Coloured Matchsticks We’re kidless this weekend, as the munchkins are camping out with their grandparents, my in-laws, just for something to do. What would you do with a kidless weekend? We booked ours up with two brunches, an evening out with friends for Chinese food, and are watching the timetables for the nearby second-run movie theatre. While we do that, I’m leaving you with a whole boatload of reading to do. This is far more than my usual collection of links (my largest yet), but let’s just say that on more than one occasion in the past week, I discovered that Google Reader can’t count past 1,000 unread items. You want to know how much reading (skimming, let’s be honest) you have left, and it just doesn’t know. I’m caught up now, but it probably won’t last. It never does.

  1. New kids on the Blogk:
    Rickard Bjerkander
    Lori Bjerkander
    Pete Askew
    Peggy Brown
    Glenn Hatcher
    All of these were at the M.O. Conversation this past week.
  2. Darryl Dash writes,

    There’s a lot being written on new forms of church and better methodologies and leadership principles. Despite all of these, evangelicalism is still in decline overall. If Metzger and company are right, then what is holding us back goes much deeper, and has little to do with secularism or lack of skill. The problem is us. The problem is that we need to repent.

  3. Cool concept: BookMooch — swap books you’ve read for books you want to read.
  4. Mike Clawson has a wild image on his blog that tells you if you’re left-brained or right-brained depending on which way you see the image of a woman moving. I spent too long this week trying to make it go the other way in my head, but eventually I caught her spinning the other way. I think she noticed me though, because when I tried to look closer and get her to go back and forth, she was back to her original rotation and wouldn’t yield. I have no idea how this works, it’s just freaky.
  5. I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about Richard Condie’s The Big Snit as we were returning to Vancouver from Seabeck. If you don’t know it, you’re in for a treat from 1985 — enjoy.
  6. Top Ten Ways to Fail at Being Missional
  7. Halfway between “wow” and “I-told-you-so” — Bill Hybels says they got it wrong. Spiritual formation “doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.” Still, you know what? Full marks for recognizing it and taking the realization public with a desire to change. Now, can they use their super-powers for good?
  8. Think again: are fences really non-missional?
  9. This is amusing: John MacArthur is apostate, by his own definition.
  10. My new friend Glenn Hatcher was at the Allelon missional order gathering with us, and was part of the small group that I was in. During one of the main sessions, he riffed something that was eminently quotable, and a lot of us are indeed quoting it.
  11. 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present from Time). My novel isn’t finished or published yet… I wonder who I’ll bump off the list? ;^) I’ve only read something like seven of these, but I have a few more of them on my shelf… and I’ve seen some of the movies… How many have you read?
  12. If you write book reviews, I commend you to Be Not a Slothful Reviewer. I’ve done at least two of these. (1) I now read with the idea that every book is written for someone, who may not be me. I try to read with that in mind and review accordingly… though it means I may not read the entire book, I try to get enough to recommend it (or not) to its target audience. I ask, “Who is this book for?” I once gave a mediocre review to a good book because of this, and I know it was a disappointment to the author. Lesson learned. (2) I will take part of something an author says and riff off in some whole other direction. This is a blog and I will use books as fodder… but I try to be clear about what I’m doing and I tell the publisher who sends me the book that I may do this, but that it often means the book gets mentioned more than once in such contexts rather than as a formal review. So far nobody has minded.
  13. Emerging Grace: Missional Conversation at Our House, simple everyday conversation… but deep. This one kind of captures the spirit of something about missional purpose. I dunno, did the conversation continue later on?
  14. Treasure in Clay Jars: Patterns in Missional Faithfulness (The Gospel and Our Culture Series) Treasure in Clay Jars: Patterns in Missional Faithfulness — billed as a followup to Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, but I only know what Len tells me.
  15. Soren Kierkegaard: “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly.” And there’s more.
  16. A complete list of TEDTalks, more than 150 of them. You can almost click at random and get a good one.
  17. Solomon Porch Starts Live Video Streaming: no word on whether you’ll get a free book with your “love-gift” to keep them on the air ;^) Seriously, a neat idea… we all knew it was doable, but very few are doing it yet.
  18. Ben Witherington has some great images of Turkey up on his blog. Someday, someday… maybe…
  19. The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism (Christian Peace Shelf Series) J.R. Woodward starts consideration of John Howard Yoder’s The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism, which considers the Sermon on the Mount. Another one on my wish list now.
  20. Conclusion: “God’s people are energized for his mission in proportion to the degree which power is decentralized.” The end of a series by Andy Bleyer, guest-posting for J.R. Woodward, and landing on the theme of my Wikiklesia chapter.
  21. Practical mysticism — connecting charismatic expressions, spiritual formation, and monastic practices.
  22. Out of Print: A Novel by John Frye, now in print. Also news: Scot McKnight not only read a novel, he recommended it!
  23. Harry Potter Author Reveals Books’ Christian Allegory, Her Struggling Faith: “To me, [the religious parallels have] always been obvious,” Rowling said. “But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going.”
  24. Apparently there are Thirteen Critical Problems Facing Evangelicalism. Amazing how when you introduce the word “critical”, it sounds insurmountable, yet unless you think about what “critical” means, you want to say, “Oh, just thirteen? And I thought evangelicalism was in trouble.”
  25. Clarifying the NT Teaching on Divorce is causing a predictable firestorm. If you press through past this one to read Instone-Brewer’s piece and John Piper, and followups, I’m sure you’ll reach some sort of conclusion or other. If not, maybe try the Q&A. I thought Instone-Brewer had a good fresh perspective, if only because it saves me from yet another explanation of what the Greek word porneia probably means, might mean, could mean…
  26. While in Seattle I had The Elliott Bay Book Company, but unfortunately, I really only had less than an hour, and I didn’t buy anything. What I did see that was of interest though, was Revelations: Personal Responses to the Books of the Bible, which features Bono on the Psalms and the Dalai Lama on James. I also noticed — and I was surprised to find this in stock anywhere — a Hermeneia volume, The Critical Edition of Q: A Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas With English, German and French Translations of Q and … and Historical Commentary on the Bible). Yes, the title is too long, but I was still intrigued to find a commentary on a largely theoretical book. Definitely tougher slogging than Bono and the Dalai Lama, but for all its scholarly import, might it be less challenging than the popular responses? Just asking, that’s all.
  27. MarkO points out where you can find out what was the number one song on the day you were born. I drew the Beatles’ Paperback Writer. I’m sure it’s a sign, but what could it mean…. ;^)
  28. “The Kingdom of God is like a wise woman who spends Saturday mornings cooking meals for the coming week.” Apparently I live in the midst of an eschatalogical reality, at least most of the time. Hey, it’s not my doing… I might only come up with scatalogical. Sorry, that was a bad joke.
  29. Seth Godin reveals The secret of writing to be read, which makes me wonder why people keep coming back here. I’m bucking the trend, defying the logic! Uh, ignoring the sage?
  30. Quizzage:

    What Kind of Reader Are You?
    Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

    You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.

    Dedicated Reader
    Book Snob
    Literate Good Citizen
    Non-Reader
    Fad Reader
    What Kind of Reader Are You?
    Create Your Own Quiz

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