Saturday, November 27, 2004

Reading: Two Books on Islam

I had a fantastic breakfast this morning with my good friend, Mike O'Brien. We ate at the Ashton Diner. Following a delicious meal of scrambled eggs, hash browns, corned beef hash (my favorite), and an English Muffin, we went back to his house. He showed me his new patio (absolutely beautiful), built by our mutual good friend, Richard Baker. And as I was preparing to leave, Mike gave me a book. The book is titled Miracle of Miracles, and is the story of an Iranian woman who came to Christ, telling of her conversion, of the trials and victories that ensued, and of the work that she is involved in today. I am just getting into it. If you wish to read an excerpt, go here: Miracle of Miracles.

You will be inspired by the story posted there.

These events reminded me of another book I had purchased a while back and started to read but never finished. It is titled The The Blood of The Moon and it is written by George Grant. It is an introduction to Islam from a Biblical and historical perspective.

There are way too many books that I want to read. I cannot possibly read all of them. Unless of course ... hmmm ... I cut out some television.

Reading: Three books I'm working on

I am attempting to read three books right now. One, I mentioned earlier--This Little Church Went to Market. This book by Gary Gilley is a critique of the trend in modern (post-modern?) evangelicalism toward the "seeker-friendly" church, the movement that seeks to meet non-believer's "felt needs." I am about 1/4 of the way through the book so far.

The second book I am attempting to get through is The Call by Os Guinness. In this book, Guinness addresses the most fundamental need of every believer, that of finding out who we really are and why God has placed us here. Right now I 'm about 20 pages in. I love Guinness, a graduate of England's Oxford University, but also a man who lives in Northern Virginia. I had the privilege of meeting Os twice. The first time we met was at a book signing at Truro Episcopal Church. The second time was when John Jenkins and I went to lunch with him and his partner, John Seel. This was right after Bloodlines came out. It was quite amazing actually, having lunch with an Oxford man!

The third book I am working on is Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One. Dylan is telling the story of his early days in New York, before he began to become famous. Either his memory is unbelieveably good, or he is enhancing the story with fictionalized details, because the details are amazing.

"Above the fireplace, a framed portrait of a wigged colonial was staring back at me--near the sofa, a wooden cabinet supported by fluted columns, near that, an oval table with rounded drawers, a chair like a wheelbarrow, small desk of violet wood veneer with flip down drawers--a couch that was padded ..."

And so forth. He's recounting stuff from forty plus years ago. Anyway, I like Dylan.

I wish there were more hours in the day. There is so much I want to read.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Trickle Down Theory of Knowledge in the Corporate World

Randy Partin's Trickle Down Theory of Knowledge in the Corporate World:

In the business world, knowledge is power. Those in management positions often believe that sharing important information with those under their charge somehow diminishes their importance and authority. Keeping things "close to the vest" helps them maintain their power.

The message is "the sky is falling." As one who is the proverbial "low man on the totem pole," by the time the message gets to me, all I know is "the."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Is This Why the Church is Weak?

Last night at our twice-monthly Wednesday Night "LIFE" group gathering, we discussed many things. Derrell brought up the idea of vocation or calling and how the church of the present seems to have overlooked, in its message, the emphasis on the call of God to the individual.

Call means vision. Vision means bigger than me. Bigger than me means I am pulled forward by something ahead of me, something drawing me to a higher, more noble purpose.

As a young man coming up in Christ in the early 1970's, I remember reading several books that laid out this theme. One of them was Ultimate Intention by DeVern Fromke. Another was Calvary Road by Roy Hession. There were others as well.

Do today's young believers understand these themes?

Perhaps this is, in part, why the church is weak.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Reading: More Abigail

I am really enjoying this audio version of Dearest Friend: The Life of Abigail Adams. What a great story. And what great people the Adams' were. Being a Virginian and all, I have focused more on Jefferson, Madison, and Washington, et al. But this family was amazing.

One of the things I am gleaning is a general idea of the moral climate of the Revolutionary War days. Abigail Adams believed that Liberty and Virtue were inseparably linked. She also believed that a corrupt government could be overcome by a virtuous people. What about us today? We have both a corrupt government, and a corrupt people.

Lord, have mercy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Who is God?

Last night I enjoyed dinner with George Taylor and Fred Kory at our monthly "Thinklings" meeting. It was a rich time of fellowship and discussion.

Last night while sleeping, I dreamt of five questions:
  • Who is God?
  • Who is man?
  • Why did God make man?
  • What went wrong?
  • What has been done to rectify the situation?
Odd that I would dream that. But in reality, the answer to those five questions pretty much sums up all that anyone really needs to now.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Friday Night Meeting

Last night, we had our bi-weekly Friday Night Meeting at the Raiford's farm. I led worship, using Psalms 123-134 as a guide for our singing. I spoke on the theme of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, and our pursuit of transcendent reality.

Derrell added that perhaps Jesus' declaration of being "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," loosely corresponded with these three themes. He also said that Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, might be considered as the servants of Transcendence.


I am truly going to miss having this man around after he moves to Georgia.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Reading: Abigail Adams

I am thoroughly enjoying the book on CD titled Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams. Aside from retelling the history of the American Revolution, the story is a poignant tale of the love between John and Abigail Adams, told through their letters. Particularly touching is their struggle with the long months and years of separation, as John served his country, first in Philadelphia, and then in France.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Fatherhood and Husbandry

I had a thought last night about the relationship between Fatherhood and husbandry—the agricultural aspect of husbandry. I was thinking about Fatherhood in business management. I have seen first-hand, the ugly side of business management, the soulless side of it.

But as I have been pondering Fatherhood, it crossed my mind that a business owner, or manager, is like a farmer in a way, tilling, turning, cultivating his field. And that makes him like a father, too.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Building vs. Planting

Sitting in Joe's Pizza and Subs in Nokesville and updating my weblog.

As I wrote earlier this morning, I have been thinking further on the organic vs. the non-organic. I am beginning to realize that I have lived with an ongoing, low-level frustration for most of my adult life. I think this is because I have not been hugely successful in building things.

1) House of Bread/New Life Community Church: In the early 70's, when the discipleship movement got under way, our focus was on building a church expression around the idea of authority and accountability. That movement did not succeed as envisioned.

2) The Fairfax County Water Authority: In that same time period career-wise, I found myself in a dead-end job situation, as a white male, sitting at the threshold of the age of minority advancement. Passed over for several possible promotions, my attempt to build a career at the Water Authority fizzled and I bailed out, moving into Real Estate sales.

3) Real Estate Sales: My attempts to build a career in Real Estate met with marginal success, due in part to the unpredictability of the marketplace, and in part to my own lack of discipline. Let's face it, I am more of an artist than a businessman.

4) Manassas Christian Fellowship: Our stint at the next church of our choice led to more frustration as I attempted to lead others into a deeper understanding of doctrine and worship. But as a sheep, I could not achieve very much.

5) Cornerstone Presbyterian Church: I had hoped to build something here. But, once again, my efforts fizzled because the Church was not the right fit for us.

6) Bloodlines: At last I thought that just maybe I could build on the semi-success of this book being published. But alas, it turned out to be a one-shot deal.

7) New Covenant Fellowship: This church, at first a resting place for my weary soul, soon became another major source of frustration because the leaders did so little with what they had. And again, my small-time role as a sheep kept me locked out of any building activities. Probably a good thing.

8) Reconciliation Press (RP): My efforts with John at RP have been marginal, although we began strong, building a small collection of titles. The company still exists, and may one day blossom into something more. But building-wise, we just do not have the time or financial resources to make much more happen.

9) CP&P/Hanson: This has been an odd deal, working with Hanson. I am such a small-potatoes guy here, even though I work hard and generate several million dollars worth of business a year. But as far as building anything of value? No. I am working for the "Mammon-Beast."

10) New Life Community Church # 2: Ah, at last, perhaps, one final opportunity to get it right church-wise. But again, no! While I am working hard, attempting to build something lasting in the way of Adult Ed, the two pastors are duking it out in the back room.

So, what then is the answer? Maybe I'm not meant to build. I guess I will try to not worry so much about building anymore, and just learn contentment in planting. This seems to be what the Lord is saying to me right now.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Kingdom>>> Church >>> Culture

Kingdom>>> Church>>> Culture.

I'm starting a new blog using these three words as the title.

I realized that the Church has had minimal impact on the Culture because the Kingdom has had minimal impact on the Church. Note the progression of the arrows: From the kingdom, through the Church, and to the Culture.