Showing posts from March, 2017

Book Review: Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography

In his book, Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography, Harold Ivan Smith explores Eleanor Roosevelt's Christian faith through her life experiences during turbulent historical times.

Eleanor Roosevelt's spirituality and personality were shaped by events and people in her life. She suffered major losses early. Both parents died while she was young. Her mother's mother took her in, exposing Roosevelt to religion and a chaotic, dysfunctional home life that she was glad to escape during teen years at Allenswood school in England.

Roosevelt blossomed at Allenswood, under the influence of her mentor Marie Souvestre who encouraged her to think and interact with others with confidence. Roosevelt's many questions where welcomed and she explored what she believed, discovered life and her own spirituality, different than her grandmother's religiosity. After leaving Allenswood, in 1903, Roosevelt was confirmed in the Episcopal Church, and lived a faith modeled after Jesus' teaching…

Happy First Day of Spring


Uncle Sam's Hat Celebrates Diversity

The 2017 design on a postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service deviates from years of tradition surrounding Uncle Sam. The additional ounce rate stamp shows eight Uncle Sam's Hats, each in familiar red, white and blue stars and stripes atop eight different faces, each with a different racial hue.

This is the first representation of Uncle Sam's hat on U. S. stamps to embrace diversity. All previous designs have shown a patriotic white male or just an empty hat.

For more than 150 years, Uncle Sam has been a popular nickname for the United States government around the world. Political cartoons and newsprint have popularized and refined the caricature.

The History Channel traces the origin of the term Uncle Sam to the 1800's. During the War of 1812, Samuel Wilson, a meat packer, supplied the government with beef in barrels marked U. S. So, soldiers called their grub "Uncle Sam's." The media adopted the term and broadened the meaning. Over the year…

Book Review: This is Our Time, by Trevin Wax

In his book, This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel, Trevin Wax expertly exposes and analyses everyday myths that exert influence in our lives and culture.

Today’s prevalent myths regarding smartphones, purpose, sex, marriage and shopping cause challenges for Christians who want to conform, not to this world and its values, but to God's kingdom ways.

Wax informs and encourages thoughtful Christians who want to be faithful. He reveals legitimate longings found in today’s cultural myths and their empty promises. For each myth, Wax provides truths about God, his love and character, and the life-giving kingdom ways God has provided for us to satisfy our true longings.

This easy-to-read book is packed with ideas, observations and relevant biblical truth that provoke thought and a call to action.

In this thought-provoking book, readers are challenged to look beneath and through the swirling and tumultuous times in which we live and recognize patterns, so we can bette…

Book Review: Still Waiting, by Ann Swindell

In her book, Still Waiting: Hope For When God Doesn't Give You What You Want, Ann Swindell tells the biblical story of the woman healed by Jesus who had been bleeding for 12 years and makes comparisons with her own personal struggles coping with Trichotillomania, a hair pulling disorder. Swindell skillfully weaves the two narratives so that the reader has a chance to walk beside the characters in their pain and gain insights and understandings that only an intimate friend might learn.

Swindell writes with vulnerability, authenticity and faith of her helplessness to overcome her condition and of the loneliness, pain, frustration and shame she experienced. Those who have struggled with difficult situations will recognize some of the feelings she describes, even if the particulars of their sources of pain are different. At times, I wanted less repetition and fewer words, but the frequent meadows of beauty of Swindell's prose and the word pictures she created made spending time l…

Finding God's Blessings in Brokenness, by Charles F. Stanley

Is it possible? Brokenness and blessing can co-exist? Now that is something worth thinking about on a rainy day in the Pacific Northwest.

In this new book, Finding God's Blessings in Brokenness (on Amazon), Charles Stanley shares insights into the heart of God who allows his children to go though painful times. He asserts: God is powerful. God is good. And God loves us.

So, why do we suffer? And what are the blessings?

These are questions I have wrestled with for years, for myself and for others, who have had painful childhoods or have gone through difficult situations. I'm not content to accept clich├ęs without understanding more. Perhaps you aren't also.

I also want to see good results come from difficult things I have gone through -- I want to see real blessings and not just hear about it being possible. And so I have been wading in God's blessings more. Maybe you're tired of words and want to hug God's blessings close to your hurting heart.

Stanley shows…

Devotional Thoughts: Waiting for an Answer

In Jesus' time, the blind, deaf, lame, and paralyzed waited for an angel of the Lord to stir the waters at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. They believed the first person to enter the waters during a supernatural moment would be healed.

One man who had been paralyzed for 38 years was waiting by the pool when Jesus found him.

Through the years how often had the man prayed, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?"

More than 30 years earlier, when Jesus first opened his eyes in a manager, perhaps the family of the paralyzed man waited with him by the pool of Bethesda. Did they become discouraged as others beat him into the water, and someone else walked away, whole? Over and over.

While Jesus and his family escaped to Egypt, and many families wept for their murdered children, did the man haggle for food and shelter, inwardly crying, "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?"

When the boy Jesus sat in the temple…