29 August 2006

24 August 2006

Love and Holiness, not Accomodation

"In every generation God calls his people to show forth his love and holiness, to be faithful to him, and to stand against accommodation with the world's values of the day. In order to show forth God's love and holiness and to present the Good News to our generation in such a way that the message has viability, we must try in a balanced way not to fall into the... mistake of thinking that we are courageous and 'being with it' when we are really only fitting into what is the accepted thought-form of the age around us."

- Francis Schaeffer, from The Great Evangelical Disaster

22 August 2006

Grisham's First Novel

Well, I finally read a John Grisham novel. I have avoided reading his stuff for a couple of reasons... first, he seemed like the flavor of the month for a while, and I hate bandwagons... second, I really got into Michael Connelly and his fabulous character Harry Bosch, so I was committed to that... but then I finished all of the Connelly novels... Grisham has proven that he can keep up his popularity over a long stretch, so I decided that I could try one out... I don't like bandwagons, but I am intrigued by cultural phenomena... so I read his first book, A Time To Kill... instantly I realized that I had listened to it on audio book, but kept reading, and I liked his style. There were some things in the storyline that were downright disturbing, but that is not a first. One of the most interesting aspects of his writing that adds to the 'down home' feeling of the south in this particular novel was the "homey" conversations on the porches and balconies and diners of this sleepy southern town... it was a good read if you can get past some of the more violent/tragic parts of the story.

16 August 2006

13 August 2006

First They Killed My Father

If you have any interest in knowing more about what has affected the Cambodian culture more than any other event, you must read the book, First They Killed My Father. I have read several books on the Cambodian genocide under Pol Pot that took place in the mid to late 1970's, but this one provides first hand experience as I have not read before. It is not a long book, and the reading is very easy to understand... I would say it is must reading for anyone who wants to do ministry in Cambodia, or just visit.

08 August 2006

I miss you, my friends...

Here are a few pictures of some of the friends I am missing right now from Cambodia... May God bless you, and pray that I will be there again soon, according to His will! Talk to you all soon. More pictures to come! Graham

02 August 2006

The reading rarely stops...

So, I just spent five weeks in Southeast Asia... what did I do when we weren't with orphans or college students or teachers in a Christian school... most times we collapsed in a pile... but at those times when all I had to was sit, guess what, I read... and on planes, late at night, etc... I got through three books, and just finished another one that I got in Los Angeles... here they are...

The Great Republic by Winston Churchill is a good read for any American, but a great read for a history buff. The first half of the book is a collection of writings that Churchill did on the beginnings of America as part of his History of the English Speaking Peoples, which won a Pulitzer prize for literature. His grandson (also named Winston Churchill) has gone through the original four volume work and gleaned out everything about "The Great Republic", the name his grandfather gave to America. The second half of the book is a collection of speeches that he made during the course of his lifetime that had America has either a main topic, or as an influential part of his oratory. Some of you may be interested to know a bit of minutiae about Churchill... his mother was an American, and it was a common joke for him with American politicians that if his father had been American instead of his mother, he may have made his speeches to the American Congress as an elected member instead of as an honored guest.

Agatha Christie again played a prominent part in my reading this summer... the first book was Peril at End House. I won't give it away for those who desire to read it, but there is a certain genius about this novel that I found intriguing, even though, thanks to the David Suchet presentation, I knew the end from the beginning... sorry for the bad joke. As I read it (knowing the outcome) I was again amazed at Christie's ability to create a new way to conceive of an elaborate murder plot.

I also read her ultimate work, The Murder on the Orient Express. Again, due to the movie, I already knew how it would end, but the genius that she creates in developing yet another new way to approach the murder mystery is why she is the best selling mystery writer of all time. She is the author that all of the contemporary Grisham-types must learn from over and over again... excellent.

This morning, thanks to a case of jet lag, I just finished The Lincoln Lawyer, by my favorite contemporary writer, Michael Connelly. On the cover there is a quote from USA Today that says it might be Connelly's best book yet... I thought, "whatever", and started reading... only it is true. There is no fluff in this book. It is direct, well crafted, without any of the constant tie-ins from other books that I sometimes think is a little too much... the main character is believable and is easy to follow... I really liked this book, and even though Harry Bosch will always be my favorite character from Connelly, Michael Haller, is an easy second. Connelly gives great explanations of the legal-eze that is encountered, and the story comes across strongly and with a sense that you can really believe it is all possible... I love picking good books.