Book Recommendations – June 2017

As we move toward mid-June many people are creating or actively revising their summer reading lists.  Wherever you may be in your planning (even if your plan is not to plan at all), I encourage you to consider picking up some of my recent reads. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5+) The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear by Michael Kinnamon Read More …

3 Powerful Words for Ministry with Youth

Have you ever asked a teenager a question and received a yes or no answer?  Have you ever asked a string of open ended questions and received a few words or a short sentence in response to each?  Have you ever felt like at a certain age the ability for youth to speak openly and freely comes to an abrupt halt? A Different Question Brad M. Griffin, Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, wrote an in-depth article about a relatively simple yet incredibly powerful approach to extending, Read More …

Less & Less of the Old Testament?

Earlier this month Yonat Shimron's Religion News Service article "Is the Old Testament Dying?" captured my attention. Put differently: Is the First Testament losing importance for those who follow the Way of Jesus? Do Christians have far greater biblical literacy in the Christian Scriptures than in the Hebrew Scriptures? Less & Less? Shimron's article answers the initial and repackaged questions affirmatively based on a new book by Brent Strawn titled The Old Testament Is Read More …

The End of Biblical Literalism

For the last 40 years Gallup has polled Americans on their view of the Bible.  For the purposes of this research, respondents are asked to choose between inspired by God not to be taken literally actual word of God to be taken literally, and fables, history, and moral precepts recorded by people. Over the entire 40 year period the most common way Americans have interpreted the Bible is as a book that is inspired by God but not to be taken literally.  That perspective has held rather Read More …

Water is Life

I grew up taking water for granted.  Wherever my little feet took me, water flowed freely whenever I turned on a faucet. It was always there when I was thirsty.   It was a given for bathing and toileting.  It filled pools and lakes and oceans providing endless options for summer fun. Water was everywhere. Water was always there. Water is More and Less Of course, water was, is and always will be far more and far less than my childhood memories. It is more as it signals the arrival Read More …

Americans Like but Don’t Read the Bible

Last week LifeWay Research released the results of their latest poll of Americans' thoughts about and readership of the Bible.  It turns out that overall Americans continue to hold this sacred text in high regard even as readership rates and biblical literacy decline. Previous research by the American Bible Society found that at least one Bible is present in 87% of American homes.  Also, more than 75% of American homes have an Internet connection they could use to access the Bible online. Read More …

Fading America: Disappearing Dream – Emerging as Developing Nation

When did you first realize that the so-called American Dream has died?  Or, put in nicer terms, when did you realize that the American Dream as understood in a popular sense is realistically attainable for a shrinking portion of those living within the borders of the United States? Perspective A few hours before writing this post I had a lengthy conversation with an older Baby Boomer.  This person is greatly concerned that the current President is providing many people with false hope Read More …

Humble Leadership

Humility is hard to talk about, and harder still to embody. Most people don't quit a job; most people quit their boss. Humble leaders are needed as much and perhaps more now than ever. Humility & Effectiveness In a recent Harvard Business Review article Margarita Mayo, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IE Business School in Madrid, noted that humble leaders are more effective leaders.  She writes Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the Read More …

Being American, Being Christian?

  Does Believing in God Make You a Better American? This question is the title of a recent article by Kelsey Dallas that addresses how many Americans feel about what the role of Christianity should be in shaping the American experience. While most readers can and will quickly answer the question, it is important to also be aware of how other Americans have answered it in recent years. 4 out of 10 think a culture grounded in Christianity is an extremely or very important piece Read More …