Saturday, March 19, 2016

Best of Podcasts: RadioLab, The Cathedral

The Cathedral

A wonderfully deep story about a Christian couple who go through a tragic experience watching a young son fight cancer. The father, who is interested in video games, creates a game based on the situation. The basic premise of the game is that life often gives us lots of solutions for a problem but sometimes there is no solution. An example from real life would be when a young child is crying late at night and the parent tries everything to comfort the child: rocking, singing, feeding, playing, talking, etc. But there is no solution. The child continues to cry. What do you do? The father then said let’s make a game like that. The main character will try all sorts of options but none of them will work. The idea is that you can’t beat the obstacle. And this is like life. There are scenarios where there is no solution for you. You have to sit and watch and that is all you have. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016


This is a practice podcast for Roman History and Culture.

Marcus Curtius

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Wednesday Wars

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun children's story that has some very humorous lines and moments. The scene with the rats was incredible. I read it aloud to Kate and we both laughed out loud numerous times. It also weaves a good bit of Shakespeare into the story which makes one want to go and re-read the plays mentioned. Overall, a really fun romp through the 1960s.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moving. The book is written in simple, yet elegant, prose. Poetic at points. It takes place during the 1600s when Japan was in its early stages of being Christianized. At the height of its growth there were about 300,000 Christians in Japan at this time. Early in that century, several Japanese rulers turned against the Christians and started a devastating persecution.

In this setting, the story follows two priests who come to Japan searching for another priest who is reported to have apostatized because of this time of persecution.

The story considers the question of why does God remain silent while His people are murdered. Why all this silence? It also deals with the question of what should Christians do with those who have apostatized. How do Christians welcome them back? What does God do with these Christians? If at Calvary we all abandoned God and apostatized, how does apostasy work now? Also, in what way do we share in Christ's sufferings and in what way does His suffering transcend ours?

Overall, well worth the read.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Chaucer on Humility

"Humility is true self-knowledge."

Monday, January 02, 2012

Top 11 Books of 2011

11. Awash in a Sea of Faith, Jon Butler
This is an important work for anyone wanting to understand Christianity and colonial America. He is very secular in his approach but he paints a detailed picture that Christians need to understand before they try to jump into any discussion about the Great Awakening.

10. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene
This book explains in great detail the modern scientific discussions on time, matter, and space. This work reinforced the fact that scientists are not just talking about time and matter; they are also talking about how we view the world and what it is made of and how we know what we know. In other words, scientists are always philosophers and theologians even if they deny it.

9. Reclaiming Adoption, Dan Cruver
A great read on the depth of adoption and how it relates to the life of the Trinity. It also re-enforced the fact that adoption is one of the most un-evolutionary acts in the world. Another one for our team.

8. The Iliad, Homer
I read this again this summer. Good stuff as always. I think I am finally coming around to see how it is just as poetically interesting as its counterpart The Odyssey.

7. The Odyssey, Homer
I read this also this summer. I still think this book works better and is a more compelling story than The Iliad. It also has more depth to it. Odysseus and Penelope are brilliant as always.

6. Lectures on Calvinism, Abraham Kuyper
This was a great read. I was both surprised and not by that fact. His chapter on Calvinism and Art was incredible. The first author to show how Calvinism gives art its universal appeal: art is for the everyman because art is about the everyman. Art also sweeps our suffering up into the reality of the cross. Something the pomos can only dream of having.

5. On Grief and Reason, Joseph Brodsky
This was a surprising read. I pulled it off the shelf for one lecture and it has proven to be deep in a very refreshing way. He was a Jew but he was very well read and his depth comes from his breadth of reading. “How to read a book”, “In praise of boredom,” and “Uncommon Visage” are all worth the read. He also likes poetry.

4. Over Sea, Under Stone, Susan Cooper
A great fantasy adventure for kids. It hints at a hidden world that gives it a spookier feel than it actually has, but kudos to the author for the great style. Well worth the read.

3. How to Read a Poem, Edward Hirsh
This is another example of how the well-read makes the well-written. This is an amazing book. I get the feeling that he is not a Christian, but I can’t tell. There are times when it is like: Yes! But then there are times that make me pause and wonder where he is. He says great things but he doesn't know why. If only.

2. Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
I picked this up on a whim and it was a jack-pot. Never done that before. The author moves through several modern writers and authors starting with the smallest of things,words, and then moves all the way up to dialogue and gestures. It would probably be better titled as Reading for Everyone. This should be on everyone’s shelf.

1. Planet Narnia, Michael Ward
Simply amazing. Ward handles Lewis in a way that lets Lewis shine through on his own. Ward also has a deep understanding of Lewis’s vision of the world and this book fully reveals it in a brilliant and clear way. Great scholarly research and writing by Ward. I will return to this book in the future.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lew Klatt on Christian Poetry

Here is a lecture from Lew Klatt of Calvin College. Good stuff all around.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

For Election Day

As we approach election day, here is one way to evaluate our political leaders.

“There is no doubt in my mind that, had we been choosing our leaders on the basis of their reading experience and not their political programs, there would be much less grief on earth. It seems to me that a potential master of our fates should be asked, first of all, not about how he imagines the course of his foreign policy, but about his attitude toward Stendhal, Dickens, Dostoevsky.”-pg. 52

From On Grief and Reason by Joseph Brodsky