Hither & Yon…

Well, my stated aspiration to blog on a more consistent basis has sorta fallen flat… Good intentions & all that. The biggest problem with blogging is that I often find  I don’t  have much to say! I phone my mother every week and we have a similar problem. “What’s new?” “Nuttin’ much” How are you?” “Fine” That seems to cover most of our weeks, but it doesn’t keep us from talking for about an hour.

Unfortunately, when I blog, I feel like I should have a little more of value to relate than “We’re having nice/so-so/horrible weather today.” So I just don’t say anything. Come to think of it, that probably enriches our world more often than not. So, not having any great philosophical insights to impart today, I thought I’d just talk a bit about a couple of books & Bibles I’m reading right now.

First, the Bible:  I’m using the Jesus Bible for my morning readings right now. As I’ve stated before, I try to read a different Bible each year (or there-abouts – I’m not a stickler for finishing in precisely 365 days.) This year I chose the Jesus Bible, an NIV translation with notes and commentary edited by Louie Giglio, of Passion fame. Similar to the “Jesus Centered Bible” (NLT, from Group Publishing), The Jesus Bible structures the commentary around how the Bible points to Christ from Genesis to Revelation.

But that’s where the similarities end. The Jesus Bible has more notes, which are situated in wide margins, giving you plenty of room to add your own meditations. And the tone of the commentary is more formal and I find it more informational as well. Big name feature writers are Randy Alcorn, Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper & Ravi Zacharias — heavy hitters, all. Many others contributed the well written notes that comprise the bulk of the material.  I recommend picking this Bible up. It will definitely be a valuable addition to your Bible study arsenal.

Book 1: Invitation, Habingers Cycle One. What do you get when you have four writers known for their eerie writing styles writing together to create an unusual collaboration – a book that’s four times as spooky? Not really, but you do get a fun read with interesting twists as each writer writes one of four different segments of the book. The story line is that four people with different gifts but little natural affinity for each other are brought together by supernatural events that require their team-work to overcome.  Each segment is a stand-alone story that loosely builds on the story before it, spoken by a different member of the team which allows the author to add his or her own creative voice to the book.

Written by four well-known Christian fiction authors (Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky), Invitation is the first in a series of books that I’m not sure the authors themselves know what or when the end will be. But however it turns out, the journey is sure to be enjoyable and maybe a little spooky, certainly inspirational & occasionally thought-provoking. It was a pleasant read.

Book 2: I’ll Push You.  Taking a complete 180 and turning to non-fiction, I’ll Push You is an absorbing, entertaining and challenging account of two lifelong friends who take a pilgrimage together on the Camino de Santiago – a 500 mile trek through the rugged terrain of northern Spain. Justin and Patrick have shared an unusually strong bond through the years, a bond which was not diminished as Justin succumbed to a neuromuscular disease that left him unable to use his arms or legs. When Justin expressed his desire to do the pilgramage, Patrick’s response was “I’ll Push You!”

Neither of them knew the full import of what would be required of them to accomplish this task, but they began preparation and God seemed to be blessing their plans as all the necessary pieces fall into place for their trip. Patrick’s boss gives the okay for the extended leave time required with a requirement — they needed to film it for others to see. A film company is then recruited to the effort, and they are off to Spain for a life-changing experience.

Both men share the experience from their own position, Justin, prone in a wheel chair and completely dependent upon others for everything; Patrick, pushing, pulling, learning to receive as well as give as he also learns that he is unable to do the trip without the help of many others. Donald Miller writes the forward: “The story within these pages reminds us that God didn’t create us to live alone. He never meant us to be solitary creatures. I’ll Push You demonstrates what it means to live in community with one another and reveals what can happen when we shoulder each other’s burdens.”

This is a challenging, entertaining, inspirational book. I highly recommend it.