Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here is an extremely hopeful thought for the future from the always inspirational Carl Sagan–not just a sunrise, but a galaxy rise–four hundred billion suns, the rising of the Milky Way! Take courage, my friends, as the New Year dawns. The sky calls us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Max McLean - Mark's Gospel on Stage

Mark's Gospel on Stage with Max McLean is a terrific new resource for reading and listening through the Gospel of Mark. Max McLean is the voice for the Listener's Bible - New International Version and has also brought C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters to the stage..

Devoting to memory the entire text of Mark, McLean brings the gospel to life with clarity and craft. His dramatic approach to the text is engaging and yet measured. You can watch the entire performance for free online. It's also available for purchase on DVD. Product Description:
Two thousand years ago, a drama unfolded that would change the course of history. Many have called it the 'greatest story ever told.' Now one of the great storytellers of our time presents this life-changing saga in a compelling video version of Mark's Gospel. Max McLean's powerful stage performance takes us inside the story of Jesus so we can experience the events and characters that have inspired and challenged people all over the world. This award-winning performance of the Gospel of Mark was recorded live with newly improved special effects and lighting. Max McLean's life work is making the Bible come alive for his audiences. Since 1983 he has performed Mark, Acts, and Genesis to millions of people on TV, radio, at theaters, colleges, and houses of worship across the cultural and religious spectrum.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Even Atheists Can Eschew Smugness

S. E. Cupp, an atheist, has a thoughtful and generous article in today's New York Daily News.

"The militant atheist wants nothing more than to spoil the believer's spiritual journey. That's both meanspirited and radically unenlightened."

Read the Whole Article

Unfortunately, most of the response she can expect to receive from atheist fundies will simply prove her point. Here is one such example that popped up in my google reader this morning.

It mocks her for being The Good Atheist and suggests she may not even be a real atheist. Evidentally, for true unbelievers, smugness isn't just an unfortunate trait, it's a requirement and a badge of authenticity.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas at Our House

We're having a wonderful day with our family. Everybody is here except for Jack and Meg who are in Austin, TX. Jack called so we got a chance to talk to him too.

This morning Søren (grandson #1) read the Christmas story. Then we opened presents and after that enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls and Wedding Egg-Bake (we renamed this gourmet dish after serving it at Page and Sara's wedding in September).

We've set a new record in Minnesota for the snowiest December, breaking the record set back in 1969, so not much to do outside. This afternoon we played games, listened to music, and relaxed. Snacked on Christmas goodies, pickled herring, crackers, cheeses, and braunschweiger.

The kitchen is hopping right now with preparations for a feast. I'm reviewing sermon stuff for Sunday services tomorrow. Maybe we'll watch a movie later tonight.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

Emmanuel - God with Us!

This was the first sound in the living room this morning. I've been hearing this on Christmas morning since my childhood. Ancient hymns, choral music, and quiet worship have a deep and permanent place in my soul. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Flesh & Blood: Empathy

Each week of my Advent teaching series, I'm exploring biblical answers to the question of why incarnation is central to God's plan to redeem humankind.

Last Sunday I preached Part 2: "To Be Known By Us" based on John 1:18. On Sunday, December 12, I'll be preaching Part 3: "To Empathize with Our Weakness" based on Hebrews 4:15.

I hope you can join us for one of our services at Valley Christian Church. If not, remember that you can download or listen to podcasts of the sermons.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Bible, Jesus, & History

Yesterday, I came across these excerpts from an interview with biblical scholar, Ben Witherington III. The guy doing the interview is a little hard to take, but I thought I'd post the clips for two reasons. First, Ben's remarks are very interesting and accessible. Second, for those of you not familiar with Dr. Witherington, this might be a nice introduction.

Dr. Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kentucky) and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. You can find out more about him, his books, and his blog at

Jesus and History from CPX on Vimeo.

Jesus and Wisdom from CPX on Vimeo.