Tuesday, February 21

Called to Controversy by Ruth Rosen

Upon receiving Called to Controversy I had no idea what to expect.  I requested it from Booksneeze because the title sounded interesting, a reason that has not always worked out so well in the past.  Ruth Rosen tells the story of her father, Moishe, the man who founded Jews for Jesus.

To my delight, I found Called to Controversy to be an enjoyable and engaging read.  Though I had never heard of Moishe Rosen before, Ruth writes in such a way that I could imagine what it would be like to actually meet Moishe.  The book starts with his childhood, where he grew up in a Jewish home.  He held to his Jewish identity until after his marriage to Ceil, when both were introduced to and converted to Christianity.  To their families this was the ultimate act of betrayal, and for a while they were shunned by their family.

Monday, February 20

Oscar Predictions 2012

My Oscar predictions for 2012.  Unlike last year, I haven’t seen a lot of these nominees, so some of my predictions are based on reading about them.  I’m also skipping some of the smaller categories.  Check them out after the jump.

Thursday, February 16

Bloodlines by John Piper

Despite the progress that has been made regarding racial tensions in the last 150 years, we must sadly recognize that problems still exist. Even more unfortunately, there are even problems found within the church, especially where people misinterpret Biblical passages. Through a mixture of personal experiences and Biblical study, John Piper presents a vision of how the Bible offers hope of removing racial tensions and prejudices.

Bloodlines is broken into two parts: a look at the state of our world and why it needs change, and then a look at the hope the Bible offers.    In the introduction, Piper quotes extensively from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which is a powerful response to white religious leaders who criticized a peaceful demonstration led by King which resulted in King’s arrest.

Thursday, February 9

Church Diversity by Scott Williams

“We must face the sad fact that at the eleven o’clock hour on Sunday morning, when we stand to sing, we stand in the most segregated hour in America.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

It was not planned, but I finished Scott Williams’ (a campus pastor for lifechurch.tv) book Church Diversity on February 3rd, near the beginning of black history month.  Even more coincidentally the next book on my list, and which I just started, is John Piper’s Bloodlines, a book about race and Christianity.  Then, in one of my classes I presented from a chapter of a book titled Hollywood Faith, which looks specifically at Oasis Church in Los Angeles.  In Church Diversity Williams uses Oasis as an example of a highly diverse church and looks at what they do to achieve diversity.

Wednesday, February 8

"Was not Jesus an extremist for love: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you'?  Was not Amos an extremist for justice: 'Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream'?  Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: 'I bear the in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus'?

"Was not Martin Luther an extremist: 'Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God'?  And John Bunyan: 'I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.'  And Abraham Lincoln: 'Thus this nation cannot survive half slave and half free.'  And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...'  So the question is not whether we will be extremest, but what kind of extremist we will be.  Will we be extremists for hate or for love?"

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail