the idea of the importance of not losing hope, to what it means in the context of Christ, to the reality that life is hard but why we should keep “nose to the plow,” it felt like as I was reading that Eldredge was half a step ahead of me the whole time, predicting my next comment, addressing it, and validating it.

In the final chapter of All Things New, Eldredge uses this phrase: “As we live forward from here…” And I feel like the phrase wraps up the book nicely. In the end, it is hope that keeps us living forward, not just moving. Do yourself a favor and read All Things New, and after finishing reading it, live forward, taking the message of the soon-coming renewal of all things to heart.

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

REVIEW: “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” by Eugene Peterson

This is a review of quite possibly the best book I have read so far this year. Order it HERE.

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The name Eugene Peterson is synonymous with The Message paraphrase Bible. When I hear the name, that was the first thing I automatically thought of. It is a work of modern theo-poetics. As much as I enjoyed reading through The Message, Peterson’s newest book, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, may have taken over the spot on my list for Peterson’s most prominent work. After reading through all 372 pages, all I can say is, “Wow.”

In As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Peterson compiles seven sets of seven sermons -the Bible lover enjoys that it there is something special about the number 49 in Scripture- each organized around a specific Biblical author: Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, and John. The texts for each chapter is literally the sermon Peterson preached, with a little revision to clean up language, but that is the only stuff edited. Current event references are left in, Peterson’s meandering storyteller style is kept in. Overall it creates a very intimate tone throughout the book.

In reading this book, I felt the need to do two things. The first was underline and make margin notes throughout. There is so much good stuff, but at 372 pages, it can be hard to remember all of it. The second thing to help with the first, was to go back and write the “big idea” for each chapter at the end. This book requires active engagement and is not a weekend read. Peterson’s knowledge of Bible, as well as his insights and life experiences make this book an extensive yet accessible text.

Buy this book. Read this book. Annotate this book. Share this book. End of discussion.

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

A post of unintended consequences.

For the last couple months, the associate pastor of my church and I have been reading a chapter a day from the Bible and then posting to social media a verse, observation, etc. from what we read that day. We did Proverbs, 1 and 2 Corinthians, “30 Days of Paul,” and now we are spending October going through 1 Samuel (#OTOct).

While our posts have had the usually predictable things -thumbs up, hearts, etc.- something else interesting happened this week. I had a friend who I met through the Burning Hearts Chrysalis/Emmaus Community message me the following:

“I just have a couple of questions for you…I ran across your feed this morning and I thought it would be good to get some insight from you….I have been talking to this guy at my work. He is very into the Word and doing what it says…so here’s what we have been talking about…nowhere in the Bible does it say that the laws of the Old Testament do not exist to this day. So why do people not do these things any more. If we are to walk as Jesus walked, then how do we do this if Jesus was not only a Jew but he was without sin. And he followed the laws of the Old Testament. So if we are not living by all of the laws of the Word are we then living in sin? Some of these things would include celebrating our holy day on Sunday instead of Saturday…celebrating holidays that are not of God but holidays that man has made about God…such as Easter and Christmas which both are pagan holidays…wearing tzitzit on the four corners of our garments…and so on. I have been looking into this a lot lately and I think it would help to get a view from someone. Thanks!”

That was an unexpected side effect of my social media activities. So I did what every wise Christian should do when encountering something like this: I started watching cat videos on YouTube.

But after that, I started processing a the question. Where do we as Gentiles fit into this larger arc of Law and Grace? If you want a basic idea, check out what John Piper has to say on the subject. While I don’t agree with everything he teaches, this response does a good job of getting at the main idea.

In Romans, Paul writes that the only value the Law has is to emphasize how impossible it is for people to keep it. A person guilty of not keeping a fraction of it is guilty of breaking all of it. In Acts, the Jerusalem Council, upon learning that Gentiles are receiving salvation, decide that these new believers should not be compelled to be circumcised. Circumcision was the sign of the Old Covenant (Genesis 17). There is not enough time or space to go into detail on the implications of that here, but at its foundation is that if the Jerusalem Council and the Apostles decided that it was not necessary to practice one of the central tenets of the Mosaic Tradition, then how does the logic of a Christian being expected to follow Old Testament law hold up?

Feel free to push back on my thinking and study on the topic. I am sure that in providing a condensed idea I may have over-simplified or missed something.