Thursday, May 31, 2007

Biodiversity to the Praise of God

The Economist had a lovely article a little while back about deep sea creatures in the Weddell Sea, an Antarctic depth that is home to millions and millions of microscopic creatures, many of them unknown to humanity until recently. It put me in mind of an earlier story from HaAretz last year speaking of a cave in Israel that had been completely sealed off for millions of years in which they found eight new species of animal never before known.

These stories put me in awe, remembering how much grander God’s design is than our little machinations can grasp. Here these unknown species have been existing for years and years in the sight of God alone, and their hidden activities bring Him delight, unbeknownst to us. Wherever we turn in this great world, God’s glory is revealed to us, even in the depths of the Antarctic or hidden in a cave in the desert.

Last month was the 300th Birthday of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish biologist who invented the system of taxonomy that we still use today. Each of these unknown creatures were assigned names using Linnaeus’ system. The May 2007 Smithsonian Magazine features an outstanding tribute to this great man.

One of the nice features of the Smithsonian article is to remind us of Linnaeus’ faith: “Though he didn’t follow his father into ministry, Linnaeus remained a devout Lutheran throughout his life, despite the clash of his scientific views with his theological conclusions. Faith led him to believe that human beings are “candles in God’s palace,” reflecting the “creator’s shining majesty.” His bouts of depression and egocentrism are tempered by his exuberance and joy in creation, care for his family, and love of the pets and garden he kept at his household. He was a great man, a flawed man, but a great man – and he was enraptured by the glory and diversity of God’s good creation. Perhaps we can learn from him that our faith can lead us to wonder….

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off the Shelf: Give it Up

Confession time.

I started the book expecting interesting things – but after a few chapters, I found myself wondering why anyone would ever pay for this carnival of the obvious. The book is Give it Up: My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less by Mary Carlomagno. It had caught my eye in the bookstore. While I was at the library the other week picking up another volume, Carlomagno’s book winked at me from the shelf. I couldn’t resist the flirtation, so I picked it up and checked it out.

It’s no surprise the seductive appeal the very title had for me: after reading Crunchy Cons, I hungered to simplify. Indeed, I was putting that desire into practice by making use of the Library rather than the local peddler of pulp paper products. The dust jacket tantalized me with small talk:

“Like most people, Mary Carlomagno was stressed out, overscheduled, and tripping over the clutter of her days – until she decided to take control and simplify her life. Each month she renounced one thing: alcohol, shopping, elevators, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate, and multitasking. During the course of the year, Mary took stock of her life, discovered what was really important, and gained a deeper appreciation for the world around her. Give It Up! chronicles Mary’s life-changing experiences and provides a commonsense blueprint for anyone looking for a fresh start and a new outlook. It’s about simplifying your life, cherishing every moment of it, and celebrating what is truly important.”

Thus I committed. By the end of the first chapter, I realized that this wouldn’t be a relationship, but a one-night stand. Carlomagno described her challenges in giving up alcohol for a month – a challenge because in New York, apparently everyone socializes over alcohol (except, perhaps, when they’re socializing over coffee – as she explores in a later chapter). She describes an over the top drunken New Year’s Eve party and then the social anxiety that her choice to give up alcohol for a month creates. Now this is from a person who’s somewhere close to my age (she describes herself as “mid thirties”). I pretty much gave up that scene, oh, well over a decade ago (well before I went to seminary).

Then we were into shopping. Shopping?? You have to give up shopping? (I looked back at the dust jacket – indeed, shopping was there – I must’ve missed it while I was being seduced by the concept) Wow, for me that’s like giving up …. Flossing. It’s a pain the keyster, but you have to do it every now and again – but you can get by on a lot less than you think you do.

From that chapter, I could only see flaws in this book – giving up television? (again, I checked the dust jacket – yes, it was there. I must’ve been blind to miss it) Sorry, I kicked that one a while back too – without any angst. I just didn’t see my life suffering from not seeing Richard Hatch’s naked behind during the first season of Survivor (and obviously, if it’s such a cultural phenom, I’ll hear about it from other sources anyway). Coffee, cursing and chocolate? Giving these things up brings deprivation? Come on.

I began to believe that this author lives in a parallel universe of hipster Manhattanites running about from meeting to event, their uber-bright teeth flashing as they quite cleverly chatter about vanity. Perhaps this was really never-never land filled with Lost Boys and Girls – refusing ever to really grow up, but wandering about in perpetual self-indulgence. Don’t get me wrong, I have as much issues with self-control as the next guy, but I’m not peddling a book for $14.95 claiming that the story of my little struggles against chips and salsa will give you deep penetrating insights into leading a more fulfilling life!

And there in never-never land, I met the enemy within; my own personal Captain Hook, if you will: Self-control (Calvin tells us that the essence of the Christian life is self-denial). Carlomagno’s little book reminds me that in our land of plenty, the struggle for self-control is the daily struggle for us all. I have no claim to superiority here.

Facing this shadow within, I realized that the mirror was turned about on me; I thought it best to go back and look at Carlomagno’s conclusions again. There’s more there than a pithy “moderation in all things” message. She makes a pretty radical turnabout on Television and Shopping – drastically cutting down on both because they are cruel masters who howl for your soul, and give a happy meal toy in exchange. She extols the virtues of home-prepared meals, wonderfully reminiscing on her grandmothers’ and mother’s cooking lessons. The chapters on Elevators and taxis urged meditation on knowing your surroundings and being prepared for circumstances. The chapter on cussing caused her to think about and be more intentional in all her speech. Finally, the chapter on multitasking led her to the insight about focusing all your energies on the present moment and embracing it fully.

None of these concepts are new. While the book prompted me to self searching, it really only gave me one new idea – the idea of fasting for a month from something that I enjoy that for spiritual reasons I need to lay down for a season. Neither can I commend the book to Eagle and Child readers (at least those of you whom I know or who comment regularly) – my guess is that it has nothing to offer you. As you’ve shown from your comments on this blog, most of you have attained a far greater level of maturity and stability than the intended audience of this book.

However, all that means is that the book isn’t really for you. Right now there’s some college graduate who desperately needs to read this book before she gets caught up in the vanity of the offerings of the world. She needs to read this before she racks up a five grand visa bill and before she wastes her life with cardboard people holding semi-diverting conversations over martinis in a hazy bar. There’s a young man who needs to read this book before he posts his expletive laden comments about a drunken adventure on his Myspace page. He needs to read this before he turns 50 and realize that he knows more about the exploits of the characters on Lost than he does about his own wife. If this book exposes, in a somewhat winsome and lighthearted way, the vanities of the world, then all to the good, for our culture glories in vanity.

Perhaps, if nothing else, it may goad us to be more thoughtful and intentional in our words and deeds. And if so, then my hats off to Carlomagno, and my thanks for her efforts.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Now Playing: Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End

Mrs. Eagle took care of baths and bedtimes for the Eaglets, and let me slip away for the evening to catch the opening of the third installment of Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End.

The early reviews said it was a convoluted plot, and not the best, but still a worthy installment of the franchise. I don't know what film they had seen, but I thought the plot was pretty straightforward for anyone who had seen the previous films -- I felt entertained through the whole three hours. I had likened the second film (Dead Man's Chest) to Empire Strikes Back (betrayals, darkness, empire rising, the rouge/scoundrel figure who is trapped by the enemy forces and must be rescued in the third film). This third film cements that analogy -- conflicts are resolved, romances are sealed, empires are shattered, characters are redeemed.

The redemptive elements caught my attention most. At the end of the second film we had several characters in need of redemption in one shape or another:

Jack Sparrow -- swallowed by the Kracken and taken down to Davy Jones' locker where he suffers eternal punishment in maddening isolation. He is victim to his own machinations, and he needs release.

Elizabeth Swann -- the heroine betrayed Jack, chaining him to the ship while everyone else escaped. She knew that was the only way to keep the Kracken from destroying everyone. However she bears the burden very un-pirate-like. She is stricken with remorse and can tell no-one what she has done. She is eager to rescue Jack and right her wrongs.

Bootstrap Bill Turner -- the father of the hero Will Turner -- he is cursed to serve on the haunted ship of the demonic Davy Jones for all of eternity. His only hope is that someone finds the way to destroy Jones and break the curse upon the whole crew.

Commander Norrington -- fallen from military heights, Norrington is a bitter angry drunk who still weilds a wicked sword in the second film. He betrays everyone by handing over the secret of controlling Davy Jones to the scheming Cutler (chairman of the British East India Company -- showing that ruthless efficiency and polite veneer can still be utterly evil). Though he is restored to his military commission, he must live haunted by the realization that he has given great power to a man far more evil than any pirate.

Davy Jones -- the cursed captain of the Flying Dutchman who prowls the sea in search of lost sailors he can impress into his demon crew. He was not always evil, but was twisted by anguish after the betrayal of his beloved.

and those are just the major characters. Suffice it to say, redemption is accomplished, but as with all true redemption a price must be paid: "for what we want most there is a cost that must be paid in the end" says the mysterious Tia Dalma. In this film, the price is the shedding of blood. This film does not shy from killing characters - even non-villan characters. Some of the good guys die in this one. The climax of the action and resolution of confilcts delivers a melancholy caress that really worked for me. It's not very Disney, but it does feel quite the old fashoned pirate story.

Some great comedy too -- they really re-captured a sense of the spirit of the first film. Keith Richards does a delightful turn as Captain Teague -- Jack Sparrow's father. All said, a very entertaining film that I enjoyed greatly.


A few things disturbed me. First and foremost was the implication that these pirates were freedom fighters. Yes, the East India company is portrayed as a ruthless buracracy that seeks to stamp out any opposition. The opening scene shows the company forcing the governor to suspend all kinds of rights such as habeas corpus, freedom of assembly, freedom of jury trial. In the absence of these rights, the hangings begin. A fine reminder that behind the veneer of civility and order there is glue and sawdust that decays quickly into rot.

Even so, as the pirate leaders from across the world gather to battle the East India Company, Elizabeth delivers a speech straight from Braveheart, talking about fighting for freedom. I'm sorry, but this is a bit of a stretch. The freedom the pirates wanted was to "take everything you can, and give nothing back" (as Jack Sparrow and Mr. Gibbs repeat back to each other in each of the three movies). The freedom they want, after all, is the freedom to live life on their own terms, which includes bullying, stealing, and taking away from anyone that crosses their paths. The pirates show themselves to be adept at betrayal and ruthlessness. Please realize, I'm not trying to be a killjoy -- this is what we expect from a pirate movie (indeed it's part of the fun to play at it), but something just didn't ring right with me about the speech -- it was too much -- too out of place for pirates.

Then there is the issue of pagan worship. A central part of the plot deals with the release of the ancient sea goddess Calypso, whom the pirates bend their knees to in reverence. That's just kind of creepy, for with that we move from the realm of ghost story/folk tale into the realm of actual pagan deities. It didn't spoil anything for me, just left a lingering unsettled feeling.

So go forth with open eyes; enjoy the ride.


Note -- I've updated the movie index on the sidebar to include all the movie reviews from last year -- if you're interested in other movie reviews, check out the index.

Furniture built to last

In our home we have antiques. Not the kind that you find in an expensive emporium nestled in among Persian rugs, dusty books and cases of Confederate cavalry swords. Our antiques have stories – Great aunt Sallie Chambers’ china cabinet; the sideboard that Aunt Barbara swears my grandmother hated; my father’s grandmother’s rocking chair; my mother’s father’s bookshelves. I love these pieces of furniture because they give me a sense of rootedness to the family, but also because I find them quite lovely. Not to mention, these are pieces that have held up for generations and are still functional, for the most part.

I never quite understood those who had to completely change furniture every 5 years or so. I realize that tastes change and develop over time, but I’ve always considered such change as organic development – move this one piece, reupholster this, switch this piece out for that other, give this one piece away to someone else in the family, etc. But for a couple of decades now, I’ve had the impression (justified or not) that furniture was a disposable commodity, switched to suit the mood.

This month’s issue of Fast Company gives hints of winds of change. An article profiles Jerry Helling, a creative director at Bernhardt Designs. He expresses frustration with the concept of buying a suite of matching furniture. Helling simply “…loves furniture too much to see it purchased like a Happy Meal. ‘These mega-lifestyle collections don’t represent true long lasting design,’ he says, ‘They’re paint-by-number solutions.’” Helling’s goal, along with several of his contemporaries, is to design furniture that is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and built to be an heirloom.

Helling has put together a line of furniture, each piece designed by a top player in the field, that would be able to stand the test of time. The main unifying design characteristic is “timeless simplicity” (think shaker furniture). In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that the photos of the furniture left me unimpressed (save for one piece). Realize that I’m not a high end designer nor am I educated in the intricacies of what makes for good design. Yet, as an end consumer, I can say that I only saw one piece that interested me.

That’s not to say that Helling has failed. His aims are to have people shop diligently for that piece that really suits them and add it to their collection. That being the case, I fully expect that there will be lots of work that doesn’t appeal to me. What I admire is Helling’s motivations: “Helling hopes buyers will grow so fond of their purchases that they’ll hang on to them, handing them down to their children as cherished heirlooms. That would satisfy his desire to create not only a lasting design legacy but an environmentally responsible one as well. In the furniture trade, ‘we’re still to focuses on recyclability and cradle-to-cradle,’ he says. ‘We should spend our effort creating things that will last and that we will want to keep forever.’”

I love this mindset. It puts me in mind of the church I heard of that did long range planning not on the five year basis, nor on the ten year basis, but on the hundred year basis. That church had hopes and dreams for being a blessing to the grandchildren of their children! It puts me in mind of the great cathedral builders of Europe who began work on a building that they would never see completed. It puts me in mind of the covenantal promises to the patriarchs – blessings for generations to come. It seems that a significant part of building culture that is good and Godly and a blessing is to shift our focus to building all kinds of things that last, even our furniture.

Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogging to Learn: Being a Collector

Several years ago, I read Tom Stanley's amazing book Millionaire Mind . Stanley is a student of the wealthy and their habits. He decided to focus his attention on the "balance sheet" wealthy (not the folks who generate huge amounts of income and then blow through it; but rather the people who over time accumulate and hold on to wealth). He found that the true balance sheet millionaires were people who might live next door to the average middle class household -- they didn't drive fancy cars or have lavish habits. They were millionaires because they were wise with their money and their spending and earning habits. He published his findings in the book The Millionaire Next Door (itself a good read).

Millionaire Mind was his followup book in which he talked about the character traits of those who had the tenacity to over a lifetime build significant wealth. He highlighted many traits -- gratitude, risk-taking, emotional stability, etc. But the one that has stood out for me these many years is "Have a Collector Mentality"

Simply put, Stanley suggests that a key to success is approaching each book, each lecture, each magazine with a question bouncing in the back of the head "Is there something here that I might be able to apply to my vocation....?" He suggested that if you have such a clear reason for coursework, reading, and other activities, you'll get a lot more out of the material. In his own words:

“Too many people today lack focus; they are not collectors of anything -- not data, not customers, not specific marketable skillls. On the other hand, collectors can read one newspaper and find several ideas or pieces of information about their chosen vocation. In twenty years they can generate a collection of treasure. Noncollectors often don’t understand what they should be doing given their aptitudes and abilities. They can read thousands of newspapers and not add one item to their collection. Perhaps they never started one or, worse, they hate their jobs. In the long run, it’s impossible to work at a high level of productivity if you dislike your work.” (213).

Mom will tell you, I've always had something of a collector's instinct -- stamps, coins, seashells, comic books (I promise, I'll get them out of your closet someday, Mom). I saved every notebook from college - usually with a vague sense that someday, I'll find a use for this stuff. However it wasn't until I read Stanley that it all began to make sense that I was collecting stuff (stories, experiences, articles, ideas) to prepare me for the vocation of being a minister. Now my collection could have a lot more focus. What was lacking was the how of the collection. How would I archive my stuff?

David Allen gave me the simple insight in his productivity book Getting Things Done (which I reviewed over on Writer's Read last year) -- have a single filing cabinet system for everything -- simply an A-Z file. Give yourself the freedom to add folders ad hoc ("ahah, here's an article on refrigerators...we're thinking about buying a new one next year. I'll make a new folder and slip it in the A-Z file right behind "Reformed theology"). The A-Z has to cover everything -- personal life, work life, etc. So I created one on the laptop for digital files and one at work for paper files. I bought one of those label printers so I could easily print labels on the fly -- and then I just throw stuff in the cabinet when I need it.

So I have the collection, and I have the system for the collection. Now here's the rub -- Allen suggests that you review the collection at least annually. Either set aside a day or two to review the entire contents and make a decision "save or keep" (don't make it a life or death decision -- if there's any doubt, save it -- you're going to review this again and have the chance next time). He also suggests that in those odd moments (like the five minutes you have while waiting for coffee to brew), you rifle through and review five or six folders. This way you will 1) keep the collection current and 2) familiarize yourself with the collection for easy accessibility.

What does this have to do with blogging? Simply put, blogging enables me to:

1) add new material to my collection. Being forced to think about something and digest it gives me ideas on where to place things in the collection. The entire blog itself is archived in the collection. Book reviews are all worked out in my "reading notes" folder. Many of the topics that I come back to repeatedly have folders in my collection. Often these topics will work themselves out in other areas of ministry (preaching, counseling, etc)

2) blogging encourages me to put the collection to good use. The collection doesn't just sit there -- because I'm going through it on a regular basis, I am constantly confronted with information that might be worth sharing with a church leader, a friend....or the Eagle and Child readers.

3) the collection adds texture to themes that I'm thinking about. For instance, this blogging to learn topic.... As I work through some concepts, I'm able to quickly find additional material that fleshes out thoughts (such as the above quote from Tom Stanley, which is in my summary of the book that I read 7 years ago -- I can pull that out anytime I need it because I know exactly where it is in my collection).

4) the collection helps me to help other people. Just yesterday over lunch, I found myself talking with a sociologist and his wife about the challenges of generational change (long story...). I recommended Strauss and Howe's The Fourth Turning as an interesting text, and was able to give them a pretty detailed synopsis because I had blogged my way through it last year -- they're also able to go read my summaries to get a better idea of whether it is in their interests to purchase the book or not.

And those are just advantages that I cooked up on the spot to illustrate a point. THoughts???
Soli Deo Gloria

Blogging to Learn: Intro

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Blogging Silence -- and the little things

Yes, I know it's been more than a week. I had wireless troubles in Cleveland and was unable to post during the Parkside Pastors conference. Not a bad thing, after all. I came to the realization that there's a difference between "liveblogging" an event and analyzing it. The thoughts I'd initially put down to post just don't seem quite right anymore, now that I'm a few days distanced and have had time to mull over the conference. Likely, I'll come back to my notes and do some follow-up posting later.

When I got back, I found myself in a whirlwind of answering email, phone messages, preparing for Session (our church elder board meeting, for you non-presbyterians), and generally trying to tidy up the chaos that inevitably creeps into one's life when one is gone from home for a little while.

One of those things was sorting through the pile of magazines that collects in our living room. I periodically sort through what to keep, throw out, and take to the YMCA. When I exercise on the treadmill at the Y, I usually pick up one of the magazines left by other members - Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, etc. I've started to take all my old World magazines (and others) and leave them there for two reasons 1) it's better than sending them straight to the landfill 2) Someone may pick them up and be influenced by the ideas.

While I don't always agree with the editorial stances taken in World magazine, I appreciate that they try to present world events from a self-consciously Christian perspective while at the same time being sharp, witty, and curious about many things. People actually read this stuff and take the magazines home. It's a little thing, it takes almost no thought at all, but who knows what the results may be.....

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blogging from Begg -- Notes on Tim Challies and blogging for God

Straight from Atlanta to Cleveland. This morning, John Daley (of Orthodoxology) and I hopped in a car, where we drove to the Akron airport to pick up Billy Craig (a former classmate from RTS now serving in at New Hanover Presbyterian in Richmond VA) so we could all attend the Parkside Pastor's conference.

Providentially, the first seminar I attended was blogosphere goliath Tim Challies' seminar on Blogging your ministry (which parallels nicely with the Blogging to learn series on which I'm working). I missed his overview/history of blogging/story of Tim as a blogger. I did however catch his overview of some things that Christians are doing well on the blogosphere:

1) community – the blogosphere has fueled the resurgence of reformed movement.
2) sanctification – Tim approaches journaling as a spiritual discipline – now blogging is a part of his ongoing discipline. It is more public and less personal, but it has great impact.
3) teaching -- blogging gives teh chance to teac h good doctrine, but it is limited. Most blog readers only hang in there for 1000 words or so
4) information – blogging is useful for disseminating information about the reformed movement – conferences all over the country are seeing much higher attendance this year – blogging is a part of it.
5) Unity – blogging is a great platform for bringing together different groups – groups that had been divided by mutual suspicion before.

Then he presented 5 things that he felt Christians could be doing better:
1) Evangelism -- people gravitate to like interests – pagans will stay away from “Christian” sites” – our challenge will be to move out into other spheres – write about things that interest us, while still maintaining our identity.
2) Filtering – we suffer from information overload – we have to ask what is worth reading. Don’t lose balance with reading, family, etc.
3) Control -- just because you can say it doesn’t mean that you should
4) replacement – don’t make your most important relationships on the web – don’t neglect the church and family for
5) controversy – controversey may generates traffic but it isn’t helpful. Avoid dwelling in discouragement and gossip.

All pretty good thoughts. Tim came across with humility and forthrightness. He fielded questions from pastors seeking to get started. Many of the questions were about how we can use blogging to build community... I'd suggest that blogging doesn't build community, but it does enhance it. More to come later tonight as I chew on these things.

Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Curiosity -- and invitation to comment -- and where I was this weekend

Out of curiosity -- It seems we have a number of Eagle and Child readers who are located in and around Myrtle Beach -- the Eagle and Child takes flight in that general direction later this summer. If you're a Myrtle Beach reader, post a comment identifying yourself. Perhaps we can arrange a group meetup in Murrell's Inlet for some Shrimp and theology (now there's a title for a blog post if ever I heard it)

Also an invite -- I know there are a lot of silent readers -- the invite is always open to jump in and join the conversation. Some of our readers are regulars, and some drift in and out whenever they feel so led. We'd be glad to have you in the conversation.

No posts this last weekend because Mrs. Eagle and the Eaglets and I all went to Atlanta to participate in Mrs. Eagle's Sister's wedding (all of us were in the ceremony). The wedding was at Peachtree Road United Methodist -- an impressive facility -- beautiful, majestic, lovely stained glass. Here is a photo I found on flickr to give you a taste.

Here's a link to the designer of the stained glass -- with photos of their work. High beauty truly does reflect the beauty of the Creator.

Soli Deo Gloria


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blogging to Learn

About 6 or 7 years ago, I bought William Zinnser's little book Writing to Learn. Zinnser's idea is that the process of writing entails a process of learning -- you must collect data, organize that data, and present said data in a clear order. Such interaction with the data cements it in your brain in new and interesting ways. For much of this book he lets us tour his collection of fine writing retrieved from such disparate disciplines as science, philosophy, and math.

This is a fine approach to blogging as well; but modified somewhat The very nature of blogging is relational. Blogging invites commentary from readers, many of them regulars who form a loose cadre of benevolent, though at times sharp-witted, companions. At times the occasional uninvited barbarian intrudes with an advertisement for online gambling or a profanity strewn rant against the blogger, but the blogger has the authority to quickly dismiss these invaders. So, blogging to learn becomes more than a solitary process at the end of which the learner shares the fruits of his/her labor with an unidentified audience. Blogging to learn entails the blogger issuing the invite to his boon companions "come along with me; lets have some fun together"

Blogging to learn requires all the basics of good writing: clarity, freedom from jargon, simplicity, organization, etc. I was told once by Mike Beates, my Intro to Hebrew professor, that every writer should review Strunk and White's Elements of Style at least once a year. While avoiding that overkill, I suggest that any blogger who aspires to be more than an electronic gossip columnist should add the Elements into the reading pile from time to time (along with Zinnser's On Writing Well).

Blogging to learn also requires doing homework. Serious journalists dismiss bloggers as hacks who don't track down sources past wikipedia. They cluck their tongues and whisper 'tut tut' when bloggers pass rumor and innuendo off as verifiable fact. We would do well to remember that blogging is something of an all things to all people -- it's not a genre, it's a medium. But if we consider blogging to learn as a genre, then it requires a little more research -- looking for more information, more connections of ideas, picking and choosing where to link and where not to link to provide edification beyond the scope of a post. Blogging to learn asks the readers to thoughtfully comment in such a way as to add value and information to the discussion.

In my notes, I've jotted down about a half dozen topics that relate to blogging to learn (the value of collecting, the value of a someday/maybe file, the value of the lattice, the value of the network, etc). I'd like to come back to this topic from time to time -- any thoughts?



Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'm published -- in a real book! Really I am!

This is so very cool for me.

Long term readers of the Eagle and Child (and members of Covenant-First Pres) have heard me talk about Salkehatchie Summer Service, the summer mission project that greatly influenced my faith and my call to ministry.

Several years ago, I preached a sermon that used my Salkehatchie experiences as an illustration of God's extraordinary Providence expressed through ordinary people. Mom copied the sermon for John Culp, the founder of the Salkehatchie project. John passed the sermon along to Arlene Bowers Andrews, who was working on a book about Salkehatchie. Arlene called me to ask for permission to quote the sermon. Of course I gave her permission.

She printed the whole blooming thing in her book. (you can read the sermon here at the Third Millenium Ministries Archive) Mom sent me a copy a few months ago, and I've just been holding off on telling you all. Buy the book, read about a really great and powerful mission experience. And ask your libraries to stock it.

Meanwhile, I'll be signing autographs in the lounge....