Posts Tagged: "jonathan martin"

Favorite Books Read In 2016

I thought I’d share the list of my favorite books read in 2016. A new thing (for me anyway) that I’ve been doing is reading poetry and fiction… I think Brian Zahnd convicted me with something he wrote that included the following quote from Eugene Peterson:

Isn’t it odd that pastors, who are responsible for interpreting the Scriptures, so much of which come in the form of poetry, have so little interest in poetry? It is a crippling defect and must be remedied.

So anyway, this year’s list includes a little poetry and fiction too. Not everything on the list is new—in fact, some of the books are quite old. It’s just that I read them in 2016 and they made my favorites list. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Water to Wine: Some of my Story by Brian Zahnd – OK, so I might have lied about “no particular order,” at least concerning this one. It’s number one on my list because this was the best book I read all year. Honestly, I wish every Christian would read it. If you only read one book from my list, please read this one!

2. Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity by Norman Wirzba – this book is accessible, enjoyable to read, and totally connects with the heart. I rarely mark up a book as much as I did this one. And this line is gonna stick with me for a long time:

It is a profound calling to look at whatever is before us and ask, “How can I make love visible here and now?”

3.  Celtic Daily Prayer: Book Two: Farther Up and Farther In by the Northumbria Community – this is designed as a daily prayer/devotional book. It is both thought-provoking and beautiful… something to look forward to every day.

4. Life’s too short to Pretend You’re not Religious by David Dark – David has become… Read More

Sunday Shout-Outs

Two beautifully challenging pieces to share today—the first one is new, the other is a few years old…

shannon dingle for post

I Want To Help You Understand My Lament by Shannon Dingle.

I’m hurting, friend. I’m hurting deeply. And I’m being told to suck it up and put away my pain and move on. Rather than call those responses insensitive, I want to help you understand my lament, if I can.

My heart is so tender, and I’m praying with each word that they will be received in the matter in which I intend. I know a lot of voices are shouting right now. I hope to be a voice that pulls up a chair to chat over coffee and share my heart.

I occupy a unique space. I’m white, but four of my children aren’t.

I was born here into a family that dates back to the pilgrim days, but four of my children are immigrants from Asia and Africa. I have ancestors who fought under the Confederate flag, but I’ve been targeted online as a “race traitor” for adopting outside of our ethnicity. I easily pass as having no disabilities (though I live with chronic conditions that are invisible yet can be disabiling), but I’m raising children who live with autism and cerebral palsy and HIV and visual impairments, including one who uses a wheelchair. My husband and I are straight and fit into accepted gender norms, but we have dear friends and neighbors who aren’t or don’t. I’m a Christian, but last year a Muslim friend of mine and her son waited at the preschool until we arrived to walk in with me and Zoe because she was afraid to walk in by herself after the Paris terrorism attacks.

And I occupy one common space: I am a woman who, like 1 in 6, has been raped. I am a woman who was sexually harassed in my workspace and whispered about when I filed a grievance against the man in power who objectified me. I am a woman raised by a father who doesn’t “read books by women because they aren’t any good.” (And I’m a writer, so the hurt is doubled there.)

I am grieving. Many are reading this as being a sore loser. But that’s not how I’m feeling. I have… Read More

The Liberating Truth of Limits

- - Life With God, Uncategorized

In two months, two high-profile megachurch celebrity pastors have resigned from their churches. What’s going on? Well, it’s easy to become unbalanced and unhealthy. It’s easy to overextend and heap way too much significance on the shoulders of one individual.

It’s easy to mix mission (what God is calling us to do) with ambition (what I feel like I need to do in order to be significant, someone, enough).

“Because then I would be enough.”

These are the words of Jim Carrey – presenting at the Golden Globes – making fun of himself and the whole spectacle that is celebrity award shows…

He said… Read More

Stammering Awkwardly and Boldly on Race and Violence (Holy Spirit, Help!)

The following are my notes from Sunday’s message – which included receiving communion together (with instructions to sit, holding the bread and cup, quiet and still before God—bringing our anger, hurt, sorrow, and fear into God’s presence, asking God to soften our hearts).

*     *     *

At the heart of the gospel is a table where men and women, young and old, rich and poor, native and foreigner, black and white… share a meal together.

Together as equals… sons and daughters of the King. Family. Kin.

In all our beautiful diversity. Every nation, tongue, tribe. Celebrating together. Sharing and laughing and crying together.

This is what Jesus did and what Jesus is still doing today: bringing people together.

This is a better and more beautiful way—the way of our Savior.

Last Sunday, in my message “When Doves Cry,” I said:

“All that trends toward death and destruction grieves the Holy Spirit.”

And, “All that leans toward life, all that contributes to the flourishing of life, all that brings and blesses life… the Spirit sings over this.”

I had a repeated line in the sermon… ” And God cried.”

I went through a brief history of events in our world that brought death and destruction, giving a date and brief statement of the violent, tragic event—each time ending with the statement, “And God cried.”

This week I needed to add a few more… Read More

The Good Kind of Shouting

It’s Sunday again – time for the good kind of shouting – some shout outs. Here’s what I enjoyed online this past week:

 

anne-marie heckt post

1. This post: We’re Meant To Be Swimming In The Deep by Anne-Marie Heckt.
My favorite line(s): “My thoughts drifted to the One who knows me. Who gets me. Better than any other ever, ever could. Water is an elemental love. Sky might be yours. Or loud noises, or wet rain, or heat that cracks the bones, or dancing in the motes of a sunrise. Or reading words and letting them bubble into and over you like champagne.

All of that beauty feeds us and it comes from the One who knows us.

We are meant to be out there, deep, swimming. Not clinging to the shore. Time spent in that beauty is not… Read More

Sitting At The Table With Jesus

- - Uncategorized

The methods and “business practices” of Jesus don’t make much sense to the modern American who works in the competitive marketplace and relaxes at home in the evenings – watching The Apprentice, Shark Tank, or The Voice.

We’re used to the threat of elimination. And we’re keeping an eye out for others who ought to be eliminated.

Jesus gave individuals a place at the table with him who didn’t deserve to be there. In fact, none of them deserved it. They looked more like a bizarre collection of characters… Read More

Maybe Disappointment Is OK After All

- - Life With God, Popular

I wish things in my life had been different.

By different, I guess I mean easier and less disappointing.

I wish my one set of grandparents hadn’t rejected my family when I was in elementary school. I wish my other grandmother, the good one, wouldn’t have died so early from lung cancer. And I wish I wasn’t the one to find my good grandfather, hours after his heart attack, dead on the floor in his house.

I wish my younger brother wouldn’t have left home when he did. I wish we had a better relationship.

I wish my sister’s husband wouldn’t have cheated on her. I wish he would have been a good husband and father. And I wish they could have made it work.

I wish Shari and I could have had more children.

I wish the friends who I thought “really got me” would still be part of my life instead of leaving me.

I wish the ministry leaders I’ve admired for so long would have been proud of me, or at least noticed me.

I wish my mom didn’t have cancer.

There’s more too, but I won’t bore you with the details.

We all have “I wish things in my life had been different” lists. They contain painful memories, disappointments, personal hurt, broken relationships, reversals of fortune, unmet expectations, and loss.

Although I have plenty of things that I wish had been different in my life, I cannot go back and change them…

And they have made me who I am today—scars and all… Read More

When God Disappoints

- - Life With God, Popular

Life is disappointing.

Things don’t work out the way we dreamed they would. Hopes are crushed; expectations go unmet.

And we press on. Disappointed? Yes. Out of the game? Not today.

I am well-versed in disappointment.

In my own experience, the most difficult kind is when God disappoints.

Can we talk about this?

Unanswered prayers

Apparent absence

Unprotected from terrible pain

Simple Bible verse formulas that don’t work – for me anyway

Blessings going to the undeserving while I get nothing for all my efforts

My guess: I’m not alone. You’ve felt this too… Read More