My friend Kevin sent me this Christian Science Monitor article about a new Bible now available in Britain, “The 100-Minute Bible.” The ultimate in Reader’s Digest-style condensations, it distills the 66 books of Scripture into something like 60 pages. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Proponents say it is a gateway to the classic, a crash course in Christianity that will provide a useful tool to reach out to the curious, the lapsed, and the ignorant.
But opponents fulminate against such pithiness, muttering about the callous disregard for Biblical virtues such as perseverance, dedication, and deferred gratification. There is, after all, no beatitude that reads: "Blessed are the editors, for they shall make stuff shorter to read."
Check out the article for an excerpt from the book. It compresses Genesis 1-3 into two paragraphs, capturing nothing of the grand poetry of the creation story, the wonder of Adam and Eve’s fellowship with God and the tragedy of The Fall.
I know there are many paraphrases and modern-English translations. I even use one, “The Message” by Eugene Peterson, on occasion for illumination and a different perspective. But really there is no substitute for a word-for-word translation to capture the full richness of Scripture. No prose condensation can possibly substitute for the soaring poetry of Psalm 51 or Psalm 139. How can you possibly reduce Paul’s masterful logic in Romans to a few paragraphs?
If it prompts the “curious, the lapsed, and the ignorant” to turn to the real thing, then it might be excusable. But oleo doesn’t really taste like butter, aspartame doesn’t really taste like sugar and only Scripture satisfies like Scripture. Accept no substitutes.
1. Go to musicoutfitters.com.
2. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year.
3. Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).
Sheesh, what a crummy year for music. Half of these songs I haven’t heard of or have forgotten. Another quarter of them I wish I could forget. What could I have been listening to at the time? I’d been a Christian for about a year, so I had a few Christian rock LPs. There wasn’t much around then to buy — the big CCM machine didn’t even exist. Only a few Christian bookstores even carried contemporary Christian artists. I listened to LoveSong, Larry Norman and Paul Clark (a local Kansas City guy). Didn’t spent a lot of time listening to Top 40 radio.
1. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand 2. Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
3. Love's Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come And Get Your Love, Redbone
5. Dancing Machine, Jackson 5
6. The Loco-Motion, Grand Funk Railroad
7. TSOP, MFSB
8. The Streak, Ray Stevens 9. Bennie And The Jets, Elton John 10. One Hell Of A Woman, Mac Davis
11. Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do), Aretha Franklin
12. Jungle Boogie, Kool and The Gang
There’s nothing that makes you think about your own mortality quite like meeting with a lawyer to draw up your last will and testament. Ken and I just went through this process, and believe me, it’s a sobering one. I just turned 49, and Ken will be 52 in a couple of months, so we thought it was high time we took care of this.
As our lawyer explained to us, it’s not just a matter of drawing up a will any more. Other decisions are involved as well: Do we want to set up a revocable living trust for our estate? How and when do we want to distribute our assets after we’re gone? Do we want to give each other durable power of attorney? And what about setting up patient advocates for ourselves?
The process forces you to come face-to-face with life’s uncertainty — and challenges you to plan for it. And while worldly goods aren’t important in terms of eternity, would I be a good steward if I didn’t make sure my family was provided for if/when I die?
Don’t you love the smell of a new car? Well, stop inhaling, because research is showing that the mix of plastic, paint and upholstery is bad, bad, bad for you. It even makes some people sick — headaches, nausea, sore throats. Leave it to the Japanese automakers to try to do something about it. And make it a competitive selling advantage.
But what about those of us who LIKE that new-car smell?
A few years ago, a popular book called “The Five Love Languages” was making the rounds. It focused on the relationship between married people, and how different people feel loved in different ways. The author identified five different ways that make people feel loved:
– Words of Affirmation
– Quality Time
– Receiving Gifts
– Acts of Service
– Physical Touch
By using questionnaires, the author tried to help people determine what their love language is, and that of their spouse. And by giving their spouse love in the way that person wants to be loved, the marriage would be more happy.
Well, God has a love language too. And it could be summed up in the Greatest Commandment, which we have been unpacking in this series of messages. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Don’t miss this “small” movie that seems to be running under everyone’s radar. The cast is amazing — Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, J.K Simmons (you know him as the shrink on “SVU” and the police chief on “The Closer”). And then there’s the luminous Valentina de Angelis, the precocious 12-year-old at the center of the story.
The story is a simple one of family love, living simply and the source of true wealth.
5 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Spoil my grandchildren (no rush, though)
2. Visit Europe again
3. Learn to play a musical instrument
4. Visit Colorado again
5. Write a book
5 things I can do:
1. Sing well enough to be in a choir
2. Prepare a nice meal that is low-sodium, low-potassium and low-phosphorus
4. Write and edit well
5. Teach the Word
5 things I cannot do:
1. Play a musical instrument
2. Whistle with my fingers in my mouth
3. Sail a boat
4. Eat beets
5. Dive off a high dive
5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Godly character
2. Offbeat sense of humor
4. Gets along well with children
5. Has some kind of musical talent, vocal or instrumental
5 things I say most often:
1. This is a lot of money to spend (directed toward Amy)
2. I sure miss eating ___________
3. I can make those changes for you
4. Would you tape “House” for me?
5. Can we eat out tonight?
5 celebrity crushes:
1. Kiefer Sutherland
2. Liam Neeson
3. Kenneth Branagh
4. Sam Waterston
5. Christopher Meloni
The site that started it all for "such small hands," Blogs4God, is back up and running after a long absence. If you are looking for other Christian blogs, that's a good place to start. If you write a Christian blog, it's a good place to register.
1. I’m at my best early in the morning. Yep, I’m definitely a morning person. Most alert and productive from 8 a.m. to noon. Late afternoon, from about 3-6 p.m. is my worst time of day. Isn’t that why God created naps?
2. I start each day with a healthy breakfast. Yes, I do. Even more so now that I’m on a restricted hemo diet. I’ve always started the day with some kind of cereal and fruit. Now it’s Egg Beaters with a thin slice of ham, and maybe a little Rice Krispies or Special K with my ½ cup of milk. Decaf coffee and grape juice.
3. I’m always sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Well, I try. I go to bed at 10 p.m. and set the alarm for 6 a.m. But some nights here lately I’ve had a lot of trouble falling asleep, or I’ll sleep for a couple hours and wake up around midnight, feeling wide awake. This happens often enough that I plan to ask my doctors about it. Maybe it’s a side effect of medication.
4. I enjoy my job. For the most part, I do. I enjoy the writing and editing process, even though my job doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity. It’s sometimes a pain when the clients make wholesale changes in a project, but that’s part of the challenge.
5. I get along with most everyone. At least I try to. Like Jen, I may not like everyone, but I try to be cordial.
7. I make sure I take some time for myself each day. Maybe not each day, but on a regular basis I try to get some alone time. Even if it’s just to sit on the deck with a popsicle and a cookbook. That is something Ken and I have worked out, giving each other some space to be alone.