A Christian Response to Those Who Question God’s Judgment and Heart

Exodus Gods and KingsAnother week, another new big-budget Hollywood movie that condemns God as unjust and uncaring. And it’s not just Hollywood. We hear it more and more in schools. In the marketplace. From unbelieving friends and family. How do you respond?
It hurts my heart. God is such a Treasure. I wonder how people can miss it. But clearly they increasingly see themselves as more moral and compassionate than the God of the Bible. How might we respond?

Five Ways Unbroken will Enrich Your Life–the movie and (even more) the book

UnbrokenFor all Lauren Hillenbrand’s in-depth research and narrative craft and Angelina Jolie’s movie-making chops, only God could create the story of Unbroken on the canvas of Louie Zamparini’s life.

Our little family did our part to make it #2 at the box office this past weekend (second only to the final Hobbit movie), but I first heard of the book four years ago when my friend Rosie, who reads stacks of books and rewards only the best, grabbed me by the shoulders; looked me in the eyes and said, “You have got to read Unbroken.”

This was now the fourth friend endorsement (and definitely the most physical) for Laura Hillenbrand’s World War II saga of the Olympic runner, Army bombadier and Japanese POW. So a group of us gathered together to read it.

The Tyranny of the Expected Response…What lies beneath?

Not so long ago…if someone phoned you and you didn’t answer…they just called you back.
Then, If someone emailed you…you responded within a day or two. All was well.
Then came instant messenger and Facebook messaging. We see you are logged in on Facebook so we kind of expect you to respond…
Then came a river of  tweets rushing by…I know you’re always checking your feed…Tweet me back!

Then came texting. Immediate. In the moment commentary. Can you believe that touchdown?! And this:

Tweet 1

Now there is a demanding expectation. Answer me, dang it!

Downton Abbey: A Technicolor Story Enfolds a Black and White World

(“Best of” blog)

Downton Abbey

The final episode of Downton Abbey aired Monday. “Keep calm and wait for January” the Facebook icons reassure. You wouldn’t expect to find such a cool- set-must-see-TV-water-cooler-buzz show on PBS, but Masterpiece Theater has struck gold (four Emmys) with its story of Lord and Lady Grantham, their three Jane Austinesque daughters and the downstairs intrigue of butlers, valets, footmen, ladies maids and cooks. What hooks millions of viewers all over the world?

A world of daily candlelight dinners, beaded Chanel gowns, side-saddle hunts and Christmas pheasant shoots is rocked by World War I, the explosion of technology (automobiles, electricity, telephones), the rise of modern media and women’s and workers’ rights and a plot laced with secrets, theft, jealousy, midnight rendezvous, dead bodies, romance and a fairly astonishing moral clarity and commitment.

Duck Dynasty. Reinforcing the Backwoods Redneck Stereotype of Christians?

(“Best of” blog)
DD
On a Kansas visit a few years ago my husband Jack joined some friends to go hunting. They introduced him to their friend, Willie Robertson, a guy with now-familiar long hair, beard and bandana and an easy-going smile. While the guys hunted, my friend Patty told me stories she’d heard from her son who had been down to Louisiana to go duck hunting with Willie and his Dad, both guides.

A Visit to an Emerging Church: The Gospel According to Lost

 (“Best of” blog)

Gospel According to LostSaint Sayid gazed across the congregation, cool yet conflicted. The “humanitarian torturer” his tagline read.  Next to him, Saint Jack and next to him Saint Kate—all rendered on large canvases with bright colors. Like portraits of the apostles in a medieval church, the cast of Lost, complete with gold halos, surrounded the congregation, reminding them…

“Together We Survive. Alone we die.”

After his brother Robbie led the people in thoughtful, sometimes haunting praise and prayers, pastor Chris Seay settled onto his stool in Ecclesia, the emerging church they founded in the artsy Montrose district of Houston, and introduced a video story of his Hawaiian adventure the previous week.

Faith and Culture: The Guide to a Culture Shaped by Faith (Zondervan)

FandC

It’s back to school time. Send your student off with a book…

…that will strengthen their worldview, help with critical thinking and also inspire their faith. Kelly’s and my daily reader will give them readings in Bible/theology, history, philosophy, science, literature, the arts and contemporary culture. Over seventy of the finest Christian thought leaders will guide them on a tour through many of the paintings, laboratories, rock arenas, great books, mass movements, and private lives that have shaped the ways we think and live. And each reading pivots to help them understand what this means to their faith and their relationship with Jesus.

A student says:“This book took me by surprise. Not once have I found a devotional so full of fascinating information that I find myself telling my friends about it right after I read it. I love that it has truth, real truth, but in bite-size chunks. With my school schedule I never have time for heavy theology books to just pick up in my spare time, but this gives me answers to questions that I frequently hear and can now confidently know how to answer without having to be a studied expert on the subject. Big fan!”
– Natalie, high school junior, 16