my books: friends & counselors: #5

Lord God, God of peace, God of knowledge, God of grace, we come before You, diligently seeking from You that which is severely lacking in our world: peace.

On a national level, we are torn with the violence of enemies within and foes without, and often by our own self-driven divisiveness. On a worldwide scale, we are appalled and distressed by the lack of regard for human sanctity, and wonder if Your word of value for all Your children will ever be heard by the masses.

We confess, lord, that the outer battles we humans fight are the result of our own inner conflicts, our own sinful pride, our own drive for power and control, our own willful response to hidden fears and unspoken guilt.

Forgive us, God, when we champion violence as the only answer to violence. Forgive us when we demand justice for our enemies and expect mercy for ourselves.

Help us, father, to be a people who love You and Your ways, a people who love much and hate little, a people who desire and declare Your healing, reconciliation, and joy, a people who speak the language of love and resist the tongue of evil.

We praise and honor You, Lord, and lay our request at Your feet, and ask for peace within ourselves, and within our world, through the Name of the One who blesses the peacemakers. Amen.

Rekindled: Warmed by Fires of Hope by Virgil M. Fry (Leafwood Publishers, 2007); pp.61-62

links to 10 items worth your time

1. The Humble Origins of ‘Silent Night’ [required reading]

“One of the world’s most famous Christmas carols, ‘Silent Night,’ celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.”

2. Christians Sing Together

“From the very beginning of the church singing was important to the fellowship. Though many have unbounded confidence in their theories of what happened in local church gatherings, it is wiser to say ‘we don’t know precisely what happened, but we do are pretty sure about some things.’ One of the elements we are sure of is singing.”

3. The Strange Journey of Christian Rock and Roll

“… Christian rock has had a strange and circuitous journey back to the center of American culture.”

4. Compliments and Criticism – The Difference May Surprise You

“… in the end, only God changes people.”

5. Our Obsession with Imitating the Early Church and Another Way Forward

“… the early church wasn’t trying to be the early church. They were trying to be Jesus.”

6. A Tale of Two Mennonite Pastors and How to Disagree

“Theological (or political) disagreements matter, but need not be toxic to relationships. There are stronger ties that bind us together. … how George II and Ruth chose to relate to each other still proves instructive. As we spend this holiday season among family and friends with whom we might disagree, it’s helpful to remember that, though we maintain legitimate differences, there are things that matter more.”

7. A Different Kind of Christmas Story (for Kids)

“The book is entitled, ‘The Third Gift,’ by Linda Sue Park (Boston: Clarion, 2011).”

8. Church is Hard

“I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.”

9. Max Lucado Reveals Past Sexual Abuse at Evangelical #MeToo Summit

“Now is the time for across-the-coffee-table conversations that begin with the words, ‘Help me to understand what it’s like to be a female in this day and age,’ he said. ‘Help me to understand what it’s like to never go on a jog without carrying a canister of mace. Help me to know what it’s like to overhear guys chuckling about weight or bust size. Help me to understand what it’s like to always be outnumbered in the boardroom. Help me to understand what it’s like to be hugged chest to chest, unable to break free. Help me to understand what it’s like to fear filing a workplace complaint because my supervisors are all male. Help me to understand what it’s like to be the brunt of catcalls, whistles, and dirty jokes. Help me to understand.’”

10. Christianity Today’s 2019 Book Awards

“During book awards season, at least, the answer to ‘Do I need more books?’ is always yes. That applies whether you’re someone who likes to read a reasonable amount — or someone who also likes to read a reasonable amount, but more.”

quote: on non-violence & peace

The followers of Christ have been called to peace. … And they must not only have peace but also make it. To that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. … His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer