Observed by Grief

A wonderful meditation by Australian pastor Stephen McAlpine on C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed”

Stephen McAlpine

I have been reading CS Lewis’s little tome, A Grief Observed, and it is simultaneously wounding and healing.  Like his great contemporary George Orwell, Lewis’ brevity is his  strength.  I read some to my daughter last night. We marvelled.  The plethora of periods.  So many brave full stops!  A man writing with confidence and elan even in grief.

There is too much of the book to like.  So much I cannot quote any of it here.  If you don’t have a copy, buy one.  Read it as soon as possible.  Read it in your grief.

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But read it in your joyous non-grief to prepare you for your grief to come.  For come it surely will.  Non-grief is a neologism demanding the removal of the hyphen. Demanding to be a thing defined by its true, and polar opposite – grief.

Non-grief is neither truly the thing nor the place, merely…

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Five Minute Friday: Excuse

Short, thoughtful article on Paul’s statement in Romans that nonbelievers are without excuse for choosing not to recognize evidence of His handiwork all around us.
Reposted from “Along the Way”

Along the Way

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Most of the time, I eat healthy.

Sometimes, I get very anxious and eat an unspecified number of Cheez Its.

Ah, humanness.

No wonder that an element of Spirit Fruit is self-control. We just can’t muster that stuff up on our own. Oh, we might do well for awhile. But the urge to run wild is always there, simmering just beneath the surface.

Kate says: excuse.

Go.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…

– Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

Some Bible verses make us deeply uncomfortable. This has to be one of them. Even though we who believe know, down in the core of ourselves, that God alone can save us and set us free, and even though we want everyone we love to possess that same…

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trusting God

Reblogged:
Who Do We Really Trust?….

Jesus community

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

There is nothing more basic to life than simply trusting God. Trusting God and trusting in God. We really can’t get and do enough of that in this life, because questions and problems can come at us from so many angles.

In the end it’s a simple question of do we trust God, or do we not? And the trust for us amounts to accepting the witness of God’s word in the gospel, and all of God’s promises which come from or are related to that.

A big part of trusting is focus. We try to study and make the best decisions in life, praying through all of that, and then we settle into leaving it in God’s…

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BOOK REVIEW: WOUNDS ARE WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS

Wounds are Where Light Enters by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (Zondervan Publishing; 2017)

 

Walter Wangerin is a well-known Christian writer who uses his unique for storytelling and the use of dramatic and fictional elements (like his work THE BOOK OF GOD, a retelling of God’s redemption woven throughout the Bible as one story). This book, however, is more of anthology of short stories — many autobiographical — with the theme of the little (and sometimes big) ways that God can intervene in our daily lives. Stories such as Wangerin taking his small daughter to the largest cathedral in New York City,and using the appearance of a slovenly homeless man to teach a valuable lesson on how man makes many poor choices, but God is always watching over us and reminding that redemption is always possible. For readers who enjoy authors such as Max Lucado and his storytelling expertise to teach spiritual lessons, Wounds are Where Lighta Enter is a worthwhile read. 3 stars.

BOOK REVIEW: Learning to Love The Psalms

Learning to Love the Psalms by W. Robert Godfrey (Reformation Trust Publishing; 2017)

In this most enlightening and informative book on the Psalms. Godfrey laments the fact that this vital part of holy Scripture which played such an important role in the life of the Jewish community for thousands of years, as well as for the Christian church for almost 1800 years has now fallen into a theological corner. In this book, Godfrey hopes to spark a new interest in the use the Psalter, both in corporate worship services, and in the personal devotions and prayers of believers everywhere.

Learning to Love the Psalms is neither a commentary or a devotional —- technically speaking. Yet the author both explains the occasions and use of the Psalms in ancient Israel —- like a commentary; but also shows how the theme of each psalm discussed can be used as a devotional and as a springboard to prayer and communion with the Father.

Godfrey describes the make-up and apparent theme and aim of each of the five Books that make up the Psalms in our Bibles today. After that description, the author details more of the interesting facts behind the psalms described (over 80 in all), how they tie into the overall theme of the Book in which they are found, and how modern-Christians can better understand and make more practical and spiritual lessons contained in each psalm. The book is written in a clear and entertaining manner, making it very accessible to the general reader; but with enough theological and expository insight to be very useful for pastors. Most highly recommended!

Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society

A TIME FOR CONFIDENCE: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society

Stephen J. Nichols; Reformation Trust Publishing (2016)

A Time for Confidence by Stephen J. Nichols, addresses the fears and anxieties that Christians may face finding their places in a world that is no longer able to acknowledge the existence of God or the truths of Christianity. With a world that is constantly establishing new norms for behaviors and beliefs that are definitely noted based on biblical principles; and that grows increasingly violent and dangerous on a weekly basis; where are followers of Christ to go to maintain a sense of peace and confidence in our present-day environment? Nichols says that answer is the God of the Bible and His promises in His written Word.

The author argues that Christians have almost always been in the minority in culture for the last 2000-plus years, but the last few years has seen rapid erosion of any positive influences that Christianity might have influenced in Western culture over the past 500 years, especially in western Europe and North America. Nevertheless, historian and scholar Nichols makes a strong case that Christians in the West can still rely on the same promises that the early Christians relied on in the Roman world.

In Chapters Two – Five, Nichols lays out in detail the four reasons/factors that have always formed the basis of the confidence of believers in Christ in a sin-rocked world: God; the Bible; Jesus Christ, and the Gospel. In the final chapter, the author ties all of these facts of the character of God and Christ, the reliability of the Bible and the promises it contains, and the truly Good News that is the Gospel as delivered by Jesus and the Apostles to the church and the world at large.

A Time for Confidence is written for a general audience, and should provide much solid comfort and encouragement to Christians as they strive to live at peace and safety with a hostile and sick world. Pastors will also find much here on which to use in sermons to speak hope to their congregations. A useful and worthwhile resource for any Christian looking for confidence in a rapidly changing, unpredictable world.

Theology and the Experience of Disability (a review)

For those of you who are or know those touched by disability and one’s spirituality and/or theology…..

Theology Forum

As a field of Christian thought, disability theology has never been more fertile and exciting. Disability theology, as John Swinton defines it in the Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology, is the “attempt by disabled and non-disabled Christians to understand and interpret the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God, and humanity against the backdrop of the historical and contemporary experience of people with disabilities” (140). It’s worth noting that disability theology is different than a theology of disability. The latter attempts to apply the resources of Christian thought and practice to the experience of disability, whereas disability theology works from the experience of disability toward Christian thought and practice.

Even now, four new books sit next to me as I type (and the stack would be a least two feet high if I was keeping up with the literature). At the moment I’m reading the one on top of that stack…

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