Friday, October 27, 2006

Books, Books, Books

I'm finishing up American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation by Jon Meacham (managing editor of Newseek magazine). It is a balanced look at how the founders were determined not to let religion overrun the government, but were aware of the fact that religion was a part of the culture and country they were helping to establish.

My father recently me sent me the following note:

"Here is a URL that identifies 50 books that have influenced evangelicals.
Some books that I have read, but most of which I have not read yet.
What's your opinion? What would you add to this list?"

So I was curious. Have you read any of these books? Any of these you recommend?
Any you'd use for kindling?

There are books on this list I'd put on each category.

Interesting that this list is only 20th century. What does it say about us if we are part of a religion that is 2,000 years old (and our Jewish roots go back farther than that) and we're most influenced by stuff that happened a couple of years ago?

Anyway, what books have shaped how you see and interact with God?

Are there any out there now that you'd like to read?

Just curious.

Grace & peace.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Am I God's Teenager?

We have three teenagers. It seems that on any given day at least 2 of them are mad at me and/or my wife.

Today it happens to be me they're hacked off at and it revolves around a cluster of related issues:

-which kid gets to babysit at which time
-how much mom & I will/won't help with extra-curricular events and how much each individual child has to come up with (based upon what they "just have to have" to make it through this horrible world)
-who can/'t go to a fun event with friends based upon said babysitting schedule
-who is a morning person and who is an evening person
-who might miss an event where a "special friend" might be

Not let me just pause and say my kids are GREAT kids. They get very good grades. They are involved in sports, church, and music. They've made good choices about friends, though they're even liked by other kids too. They're pretty well-adjusted. And the greatest compliment I could give: I'd want to be their friend if I were their age. (Can I stop braggin now?! Wait and see...)

I just think these are the normal wear-and-tear chapters of parent/teen relationships.

The teens are learning that becoming an adult involves all kinds of issues that they had never considered. (You mean someone has to PAY for that dress?) Meanwhile we parents are learning that teens are getting old enough to make some of those decisions, even if we don't agree. (You would really purchase a dress that you'll only, ever, wear ONCE?!)

In the middle of writing this blog, a child who will be "babysat" by one of my kids arrives at our front door. Once in, this energetic 3-year-old is off with the shoes, jabbering about a little plastic camera, ripping off her coat, and asking daddy for one more hug before she tears off around the corner and into our family room.

Oh, for the good 'ol days!

I'm tempted to wish my kids were little again.

I enjoy them (most of the time) too much to do that to them.

And I'm too old to go through potty training or learning to ride a bike again. (Those seemed like such monumental tasks as we went through them. Have you ever prayed for your kid to stop wetting the bed or get the hang of riding a bike?)

So I guess this is where we're at. Maneuvering through uncharted terrain. Curfews, jobs, honesty. Probably all issues MY parents had to deal with. (Ugh. I probably ought to do a little more on Mother's/Father's Day!)

Some days of weepy eyes or angry stares. Sometimes we'll get the silent treatment. Other times it's "anyplace would be better than this" muttered under the breath.

Now as a theologian, a God-talker, I automatically throw this whole soap opera onto the microscope and view it through the "what does this teach me about God?" lense.

So hear it is:

Jesus teaches us to call God "Father". It is possible that I exude many of the same characteristics to God that my kids do to me; some unbelievably selfish and cruel, others incredibly admirable and attractive.

And I trust that my love for my temperamental kids must be a little glimpse into how the Father feels about me. I sure hope so.

Grace & peace.