Thursday, October 06, 2011

Same ole, Same Ole

We have all heard, or experienced the fact that a majority of children (once they get confirmed) drop out of the church never to be seen again.  According to a survey by LifeWay Reasearch: “Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30—both evangelical and mainline—who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23.”


Well internationally known defender of the faith Josh McDowell and co-author Bob Hostetler suggest in Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door that teens don’t have the answers to the questions that most perplex them.  They seek to give teens answers that make sense, even for the toughest of questions. Their answers are laced with humor to expose common myths about God, the Bible, religion, and life to show how Christianity stands up to the test of fact and reason. Well, sort of.

Unfortunately, they answer most questions by assuming that a teen is already indoctrinated in the faith and will accept the same old pat answers that we have been giving since the dawn of the Enlightenment.  I found the book frustrating, and dated (it is just a rehash of an older book) and unable to convince most of the non-believers that I encounter.

If a teen is on the edge and willing to check their brain at the door, then this is the book for them, otherwise I would suggest that they dig deeper into some of the modern thinkers (who aren’t thinking very modernly) and learn from them, because having faith in the Way of Jesus is essential for us all.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thoughts about Steve Jobs

The world got the news last night that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had died at his home at the age of 56.  It has been interesting reading the reflections on his life, but a number of things bother me.

I was a proud owner of an original Macintosh Computer (1984), so I hopped on the Apple bandwagon very early.  When I started Celebration Church I really debated about going with Mac's but at the time there just wasn't much church oriented software out there (there still isn't) and I could not justify the cost.  I own the I-pod, I-phone and I-pad and just today ordered a Mac Book Pro for the Church.

I say all that because I think it is important that I separate my feelings for Apple with Steve Jobs the human.  One of the things that has long disturbed me is Jobs' lack of interest in philanthropy.  I know that Jobs' was a very private person, but his personal life left many things to be desired.  I don't need to detail any of that but the thing that struck me was his unwillingness to join Warren Buffett and Bill Gates' "Giving Pledge" in which they invited the super-rich to join them in donating at least half their wealth to worth causes.

Somewhere in the mix while we canonize Steve Jobs', we need to remember that inventing isn't the only thing.  Sure he will long be remembered as quite possibly the greatest inventor of our time; but we also need to remember his failure to be inventive with all the wealth that he accumulated.  Failure on his part to model for the rest of us ways to be generous, is also a major portion of his legacy.

Lots of Books and Stuff

In a little over a month I will heading back to Israel for a 13 day trip that will include a few days in Jordan.  The last time I was in Israel was February of 2008 when I was privileged to be the guest of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar.  Pictures from that trip can be found at: my flickr site.

One of the things that I hope to do is blog everyday about the trip.  I usually write a diary, but instead I will do it online.  I hope that this will provide some type of written journal not only for me but also for all those who join me on this trip.

One of the things that I am most excited about is the opportunity to return to Jordan.  I am not even certain when the last time I was there, but I would guess it was close to 10 years ago.

One of the things that I like to do on this blog is keep up to date on the books I have been reading.  I have been very dilatory in posting my reviews, and I doubt I will ever go back and do it.  So let me just share some of the books that I remember that I have read this summer.

Imperium by Robert Harris (very good story about Ancient Rome)

Pictures at A Revolution by Mark Harris (Wonderful history of Hollywood in 1967 and how that year transformed Hollywood forever.

Speaking Christian by Marcus Borg (Challenging book about how Christian words have lost their original meanings.)

Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller (Miller is an author who often speaks my language, and when he doesn't he really gets me thinking --- I would highly recommend his books!)
Harvard Yard by William Martin (Fun historical fiction about the history of Harvard)

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (Don't waste your time!!!)

In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson (Wow, I have loved everything that I have read from Larson and this one is no exception.  This is the story of an American diplomat during the rise of Hitler in Germany, 1933.  For any history buffs, this is a must read!)

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbreck (This may be the definitive book on Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  It has made me want to travel to see the sights.)

Fire and Rain by David Browne (Great follow up to Pictures at a Revolution because this book follows the careers of The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY in 1970.  This book was a lot of fun and brought back lots of great memories!)

Sacred Trash by Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman  (OK, you have to be a little off to enjoy this book, and I did, since it is the story of the discovery of ancient texts from a Cairo Geniza.  You really have to be into archaeology and the back story to get into a book like this.)

I also just recently completed two books about Bicycle Touring.  One about touring on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the other about touring the Natchez Trace.  I plan on riding the Natchez Trace next summer, now I just have to get a bike!

I am sure I have forgotten a few books along the way.  I am going to try to do better and post regularly so that I don't fall so far behind, and so that I get in the habit before the trip to Israel.