I finally made the decision this morning: I'm not going to post any blogs during August. So, let's pretend this isn't a blog.
In this context, Jesus' words came to mind: "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31 NLT). I'll probably spend a lot of time in my own 'quiet place' in the back yard.
Apart from one Friday last November – which we won't mention – a blog has been posted each Friday for the past two and a half years. My approach has been toward building a virtual community rather than grossing numbers. And yet the numbers of hits and visitors have been growing steadily. The first month had fewer than 100 visitors – now they're measured in the thousands. For me this is both encouraging and surprising.
I would like your feedback and suggestions for development of the website. Here are three ideas I've received so far:
What other ideas do you have?
As for a book review – more a recommendation in passing – I just finished Jeff Christopherson's Kingdom Matrix: Designing a Church for the Kingdom of God. This will probably be among my top 10 for this year, and is the best book on "church" that I've read in a long while. Although I didn't agree with everything I read (who does?), a lot of my thinking on "church" came together as I read this book.
For the next month I'm going to work on resting. I know that's an oxymoron, but that's how I feel today. I hope to spend some time with our growing family including some walks with my wife, some play with my new granddaughter, some work (there's that word again) with my sons as we slowly restore a TR-6 – those kinds of things.
I have a few piles of books that 'must be read' – so I'm looking at some candidates to be read, finished, or re-read during August. Here are a few of them:
The Sabbath by the Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel – probably a good resource for working on resting.
Godric, a novel by Frederick Buechner I should have read years ago. Here's the opening line: "Five friends I had, and two of them snakes."
Another novel I'm thinking of re-reading is Stephen Lawhead's Byzantium.
I'll finish re-reading one of my all-time favorites: Walter Brueggemann's The Prophetic Imagination.
I'm part way through Markus Bockmuehl's commentary on Philippians – and I'd like to finish that. "Who reads a commentary from cover-to-cover?" you ask. Well, I suppose you've got an answer.
On a different note, are there any topics, questions, texts, or whatever in the realm of practical theology that you think the blogs should tackle? Let me know and we'll see what we can do.
By the way, I came across a quote by James K. A. Smith that I liked so much I included it in an update to the homepage: "Theology is not some intellectual option to make us 'smart' Christians; it is the graced understanding that makes us faithful disciples."
On that note I'll stop, and will be posting again September 5th (D.V.). May you enjoy an enriching and re-creating August.
John, a brother
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