Book Review: Out Of My Mind By W. J. de Kock

March 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Book Reviews, Personal Development, Theology 

A Genuine Change Of Mind
Produces Change In Life

The language de Kock uses is different (regenerative theology) but the meaning is very similar to what we’ve come to know as spiritual formation.

But for de Kock it is more than a theoretical discussion. It’s personal. He lived regeneratively and shares his experience in Out of My Mind.

In this great read, life and theology come together. It combines biographical material – de Kock’s experience of transformation – with theology and history. The theology is modernist with an Apartheid flavor and the history focuses on the recent transformation of the South Africa society.

But all that changed. De Kock’s transformation parallels that of South Africa and the book gives a brief account of both.

One of my favorite words in the book is re-minding. It is another way of saying repentance and de Kock’s case illustrates what that really means.

Because the book contained theology, it was a little dry in places but overall an insightful read.

The book is available in both hard cover and Kindle.

THINK!AboutIt

Book Review: Origins by Mark Henrikson

March 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Book Reviews, Old Testament, Philosophy 

Alternative History, No
Alternative Interpretation, Yes

Origins by Mark Henrikson is Sci-Fi with a twist. It is written from an alien perspective but is based on historical record (the biblical account of the Exodus).

It comes in two formats: paperback and ebook. Both available through Amazon. I received my copy free through BookBub.

The story’s timeline spans some three thousand years (plus/minus) beginning with the period just before the Exodus and extending into the present. The narrative oscillates between the two ends of that period and follows four plot lines: aliens in Egypt, an alien (Hastelloy) visiting a psychologist in the present, an NSA agent (Mark) attempting to interfere with NASA’s deployment of communication devices and archeologists researching Egypt’s pyramids.

The book also makes reference to thousands of years prior. The lead character, Hastelly, is 25,000 years old. Read more

7 Thoughts On Preaching May Surprise You

March 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Christian Living, Church, Old Testament, Religion 

Preaching is proclaiming, not prancing, prattling or puffing.

Primitive Methods Don’t Suit
Today’s Technologically
Rich Enviroment

Today, reading and writing are common. Letter writing happens daily and book publishing isn’t far behind.

Even the blind and deaf have the means and skills to write out their thoughts, and technology makes it possible for them to communicate those ideas easily.

For most of human history that wasn’t true.

Writing has been around for a long time but the earliest format, engraving on stone, was restrictive to say the least. Just ten commandments required two stone tablets. Tom Clancy’s latest book would require a mountain of rock.

Even when lighter materials like papyrus became popular copies could only be reproduced by hand making it very difficult to circulate documents widely.

If you are of the opinion that following the old paths means eschewing technology, you’ll need a truck to carry your Bible to church each Sunday. You’ll struggle to flip to the book of Psalms too.

Not to worry, though. Since reading wasn’t as widespread in the Old and New Testaments as it is now reproduction and circulation weren’t issues.

But, these facts do raise an obvious question. If written documents couldn’t be shared easily, and many couldn’t read or write anyway, how were community-relevant ideas communicated.

The answer to that question is quite primitive. The most popular form of communication throughout most of human history was the spoken word and the best way to spread important news quickly and widely was through public proclamations.

These proclamations were made by specially designated people in high-traffic locations like the city gates or the courthouse steps. The people appointed for the task were known as the Town or Public Criers and they were clad in special clothing to single them out. It was all very official.

Even as far back as the time of Esther (5th century BC) the King’s official proclamations were communicated to 127 provinces by couriers and criers. It took several months to get the message out but considering the geography and the lack of technology, that’s not bad.

Criers were the interface between governments and the communities they governed. When information needed sharing, criers would ring a loud bell and cry “hear ye, hear ye” – or something similar. Once they had everyone’s attention the crier would then state or read the announcement.

Those who heard the announcement would pass it along mouth to ear, mouth to ear, mouth to ear and so on, but it all started with a public proclamation.

Education, democracy and technology have made criers obsolete. Education makes reading, writing and thinking skills common. Democracy encourages the sharing of ideas publicly. Technology makes it possible for those ideas to spread quickly.

There’s really no comparison between the media of the New Testament and the media of today. Resonant penetrating criers of yesteryear are easily drowned out by today’s most mild mannered tweets.

This brings me to the topic of this post: Preaching. Read more

The Church Is Definitely A Crutch – Own It!

March 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Church, Personal Failure, Religion 

Crutches enable accountability.

Crutchless Living
Is Not Possible

There are several words associated with religion, some of which are complimentary and others not. A few can be taken both positively and negatively.

A good example is the word school. Church is a place of learning so we call it a Sunday School. That can be good or bad.

Some kids love school and some hate it but most adults regret not taking advantage of the opportunity when they had it.

In other words, they’ve learned to love what they used to hate.

But there are other words which aren’t so easy to work around. They are used as insults when referring to the church and believers take it personally. One such word is Crutch. Read more

6 Things To Understand About “Devotion”

Humans are the only birds to flock first and feather later.

Dogma Has A
Short Shelf Life

In the movie, Hoffa, starring Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito and more, one of the opening scenes has Nicholson and Robert Prosky firebombing a laundry in retaliation to the owner’s refusal to join the union.

Unfortunately, the bombing goes badly wrong and Prosky’s character, Billy Flynn, is caught in the flames. Dying in the hospital, Billy is coaxed to confess by the attending priest. That could be tricky for two reasons.

Billy is convinced he was acting justly, which doesn’t require confession, and more importantly a confession might possibly lead to the conviction of Hoffa and his new sidekick played by DeVito.

Billy’s response is surprising and unexpected.

He looks at the priest, breaths an expletive and then makes an unforgettable quote.

Never let down. Never let up. Never forget.

I don’t know if that really happened but I don’t doubt people have expressed that kind of devotion in the face of life and death situations. I also don’t doubt that Hoffa was able to elicit that kind of devotion.

But here is the point. Devotion is not always what you think.

Generally, we view devotion as an honorable thing and devoted people as committed, reliable and good. In fact, devotion is a popular topic in religious circles and the truly devoted are among the best religion has to offer.

But is that completely accurate? According to Hoffa, devotion can apply to less principled types.

Devotion has a moral sense that doesn’t fall within the boundaries of traditional thinking. People frequently commit themselves to causes, groups and ideologies that are questionable at best. It happens all the time.

And once established, devotional connections are difficult to dislodge, regardless how right or wrong they may be. According to a Michigan study, devotion becomes more resolute in response to challenging facts. The followers of Hoffa didn’t let the law get in the way.

In reality, devotion is just devotion. It’s neither good nor bad, and it has many dimensions to consider. You find it everywhere, even among the unsavory.

Based on that thought we could make some interesting observations about devotion. Read more

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