30 January 2006

25 January 2006

The Baghdad Brass Quartet

Here is another picture that my brother sent of some Iraqi children having a good time.

19 January 2006

C.S. Lewis thoughts

Here are some really powerful thoughts that I ran across from C.S. Lewis in his collected works book "The Weight of Glory".

Speaking of God's claim on our whole lives he says:

"For He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He can not bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore in love, He claims all. There's no bargaining with Him. That is, I take it, the meaning of all those sayings that alarm me most... Law, in his terrible cool voice, said 'Many will be rejected on the last day, not because they have taken time and pains about their salvation, but because they have not taken time and pains enough'; and later... ' If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.' Those are hard words to take."

And on forgiveness he says:

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life - to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son - how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers every night 'forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.' We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God's mercy for our selves."

of photogenic brothers....

Here is a new pic of my brother in Iraq... he is definitely the photogenic sibling of the three of us... below the picture is a little commentary that he sent with this and some other shots...

Greg here. Hope all is well with the lot of you. Time continues to move along here. I have lost the concept of what day it is. I reflect back on the photgraphs taken over the past months and wonder about what the future holds for the people of Iraq. In some of their eyes I see the glimmer of hope and optimism for their future. In others there is a blank-listless gaze inspired by decades of unrest,poverty, and psychological beatings. Idealistically, I would like to think that we may just be the first to say "enough, here is a new opportunity," and stick around to back up what we say. Needless to say, our good intentions are portrayed incorrectly and our shortcomings are magnified beyond reality. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed the time durring which I took them. Take care of yourselves and each other.

17 January 2006

Two (strike that) Three more books

Here are two other books that I have read lately...

Scripture Alone by R.C. Sproul is a worthwhile read for anyone who has an interest in the authority of the Scriptures. Some chapters are definitely not directed at someone who has a less than passing interest. Sproul from time to time include Latin phrases or words that may not be well known, and that can be a bit of a distraction, but the book in itself is excellent. The first half of the book is a compilation of different writings that he has done in the past. The second half of the book is an exposition, for lack of a better word, on written statement called the Chicago Declaration, which was a statement about evangelical beliefs concerning the autority of the Scriptures. While this book is not a facts and figures book (like some of the older Josh McDowell books), it does give good and well reasoned philosophical answers for why we can and should trust in the authority of God's written Word, the Bible.

The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti is not one of his fiction works. This is actually the only Peretti book I have read, and it is his only non-fiction book. Actually, a large portion of the book deals with some of his own personal experiences, which makes it a fairly easy read. However, the book is more than just an autobiographical sketch. It is for anyone who has ever been hurt by words, fists, or ideas. It is a quick read on the whole. I am a slow reader and it only took me two nights. Every teacher and parent should read this book even if as a reminder of how it feels to be treated poorly as well as what could and should be done about it. It is a solid reminder of how all of us have been given dignity because we are made in God's image, and that image is to be treated with that same dignity.

The Narrows by Michael Connelly. I just devour these books, and after reading at least a dozen, you start to get an easy handle on where Connelly is going. But I really liked this one. I have been a huge fan of the Harry Bosch character from the first novel, but even at that, sometimes I feel that Connelly tries to tie in too many different things/people from other books. I also am still getting used to Harry Bosch in frist person (this is only the second in the series written that way). All of that being said, thumbs up on The Narrows. Next book please.

11 January 2006

Pheakdey and Sreynith

Here are two friends of mine in Cambodia. I am looking forward to seeing both of them this summer! Pheakdey took this picture after she got back from Hong Kong.

At the Water Festival

This is picture of Seda and her mother, and Seda's nephew and niece at the Cambodian Water Festival held in Phnom Penh each year.

09 January 2006

Books I have read lately...

The Pol Pot Regime by Ben Kiernan is a very in depth book, but it goes so in depth that it almost feels as if you lose perspective on the tragedy of what happened. It reads like someone's Master's thesis for most of the book, which for me made it laborious.

Lost Light by Michael Connelly is another chapter in the on going story of Connelly's most developed character, Harry Bosch. Connelly is a good writer (I have read almost all of his books), but sometimes I feel like he tries to draw in too many elements. I have to admit that I was taken a little off guard by the fact that this book is the first of the Harry Bosch books that is written in first person. All of the preceding novels have been in third person, and that was part of what endeared me to Harry Bosch. It was another good 'case' for Harry, even though this is the first book where he is not a detective for the Los Angeles police department.

The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie is another book in the fantastic series of books featuring Hercules Poirot. Being a huge Poirot (and David Suchet) fan, this story goes wrong at no point. When I first started reading Christie novels, I was often disappointed that so much of the novel was revealed at the end and that there was no real opportunity to 'figure it out'. However, the more I am acquainted with her writing, the more I see the genius in her ability to weave all of the characters and information together without the extraneous details that would give too much away.

Buckeye Glory Days by Eric Kaelin after the Bucks great win over Notre Dame a week ago, I could not leave this one off. This book highlights the 25 greatest football victories by Ohio State. I was given this book a few years ago and just got around to reading it. It also comes with a CD of short radio calls of highlights from the game. Of course, the No.1 game was the 2003 Natioanl Championship game against Miami.

More to come...

01 January 2006

Weaving in Thailand

Here are some pics of some of the children at the Asia's Hope orphanage in Changmai Thailand. I am not sure of all that the kids do during the day, but this is to begin to train them in a trade that they can live off of when they get old enough to have to support themselves.