Archive for October, 2009

Entertaining Novels Full of Gospel Truth

October 26, 2009

(to Stephen Burch)

Jake Colsen’s SO YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE? available as a free download at http://www.JakeColsen.com (you can also read the theological/analytical version by Wayne Jacobson [half of the psuedonym Jake Colsen, the other half being David Coleman] THE NAKED TRUTH, also available as a free download at http://www.WayneJacobson.com. I also love any of Ted Dekker’s novels [he co-wrote BLESSED CHILD and A MAN CALLED BLESSED with Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, plus about 20-30 more; I especially like his trilogies BLACK/WHITE/RED and THUNDER OF HEAVEN, and there are spin-offs from those even), C.S. Lewis’s PERELANDRA trilogy and SCREWTAPE LETTERS, Hannah Hurnard’s HIND’S FEET ON HIGH PLACES and MOUNTAINS OF SPICES (both are actually allegories as great in my estimation as John Bunyan’s PILGRIM’S PROGRESS). Then of course, Frank Peretti novels [THIS PRESENT DARKNESS, etc.,], which to me get very “Twilight Zone” in nature toward the end [he also co-wrote HOUSE with Ted Dekker]. I’ve not read any, but I’m thinking Janette Oke has a number of romance novels. (I think the Laura Ingalls Wilder LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series fits her also). Even some of your classics like THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne (and any of his short stories), HEART OF DARKNESS  and LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Dostoyevsky, WAR AND PEACE and others by Tolstoy–the list goes on and on to include books like Dante’s DIVINE COMEDY–have major Christian themes. Do you want me to name more??? OK. Rick Joyner’s FINAL QUEST (one of top 50 best sellers of all time, and translated into 47 languages) and other books in that series. Of course, you know THE SHACK by William Paul Young. Wendy Alec (co-founder of GOD-TV) wrote JOURNAL OF THE UNKNOWN PROPHET, which is told from the vantage point of Jesus speaking; she has also written 2 in a series of 7 called CHRONICLES OF BROTHERS series, titled THE FALL OF LUCIFER and MESSIAH: THE FIRST JUDGMENT. There’s a book called THE SERVANT LEADER, or something like that, about business, but I can’t remember the author. There’s one called JOSHUA, the story of a modern-day Jesus, but, again, I can’t remember the author. Let me know when you get all these read…I’ll find some more for you! LOL

Oh, I forgot to include Andy Andrews THE TRAVELERS GIFT, THE LOST COIN, and ISLAND OF SAINTS (about the power of forgiveness).

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God-Tweets

October 23, 2009

God-Tweets 2Aug09

It struck me the other day that everyone’s obsession with “tweeting” (using Twitter incessantly), Facebook, RS feeds, etc., is essentially a desire for significance, for connecting, for being heard. If the goal of the ‘60’s was the fulfillment of Andy Warhol’s famous dictum, “Everyone has 15 minutes of fame,” then the goal of the current rage of internet commentary must be, “Everyone has 15 seconds of fame,” even if it’s only fame with 3 or 4 people, and spread over multiple “hits” (which term rings of drug-addition or mafia-elimination fame and may help explain some of the addiction to internet gaming—we all want to see ourselves as Al Capones, Bonnies & Clydes, or Robin Hoods of some sort).

Not that I am an expert by any means on any of this. But it also struck me that, if our desire is to have constant or significant notice and admiration from others, then that may well be one way in which we are made in God’s image. If so, then God also desires our attentions, and may very well—no, indeed, must—be continually trying to get our attention. In other words, God is always tweeting! How much we hear is dependent on how (and how well) we are connected, what “feeds” we get, and how well we are “reading” or listening to those feeds.

Someone has written several books about “God-winks,” instances where there is such undeniably unexpected and impossibly circumstantial connection that we have to conclude that God loves us and orchestrated such “coincidence.” Great concept, but I wonder if we don’t have to take it a bit further. The idea that makes a God-wink so desirable is its very unusual nature, something so rare and powerfully serendipitous that it’s undeniably “God.” But what if God is speaking in all the little things that we seldom notice: in the smile of the supermarket clerk, in the unnoticed smoothness of the events of a day simply coming together, in the unremembered dreams (both sleep-dreams and desire-dreams), in small ways, all the time, if we were to simply log on and read the feed. What if God is constantly “tweeting” us? What if all those little things are “God-tweets”?

What is we are simply missing most of them? What could we do to re-arrange our thinking, to re-construct our lives, so that we don’t miss them? Maybe it requires some radical re-arranging, or some DE-constructing, some simplifying and “down-sizing”? Maybe we’ve just tried to “supersize” everything too much. Maybe we’ve just gotten too dulled in our hearing and our thinking, too jaded from information-overload, from a diet too rich in incoming and self-induced stimuli, from too much “saturated data,” from simply “too much”…

Maybe. It’s a thought. Maybe it’s just a thought. But then, maybe it’s not.

Maybe the God of the universe is calling us—yet again—to “Be still and know that I AM God.” (Ps.46:10) Be still—get alone, get quiet, shut down the superabundance of stimuli—and simply sit. Wait. Get quiet. The New American Standard translates it, “Cease striving,” but The Message jumps out even more:

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

In another place, the Psalmist David says,

God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain.

I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans.

I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.

Like a baby in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. (Ps. 131:1-2, The Message)

Other versions speak of “a weaned child,” one no longer needing to be breast- or bottle-fed. It takes a bit of growing up to reach a point of foregoing immediate satisfaction for a longer-range goal. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t in touch with ourselves or visionary enough to know when we need to cut back or cut out, and even when we do, we aren’t disciplined enough to simply do it. We have to be forced into cutting back, forcibly down-sized or outsourced or whatever, even in little ways.

Regardless, God is still waiting, and He is always “tweeting.”