Friday, July 30, 2010

Anne Rice's Rejection of Christianity

Russell Moore, with his usual wisdom and grace:
Yesterday the Internet was abuzz with news that Anne Rice has renounced Christianity. The best-selling vampire novelist, who professed faith in Christ several years ago and has since written several books about Jesus and her conversion, publicly quit Christianity on her Facebook page. There’s a real opportunity here that hinges on how we respond to this, or, rather, how we respond to her.

Anne said that she was leaving Christianity because she just couldn’t be “anti-gay, anti-feminist” and so forth. The response was immediate, especially on Christian forums and comments on blogs and on various other forms of media.

Anne Rice is, at best, our sister-in-Christ who is going through a dark night of the soul. She is, at the very least, someone who has encountered something of the light of Christ, is drawn to it, and is now “kicking against the goads.” In either case, she is not our enemy...

...Anne Rice hasn’t rejected you. Anne Rice hasn’t betrayed you. Would you pray for her, and for the other smoldering wicks and about-to-bolt potential prodigals in your church (and maybe in your home)? It could be Anne has been deeply hurt by what she has seen in Christianity. Or it could be that, like Jesus’ disciples, the closer she’s drawing to Christ, the more she is made uncomfortable by it. Let’s love her.
Read the whole article at Dr. Moore's blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Ted Kluck - Hello, I Love You

Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Adoption is an amazing thing. It requires sacrifice, love, and perseverance to welcome someone into your family and promise to take care of them and treat them as one of your own children. As a Christian, it’s an amazing picture of the gospel and how God has adopted us into his family as sons and daughters. I have the utmost respect for people who adopt, and my wife and I have discussed the possibility of doing so ourselves one day.

I’ve never been able to witness the adoption process up close, however. After reading Ted Kluck’s new book, Hello, I Love You, though, I definitely feel like I have. Kluck, co-author of such fantastic books as Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church as well as author of The Reason for Sports and others, has written a fantastically personal memoir about his experiences adopting his 2 sons from the Ukraine. Part travelogue, part blog post, part spiritual journal, Hello, I Love You takes readers on a journey with Ted and his wife through their multiple trips overseas, the frustrations with the enormous amounts of red tape, struggles with infertility after adopting their first son, and taking that son back to the Ukraine to adopt again.

Throughout the whole book, Kluck is brutally honest…about everything. He describes his difficulties with international travel, his huge frustrations with the adoption process, struggles with infertility while in a church with tons of young couples having babies, as well as his own spiritual struggles and doubts throughout all this. The book reads like a series of journal entries or blog posts, and this format allows Kluck to bring readers into the process. You feel some of the same frustrations when yet another curveball is thrown at them. You feel the joy of just an afternoon in the orphanage with the kids. And you get the payoff when they head home with their child.

Adoption is becoming a trendy thing to do. Brad and Angelina, Madonna, and others have made it chic to adopt foreign kids. While I’m not a huge fan of these people, I can’t see much bad about more people wanting to adopt. Kids need homes. In the Church, though, adoption is becoming even a larger part of the culture as people seek to live out the gospel. That’s what it feels like Kluck and his wife do in this book; they are living out the gospel to these kids.

Fair warning: if you have a desire to adopt and have never really looked into what all that entails, reading this book might scare you off a little. The shear difficulty and cost of the process, the amount of paperwork, the hassles and red tape, and the perseverance required are all daunting. I think, though, by the end of the book, reading Kluck talk about his children, readers are rewarded for taking the journey with him, and it might just convince a lot of people that it really is worth the effort. I hope so.

This book was provided for review by Moody Publishers in exchange for a review. No expectation of a positive review existed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Loving Daughters

My daughter is just over 4 months old. As I ponder what's in store for me over the next 18 years and beyond, the picture painted by Mark Driscoll in this sermon clip was very encouraging to me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn is a fantastic author of both fiction and non-fiction. Some of my favorite books of his include Lord Foulgrin's Letters and Safely Home, among many others. He recently sat down with Mark Driscoll to discuss some parts of his testimony, including why he only makes minimum wage.

HT: The Resurgence

Music Video of the Week: Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson - "Dancing in the Minefields"

For more on this video, head over to The Rabbit Room.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Friday Humor About Unicorns

What's so strange about Unicorns anyway?

HT: Abraham Piper

Jason Heyward on E:60

Jason Heyward, the fantastic rookie on my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, was featured on ESPN's E:60 earlier this year. Despite a ridiculous amount of talent, Jason appears to be one of the most mature, humble, and classy 20-year-olds you'll ever see. This is a great story about why he wears the number 22.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Matt Chandler on Suffering

“Lauren asked the doctor, ‘what’s best-case scenario and what’s worst-case scenario?’ He said: ‘Best-case scenario is that God heals you… worst-case scenario, honestly, is that you get killed in a car wreck on your way home today.’

“He was the first one to say to me out loud, ‘nothing’s really changed for you – you just get to be aware that you’re mortal. Everyone is, but they’re just not aware of it. The gift that God’s given you is that you get to be aware of your mortality.’

“So if this goes bad for me, if my MRI scan shows that … I have a short amount of time, I can talk to my wife, talk to my children, shoot videos… most guys who die in their 30’s kiss their wife goodbye in the morning and never come home. … At least once a year, for the rest of my life, I get the anxiety of ‘am I going to hear today that I only have a couple years to live?’ … It is a gift.”

HT: Acts 29 Blog

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seinfeld as a Thriller

I got a kick a while back out of seeing clips from Seinfeld edited into a dramatic movie called George.

Today, found this one where they make it into a thriller. Not sure how people have time to put these things together, but I'm glad they do. This is hilarious.

HT: Jonathan Acuff

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

C.J. Mahaney's Humble Evaluation

From the Resolved Conference: The Q&A Panel, including John MacArthur and Al Mohler, 2 of the smartest individuals in the history of people, was asked to talk about how truth and doctrine impact their lives. All of the answers were great, and they came to C.J. Mahaney last. C.J. proceeds to tell the moderator that he can't come to C.J. last on these kinds of questions if he wants him to be able to contribute. He then gives his scorecard of the individuals in the Q&A.


The whole Q&A is great and you can see it here.

Book Review: Andreas Kostenberger - God, Marriage, and Family

Genre: Theology / Christian Living
Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: May 1, 2010

The 2nd edition of God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger (first edition was published in 2004) adds several sections to this jam-packed theology book on all things family as the challenges to the Bible in these areas continue to change quickly. God’s Word hasn’t changed on these topics, but the ways in which believers must apply the Word is becoming increasingly confusing these days. Homosexuality, for example, is gaining acceptance even among many in the church, many using the Bible to support this acceptance. Believers must know what the Bible says, how it’s arguments and commands are constructed, and then be able to proclaim and defend these truths in matters of the family.

This book is a shield against the attacks against the biblical family.

Methodically walking through the different topics (marriage, sex, family, birth control, singleness, divorce, homosexuality, etc.), Kostenberger presents the biblical picture from both the Old and new Testament. At times forceful and no doubt alienating some with his blunt confirmation of the Bible’s stance on certain issues, he nevertheless speaks with both authority and love for God and people. He doesn’t sever the discussion of these issues from people, and realizes the impact of the biblical commands in these areas.

Much has already been said about this book, and it went into a 2nd edition for a reason. It’s simply the most thorough (and thoroughly biblical) treatment of these topics I’ve ever seen. The traditional family is under constant attack, and many times, the arguments seem appealing in certain areas. We need to be grounded in the truth of the Bible, understanding that God designed things to work in certain ways for our good. This book will help many (in addition to the many it already has) to defend not just “traditional values,” but God’s values and his Word. I would highly recommend this resource.

This book was provided for review by Crossway in exchange for a review. No expectation of a positive review existed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life...Sentence

From Desiring God:

On August 20 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, we're hosting the premiere of a brand new Desiring God film titled Don't Waste Your Life Sentence (now available for pre-order).

The Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA, is the largest and historically one of the bloodiest maximum-security prisons in the USA. In 2009, Desiring God and John Piper were invited to Angola to learn about prison life, hear from men who have been radically changed by the gospel, and minister to many of the 5,000 inmates.

Don't Waste Your Life Sentence confronts you with the realities of inmates who, though their lives appear to have been wasted, often have a greater grasp on eternity than those on the outside.

Here's the trailer:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Steve Carell Spoof of LeBron

Now this is funny. From the ESPYs last night...

Why Don't My Friends With Kids Have Time For Me?

This made me chuckle this morning. Love this article in the Washington Post. A woman writes in complaining that her friends with kids are lazy and don't have time for her. For all you stay-at-home parents out there, the answer is fantastic.

(Click the image to enlarge it.)

HT: Zach Nielsen

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jimmy V at the ESPYs

So the ESPYs are on ESPN tonight. I'm becoming less and less a fan of ESPN these days, but at the very first ESPYs back in 1993, Jim Valvano delivered what is still one of the best speeches I've ever seen.

From ESPN:
Jim Valvano was awarded the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. Valvano had been diagnosed with bone cancer in June 1992. During the speech, Valvano announced the creation of the "Jimmy V Foundation", an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. He said that the foundation's motto would be "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."
Valvano died later that year.

8: The Mormon Proposition

What are your first thoughts when seeing this trailer? What stands out the most to you?

Blasts from the Past

If you're a child of the 80's, this ought to be good for some nostalgia this morning. Check out all 50 photos here.

And the 2 toys from my childhood most likely to decapitate or stab someone...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Music Video of the Week: Trip Lee

Trip Lee - "The Invasion (Hero) ft. Jai"

Loving the Jimmy Needham cameo...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grace-Driven Sex

Fantastic post by Jared Wilson on how to improve intimacy in marriage based on the grace of the gospel. He says:
Within the marital covenant, sexual intimacy can be a joyous, mutually satisfying, and mutually encouraging gift. But many husbands and wives don't know how to "get there." In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, Paul is telling Christian married couples to not think of their bodies as their own, but as existing for the service of their partner in one-fleshedness. In his excellent book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes, "Sex is serving each other with our bodies."
He also gives 3 practical tips for wives and husbands on how to help improve intimacy and grace in sex:

For wives:

1. Be visually generous
2. Engage/Enjoy
3. Talk

For husbands:

1. Listen and remember
2. Make your wife your standard of beauty

3. Forethought is foreplay

Head over to Jared's blog to see these points hashed out. They are very helpful.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happiness in Parenting?

Al Mohler:
In her [New York Magazine] article, “All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting,” writer Jennifer Senior wonders aloud why parents seem to be less happy than non-parents, but simultaneously claim that parenthood is such a great thing. What is the disconnect?

“From the perspective of the species, it’s perfectly unmysterious why people have children,” writes Senior. “From the perspective of the individual, however, it’s more of a mystery than one might think. Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so.”

...She writes:

Before urbanization, children were viewed as economic assets to their parents. If you had a farm, they toiled alongside you to maintain its upkeep; if you had a family business, the kids helped mind the store. But all of this dramatically changed with the moral and technological revolutions of modernity. As we gained in prosperity, childhood came increasingly to be viewed as a protected, privileged time, and once college degrees became essential to getting ahead, children became not only a great expense but subjects to be sculpted, stimulated, instructed, groomed. (The Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer describes this transformation of a child’s value in five ruthless words: “Economically worthless but emotionally priceless.”) Kids, in short, went from being our staffs to being our bosses.

Interestingly, Senior introduces this article with a spectacularly horrifying account of a mother trying to cajole her eight-year-old son away from the computer in order to do his homework. The account comes from the massive film project undertaken by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families. These hundreds of hours of recorded middle-class family life show over and over again that many, if not most, parents see themselves as constant negotiators with their strong-willed children. The absence of parental authority and control is genuinely horrifying. One UCLA graduate student described the experience of watching the recordings as “the very purest form of birth control ever devised. Ever.”

...Christians must see children as gifts from God, not as projects. We should see marriage and parenthood as a stewardship and privilege, not as a mere lifestyle choice. We must resist the cultural seductions and raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and understand family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness.

And when it comes to happiness, we must aim for something higher. Christians are called to joy and satisfaction in Christ, and to find joy in the duties and privileges of this earthly life. Every parent will know moments of honest unhappiness, but the Christian parent settles for nothing less than joy.
Check out the whole article for some great analysis from the always-wise Mohler.

Cruciform Press and Sexual Detox

Blogger-extraordinaire Tim Challies is part of new venture called Cruciform Press, which will be in the business of publishing books online. The first book released later this summer will be a re-working of Tim's e-Book he put out on his blog a while back called Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys. I thought the original piece was very helpful, but Tim has apparently made some changes and improvements for this release. Here's a sample of the introduction from the Cruciform Press Newsletter. I think this will be another helpful resource for Christians battling with porn addiction.

I suppose you noticed the word Detox in this book's title. Detoxification actually takes place in your body every day, as various organs transform or get rid of things that aren't good for you. When someone has been chemically poisoned or exposed to too much radiation, the body needs some help, and detoxification becomes more intentional, more of a medical procedure. A third kind of detox is the popular meaning. This kind of detox takes place when someone is trying to be freed of addiction to drugs or alcohol. In each case, the basic idea is the same. Something has gotten inside you that doesn't belong there and it needs to be removed. If it stays or builds up you will only get sicker. You might even die.

Detox is therefore a reset to normal, a return to health. It's the reversal of a corrupting, polluting process. It gets you back to where you ought to be.

A huge percentage of men need a porn detox, a moral and psychological reset. In fact, I suspect that a large majority, even of Christian men, share this desperate need. Are you among them? If so, whether you recognize it or not, pornography has corrupted your thinking, weakened your conscience, warped your sense of right and wrong, and twisted your understanding and expectations of sexuality. You need a reset by the One who created sex.

In this book I hope to help you reorient your understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God's plan for this great gift. I want to help you detox from all the junk you've seen, all the lies you've believed. This is not an easy process. It is rarely a quick process. It involves a letting go of old realities and an embrace of a new normal, the original normal. To be willing to go through it you need to see how bad your current situation really is, and how the path you are on leads no place good. You need to see that the path of porn leads only to more isolation, guilt, alienation, and pain. Whether you are single or married, such a reset to normal is the only thing that can ever equip you to become a pure, loving, attentive, sacrificial husband.

But then, you already know you need to change. Few Christian men indulge in pornography without realizing they need to quit. Every Christian guy who looks at porn wants to stop, but many of us want to stop just a little bit less than we want to keep going. The problem isn't knowledge—it's desire and ability. And so sin prevails.

Here's a promise. You will never stop until you begin to see the monstrous nature of the sin you are committing. You will never stop until the sin is more horrifying to you than the commission of the sin is enjoyable. You will need to hate that sin before you can find freedom from it. That means you need more grace. You need to cry out to be changed and to see the monstrous nature of this sin. And then you need to behave in faith that God will meet you with grace as you act to cut off the pornography and begin the reset.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

John Mark McMillan - "Death in His Grave"

This song has been getting a fair amount of attention in the Christian blogosphere the past couple days. John Mark McMillan (whom many will only recognize as the writer of the popular worship song "How He Loves") released an album yesterday entitled The Medicine. It's a fantastic album, and the song "Death In His Grave" in particular seems to be connecting with people.

Here's a powerful video of a live performance of the song (where McMillan seems to just be worshiping along with everyone) along with the lyrics.

Though the Earth Cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls on men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

HT: Zach Nielsen

Monday, July 5, 2010

Music Video of the Week: OK Go

These guys just continue to make the most interesting videos.

OK Go - "End Love"

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