Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
I will show you fear in a handful of dust – The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot (the source for the title of this novel)
…I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust
Friday, July 21, 2017
…there never was a great or heroic action performed since the world began by one called Tristram ~ Walter Shandy, Tristram's father
A Cock and Bull, said Yorick – And one of the best of its kind, I ever heard.
I have but half a score things to do in the time – I have a thing to name – a thing to lament – a thing to hope – a thing to promise, and a thing to threaten – I have a thing to suppose – a thing to declare – a thing to conceal – a thing to choose, and a thing to pray for – This chapter, therefore, I name the chapter of Things – and my next chapter to it, that is, the first chapter of my next volume, if I live, shall be my chapter upon Whiskers, in order to keep up some sort of connection in my works.Sciences May Be Learned Rote But Wisdom NotLet love therefore be what it will, - my uncle Toby fell into it.Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed again as long as he lives. ~ Walter Shandy upon learning his brother Toby was to be marriedIt was a consuming vexation to my father, that my mother never asked the meaning of a thing she did not understand. ~ narrative regarding Tristram’s motherThe French have a gay way of treating every thing that is Great; and that is all can be said upon it. ~ TristramI’m persuaded there is not any one prince, prelate, pope, or potentate, great or small upon earth, more desirous in his heart of keeping straight with the world than I am – or who take more likely means for it. ~ Tristram
Monday, July 17, 2017
The premise of this book is nothing new – The distinction between being a nominal Christian and being a committed follower of Jesus. I’m certain there are thousands of books on the subject.
Ken Idleman’s approach, which you might infer from the title, contrasts being a “fan” of Jesus with being a follower.
He defines a fan as: an enthusiastic admirer. It’s easy to be a fan, quite another thing to be a committed follower.
John 3:16 emphasizes believing.
Luke 9:23 focuses on following.
There is no believing without following. There is no John 3:16 without Luke 9:23.
Idleman opines that many, if not most, good church-going, Christians in North America are probably fans, but not necessarily committed followers. He does not imply they are not true Christians, though he does draw attention to an important warning that Jesus gave: in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.
Idleman points out one important word in Jesus’ warning that is often overlooked and particularly alarming. Jesus did not say: there will be a few, or there will be some, but there will be MANY – MANY who thought they knew the Lord, MANY to whom the Lord says: “I never knew you.”
This isn’t the main point of the book though, just something I found particularly important. The book is intended to help the fan recognize themselves as such, and then to make the switch from fan to follower.
In the final section of the book Idleman points out that Jesus has three pretty demanding requirements of followers: willingness to follow WHEREVER he leads, willingness to do WHATEVER he leads them to do, and willingness to follow NOW.
As I said, there are thousands of books on the same subject. I’ve read a few. I don’t remember exactly what caused me to pick this one up, but I think the title caught my attention. In spite of liking the title, and the analogy, I liked a different comparison Idleman makes even better. At one point he asserts that many Christians treat Jesus like a consultant. A consultant is recognized for their expertise and is polled for their advice, but ultimately the consultee is free to heed or ignore the consultant’s advice. Idleman then points out:
God doesn’t do consulting. Never has. Never will. He does God. When we treat him as a consultant, he simply stops showing up for the meeting.
Idleman’s style is a little different than what is usually associated with Christian non-fiction. He is humorous and entertaining, throwing in random things like quotations from Indigo Montoya, writing in Klingon, or using TV ads as illustrations.
In short, I found it useful and timely commentary that was easily accessible.
Friday, July 14, 2017
The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle A Sherlock Holmes short story