Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Promoting the Praiseworthy

For Christmas last year I got gift cards.  Wait, don't feel sorry for me.  I don't have lame loved ones with no idea what to buy!  They were Barnes and Noble gift cards.  I have a Nook and I can stick my entire library in my carry-on.  It's a dream come true. (Now I am just waiting for someone to invent a teleporter.)   The real question was what books to buy. 

As far back as Christmas, before I was ever thinking of blogging or "Whatsoever Wednesdays," I was thinking of reading "good stuff."  I could easily spend every penny of that money on novels, especially if I was interested in reading cheap and trashy!  I could also pick up half a dozen best selling Christian authors' latest additions, but that wasn't appealing either.  My solution was to ask my elder.

When we lived in Knoxville, our family worshiped with the South Knoxville Church of Christ.  This congregation is remarkable for a number of reasons, and one of them is the elders.  We look forward every year to dinner with Steve Stamm and his wife. They illustrate the idea that shepherds must be hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2).  The food is always a treat, but it's not the point.  The point is to talk. Despite the jet lag, we stay up until all hours of the night catching up.  We talk about the Bible study they've been hosting or compare our children's progress in school. We reflect on our life abroad and listen to them in hopes of catching a glimpse of the people we could be some years from now.  When our hearts are refreshed and our bodies are exhausted, we roll down all the windows in the car and pray that the frigid air will keep us awake on the way home.  I have often wondered if one could be convicted of a DUI for driving under the influence of jet lag.

Steve is also my go-to guy for a deeper understanding of all issues related to apologetics.  Apologetics is the study of "explaining" God.  If you've ever wondered how to logically show there is a God or struggled with how a good God could create a world filled with evil and suffering, you've been thinking about apologetics.  Steve also one of the smartest guys I know.

When he and his wife had us over for dinner this winter, I took the chance to pick his brain.  He recommended several authors and their works to me, including Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright.  It is the best book I have read this year. I will be writing a post about that book in the weeks to come.  I haven't been able to get the book off my mind and I am just hoping I can do it justice in a blog post.

As I was thinking about the book, thinking about sharing some ideas from it with you, I also started thinking about Steve.  Who do you go to when you are ready to learn something new?  Are there people in your life who fit Philippians 4:8?  People who are sharing all kinds of excellent and praiseworthy things with you?  If there are, ask them what they're reading these days!  Then leave us a comment about it.  Maybe we can read it too!

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