Monday, September 30, 2013

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung -- Book Review

I was too busy to read Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.  The full title of the book is Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. It was produced by Christian Audio.

I didn't actually read the book, I listened to the book thanks to Christian Audio. This book was read by Adam Verner.  He does a great job of capturing the feel of the book he is reading.  I always feel like I am actually listening to the author of the book when he is reading.

This book deals with the problem of business. ...and it is a problem.  We are too busy, or at least it feels that way.  This book seeks to first address the reasons why we are busy or feel busy. As he attempts to diagnose the problem of busyness, Kevin DeYoung freely acknowledges the reality that he does not stand above the problem, but is right in the middle of the problem. In so many ways, he hits the nail on the head as he describes the different realities of "why" we are busy.

Near the end of the book he quite appropriately addresses the fact that in some way are supposed to be busy.  As much as we might diagnose and treat our unnecessary busyness, there is still a sufficient amount of busyness that we should be all about.  The goal is not to eliminate the busyness, but to prioritize the activities in the middle of the busyness, i.e. are we spending time on what really counts?

My only difficulty in reading this book was the lack of addressing my own personal situation.  I am a full-time high school teacher at a local public school.  I teach geometry, calculus, and trigonometry.  I am also the senior pastor at a small local church. I don't need to add more, but I am also a husband and the father of two children.  I am (without surprise) busy. I would even say that I am "crazy busy" much of the time.  But I don't believe that I have taken on more that God has led me to accept in my life.  And I don't believe that there is anything that I can lay down right now.  So, taking a day off, doesn't happen all that often.  Much of what Kevin DeYoung says is still very helpful, but it comes up short in the specifics of my own situation. Bivocational Pastor will always be Crazy Busy... Is there a better way to handle my busyness?  Most likely, but I am not sure exactly what I can do differently, at least for now.

If you are busy in life, I suggest this book.  Especially the audio version, you can listen to it on your commute to work or while you are at the YMCA on the treadmill.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sequence Ravelled Out of Sound

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind --
As if my Brain had split --
I tried to match it -- Seam by Seam --
But could not make them fit. 
The thought behind, I strove to join
Unto the thought before --
But Sequence ravelled out of Sound
Like Balls -- upon a Floor

Emily Dickinson (1864)

These words ring true of my ADD mind.

Friday, September 20, 2013

education defined


EDUCA'TION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

with proper citation this time...
"education." Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. 2013. (20 September 2013).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Statement from the NEA (National Education Association)

“If the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.” 

Oh... did I fail to mention that this statement was made in 1892?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 years of blogging.

Somehow I have managed to maintain this blog for 10 full years.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Four Views of the End Times - Book Review

Four Views of the End Times is a rather short book.  It is meant to be a quick overview of the four predominant Biblical views of the End Times.  These four views center on the Biblical understanding of the Millenium and other apocalyptic prophecies normally found in the final book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. These four views are Dispensational Premillennialism, Historic Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism.

I know that the majority of people that I am acquainted with would be slightly surprised that there is more than one Christian view of the End Times. The view that is most popular today, in American culture is the view called, Dispensational Premillennialism. Most think that real Christian scholars are in agreement over this view, but they just don't know the timing of when these things will come to pass. End Times discussions that I overhear or are involved in tend to focus on this pervading thought that the rapture is going to happen any day now, and we can be assured of this because of the current events in the Middle East.

This book does an excellent job of describing the other three views and giving the facts regarding these views.  We learn the different time periods when different views were most popular. We also learn of different influential Christians who have held these different views throughout the ages.  Finally we learn much of the Biblical perspective on each of these views.

It is a short enough read that one could make it through the entire book in less than an hour, but you will still walk away from this book with a better understanding of our exploration of this fascinating topic.

If you are looking for a way to get a better grasp on the different views of the End Times, then I would highly suggest this book.

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton - Book Review

I have heard that I should read some G.K. Chesterton.  So I did.  I read Manalive and The Man Who Was Thursday.  I also read another one of his fictitious works, it might have been Lilith. But I have heard that I shouldn't just read his fiction, but one of his other works.  Recently I saw on a blog an encouragement to read Orthodoxy with a link to a free version on Amazon.

Orthodoxy is almost autobiographical, but not really.  It is a collection of thoughts that tell the story of Chesterton's journey away from Orthodox Christianity into truth, only to find that at the center of truth was Orthodox Christianity.

His writing style is fairly unique, and reminds me of C. S. Lewis.  There are references to names and ideas that are time-period specific, quaint little comments that I didn't understand, but gathered that his audience would have understood completely what he was talking about.  There is a whimsical edge to his words, but there is also a deep and profound logic to what he is saying.

I don't think that I could write a review that does this book justice, so I am going to share one of my favorite sections with you:

The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.  
The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. 
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. 
I think he may be right.