Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Coram Deo – Before the Face of God 9.15.2014

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~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Reviews

To celebrate their 20th anniversary Francis and Lisa decided to serve at a village in Africa that one of their friends started. This body of believers had been building a village to feed children dying of starvation, liberate women trapped in prostitution, and give hope and opportunity to a community ravished by poverty. Moved by what God was doing there for the poor, Francis and Lisa wanted to bless the ministry to double or triple its impact.  With another book already in motion, this time written together by Francis and Lisa, they saw an opportunity to use the book as a way to support the work in places like this village in Africa. They decided to self-publish with a team of volunteers to generate as much money possible to give away.  100% of net profits from each book sold goes straight to this vision. They would love to raise 5 million dollars to feed the hungry, free women from prostitution and spread the gospel to unreached places. All net proceeds are being directed to Crazy Love Ministries, a 501(c)3 registered in the state of California, and then are dispersed from there to several previously-selected partners for the book

Part of the reason why Francis and Lisa decided to publish independently was so they could bless others with the book who couldn’t afford it. To download a free PDF, please click here: Download PDF.
 
Movie Reviews

  • The Drop, rated R
  • Mom’s Night Out, rated PG

Music Review

  • Songs of Innocence – U2

Doug Michael’s Cartoons

I first saw Doug Michael’s cartoons in our local newspaper several years ago. Later, I found out that he worked with me at the same corporation. For years Doug allowed us to run his cartoons in Coram Deo, our church newsletter. I’m pleased to say that Doug is now allowing us to run his cartoons in our blog! Many thanks to Doug for sharing his talents with us. Here’s the first one – enjoy!

Doug Michael 

~ THIS AND THAT ~

MUSIC:Getty's

  • Keith and Kristyn Getty in Concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria on October 17 ~ just a reminder that Keith and Kristyn Getty will bring their “Hymns for the Christian Life” tour to Grace Presbyterian Church on October 17. Jim Hubert from WBNH reports that nearly 600 tickets have been sold already! Get your tickets soon. For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://www.wbnh.org/resources/store/
  • Switchfoot surprised their fans last week with a seven-song EP of unreleased songs from their excellent Fading West film. The EP is titled The Edge of the Earth and you can buy it on iTunes for just $6.99. Look for a review in next week’s blog.
  • Songs of McCartneyHere’s an interesting new project – the songs of Paul McCartney sung by artists such as Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Steve Miller, Heart, Jeff Lynn (Electric Light Orchestra), Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Willie Nelson and others. The two CD and DVD set will be released November 18.
  • You can watch below an exclusive 29 minute behind-the-scenes jamming session filmed at Paul McCartney’s “Early Days” video shoot. The official video was launched earlier this summer and the end of it sees Paul playing with a group of blues guitarists, including Johnny Depp. This exclusive footage captures an impromptu jamming session that broke out between Paul and the musicians on the day of the shoot. Watch it here: http://c4483579.r79.cf2.rackcdn.com/EarlyDaysJam_MFMclimatepledge_Web.html
  • As Bruce Springsteen gets ready to turn 65, read this article on why he still matters: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/09/13/why-springsteen-still-matters-at-age-65/15600175/
  • Bob Seger has a new album coming out Ride Out, his first new album of new material in eight years, on October 14. On the album Seger covers one of my favorite John Hiatt songs “Detroit Made”. The songs seems like it was written for Seger to cover. Check out Seger performing the song in concert here: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bob-seger-releases-detroit-made/
  • Music superstar Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. He went on one final farewell tour. ‘Glen Campbell I’ll Be Me’ tells the story of the shows, and a great cast of contributors includes Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift and Edge. Check out the trailer for the film here: http://www.u2.com/news/title/ill-be-me

BOOKS:John Maxwell

  • What is the novel that R.C. Sproul says that every Christian should consider reading? Go to Justin Taylor’s blog to find out.
  • Gene Veith offers his contribution to Justin Taylor’s series on a work of fiction of that every Christian should consider reading. Check out his recommendation here.
  • John Maxwell’s next book will be Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. It will be released on October 7.      Michael Horton book      
  • And speaking of upcoming books of interest, Michael Horton’s new book is titled or-di-nar-y: 1. Sustainable Faith in a Radical World. It even features an orange cover, just as David Platt’s Radical book did. It will be published October 7.
  • In his article “Christian, Do You Make it Your Daily Work”?, Tim Challies summarizes chapter two of John Owen’s classic Overcoming Sin and Temptation, a book that has been precious to generations of Christians as they have battled sin and pursued holiness. He indicates that reading his article will deepen your hatred for sin and spark your love for holiness. I plan to refer to the article often. Read it here. http://www.challies.com/reading-classics-together/christian-do-you-make-it-your-daily-work?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=5575&utm_campaign=0

PROBING QUESTIONS

IN THE NEWS:

PRAYERS, ARTICLES, ETC.:

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

 Visions of Vocation Book Club – Week 3Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we highlighted from our reading of Chapter 3 – The Landscape of Our Lives:

  • To understand this cusp of a new century—marked as it is both by the sociological reality of the information age and the philosophical movement we call postmodernism—we have to pay attention to the novelists, filmmakers and musicians who are culturally upstream, as it is in their stories, movies and songs where we will feel the yearnings of what human life is and ought to be.
  • Whether staged or celluloid, in print or on computer disks, they are fingers to the wind. Why? Artists get there first.
  • Take U2, for example. It is hard to imagine students of history in some future era making sense of the dawn of this millennium without studying their music. Pop icons, yes. But prophets as well, as they have set out for themselves and their audience a vision of human life under the sun that has been as enormously entertaining as it has been politically and socially attentive.
  • While there are scores of songs that offer artful windows into the human heart, in their album Zooropa, the song “Numb” captures better than almost anything else what it feels like to be alive in the information age.
  • For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the song is a finger on the pulse of the ABC/BBC/CBS/NBC/CNN/FOX/MSNBC on-all-the-time culture. And U2 gets at it brilliantly, profoundly. Artists do get there first. I feel numb.
  • A growing chorus of critics brings their voices to bear on the meaning of the information age, wondering what it means, and will mean, for all of us.
  • Describing the contemporary world as “an info-glut culture,” he has asked with probing seriousness, “But have we become any wiser?” The words echo across the landscape of our time.
  • One of the best known voices bringing a critical eye to bear upon the information age is Neil Postman, who for twenty-five years wrote as widely and perceptively as anyone on the challenge of learning to learn and live in a technological society.
  • With an uncanny eye and ear, he picked up on the tremendous challenge of holding onto one’s humanity in an information-saturated culture.
  • Carr instead draws on brain physiologists to argue that our very brains are being rewired so that we are seeing life differently, and we are reading the world differently. Scanning our way down the computer screen, hyperlinking as we do, we are decreasingly able to read more carefully, with the kind of discernment that critical reading requires. In a word, Carr calls our contemporary practice “the shallows.”
  • Of all that has been written on this phenomenon, Colin Gunton’s Bampton Lectures at Cambridge University, The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity, seem the wisest. Brilliant and far-ranging, he argued that disengagement is the essence of modern life. Looking out at the world, we want to understand it, we want to respond to it—and yet we find it so very hard to do so in any morally meaningful way. Knowing what I know, what am I to do?
  • An info-glut culture? Yes, in more ways than we know, on more levels than we can understand. I feel numb. While the artists get there first, the world at large catches up, and we all wonder, What am I going to do?
  • As probing as that question is for all, some have decided, with a shrug of the mind and heart, whatever. Sometimes playful, often more cynical, the word itself is a window into the complexity of life; we feel overwhelmed in so many different ways all at once. How else to respond than with a heartfelt “whatever”? From casual conversations in families and among friends to core curricular commitments at major universities, “whatever” seems to many the best response to the way the world is—and isn’t.
  • Thoughtful, honest human beings wonder, Knowing what I know, what am I going to do? To do nothing seems less than human, seems less than right.
  • Whether we read the philosophers or not, the belief that we have no access to certainty, particularly to moral absolutes, to the world of “basic right and wrong in the universe,” is in the cultural air we breathe.
  • In a post-Enlightenment world, there is no voice, no perspective that carries more weight than any other, because no one has access to certainty about anything. There is no Story to make sense of stories, no Truth to make sense of truths, no Metanarrative to make sense of narratives. All claims to the contrary are “totalitarian” and are not to be tolerated. The worst face of postmodernism is that nothing has metaphysical or moral weight; it is the culture of whatever, a nihilism for Everyman.
  • To get what I want when I want it. To do what I want to do when I want to do it. Baldly stated, that is the way I have described morally malformed people to my children over the years, like a driver along the interstate who bullies everyone else, a politician who with Machiavellian cynicism skillfully uses the system to advance his own ambitions. Very, very bright people do not always make very, very good people. You can get all A’s and still flunk life.
  • Human lives and history are at stake here. No wise person, therefore, will step into this analysis with a cheap critique. But Solzhenitsyn’s analysis of the notion that “it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims” was profoundly prescient. He saw where the line in the sand was, and would continue to be, in the culture of whatever.
  • Few films have captured this dilemma with as much cinematic brilliance as Run Lola Run.
  • For the foreseeable future, we will never become a completely postmodern culture. At best, we are stretched taut between times. Airplane schedules, with all the technological complexities of air traffic controllers, with the mathematical precision required in allocation of air space, with the interrelatedness of computers across continents and oceans, require modern consciousness, the ongoing commitment to certain things—“facts”—being true for everyone all the time. But the on-the-street ethos, the air we breathe, is plainly that of postmodernism, and its worst face is the culture of whatever.
  • Seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, what am I going to do?
  • From mime artists in Paris, to attorneys walking the killing fields of Rwanda, to young, eager human rights activists in Washington, to graduate students at Yale, how does one learn to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn’t? Not a cheap question, and there are no cheap answers.

Next week we’ll look at chapter 4. Won’t you join us?

Faith-and-WorkIntegrating Faith and Work

Part 1: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-1/

Part 2: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-2/

Part 3: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-3/

Part 4: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-4/

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

The Gospel at WorkThe Gospel at Work Book Club – Session 3

We recently completed week three in the book club for The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert. Read the highlighted passages from CHAPTER 4 – THE KING’S PURPOSE IN OUR WORK and CHAPTER 5 HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE A JOB?

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 7

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from CHAPTER 13 Clarifying Your Roles.

Os Guinness

 

 

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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