June 10, 2013

Mention it Monday, Mississippi Version

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Fantasy, Favorite Quotes, Fiction, Freebies, Just Life, Theology/Christian life, Travel at 10:10 am by catsinboxes

Greetings from Mississippi!

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Though to be more accurate, it looks a bit more like this today:

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I woke up this morning to thunder rumbling and pretty soon a torrential downpour was ensuring that 1) I didn’t take the dog out for a walk and 2) Bible time on the porch was out of the question!

I must admit that I had hoped to do more blogging on this vacation, but that is not how it worked out, and that’s okay. Still, no reason I can’t do some before I head home. So, here’s another Mention-it Monday!

Red to Black -by Alex Dryen

After reading World Magazine’s review of Dryden’s latest novel, I checked out all three of his books to date and started reading the first. I’m not usually one to read thrillers; Joel Rosenburg’s Last Jihad and Last Days are the extent of my reading in this genre! Still, having just travelled to Eastern Europe, I was intrigued by the Russian side of this novel. So, I started to read. And I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a thriller, but it’s also a fascinating look at modern Russia that is written by an author who knows his facts. The book is told in a series of flashbacks which I normally find annoying, but this time it absolutely worked! The story was engaging and kept me interested and reading. The main storyteller, Anna, –a Russian KGB agent caught up in an intricate plot involving a British spy– is interesting and well-developed. What’s more, she is likable, and you definitely find yourself pulling for her! There is occasional language, but I appreciated the fact that it was used sparingly and wasn’t gratuitous. There are also some sexual references: the KGB is happy to use Anna’s sexuality in getting what they want, but nothing was explicit. All in all, it was quite a fun book, and I look forward to reading more by Alex Dryden.

Merlin’s Blade -by Robert Treskillard

I won’t say much here because this book deserves a whole review and post in itself. In fact, I probably will be reviewing it for Redeemed Reader this summer. I started this book on the plane, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Arthurian aficionados, you should read this! Right now it’s only $2.99, Kindle version, on Amazon. What’s it about? I love how the cover puts it:

Before the Round Table . . . Before Arthur was Crowned . . . There was Merlin.

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The Explicit Gospel -by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson

This is my theological vacation read, and so far, I haven’t made much progress though I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read.  Having heard Matt Chandler speak, I appreciate that his unique voice is very clear in this book.  Chandler is passionate about the gospel; that is very evident.  From a mere evangelistic point, I love the title of this book.  It’s eye-catching: a good book to read at the airport!  (If you’re like me, you do your best, via casual glances, to figure out what your fellow passengers are reading . . . This title is provocative enough to get more than one glance.  They’re reading the explicit what???)  As it happens, The Explicit Gospel is Christian Audio’s free audiobook of the month, so I might be finishing it via audiobook.  If you’re looking for a theological read or audiobook this summer, I’d highly recommend this.  (And you can get the audiobook for free this month, remember!)  In closing, here is a quote from The Explicit Gospel that I quite enjoyed and is very applicable to this post:

How deep is the wisdom and the knowledge of God?  God knows every word in every language in every sentence in every paragraph in every chapter of every book ever written.

January 30, 2013

Books, Books, and More Books -Part 1

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, England, Fiction, Jane Austen, Theology/Christian life at 8:23 pm by catsinboxes

Divided into categories, here is an overview of different books I’ve encountered lately.

Read Aloud

Bill Bergson, Master Detective by Astrid Lindgren

Two weekends ago, I was on the prowl looking for a good read aloud.  I knew what kind of story I wanted, an exciting one with adventure and cliffhangers.  And if that weren’t enough, I really wanted one that would be a new read for me, too.  It was a tall order, and I realized it.  Still, I didn’t give up and went poking hopefully through our children’s books.  After looking at a few books, a paperback caught my eye.  Bill Bergson, Master Detective.  It was a promising title, and it was written by Astrid Lindgren.  I like Astrid Lindgren, so I picked it up.  I opened to the first page.  This was the critical part.  Would it catch my listeners’ interest?  They are wonderful listeners, but they’re well read and have high expectations.  Also, would it meet my criteria?  Yes, I was being picky, but I did feel like just one sort of book.

These were the first few sentences:

Blood!  No doubt about it!  He stared at the red stain through his magnifying glass.  Then he moved his pipe to the other side of his mouth and sighed.  Of course it was blood.  What else can you expect when you cut your thumb?

This book was exactly what I was looking for, and we all enjoyed reading it.  What is the story about?  Why, Bill Bergson of course.

Bill is a keen detective, complete with magnifying glass and (empty) pipe.  His only problem is that he is 13 years old, no one will take his profession seriously, and the small town he lives in is annoyingly free of crime.  Still, Bill manages to have a lot of fun with Eva-Lotta, his next door neighbor, and Anders, his bosom friend.  It looks like their fun might be interrupted when Eva-Lotta’s Uncle Einar comes for a visit.  Uncle Einar is exasperating for one thing, but he also seems mysterious.  And that is when things start happening, and it will take all of Bill Bergson, Master Detective’s wits to get to the bottom of these suspicious events.

Read-Aloud Quality: 5 (out of 5)

Ideal Listeners’ Ages: 7-13 

Emil’s Pranks by Astrid Lindgren  

After the success of Bill Bergson, I was ready to try something else by Astrid Lindgren.  Emil is written for a younger audience and, as the name predicts, the book is devoted to a chronicling of five-year-old Emil’s pranks with every other page including a whimsical and often humorous illustration.  It’s not that Emil is naughty, though he is; it’s just that he is a bit too clever for his own good and his parents don’t know what to do with him.  (Think Calvin and Hobbes Swedish version!)

I like Emil because his naughtiness in this book, and others in the Emil series, isn’t the kind that will rub off onto his listeners.  I think few of them will ever be tempted to paint their siblings blue or hoist them up a flagpole . . . but oh is it funny to listen to Emil’s escapades!

Today, as I was reading aloud with Joshua, the word “mischief” was used.  Jonathan, age 5, looked up from a puzzle he was working on and said with a grin,

“I know what mischief means: it’s what Emil does.”  And that is true, Emil is the definition of mischief!

Read-Aloud Quality: 5 (out of 5)

Ideal Listeners’ Ages: 5 – 12

Biography

Jane Austen by Peter Leithart 

This short biography is an easy read and belongs to a biography series called Christian Encounters.   In it, Peter Leithart does a good job of tracing Jane Austen’s life, work, and faith.  He tries to find her true character between the two extremes that she has been portrayed: sarcastic, cynical feminist or pious Victorian prude.  In doing so, he creates his own picture of Jane and, to differentiate from other portrayals, dubs her “Jenny.”  He doesn’t do it consistently, and I found it slightly annoying.  To my knowledge, Jane was never called Jenny, and it was a hard pill to swallow.  It’s like dubbing Charles Dickens, “Charlie.”  It simply shouldn’t be done!  That gripe aside, Jane Austen is a truly enjoyable read.  One more note for interested readers before I move on. Don’t be like me, and read the whole book wishing you had a family tree BEFORE discovering there is an appendix in the back for the complicated list of brothers, sisters-in-law, cousins, second wives, etc!

Biography Rating 4 (out of 5)

Readability 5 (out of 5)

Fun fact of the day: do you know that Pride and Prejudice turned 200 this week?

Christian Living

Radical Together by David Platt  

After reading Radical, two years ago, I was eager to read Radical Together.  I bought it this past fall, and it has been sitting on my shelf with a list of other to-reads.  Once I started, it was a fast read, only about 130 pages.  It is an interesting follow-up to Radical and in it, David Platt tries to show what it looks like when the church as a body is “radical” together.  He gives many examples, particularly from his own life and ministry.  For some, this might seem rather self-righteous, but Platt makes it very clear that he and his ministry are far from perfect.  Anyone who  knows David Platt, who has heard him speak and read his book, will know that this is a man who has a heart for the gospel.  Reading Radical Together, it is so neat and challenging to see in practical terms what living out “radical” has meant for both individuals and churches.

In this book, Platt is quick to recognize the importance of the local church.  He also is quick to point out that the problem is not that our church programs and agendas are inherently wrong; they can be very good.  The question is, are they the best in the end for displaying God’s glory to the nations?

If you’re starting to feel a little too complacent (after all, Radical was two years ago), this book will be the perfect book to get you back on your toes.  I love the passion that David Platt shows toward reaching the unreached.  I also love the way he is so challenging, and yet so clear that God does not need our help.

“God does not involve us in his grand, global purpose because he needs us.  He involves us in his grand, global plan because he loves us.”  (Radical Together, 129.)

Christian Living Rating 5 (out of 5)

Readability 5 (out of 5)

October 8, 2012

A New Post ~For Granddaddy

Posted in Blogging, Book Reviews, Books, Just Life, Theology/Christian life, Together for the Gospel at 10:14 pm by catsinboxes

Yes, Granddaddy, I did take your rebuke to heart.  It has been almost a month since I have posted, so now that I have done my school, the garlic knots are on their first rise, and I have a hot cup of chai tea, I shall write a post.

Since my last post praising all the poetic beauties of fall, the season has moved on.  It’s cold, gray and windy.  In the past week, I watched the colors on the hills fade from bright shades of red and yellow to a muted russet.  Now even the birch, which survived till the weekend with golden yellow, have lost their leaves.  The wind is blustery, and the sky more often gray and foreboding than blue.  And yes, there have even been snow flurries, but it won’t stay.  It’s October, but it seems much more like November.  It’s a season of waiting: waiting for the final leaves to fall, waiting for the snow to come, waiting for the temperature to drop enough that the snow will stay.  With that bleakness outside, I’m enjoying the coziness of a warm house, warm socks, hot cups of tea and coffee, and good books.

You might notice that I didn’t add blogging to the above list of enjoyments.  That still needs to be fitted into the schedule.  I have thought of it, usually just as I’m trying to go to sleep.  Then I have the most wonderful ideas for blogging, but the timing just isn’t conducive!   I did decide one thing though during a late night brainstorming session.  I decided that my next post would be a book review.  So now that I’ve talked about the weather and my blogging or lack thereof . . . Here is my promised book review of Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore.

Russell Moore has, in the past year, become one of my favorite theological authors.  After reading Adopted for Life, I knew that I would like to read another of his books.  I had heard of Tempted and Tried, and I thought it sounded good.  So, it was on my radar when I went to the Together for the Gospel conference.  My desire to buy it was cemented by a conversation we had over dinner during the conference.  The meal plan pioneered this year allowed for fellowship over meals, and on one such occasion, I noticed that our fellow attendee had been reading Tempted and Tried.  I asked if he was enjoying it, and he highly recommended it.  That decided it; I definitely wanted to buy the book.

So it was bought, and I started reading it on the drive home.  Then life imposed, followed quickly by summer at camp.  Still, I persevered.  I brought it to camp.  I read it in moments during counselor training, I read it in quarter-hour segments sitting in the ministry center, I read it at the slingshot range despite the ministrations of MANY mosquitoes, and -my personal favorite- I read it sitting on the ground, my back against a massive oak tree, keeping one eye on the vacant slip n’slide.  (The slip n’slide and slingshot, though popular with some loyal campers, often suffered periods of neglect when other things such as the waterfront, archery or air rifles beckoned.  Thus a faithful book was very appreciated!)  My book does show some signs of this summer, the edges on the cover are slightly dividing, no doubt in protest after coming in contact with mist from the slip n’slide hose.

Within its pages, another thing marks this particular book as special.  While I had annotated before, it was with this book that I discovered the joy of highlighters.  And so, flipping through the book, you will find many phrases marked with highlighting in addition to pen and pencil marks, underlines, and notes jotted in the margins.

This was a wonderful book to read and to read slowly.  It is a book that I will certainly read again.  Moore is extremely readable yet deeply theological in his examination of temptation in Christian life and how Christ encountered and triumphed over temptation in the wilderness.  He begins by defining temptation and highlighting the significance of Christ’s temptation.  Throughout the book, Moore points to how Christ was fulfilling the Old Testament and shows how the strands of Old Testament history are evident and crucially important to understanding the wilderness temptations.  Here’s a sample of what I mean:

Jesus as the new humanity went to the same testing ground as his and our ancestors. . . . As he stood where Adam stood, he reclaimed what Adam lost.  The first Adam was tested in the God-blessed garden and fell.  The second Adam was tested in the God-cursed desert, and won.  (pg. 41)

Not only is this book theological though, it is intensely practical in making Christians aware that temptation isn’t something out there, something that might come along.  Rather, as Christians:

The issue isn’t whether you’re tempted, but whether you’re aware of it and striking back. (pg. 59)

Russell Moore is very aware of the spiritual warfare that is involved in living the Christian life.  His book is a wake up call, a call to courage, a call to be ready for battle.  There is so much depth to this book.  As Moore examines each of the ways Satan tempted Christ, he goes to the root of ‘why’ each temptation mattered and what the significance was in the temptation.  Not only that, he points to the fact that such temptations are still used today against God’s people.

This was an excellent read and one that I have found myself referring back to throughout the summer and into the fall.  You may have heard someone lament their sadness once a book is finished.  I enjoy books, but I don’t often feel that sense of loss.  Yet I did upon finishing this book.  It was so good, so solid, so perceptive, and so rooted in the truth.  If you have not read Tempted and Tried, I highly recommend it.  This is one book that you will not regret reading.

Postscript:  The garlic knots which were rising are now sitting next to me, the three survivors of dinner that is, and the cup of chai tea is long gone.  I do love to write, but I write over a period of time.  I do wish I could have fit this post into the time it took some garlic knots to rise!  

September 4, 2011

Sunday Snippets

Posted in Blogging, Book Reviews, Faith, Theology/Christian life at 5:43 pm by catsinboxes

I hope you like the title.  In search of something to blog about, I employed ‘apt alliteration’s artful aid.’  I’d like to thank D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones for introducing me to that expression, compliments of the book Preaching & Preachers.  Incidentally, I first heard the prhase during a time when I was consistently hearing sermons using that method.  As a note-taker, I had come to dread the “cleverness” of alliteration Sunday after Sunday, so I heartily appreciated the tongue-in-cheek alliterative critique!

To be truthful though, I’m in the process of figuring out what I would like to do on Sundays for blogging, and if I even should blog on Sundays.  I try to be intentional in how I spend my Sundays, so my inclination – if  I post – would be to do something short and sweet and Sunday related.

For this week, I’m going to share two things: the current theological book I’m reading and one of my current favorite worship songs.

1.  Current theological book ~ Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity (The Essential Edwards Collection) by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney

Initial impressions: I just began this, but I really enjoy the writing style.  It is crisp, insightful, and thought-provoking.  I’m looking forward to writing more about it!

2.  Encouraging worship song of the week ~ Desert Song by Hilsong United.  A bit of background about this idea: I find it interesting how at different periods of my spiritual life, different songs/hymns are very encouraging.  I have some that are continual favorites but others that come and go, very relevant at one point and simply encouraging at another.  Two weeks ago we sang Desert Song during our church’s worship service, and I found it very encouraging.  I love how the lyrics are grounded on Scripture; it adds a lot of depth to the song itself.

September 3, 2011

Marks of the Messenger

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Faith, Favorite Quotes, Theology/Christian life, Together for the Gospel at 6:34 pm by catsinboxes

This week I finished reading Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living, and Speaking the Gospel by J. Mack Stiles (IVP, 2010).  It is one of the many books I received at Together for the Gospel 2010, and I thought it was very good.  Weaving together personal experience and scripture, J. Mack Stiles examines the gospel, true evangelism and what they entail to Christian life.

The following is not going to be a book review proper, or an outline of the book’s main points.  Instead I’m going to share points that I found particularly thought-provoking or encouraging.

While I enjoyed the entire book, I particularly enjoyed the final four chapters.

In chapter 7, which focuses on boldness in sharing the gospel, Stiles points to the prayer requests of Paul.   The gospel was central to the prayer requests of Paul.  Not only that, several of Paul’s prayer requests also concerned boldness, that he should be fearless in proclaiming the Gospel.  (Ephesians 6:19-20)  If Paul was asking that others pray he would be fearless, how much more should we?  I love that point!

Chapter 8 examines how the world’s view of love has shaped how Christians look at God.  I thought the following example was very appropriate:

“Me-centered love easily bleeds into Christian thinking about God’s love.  We start treating God as a celestial butler, and singing songs that make it hard to tell if Jesus is a savior or a boyfriend.  Take this refrain [referring to the crucifixion] for instance. ‘Like a rose, trampled on the ground, / You took the fall and thought of me; / Above all.’ ”

After quoting this, Stiles turns to scripture and points out that as Jesus prepared to go to the cross, he wasn’t thinking about us, he was thinking about doing his father’s will.  (John 12:27-28)  He concludes, “. . . Christians by the thousands sing this song and never realize its message is more culture than Bible.”  I’m thankful for the reminder and even more thankful for how intentional the worship is at my local church.

Stiles recognizes the influence of the local church, and in his second-to-last chapter emphasizes the importance of the local church in evangelism.  (This guy is friends with Mark Dever, so this is hardly a surprise!)  I thought that for one chapter he did an excellent job of covering a number of important points.

The concluding chapter is a manifesto, summing up the book.  Several points in the concluding chapters reminded me of Radical by David Platt, which would build on Marks of the Messenger nicely.

In conclusion, I’m going to share some passages that I highlighted while reading Marks of the Messenger:

On sin:

“To paraphrase G. K. Chesteron, I can’t see why people have such problems with original sin; it’s the one doctrine for which we have empirical data.  Just look at the last 3,500 years of human history.”  (pg. 30)

God’s love:

“God’s love is his most magnificent characteristic.  This is so assumed in Western culture it’s practically lost all meaning, but one thing that distinguishes God’s love is how his love, his perfect, tender, self-sacrificing love, holds back his red-hot, scorching wrath.”  (pg. 32)

Don’t assume the Gospel:

“The implications of the gospel are critical to becoming who we are meant to be as healthy evangelists.”  (pg. 53)

The gospel lived out:

“Our lives need to be lined up with, in accord with the gospel . As we’ve seen before, the gospel is not only about salvation.  The gospel is how we live every day.”  (pg. 56)

“Caring for others represents the gospel, it upholds the gospel, it points to the gospel, it’s an implication of the gospel, but it is not the gospel, and it is not equal to the gospel.”  (pg. 69)

“Boldness is not a lack of fear.  It is faith in something bigger than our fears so that we appear fearless.  Confidence in something bigger than our fears gives us the strength to do the right thing in spite of opposition or persecution.”  (pg. 82)

Have you read Marks of the Messenger?  If so, what did you think?  Please feel free to join the conversation! 

June 3, 2011

Reflections on blogging

Posted in Theology/Christian life at 7:31 pm by catsinboxes

I was thinking wryly of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 the other day.  What if we applied the principle to 21st century life?  “A time to tweet, and a time to refrain from tweeting; a time to blog and a time to keep silent.”

Today, as I finished reading Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris, one particular point caught my eye regarding blogging.  (And that book is full of great points; it is definitely a book to read with a highlighter!)

Here’s the quote that brought up blogging:

Do you want to keep your orthodoxy humble?  Try to live it.  Don’t spend all your time theorizing about it, debating it, or blogging about it.  Spend more energy living the truth you know than worrying about what the next guy does or doesn’t know.  Don’t measure yourself by what you know.  Measure yourself by your practice of what you know.

~Dug Down Deep, pg. 226

Ouch.  That’s a very good jolt for an analytically inclined blogger.  At this point in my life, much as I love blogging, I need to focus on living my faith.  Sometimes I get to the end of the day and am faced by a choice; to blog or to spend my time studying the Bible and reading through our library of theological books.  And not just reading or studying, I need to live my faith.

I’m not going to stop blogging, but I have a feeling I won’t be around much for the next couple of weeks.  If the time is right, I’ll write.  (Unintentional, but pun intended!)

Until then, enjoy your summer!  And take time to read.  You could read Dug Down Deep.  Or, another great read would be Radical by David Platt.  I can feel myself getting started on books, but I need to stop.  Real life is calling, and I’m off to practice a piano duet . . .

April 27, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

Posted in Japan, Just Life, Theology/Christian life at 2:11 am by catsinboxes

March 11, 2011 . . . just another Friday.  On my way into work, checking my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed a link for a music video.  It was for a song called “Praise you in this storm.”  I listened to it, and I thought it was pretty good.

March 12, 2011 . . . Walking back to my host family’s apartment, I listen to the song again.  I really like it.

April 26, 2011 . . . So much going on my life, a lot of uncertainty.  While I work on this post, I listen to the song.  I’m grinning wryly because I used to be a bit of snob when it came to Christian music.  Looking back, over the past month, I can see where God has been working in my life.  I know He has a plan for my life, I know His plan is perfect, but I’m used to also having my own gameplan.  It’s not like that anymore.  I don’t know what next week will be like, where I will be in two weeks, but I know He is in control.  One verse that I love and that I often think of during this time is Philippians 4:6-7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To be honest, right now part of me is screaming, “But God, I WANT to know what’s going on!”  But the other part is saying quietly, “God, you know my heart.  You know I’m not very happy, but I know that you are in control.  Please give me strength to praise and glorify you during this time.”  And so I pray, and I write, and I praise God during this “storm” in my life.

*Looking for the right video to post, I came upon this.  It’s hard to watch, but I thought it was right.

April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!

Posted in Theology/Christian life at 6:16 pm by catsinboxes

They were tired, they were scared.  Three days.  Three days ago it had happened.  It was unspeakable, unthinkable, and yet it had happened.  Their faces showed their pain, their bewilderment, their grief.  So many emotions, and all the time, trying to shut out the blackness, the memory of all that had occured. . . but then the empty tomb, the angels . . . the news.  He is not here, He has risen!

Those words hold so much meaning, but isn’t it easy to forget it?   I know it is for me.  It’s Easter!  Happy Easter, He Lives, He is Risen . . . my Savior lives.  I love the words, but I’m concerned with how easily I can let them wash over me.  I don’t want that to happen.  I don’t want to lose just what these words mean.

I try to think through the words.  I think of the context, like I tried to create above.  These were real people, and I try to grasp the realness of the events.  Living, breathing, hurting people . . . I wish I could see them as they realized the news.  Their Lord was risen! 

And it’s so personal, isn’t it?  Jesus took my sins.  He took my place and bore the wrath of God.  He died for me.  But He’s alive, He’s risen.  How can I not speak of this?  How can I not live my ALL for Him?  I thought today how ridiculous it would be to say to Jesus, “Yes, I know that you did all of that, and I’m very thankful, but I don’t have a lot of time.  I’ll do my best to read the Bible everyday, I’ll go to church, I’ll try to give you all of my Sunday . . .”  How horribly wrong is that?  But how easily I slip into that with a theological checklist.  And realizing this, I pray.  I pray that I would live for Him, for Him alone in everything.  And there is so much to live for:

He’s my King, my Savior.  He is my Risen Lord!  I’m going to close by sharing one of my favorite songs.  Enjoy it, and have a wonderful Easter Sunday.

December 13, 2010

Some Thoughts

Posted in Books, Just Life, Theology/Christian life at 7:12 am by catsinboxes

I love blogging, but it’s probably hard to tell that from my abysmal blogging habits.  With that in mind, I think I should rephrase my above statement into two sentences.

1)  I love reading blogs, and I love writing my own blog posts.

2)  I’m not a consistent blogger, but I do want to become better.

And so, until I achieve perfection (hah!), please forgive the sporadic nature of my posts.  With that said . . . what shall I blog about?

Well, I was marooned in Minnesota yesterday.  I spent the day being a tad quite lazy: playing piano, watching Sherlock Holmes, and having fun with the high speed internet.

I did read half a chapter of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Great Doctrines of the Bible.  That was very interesting.  It’s on the doctrine of bad angels.  I love the writing style of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  His style is crisp and straightforward, but I think it is engaging.

Today was spent out and about Minneapolis: shopping at Lands’end, Half-Price Books, and spending time with my grandparents.  It was a fun and busy day.

Moving on to a completely different topic; I haven’t forgotten about my Esmerelda Chronicles.  I do want to write more, but I haven’t decided what I want to happen.  Does that make sense?

I could keep rambling on, but I don’t approve of excessive rambling.  Therefore I will conclude for the present.

Adieu, my long-suffering readers!

April 22, 2010

An Unexpected Post

Posted in Book Reviews, Korea, Theology/Christian life, Together for the Gospel at 7:42 pm by catsinboxes

Originally I was going to title this post, “A Long Expected Post.”  The allusion was to the first chapter of Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring.  But then I realized that my readers had probably given up hope weeks earlier of the possibility of any new posts.  So, I decided to title this post in honor of The Hobbit’s first chapter, allusion intended.

Now, my surprised reader, I will answer the question that you very fairly are asking . . . “Why haven’t you been posting???”  There are two answers to that question.  Firstly, I’ve been quite busy with some unexpected (you know, I just like that word today!) developments.  Secondly, I was out of town most of last week at the Together for the Gospel Conference.

The conference was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.  In fact, there are not strong enough words to describe just how good it was.  Not only that, it was very challenging and encouraging.  There were over 7,000 people attending.  Mostly it was men, but I heard that about 10% of that number were women.  That made quite a difference . . . especially when it came to restroom lines.  I could have laughed as I went trotting into the ladies’ bathroom, past the long line of men patiently queuing up for their bathroom.

I can’t wait for the next conference, in 2012.  We’re certainly going.  Until then, I have a lot of reading to do.   Conference attendees were given lots of books (their total worth is more than the cost of registration!).  So, I have about twenty new books, and I’d like to read through all of them.  I’ve started with Thabiti Anyabwhile’s excellent and very readable What is a Healthy Church Member?.

Much to Kelsey’s horror, I am actually annotating (fancy word for writing/highlighting) in my books as I read them.  I’ve found it’s an excellent way of retaining knowledge and marking down passages that I particularly like or find challenging.

I’ve also been reading a little of Joshua Harris’ Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship.

Joshua Harris was a breakout speaker at the conference.  Kelsey went to his session, and so did several thousand other people.  I took a bit of pride in making up the minority of people not attending Joshua Harris’ breakout session.  Before I say any more, I really like Joshua Harris and his writing, I just didn’t feel like going to Joshua Harris’ session.  (It’s a rebel streak in me that refuses to go with the flow!)

Anyway, now that the conference is over, I’ve started reading Joshua Harris.  I really enjoy the challenge of his books, and they  encourage me to grow and increase in godliness so that, when “boy meets girl”, I’ll be spiritually ready!

My goal, as I continue reading, is to do individual posts about books I have read, or topics and passages in them that I find thought provoking.

Besides that reading, I’ve also been reading about Korea.  I’m prospectively going to spending two months there this summer.  One in Seoul and one (from what it sounds like) in a smaller city in the southern part of South Korea called Jinju.

This morning I started studying Korean.  I’m using a book called Read & Speak Korean for Beginners.

It’s very good and not nearly as daunting as part of me was expecting.  Hanguel (Korean script) only has 24 characters and is very phonetic.  Even after my first lesson, I’m starting to see a pattern.

So, that’s where I am.  I do intend to do more posts soon.  Please don’t give up on this blog.  I hate inconsistent blogs just as much as you do . . . maybe even more!  I just hope  I update my blog enough that my posts don’t become “long-expected.”  (Hah, worked in the allusion at the end … so there!)