Everybody should have a “go to” clip on YouTube that they pull up and watch when in dire need of a good laugh. SNL’s Debbie Downer Disney skit has always been that for me. But recently, my friend Karin sent me my new favorite.
I don’t often watch Family Guy. Probably only have seen it a few times in my life. But, as a writer, I find this clip from Family Guy incredibly funny. If I ever get discouraged about the slow pace of my writing, I’ll watch this and feel better. Stewie may be one of the funnies animated characters ever.
Thanks to Karin for sending this.
Amazon.com has added the audiobook edition of When Answers Aren’t Enough. (Hint: It’s cheaper than going directly to Audible’s website, even though the Amazon link sends you to Audible. Go figure.) Click here for the Amazon/Audible page that is cheaper than the Audible-only page. The audiobook edition is also available from iTunes.
Great news! The audiobook version of When Answers Aren’t Enough is here. You can download it from iTunes or Audible.com. Just search for Matt Rogers at either online store and you’ll find it.
Please help me spread the word, too. Could you blog about it? Post a link on your Facebook wall? Mention it in your Facebook status? Tweet about it if you’re on Twitter? If you know someone who prefers hearing books to reading them and who might find solace in what I’ve written, could you point them to the audiobook? You can even give the book to someone through iTunes. Look for the “Gift This Audiobook” link.
Thanks for helping me get out the word!
Recently, I told you about my friend Jim Pace’s upcoming book, Should We Fire God? Well, just the other day, Jim Pace got some good news. Rick Warren has written a foreword for the book. Warren is best-known for his wildly successful The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life. He’s sold millions of copies of his books. He says this about Jim Pace’s Should We Fire God?
“We live in a broken world. Because of that, we’ve all been brought to our knees by tragedies. What do you do when you’re struggling with overwhelming circumstances and emotions? How should you respond when your faith is tested and God seems absent or in no hurry to act?
In this book, Jim Pace offers helpful insights on the age-old question of God’s role in human pain. Jim shares from his own personal battle in understanding God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain, as well as dealing with the issues raised after the tragic shooting at his alma mater, Virginia Tech. Many of his congregation attended there during the shooting.
Jim shows how the Bible answers these kinds of situations. The answers are clear, he says, but they are often not what we expect or desire.
The fact is, no one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering. But God is there to provide real comfort and hope no matter what we face in this life. He uses even tragedy for our growth and his glory, when we give him all the pieces. While God may seem absent, He is never really gone. While He sometimes seems silent, He is always speaking His love for us. While he sometimes fails to do what we think He should, He is always actively engaged in our problems, wanting to draw us closer to Him. In pain, we learn things about God that we will not learn any other way.”
The Purpose Driven Life
Jim Pace’s Should We Fire God? releases on April 8, 2010.
So I’m on a Scot McKnight kick of late. First, I read The Blue Parakeet (see review below). Then, yesterday, I stumbled across his take on Fasting. I read the whole book in one sitting. Didn’t even make it out of Barnes and Noble. Just sat there in a comfy chair till I was done.
Fasting has always confused me. People tell me glorious tales of what God has done in response to their fasting, but all I ever seem to get from it is hunger pains, headaches, and bad breath. I was curious what light McKnight could shed on the topic for me.
McKnight says, “Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life.” It is not, he contends, primarily a means of ramping up the intensity of our prayers with the purpose of getting a response out of God. Rather, it is identifying with how God feels about a situation and bringing our whole self, body and spirit, into agreement.
I found Scot McKnight’s take on fasting refreshing and well-researched. He did his homework, reading broadly on the topic and appealing to the Scriptures to support his views. At 165 pages (with plenty of white space), you can read it in an afternoon. And it is certainly worth a reading.
Always, it seems, there is some new book telling us to rethink how we do church and how we read the Bible. Such books usually bore me at best, annoy me at worst. So many of them seem like little more than the author’s preferences on how to do church and study Scripture.
The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible (Zondervan, 2009), is refreshingly different. Author Scot McKnight brings to bear solid scholarship in his critique of how we’ve read the Bible in the past and his proposal for how we read it moving forward. Along the way, McKnight guides readers to ask tough questions of themselves: Why do I believe certain commands from the Old Testament were for ancient times but not for today? How do I determine which are still relevant and which are not?
Take Leviticus 19 as an example. In verse 11, the writer says, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” We would all say these instructions are for today. But just a few verses later in the same chapter, we read, “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material” (vs. 19). Is that also a command for today? What about other laws in the same chapter that say not to trim our beards or tattoo our bodies? Regarding the Bible’s instructions for living, what do we keep, and what do we toss?
McKnight’s solution to these questions is both intelligent and intriguing, and his writing style is–unlike that of so many authors of similar books–never dry. He keeps your attention with well-reasoned, sometimes hilarious prose. In what is perhaps my favorite quote, McKnight says, “… Some folks see some of the goofiest things in the Bible, and I wish I could just blow Holy-Spirit-air on them and cure them of their silliness.” The Blue Parakeet is Scot Mcknight’s attempt at just that. It’s an attempt well worth reading.