Bad news (for me): I just bought this book last week from amazon.com, and it’s too late to cancel the order. Oh well. At least in this case, the good news far outweighs the bad news!
One of the finest reading habits to cultivate is to look up words that you encounter along the way if you are unfamiliar with them.
Problem: In some circumstances following this ideal advice is unrealistic, especially if a dictionary is not conveniently at your disposal.
Solution: This is yet another reason that I prefer reading e-books with the Libronix Digital Library System, launched and owned by Logos Bible Software. (See my related post on Logos’ Scholar’s Library: Gold.) When I encounter an unfamiliar word, I simply right-click on it and instantly locate it in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Last weekend Jenni and I listened to Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom, another first-class presentation by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. (Cf. my previous post on The Life of Jesus.) It is moving. It impressed me with how little the contemporary American church knows of persecution and how dispassionate we can be for the gospel. An edifying listen.
Disclaimer: I’m not expert in Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s theology. I’ve read a lot about him and only a little by him (i.e., his Letters and Papers from Prison, rev. ed., ed. Eberhard Bethge; trans. Reginald Fuller; rev. Frank Clarke and others [New York: Macmillan, 1967]). Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) is notoriously difficult to categorize theologically because his writings are sporadic rather than systematic. The work that I read is by far his most influential one (the New Dictionary of Theology calls it “one of the most influential theological documents of the century”), and it has inspired those holding diverse theological viewpoints spanning from conservative evangelicals to “death of God” theologians. The reason so many theologies could claim Bonhoeffer as inspirational is that his letters contain vague, serviceable terminology such as “worldly holiness” (p. 201), “world come of age” (the most frequent such phrase in his letters), and “religionless Christianity” (pp. 152-57, 172, 178-79). Although I do not appreciate Bonhoeffer’s seed theology (i.e., as I now understand it with the relatively little exposure I’ve had), I highly respect him for his courageous martyrdom and events that led to it.
Kevin Bauder‘s recent five-part series on a Christian view of theater is worth reading. He provocatively lays out some issues that are fundamental to discussing the controversial issue, and he raises a number of questions that he leaves unanswered (for now at least). I haven’t thought about the issue at the level he has, so I’m open to adjusting my view of theater. As of yet, however, I’m not convinced that it is a medium that Christians should completely avoid.
Series title: Fundamentalists and Theater
“To love both frees the lover from himself
And binds him to the loved; so to be loved
Is to become a god who stands above
The lover as the lover’s choicest wealth.
But the love’s sweet freedom brings a double stealth,
An unseen chain, when god’s the world, and love
Is lust, and pride of life’s a grace: the loved,
This pampered god, is surreptitious self.
A million billion trillion years from now,
The gods pursued so hotly in our day
Will find no selfish slaves to scrape and bow:
The world and its desires all pass away.
Alone th’eternal God transforms, forgives:
And he who does God’s will forever lives.”
D. A. Carson, Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 109.
A sonnet on 1 John 2:15-17:
Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστίν. καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.
Yesterday while traveling for most of the day, Jenni and I listened to The Life of Jesus: Dramatic Eyewitness Accounts from the Luke Reports. This is one of many first-class productions by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. These CDs are great long-term investments for your family. Unlike videos, these require (and help develop) a lot of imagination.
The Life of Jesus series is creative and well-done. It’s over eight hours long altogether, and its reconstruction is based on Luke’s Gospel (cf. Luke 1:1-4).
The basic plot is this: Paul is in jail in Rome, and Luke is with him. A Roman senator is sympathetic and asks Luke to travel to Palestine to compile a record of the life of Jesus in order to make the Roman emperor more sympathetic to Paul’s cause so that Paul will be released. This Roman senator’s code name is Theophilus. Luke’s mission is to interview as many primary sources (i.e., people who had direct contact with Jesus) as he can, and his travels are full of action and suspense. (They’re probably over-dramatic and at times pushing the envelope, e.g., Luke casts demons out of a magician, and such like–but I don’t want to spoil the plot by listing much more.) The plot gets a little complicated, especially if you listen to the whole series without much of a break. Overall: creative, stimulating, thought-provoking, enjoyable.