Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review of Atheist Delusions

This book is written as a response to "The God Delusion" and some of the other books by the "new atheists." It focuses on the history of Christianity and takes on some of the typical arguments that atheists use. It's not easy reading, but I did learn a lot through this book.

You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Favorite October Poems

I love October. There's something about it that makes people want to write poetry.  Two of my favorite poems are about October.  I've combined these two autumn poems with some original photos, most of which were taken in my own neighborhood.  (These poems are both old enough to be in the public domain, so there is no copyright infringement.)

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;      
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,      
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;      
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—      
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Sociology of Earbuds

Earbuds (and the iPods/mp3 players attached to them) have changed the world. I admit, I’m guilty myself. While walking my dog or commuting on the bus, I get bored. I’m not much for music in my ear. (I prefer to listen to music in the air, not through earbuds.) But I love podcasts.  For me it’s mostly recordings from AncientFaith Radio and occasionally Mushing Magazine.  (Yeah, I’m a bit odd.)

Here we are, crammed in a bus, but no one communicates. I sit next to someone, so close that we have to tense up to keep from touching, but yet neither one acknowledges the other; we both are in the world of our recordings.  It’s just not right.

So sometimes I rebel. I’ve made friends with the morning bus driver. We’re usually the only ones talking on the bus. I’m not sure what the others think of our chattering.  But the driver tells me she looks forward to picking me up each day.

But I still plug in on my evening commute. A couple of days ago I sat down and plugged in as usual. A young woman sat close to me. I smiled at her. I recognized her from somewhere.  But I was already plugged in, so I didn’t say anything.  Then the bus stopped and waited while a young girl gathered her musical instrument and backpack and got off the bus. We watched her, our eyes showing our concern for the young girl riding the bus alone.

When she had gotten off, I paused my podcast, looked at the young woman and said, “She seems kind of young to riding the bus by herself.”

That comment started a conversation.  I asked the young woman where I knew her from, and she said it was just from the bus. (I still think I know her from somewhere else, perhaps the Table, where I eat lunch frequently, but she could be right.) We exchanged names, I asked her what she was studying, she asked about my job, where I lived, what I was listening to. I made a new friend on the bus, and I look forward to seeing her again. 

What a concept: Making a new friend on the bus. It used to happen all the time; but now it’s an oddity.  And it makes me concerned for the future of our society.
Maybe I’ll unplug more often.

Review of Faith Reborn: A Personal Apologetics

I love true stories. Telling a story - especially a true story or testimonial - is one of the best ways to communicate. This story of a man's recovery of faith is told from the heart. But it's more than a story. It's an explanation of some of the best reasons for the Christian faith. I recommend it for anyone who is struggling to believe.

You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

Review of Spiritual Anorexia: How Contemporary Worship Is Starving the Church

I urge everyone to read this book. It will open your eyes to what is ailing today's church. This book is a welcome change from the modern "seeker friendly" philosophy that pervades our churches. If we worship a holy God, then our worship needs to reflect that. The modern church is missing out on a rich and beautiful tradition that dates back two thousand years to the time of Christ and the apostles. Reading this book will introduce you to that tradition and bring a fresh perspective on the meaning of worship.

 You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

True Tales of the Unexplained Book Review

True Tales of the Unexplained Book Review
A pastor writing about ghosts, UFOs, werewolves, demons and other paranormal manifestations? Sounds impossible? Not when the author is Robin Swope, the "paranormal pastor," whose blog has an avid following. This book is an easy--and interesting--read. It also suffers from the lack of editing so common in most self-published books, including some spots where it's obvious that the writing first appeared in a blog. But if you can look past those flaws, you'll find a fascinating book.

You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

That's One Determined Dog

Another great dog video I found. We could all learn something from Gus's determination.