Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday Tome - A New Arrival

The Sin of Certainty
by Peter Enns

Publisher's description...
The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.

With compelling and often humorous stories from his own life, Bible scholar Peter Enns offers a fresh look at how Christian life truly works, answering questions that cannot be addressed by the idealized traditional doctrine of “once for all delivered to the saints.”

Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide.

Combining Enns’ reflections of his own spiritual journey with an examination of Scripture, The Sin of Certainty models an acceptance of mystery and paradox that all believers can follow and why God prefers this path because it is only this way by which we can become mature disciples who truly trust God. It gives Christians who have known only the demand for certainty permission to view faith on their own flawed, uncertain, yet heartfelt, terms.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Music - Grażyna Bacewicz

My new favorite composer is Grażyna Bacewicz. I heard her Concerto for Strings performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra last week and loved it. Bacewicz was a Polish composer and violinist, and was the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition.




From Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, Dec. 2001...

Considered "one of the finest examples of neoclassicism in Polish music", the Concerto for String Orchestra is surely an excellent demonstration of Bacewicz's striving for the most harmonious combination of tradition and modernity. Of course, the term 'neoclassicism' is used in the broad understanding of the word, the Concerto making references to classical and well as Baroque music. Take Allegro, the first movement: its form is classical - or rather early classical - but its main theme clearly utilizes Baroque melorythmics. Likewise, the lyrical second movement, Andante, features a number of solo fragments played by various instruments producing a varied and diverse sound colours reminiscent of Baroque. Finally Vivo, the third movement, introduces the elements of the rondo and sonata forms, applying them to a bouncy, folksy music. It seems only appropriate to call the Concerto a synergy of a neoclassical form and neo-Baroque content.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Show Us Your Ways

O God, we give you thanks for our Lord and Savior Jesus, your only Son, who you have exalted and given a name above all names. Help us to walk in his ways, to honor him as Lord, and to live in the grace and purpose of his Kingdom. Strengthen and comfort us by your Holy Spirit, and teach us to walk in your ways to the glory of your name.

We confess our sins and we thank you for your faithfulness to forgive us and purify us. And as your grateful children, teach us and help us to be faithful to forgive others. May the resurrection power and grace of Jesus help us restore relationships, heal wounds, calm fears, forgive offenses, and resolve conflicts.

Show us your ways, O God. Teach us your paths. Guide us in your truth. Give us the humility and wisdom to live for you and to follow you. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Words - Gardener's Blessing

May God grant thee
Enough sun to warm the earth,
Enough rain to make things grow,
A good strong back,
A wide brimmed hat,
And a good sharp goose-neck hoe,
Strength for a day of toil
And some quiet evening hours,
With a sip of tea
And a gentle breeze,
And may all your weeds be wildflowers.

“Gardener’s Blessing” by Ralph Emerson Purkhiser, 

© Copyright 2004 from GreenPrints Magazine: Summer 2004, Issue 58.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Walking On Water

Here's the new book I'm starting this week...

Walking on Water: 
Reflections on Faith and Art
by Madeleine L'Engle

Publisher's Description...
In this classic book, Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art.

A Few Quotations...
“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there's no danger that we will confuse God's work with our own, or God's glory with our own.”

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”

“Creativity is a way of living life, no matter what our vocation, or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts...”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorites - Burnsville Native Plant Market

The City hosts a Native Plant Market each spring as a way to encourage people to grow native plants in their yards. In addition to beautifying the community, native plants provide food for pollinators, help improve water quality, and require less care than traditional garden plants.

Native wildflowers, ferns, and grasses will be available for sale from multiple vendors. This is a farmers market style event and each vendor operates their own market stall and is paid separately.

Attendees should arrive early for the best selection!  The event is held rain or shine.
Only CASH and CHECKS are accepted for payment.

What: Native Plant Market
When: Saturday, May 21, 2016,  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.               
Where: Parking lot across from City Hall (100 Civic Center Parkway)
Who: Open to all (including non-residents)
Other: Market area will be closed to the public prior to 9 a.m. start time.

Download the Native Plant Market flyer.
Download the 2016 List of Possible Plants.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday Words - If I Ever Leave this Place

If I ever leave this place,
this house
on this hill,
it will be the trains I miss
whistling at night
through my window,
naughtily chiding me
for sleeping
when they never do.

"If I Ever Leave this Place" by Penni Burkum. 
© 2016 by Penni Burkum.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Beyond Doubt

Cheri and I are reading this book together as part of our morning coffee times. It's very thoughtful yet approachable. The short meditations have provoked many good conversations, most of which last longer than the time it took to read the meditation itself.

Beyond Doubt: Faith-Building Devotions on Questions Christians Ask
by Cornelius Plantina

Publisher's Description...
From the pen of award-winning author Cornelius Plantinga Jr. comes this book of flesh-and-blood Christian meditations with a theological spine.

Building on the success of two earlier editions and now splendidly updated, Beyond Doubt unpacks the deep truths of the Christian faith by raising basic questions like What is God like? Why pray? What is the shape of the godly life? If the Lord is with us, why do we suffer? How do we face death?

Plantinga addresses such questions through short, vivid meditations, all written in the graceful, polished prose that he is celebrated for. Thoughtful and challenging throughout, the meditations each start with a Bible verse and end with a brief edifying prayer.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Monday Music - Jack Klatt "The Train Song"

It's always good to listen to hear Jack. He's one of our local gems.
He's got a nice way with a sweet song.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Sunday Supplication - To Walk in His Ways

Almighty God, we give you thanks for the everlasting life we find in you. Help us to recognize your son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life. Make us able to follow his steps and to walk in his ways to the glory of your name.

Lead us away from temptation. Free us from selfishness and pride. Give us the honesty and humility to recognize our need for your grace and mercy. Forgive us our sins and make us ready to forgive others.

You are faithful to your promises, O God. Help us to remember your promises and cling to the hope we have in you. Surround us with Christian friends who can encourage us and push us toward righteousness. Help each of us to be a source of encouragement and prompting for one another.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Becoming Wise


Failure and vulnerability are the very elements of spiritual growth and personal wisdom. What goes wrong for us as much as what goes right — what we know to be our flaws as much as what we know to be our strengths — these make hope reasonable and lived virtue possible. They are part of our gift to the world.

Brené Brown has become a sought-out teacher in all kinds of settings, at every level of leadership, on this ancient, basic truth that had been lost from our common vocabulary for generations.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wednesday Words - Spring

In the north country now it is spring and there
Is a certain celebration. The thrush
Has come home. He is shy and likes the
Evening best, also the hour just before
Morning; in that blue and gritty light he
Climbs to his branch, or smoothly
Sails there. It is okay to know only
One song if it is this one. Hear it
Rise and fall; the very elements of you should
Shiver nicely. What would spring be
Without it? Mostly frogs. But don’t worry, he

Arrives, year after year, humble and obedient
And gorgeous. You listen and you know
You could live a better life than you do, be
Softer, kinder. And maybe this year you will
Be able to do it. Hear how his voice
Rises and falls. There is no way to be
Sufficiently grateful for the gifts we are
Given, no way to speak the Lord’s name
Often enough, though we do try, and

Especially now, as that dappled breast
Breathes in the pines and heaven’s
Windows in the north country,
Now spring has come,
Are opened wide.

"Spring" by Mary Oliver from House of Light,
© Copyright 1990 by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Renovation of the Heart

This week, I'm re-reading chapters three and four of this helpful book by Dallas Willard. Always good to have some fresh reminders and solid direction about spiritual formation. Willard was a master teacher and faithful Jesus apprentice. I'm thankful that he invested the time and effort to write and communicate his insights.

Renovation of the Heart
by Dallas Willard

From the publisher's description...
Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”―a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.”

This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Follow Wherever He Leads

O God, we thank you for your Son Jesus, our good shepherd. Help us to hear his voice, and know him as he calls us by name, and to follow him wherever he leads.

Lead us away from temptation. Free us from selfishness and pride. Give us the honesty and humility to recognize our need for your grace and mercy. Forgive us our sins and make us ready to forgive others.

Help us, O God, to press on and to strain forward that we might know you more and more. Help us to take hold of the maturity and purpose you have in mind for us.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.