Monday, August 31, 2009

THE SOUND OF HIS VOICE By Edward William Fudge
Did you know that the Creator who made us and redeemed us in Jesus Christ also desires to guide our steps day by day? It's not wishful thinking. It's a clear promise of Scripture. But how does God do that, other than through the general teaching of the Bible? Edward Fudge, noted Christian author and Bible scholar, has asked that question for more than half a century. In his own walk with the Lord, he has discovered a number of very specific--"secrets of God's guidance." His story will encourage you to seek--and discover--God's guidance for your own life. For nothing on earth is sweeter than "the sound of His voice."

Fudge's story will have great value for all believers of God's Word. But it will be of greater interest to those coming from a background with Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches. I know I identify with his life because it is so similar to mine. This splendid book cleared up many things for me and answered numerous questions that I had entertained for years. Vickie in Oklahoma said,"I feel as if I had just received a precious, intimate letter from a dear friend! Thank you for putting this down on paper for me to read and savor and share!" Bruce in Ohio wrote, "I read it straight through in an evening and my wife finished it that same night. It is a deeply moving work."

Edward Fudge is a Bible teacher, preacher and practicing attorney living in Houston,Texas. You may purchase this book and others by visiting his website:

Jack Deere knew that once the Bible was complete, God had nothing left to say. That is, until he searched the Bible deeply enough to let it search him. What he found revolutionized his Christian walk...and it can transform yours as well.

Wayne Grudem is a Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology and a popular Bible teacher at the church I attend every week. In commenting on Deere's book, Grudem said, "An excellent book--biblical, practical, entertaining, and wise. Jack Deere does not give us some special technique for hearing God's voice; instead, he tells us how to develop a relationship with a Person and how to know his voice in that relationship. This book will help both young Christians and mature saints in their daily walk with God."

HEARING GOD By Dallas Willard
Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline said, "The best book on divine guidance I have ever read. I recommend it highly." Bill Hybels, author of Too Busy Not to Pray, wrote, "Few books have challenged me like this one. I would urge every serious-minded Christian to read your own risk." I strongly agree with both these men and recommend this book.


LET GOD TALK TO YOU: When You Hear Him You Will Never Be The Same by Becky Tirabassi



Saturday, August 29, 2009

I picked up The Sound of His Voice by Edward Fudge and began reading. I only intended to read for a short period of time. When I put the book down I had finished reading the entire book. This splendid book is about the guidance of God in our lives. In prayer I confessed to God that I had not been as open to His leading as I should have been and that I truly did want Him to lead me.

I walked downstairs and looked out the front door. I saw that the UPS person had left a small box that neither my wife nor I knew had been delivered. It contained a book that I had forgotten that I had requested. I am a book reviewer. The book is Let God Talk To You: When You Hear Him You Will Never Be The Same BY Becky Tirabassi. This is a book about the guidance of God in our lives.

Earlier in the week I received You Were Born For This : 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles by Bruce Wilkinson. This is also a book about how God guides our lives in doing His work in helping others.

For most of my life I have believed that God only"speaks" to us through His Word. I no longer believe that. I now believe He directs us, if we allow Him to, in more ways than one. God has not gone away and left us with just a book, as great as it is, to guide us. As the old song says: "All the way my Savior leads me: What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt his tender mercy, Who thro' life has been my guide?"

Bruce Wilkinson wrote: "God is not sitting back while the centuries tick by, merely listening to angel choirs."

If you long for a closer connection to God, then talk to Him and listen for His "voice."

(In the next few days and weeks I will be reviewing: The Sound of His Voice by Edward Fudge; Let God Talk To You by Becky Tirabassi; Hearing God by Dallas Willard and You Were Born For This by Bruce Wilkinson)


Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. ---Walter Elliott

Fall seven times, stand up eight. ---Japanese Proverb

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down. ---Mary Pickford

He struck out 1330 times. But that isn't what we remember about Babe Ruth. His 714 home runs completely obliterated the strike-outs. ---Harold Helfer, Kiwanis Magazine


Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh, the comfort--the inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words--but pouring them
All right out--just as they are--
Chaff and grain together--
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them--
Keep what is worth keeping--
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

Dinah Maria Murlock Craik


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Being the last living child out of seven, I sometimes feel lonely.

My nephew, Michael and his wife, Kathy have been visiting from California.

We had not seen them for over thirty years.

Michael is my sister's third child. When we were growing up. He lived in Florida and I lived in Oklahoma.

We have both reached the age that we realize the importance of family.

They left this morning to return home to California. They took a piece of my heart with them.

Yes, it's sad when love ones leave. But it reminds me of the old saying, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." What a loss if they hadn't come.

An old mother I know, used to say to her son when he was leaving from a visit to her home, "Love to see you come--hate to see you go."



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: REDEMPTION by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley

Redemption is the first Karen Kingsbury book that I have read. I knew she was a New York Times best-selling author, but I thought her books were romance novels for women. Although that's not altogether bad, I just thought it wasn't for me. Redemption is definitely a page-turner. I found it difficult to put down. It is a good book with a good story line.

When Kari Baxter Jacobs finds out that her husband is involved in an adulterous relationship and wants a divorce, she decides she will love him and remain faithful to her marriage at all costs. This books shows how God can redeem seemingly hopeless relationships, and it illustrates one of Gary Smalley's key messages: Love is a decision.

Redemption is the first book in the five-book Redemption series that Gary and Karen will write about the Baxter family--their fears and desires, their strengths and weaknesses, their losses and victories. Each book explores key relationship themes as well as the larger theme of redemption, both in characters' spiritual lives and in their relationships.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about relating to family and friends and working out a troubled marriage.


Monday, August 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: RELIGIONS of the Stars by Richard Abanes

Religions of the Stars is a fascinating look at what celebrities believe.

You've probably heard that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and Madonna follows the teachings of the Kabbalah. And you know that Oprah Winfrey is very spiritual. But what does it all mean? And more important, how does it affect you? Why is Scientology such a controversial religion? What does the Kabbalah teach? Which faiths are embraced by Richard Gere, Marie Osmond, Ashton Kutcher, and many other celebrities? How does Christianity line up with the popular religions of Hollywood? Inside this book you'll find the answers to these questions and more.

Norman L. Geisler, Distinguished Professor of Theology and Apologetics and co-founder of Veritos Evangelical Seminary said, "This book is a long-overdue and illuminating look at the various faiths being espoused by today's most influential celebrities." Todd Wilken, Radio talk show host wrote, "Albanes employs a researcher's skill, examining our celebrated people and their religious beliefs. Then he applies the apologist's art, gently evaluating those beliefs in light of the Christian faith."

We need to be aware of how today's Hollywood spirituality affects the movies and televison programs we see, as well as how our children might be influenced by the way these religions are portrayed in the media. Richard Abanes--former Broadway performer and television/film actor--blends his knowledge of the entertainment industry and his expertise in the area of world religions and pop culture in this intriguing examination of the religious beliefs embraced by various Hollywood stars.

I found this book interesting and informative. Even though I am older and my children are grown, I still have a concern for others. I recommend this book for all young families.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Courage does not panic; it prays. Courage does not bemoan; it believes. Courage does not languish; it listens. It listens to the voice of God calling through Scripture, "Fear not!" It hears Christ's voice comforting through the hospital corridors, graveyards, and war zones:

Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven. (Matt. 9:2)

Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid. (Matt. 14:27)

When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don't panic. (Matt. 24:6 MSG)

Let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:1)

Don't let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NCV)

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)

Don't be afraid. (Luke 12:7 NIV)

(From Max Lucado's tremendous, new book, Fearless)


We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Some people walk around, and it's almost as though they have a black cloud following them. If they receive a bad report from the doctor, they've practically planned their own funeral by the end of the day. If their business has been a little slow, they are certain they'll be the first one to get laid off. Rather than discipline their thought life and do what the Scripture says, they panic and always find themselves defeated,failing, and struggling.

It is not honoring to God to go around with a nagging, negative feeling, always thinking that something is wrong. You may not even know why you do it, but you tend to think that things are never going to work out well for you. That attitude will keep you from believing for the good things of God. Live in faith, not in fear.

(From Your Best Life Begins Each Morning--Devotions to Start Every Day of the Year by Joel Osteen.)


Friday, August 21, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: FEARLESS--Imagine Your Life Without Fear by Max Lucado

I have removed my review for this wonderful book until September 8 at the request of Thomas Nelson, the publisher. A blog tour is planned for this book and all reviews will be posted at the same time. Clif


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Many of us are looking for something but we can't quite make up our minds what it is.

Robert Louis Stevenson said it best: "The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life."

That's good. That's very good!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BOOK REVIEW -- THE GREAT RESCUE: The Story Of God's Amazing Grace by Edward William Fudge

Edward Fudge is a gifted storyteller. His excellent book, The Great Rescue tells the story of the redemptive activity of God in seeking out sinful humans and bringing them back to himself.

James E. Sweeney, Provost and Professor of Pastoral Theology, Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon said, "The Great Rescue is at once a gripping novel and a compelling theology text. It unfolds the sweeping panorama of God's redemptive work, taking the reader literally from Genesis to Revelation. The resulting picture is truly a masterpiece of grace." Clark Pinnock, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: author of Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit wrote, "The church needs helpful teachers like Edward Fudge to issue constructive proposals setting forth the Christian faith in the round. Fudge has the gift of making God's word fresh and his book is characterized by a Christlike spirit and a generous orthodoxy."

For years I have been reading books and articles by Edward Fudge. I am constantly amazed at his knowledge and insight of God's Word. To tell the story of God's grace from Genesis to the end of the Book of Revelation in a way that keeps the average person interested is not an easy thing to do. Fudge accomplishes that in his splendid book, The Great Rescue. For forty-seven years I told God's story from the pulpit. I was always excited to do it. Now, retired from full-time work with the church, I am thrilled to be able to help Edward Fudge tell God's story by recommending his book.

Edward Fudge is a Bible teacher and practicing attorney living in Houston. His internet publication, graceEmail, regularly encourages thousands of believes across Christendom and around the world. You can visit his website:


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When I arrived at the church to become the new minister the church was struggling financially--going under.

I couldn't make "heads or tails" out of the financial picture as drawn up by our accountant.

I said, "Just write two things on the back of a brown paper bag: 1. This is how much we owe. 2. This is how much we have.

It took awhile but we straightened things out and today the church is doing great.


We need to just clean up the program we already have. You couldn't write it on a brown paper bag---well maybe a BIG brown bag you could. But you could write it down on a dozen pages. Just state the changes that need to be made in plain English and then JUST DO IT!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Splashing in the pools on our street came in with a bang.

It went out with a whimper.

School resumed today. The summer vacation is over.

Yesterday after church and lunch, Charlotte and I were splashing in our pool.

No splishing, splashing or squealing from any yard around us. Deathly quiet.

Just a wrinkled, old man and an old but young looking woman frolicking around in their pool acting like a couple of kids but knowing they're not.



Saturday, August 15, 2009

(I often quote from other sources and make it as clear as I can that the thoughts are not original with me or not my own experience. Regardless, there are always a few readers who misunderstand and think that I wrote the article or that I am talking about myself. PLEASE understand the preacher in the following story is NOT ME! The story teller is William Willimon, Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University and the story is from his book, The Last Word)

A deep, irrational fear grips every preacher--the fear of inadvertently saying something inappropriate, tasteless, suggestive, or just plain stupid while preaching.

There is no way to get out of the sermonic sermon slip, no matter how hard you try. You can't go back and explain. It is best to have the congregation immediately stand for the benediction.

I was preaching in a large auditorium in the West. Jet lag had taken its toll--at least that's the best excuse I can find. The person who introduced me had told the crowd of students that I was a great preacher, much in demand, interesting, controversial, and expensive. The pressure was on.

I launched into my sermon, a simple piece unworthy of such an extravagant introduction. "When the sermon is weak, say it louder," somebody once told me. So I was loud, emotional, passionate.
"And what is the most significant event our faith has to offer?" I asked. "The erection!" I bellowed.

Someone in the front row screamed.

"I mean the resurrection!" I said the correct word at least twelve more times. It didn't seem to do any good. Church was out."


Friday, August 14, 2009

School is starting again in our area.

When I was young (Elementary School) I hated for the summer to end and school to start.

And then in Junior High and High School, I started loving school. Is that the way it is with most people? I don't know.

And now, (I will soon be 75) every year when school starts--I find myself longing for days gone by.

My first day of school was horrible. I was so scared I had a sore throat. The teacher rubbed some kind of salve on my throat and told me I would be alright. I wasn't alright. I wanted to go home.

Lawton High School (Oklahoma) I loved it. Cameron Junior College (Lawton, Oklahoma) I loved it. Abilene Christian College (Texas) I loved. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, CA.) I loved it. Pepperdine College (Los Angeles, now University in Malibu) I loved it.

Yes, school is hard work and there are many things not to like. But it is also fun and oh so necessary to becoming all you can be.

The class of 2009/2010 will be great! I pray!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paul Harvey was a good man.

I am reading a book about his life. The one thing, to me, that stands out in his life more than any other, is integrity.

"To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest." --Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." --Roy Disney

"Who you are, what your values are, what you stand for...They are your anchor, your north star. You won't find them in a book. You'll find them in your soul." --Anne Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO, Xerox.

Integrity is one of the greatest needs of today. Where in the world has it gone?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There is a plaque at the University of California, Santa Cruz that proclaims: "The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends."

I like that. I like it a lot! (LOL Sally)

I claimed that as my motto for every church I worked with.

I felt like that's what I was doing for forty-seven years--pursuing truth in the company of friends.

Those were wonderful days. I couldn't have been happier. I enjoyed every day. Sure there were days of frustration, disappointment--sorrow, but most of all it was a wild adventure with God.

I love the church and I want you to love it too. Sure, the church will mess up and break your heart at times. We all understand that. It's made up of people! People just like you and me.

The question from "The Way We Were" is: "If we could do it all again, would we? Could we?....Memories..."

My answer is: "Absolutely. I would do it all again. For me, that's what it's all about: "The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends."


Monday, August 10, 2009


Dr. Larry Crabb, a member of the church for decades, author, speaker, and counselor found himself longing for the church to be something more than it many times is. I was surprised by his statement, "Church as I know it usually leaves deep parts of me dormant, unawakened, and untouched...I don't much like going to church."

For millions of Americans, church is a relic of past generations. For millions more, it's a habit that defines one day each week. Whether formal or contemporary, liberal or evangelical, it is an institution with buildings and employees and rules and promises and marketing campaigns.

Inside this book, Dr. Crabb uncovers the weaknesses that handicap modern churches--attributes that many would laud as professional achievements. He then carefully depicts a new paradigm--practical, philosophical and refreshing: "Is church a ragtag assortmen of folks who want to hear the beautiful story that God is whispering, who want to love like Jesus so they can join the story and advance its plot...who want to hang out with others who don't love all that well but who, in their brokenness, admit it and long to change; who are willing, and eventually eager, to get involved in a messed-up world with messed-up people...because they believe that every moment of loving well makes the world... a little more of what God has in mind?"

John Ortberg, author and pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church said, "In Real Church, Larry Crabb is voicing questions a lot of people feel but may not ask aloud. It is time to ask." Dallas Willard, author, The Divine Conspiracy, wrote, "Larry Crabb's Real Church burns with passionate clarity for what the people of Jesus Christ on earth could be--must be...Dare we go there? Dare we not?"
Real Church is provcative and inspiring. It will redefine what it means to be a healthy church--and will propel you to find one.


BOOK REVIEW - THE FRIENDS WE KEEP--A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis

Why are women's friendships so tricky? During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful--and wounding--women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah's thoughtful account of her own experiences and those of other women in navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:
*Why do we long for women friends?
*Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
*What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
*How do we foster friendship?
*When is it time to let a friend go, and how do we do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why women need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in a relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Being a man I hesitated to read and review a book about a woman's quest for the soul of friendship. But two things convinced me to give it a try: 1. Sarah is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University. I have had a love affair going with Pepperdine since I received my Master's Degree in Bible from there and my son and daughter are both graduates. 2. She is the daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, who is one of my favorite people. I am so glad I decided to read this excellent book. I recommend it to any woman wanting to be a friend and have friends.

The Friends We Keep is a part of the 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries. Each book in the series includes six 40 minute studies designed to draw you into God's Word through basic inductive Bible study. Learn more about this series at


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Attention is one of the most powerful forces in the world.

One of the great miracles of life is that God pays attention to us.

This is partly why the writers of Scripture speak so often of God's face.

To turn your face toward someone is to give that person your whole-hearted, undivided attention.
It is not the casual listening of a preoccupied mind. It is a statement: "I have nothing else to do, nowhere I'd rather be. I'm fully devoted to being with you."

This is the kind of attention God lavishes on us.

(Adapted from Love Beyond Reason by John Ortberg)


Sweet friend, when you and I are gone
Beyond earth's weary labor,
When small shall be our need of grace
From comrade or from neighbor,
Then hands that would not lift a stone,
Where stones were thick to cumber
Our steep hill path, will scatter flowers
Above our pillowed slumber.

Sweet friend, perchance both thou and I,
Ere love is past forgiving,
Should take the earnest lesson home---
Be patient with the living.
Today's repressed rebuke may save
Our blinding tears tomorrow.
Then patience, e'en when keenest edge
May whet a nameless sorrow.

'Tis easy to be gentle when
Death's silence shames our clamor,
And easy to discern the best,
Through memory's mystic glamour;
But wise it were for thee and me,
Ere love is past forgiving,
To take the earnest lesson home---
Be patient with the living.

Margaret E. Sangster


Friday, August 07, 2009

10 Tips to Creating a New Life Direction
By Laura Berman Fortgang,
Author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

1. Make a list of all you can't stand about work/life
Those who are really stuck may complain that they don't know what they want. Not true. Make a list of all you do not want or like about your current situation and you will find on the flip side, something you DO want! Write it down.

2. Recognize that ALL change (good or bad) means loss
The 'evil' we know is sometimes less scary than the 'evil' we don't know. It is normal to be afraid to make a change because of what you stand to lose. However, the only way is forward, so you might as well accept whatever perceived loss of status, money or identity and realize that more happiness awaits. In fact, if everyone else is telling you you are crazy for making a change, you are on the right track!

3. Reframe 'I can't!' to 'I can!'
"I'm not good enough." "I'm too old." "I'm not qualified." NOT TRUE! Look for examples in your life, your surroundings, in the media or in books of people who have done things against the odds and use those examples as symbols of what's possible for you. Change your vocabulary and watch your results change.

4. Understand how the past got you stuck today
Many of us make vows when we are young that get us stuck as adults. "I'll never be like my parents!" "I won't be poor!" "I'll show them!" Whatever it is, the motivation you chose at some early point worked but is no longer working now. Determine what your old motivation for your life was, decide if it still serves you and if not, CHANGE it. Fast!

5. Realize that discovering your 'purpose' does not have to be hard or grand
Many people, when searching for direction in their life may also be putting their life's purpose into question. Most make the mistake of thinking they have to have a Mother Teresa-level of purpose to rate. It's just not true and that likely keeps you stuck or suffering. Who you are everyday and what you do naturally (whether it fits your job description or not) is your purpose. How you affect others positively is your purpose. What you contribute that is uniquely you is your purpose. It's right under your nose. Recognize it and try to make it central to whatever you do next.

6. Gain a criteria for happiness
Most people know they are not satisfied but really lack clear criteria for what will make them happy. Humans feel satisfied when their needs are met and they don't have to compromise their values. Write down what you truly need (emotionally, not financially) and value. Do you need stability? Honesty? Recognition? Do you value spirituality? Adventure? Education? These are not optional. Get purposeful about getting these things in your life and new directions become clear.

7. Research ALL that interests you
List all fields, jobs, careers, or areas of interest. Choose no more than three at a time to research. Besides the internet, try to talk to people who will let you have an informational interview or give you the real scoop on the areas you are interested in. A process of elimination will begin and one particular area may get traction through luck and coincidence that starts to feel like the front-runner.

8. Tell the truth about your money life
Money is usually the first thing that stops people from pursuing what they truly want. Don't let it stop you. Get straight with your money. Even if it's painful to see, know what you have and don't. Don't let it stop you. Moonlight, borrow or barter to move toward your new direction.

9. Put Yourself in Opportunity's Way
It's time to push the envelope. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone and get out there. See opportunity where it is -- everywhere -- and don't be shy about asking for favors or things that seem pushy. There are great rewards out there when you put yourself on the line.

10.Create a Plan and Get Support
Make a timeline for how you are going to cross over into something new. It usually takes 1-3 years to fully transition into a new direction. Don't fret. Make a monthly plan and get plenty of cheerleaders around you. No naysayers! Hire a coach or get a group of like minded folks around you and you will be settled in a new, satisfying direction before you know it.

And note: Unbearable situations seem more bearable when you know you are on your way out. Hang in there!

©2009 Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

Author Bio

Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction, is a pioneer in the life-coaching profession. A renowned speaker and the president and owner of InterCoach, Inc., a full-service life-coaching business that works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, she is also the author of The Little Book on Meaning, Living Your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

We all need that special person we can count on, no matter what.

So if you don't have someone whom you can love and rely upon, ask God to bring someone to you.

Everyone who accomplishes something extraordinary has had encouragement from someone.

Being a friend to someone is one of the best gifts you could give, reaching out in love and in kindness.

The key? Show your friends how much you care, and you will have friends for life!

Express gratitude to God for someone who has enriched your life in an extra-special way. Then, tell that person how much you love and appreciate him or her. By doing so, you will have begun a chain of goodness that can be passed on and on and on.

(Read and adapted from God Will Do The Rest by Catherine Galasso-Vigorito)


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The twitter question is: "What are you doing?"

I have never liked to be asked this question.

Also, I think it's boring.

BUT, it is an important question for us to ask ourselves.

--Annie Dillard


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

BOOK REVIEW--THE WOMAN WHO NAMED GOD--Abraham's Dilemma And The Birth Of Three Faiths By Charlotte Gordon

The Woman Who Named God is one of the most provocative, challenging, and informative books I have read in many months. And I read many books every month. It is a compelling, thoughtful take on one of the Bible's most troubling love stories.

Charlotte Gordon tells the story of three biblical characters, racked with the very modern ailments of jealousy, fear, passion, and self-doubt. This is a story of fidelity abandonment, birthright and expulsion. The saga of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is the origin for three monotheistic faiths.

Gordon graduated from Harvard College and received a master's degree in creative writing and a PhD in history and literature from Boston University. She has taught a Boston University's School of Theology and is currently an assistant professor of English at Endicott College.

Now for a warning! Most of the visitors to my blog are conservative Christians. This is good. I like that. I have no problem with that at all. However, since I know how some of you react to words like: myth, legend, Islam, Mohammed and a host of other words, I feel the need to warn you that those words are in this book. If you can be open minded and trust yourself to read and profit from differing views, then you will enjoy this book. If not, you may be scared out of your wits. So don't try it. Don't sign up for a copy of this book unless you think you can handle it. Good! Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you again that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned from it.

This is a beautiful, hardcover, readable, scholarly book that five of you will be adding to your library.


The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please.
  • You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments August 18 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).


Monday, August 03, 2009



Saturday, August 01, 2009

A king offered a prize to the artist who could best paint a picture of peace. Many artists submitted their work, and from them the king selected two pictures he was quite fond of. "I shall choose between these," the king announced.

In the first scene was a calm, undisturbed lake surrounded by tall, serene mountains. Overhead was a tranquil blue sky with beautiful puffy,white clouds. It looked like the perfect representation of peace.

The second picture had mountains in it as well. But these mountains were rugged and harsh. Above the mountains was a murky, dark sky filled with rain that beat down on all below. Stark lightning bolts streaked through the sky. The depiction did not seem peaceful at all.

But when the king stared more closely at the picture , he saw a tiny green bush at the side of the dark mountain. Inside the bush the artist had portrayed a mother bird building her nest, sheltered from the raging storm around her.

The king unhesitatingly selected the second picture as the winner.

"Why?" you may ask.

The king explained his reasoning: "Peace does not have to be where there is no noise, confusion, or trouble. The real meaning of peace is existing in the midst of turmoil and still holding hope and contentment in your heart."

(I recently read this story in God Will Do The Rest by Catherine Galasso-Vigorito.)