Am reading a fantastic book for Lent by a woman who serves in ministry in the Anglican Church in their home parish in Pittsburgh, PA. She is another C.S. Lewis in her ability to take complex spiritual experiences and capture them with poignant and contemporary images. Her personal honesty and vulnerability make the work eminently readable and relatable. Tish Harrison Warren is author of Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep. It is half spiritual memoir (my favorite genre of writing at this time of my life) and half prayer manual. The structure is based on the Compline service in the Book of Common Prayer, a service the author has grown particularly drawn to and even dependent upon.Continue reading
Category Archives: Books
Redeeming the Educated Fool
Clean Tuesday of First Week of Great Lent
“Cuz you can go to your college and you can go to your school. If you ain’t got Jesus you’re just an educated fool and that’s all.”Denomination Blues by the 77’s
I love spiritual memoirs. Seems like I am always finishing one right before the start of Great Lent. This year is no exception as I polished off Eric Metaxas‘ very witty and inspiring story of his coming to Jesus called A Fish Out of Water. There is so much in this book I identify with. A son of two immigrants from the vastly different countries of Germany and Greece, Eric always had difficulty fitting in wherever he went. As an intellectual phenom, he was promoted a grade early on which added to his awkwardness since he was almost always the youngest in his age group. After he achieved his dream of graduating from Yale, he hunted about searching for life’s deeper purpose waiting to be “discovered” for the brilliant person he thought himself to be. In the end, a coworker from a dead end corporate job introduces him to Jesus and the idea that God is not just some remote being but a Person interested in having a relationship with him.Continue reading
Unicorn Diaries is a book about a unicorn named Rainbow Tinstletail, but unicorns call her Bo. She lives in Sparklegrove Forest and learns in Sparklegrove School. Her teacher’s name is Mr. Rumptwinkle. Each unicorn has a unicorn power; Bo’s power is that she can grant one wish every week.
Here are some fun facts about unicorns. First, they glow when they are scared or nervous. Second, when they snore, it sounds like music. Finally, rainbows fly out of their hooves when they dance.Continue reading
Our Favorite Christmas Picture Book
It never ceases to amaze us every Christmas season how many good picture books are out there. But there is one I wish to draw attention to as it gives due praise to our often overlooked first responder, the cop on the beat. Cop’s Night Before Christmas has delightful illustrations and continues the Santa Claus legend with a jolly St. Nick adapted to police officers, complete with, not a sleigh but a Christmas helicopter! Best of all, it was actually written by a police officer, Michael D. Harrison. So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
A Story About Friends
Best Friends is a new book about a beautiful girl named Shannon who is also the author. Shannon lives in a small house with two sisters and a brother and two parents. Her older sister Wendy moved to Los Angeles to become a model.
Shannon has two best friends Jen and Adrienne. In Shannon’s school there was a girl named Jenny who is very mean to Shannon. Jen and Jenny were best friends first, but then Adrienne moved to another school and Shannon was left alone. Next year, Jen and Shannon became best friends. Shannon thought Jenny and her could be friends too, but Jenny was still mean to Shannon.Continue reading
The Deliciousness of Redemption
When I was a boy, my heroes were Christian missionaries who journeyed to primitive tribes in remote places on the globe, learned the language and culture of the locals, created an alphabet for that tribe, then translated the Scriptures into that newly discovered language. I thought perhaps someday God might call me to such a work, so I studied classical languages as a basis for all untranslated tongues. Though I never became a missionary of this type, the work of translating and communicating the Gospel to an unreached people continues to interest me.Continue reading
Dude! you have got to read this book, Ivanhoe! But first I have to ask you a question. Have you ever read a Great Illustrated Classic? Because if you haven’t, you have got to! I have read half of them. My favorite scene in it is when the bad guys are trying to escape their flaming castle. The only exit is blocked by the Black Knight, an insanely skilled fighter (they had already tasted his wrath).
The bad guy knight had to challenge him because he had no way out. His squire exclaimed, “Dude, it is like you are challenging the devil himself.!” Read this book and find out how the good guys prevail.
Reordering Our Disordered Desires
At the beginning of another journey through Great Lent, I would like to offer this review of a book I recently finished. Please forgive and pray for me a sinner, and may our good God have mercy on us and forgive us all. Veliki Post! Kali Tessarakosti! Blessed Lenten journey to you all!
Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”C. S. Lewis’ demon Screwtape
A better description of our current culture’s infatuation with sex and the diminishing returns of unfettered promiscuity has never been so well put. And now with the publication of her most recent spiritual memoir, award-winning author Carolyn Weber describes how to reorder these disordered pleasures and loves in line with what St. Augustine called the City of God. In Sex and the City of God (SCG), Caro (as her close friends call her) provides a personal and powerful roadmap through a variety of sexual temptations including idolization of the beloved, casual hookups with friends, and one of the most devastating of all temptations, adultery. With a sharp wit and creative literary inspiration, this English professor narrates the details of her own love life and illumines all of her various relationships with the eternal truths of Scripture and the Holy Fathers.Continue reading
Nancy’s New Playhouse
I am Nancy, and this is my friend Bree. My grandpa and my dad are going to make a new playhouse and I am very excited because I am planning a party to celebrate.
“Oh no!” I say, “Here comes Grace!”
“I have a playhouse too,” she says. “And my playhouse is much better than yours.” Then she went away on her bike.Continue reading
The Difference Between Safety and Salvation
Scrooge then made bold to inquire what business brought the spirit to him. “Your welfare!” said the Ghost. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. The Spirit must have heard him thinking, for it said immediately— “Your reclamation, then. Take heed!”A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
As the coronavirus continues to surge across the nation and many states are rolling back on their reopening plans, it becomes harder and harder to celebrate the Advent and Christmas season with the fullness it deserves. But the answer encapsulated above in the Spirit’s response to Scrooge reminds us that welfare, comfort and safety is not the chief goal of Advent or what the Orthodox Church calls the Nativity fast. Scrooge was violently ripped away from his commercial comfort zone because his business dealings were killing his soul. His night long journey deep into his own soul is what ultimately led to Scrooge’s reclamation, or in other words, his salvation.Continue reading