Saturday, April 22, 2006

How to change the world

I found an article written by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, about Rick Warren. The article breaks down the success Warren has had with The Purpose Driven Life, his church and his ambitions for God. This is a great article. If you read it, it will be the best thing you've read all day. Let me know what you think.

Other Notes:
I'm moving next weekend to my new house. I'm very excited. As a first time homeowner it will be an experience living under my own roof! What with my big yard I'm going to need to buy a good lawnmower. It seems there's a lot of things to buy for a new house. I also have very little for decorations, art, etc. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I plan to get some of my pictures blown up and framed.

Yes, in my last post I spelled Yancey wrong. I stand corrected. The worst part is that I had a book of his on my desk as I wrote the post. Terrible!

Congrats to Rick and Danielle on the birth of their new little girl, Elliot.

Have a good week!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Philip Yancy

I have read a lot of books that I've enjoyed. Often if I enjoy a book by an author I'll generally like most if not all of his or her other writings. Writing style and the ability to draw true insight are elements that seem to go beyond one book. Of the writers who I enjoy most, Malcolm Gladwell, Erwin McManus, CS Lewis, Marcus Buckingham, there's one who really stands out, Philip Yancy. Yancy's written quite a few books and I've read most of them. I still have a few to catch up on. All of his books have maintained his edgy questioning while ending at a place of contentment, stronger and more at peace for the picking at the edges of faith and life.

I've been reminded of this past few weeks of the importance and superiority of 3 of Yancy's books, What's So Amazing about Grace?, The Jesus I Never Knew and Reaching for the Invisible God. I consider all 3 to be masterpieces. What's So Amazing about Grace? is without question my favorite book. It opened my eyes to the centrepiece concept of the gospel story. It poked a lot of holes in some traditional thinking not in a way to create controversy, but by clarifying the better way. I recommend that book to anybody and everybody, both those of faith in Jesus and those who wouldn't consider it.

In The Jesus I Never Knew, Yancy does a great job of revealing the figure of Jesus Christ as a misunderstood character. The ultimate victim of being portrayed in the light of the one doing the portraying. We like to fancy God to be in our own image and we like to use Jesus as backup to our preconceived ideas. Yancy addresses that head-on. Really, I like any story that reveals the true Christ as the hero.

Finally, Reaching for the Invisible God is the least well known of the 3, but I think it stands up to the other 2. I spoke to a good friend this week about having doubts in faith and much of what Yancy spelled out in this book fit into the conversation. "God's invisibility guarantees I will experience times of doubt". "God appears far less threatened by doubt than does His church". Yancy hits the nail on the head for honest believers and addresses our pronness to seek more assurance than God has provided.

In one section touching on our need to treat God as we would a trusted friend he speaks of mature faith:

"I am learning that mature faith, which encompasses both simple faith and fidelity, works the opposite of paranoia. It reassemples all the events of life around trust in a loving God. When good things happen, I accept them as gifts from God, worthy of thankgiving. When bad things happen, I do not take them as necessarily sent by God - I see evidence in the Bible to the contrary - and I find in them no reason to divorce God. Rather, I trust that God can use even those bad things for my benefit. That, at least, is the goal toward which I strive."

I appreciate honesty. Philip Yancy writes honestly and pushes me further than I was when I picked up his books. I recommend you give one a read.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Edge Goes Solo

DUBLIN - Anti-poverty activists were stunned today when U2's lead guitarist, The Edge, announced that he will be flying solo in activist efforts from this point forward.

"Today, I am happy to announce the launch of Campaign Deuce, or The Deuce for short," said The Edge at a noontime press conference. "The Deuce will call for the United States to give an additional 2% of their budget to eradicating poverty and its root causes. I mean, nothing against the Bono and 'Brangelina,' but a mere 1% reeks of 1990s incrementalism."

The reference to "1% for poverty" is a not-so-subtle shot at the One Campaign, founded by bandmate Bono and several nonprofits, the goal of which is to increase the United States foreign aid budget by 1%. One of the prominent symbols of the One Campaign and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty is a white rubber bracelet worn by concerned anti-poverty activists.
However, one white band just doesn't cut it for The Edge. "Activists need two white bands to make a real statement. At The Deuce's website, you'll find a permanent two-for-one special. In your face, One Campaign!"

Asked to comment on The Edge's announcement, Bono tried to take the high ground, but couldn't resist a few jabs. "The Edge has to do what's best for The Edge," said Bono. "I just hope Yoko Ono didn't have anything to do with this."