Saturday, May 28, 2011
"Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity", by Mark Batterson, is a DVD based Bible Study which I found to be of great value. As it's title entails, as Christians look to where they are, they may find themselves searching for something more. Batterson does a wonderful job of narrating this DVD based study by breaking it down into section to look at and study. The sections which came to his mind came from Scripture. He chose Mark 12:28 - 30 "Love the Lord Your God with all your Heart and with all your Soul, and with all your Mind, and with all your Strength." Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength. Simple right? Maybe not. But it should be.
As Batterson explains, all Christians when they, and this includes me, accepted God's gift and accepted His salvation, we accepted it with gladness and readiness. We didn't question nor did we challenge His Word or expectations.
This became relevant, when Batterson and his wife were touring underground remains and finds while on a vacation, only to find that they were finding that they too may have developed a core or crust about the relationship with God. Batterson challenges us, through this study, to come back to the basics or "Primal" desires to commune with God.
As each segment of the DVD presentation comes to a close, a provoking question or question is presented that will provide for interaction and study. There is also Scripture available for further study. This DVD based study can bring you back to your roots of coming to Christ. Thank You Mark, for pointing out that as Christians, we tend to over complicate Christianity, he has allowed us to look back to Jesus as He simplifies it. "Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.
At the end of the DVD study, a section is available known as Resources, where the listener/ attendee can go for further information and resources to follow up on their own or in a group. Again Thank You Mark Batterson for making this DVD. I know that it has already helped me to simplify my life through Christ again.
I have just had the pleasure of reading a wonderful selection from The Crossing Book Club, entitled "Fatal Judgment", by Irene Hannon. Hannon has written a novel/story of intrigue, drama, hope, compassion and fear, all rolled up into one fantastic novel. The main characters in my opinion, are a U.S. Deputy Marshal by the name of Jake Taylor, who is charged with protecting a Federal judge, by the name of Liz Michaels, following the murder of the judge's sister. Was the murder intended to be that of Liz Michaels sister, or was there another intention. Until that question can be answered, Taylor must protect this Federal Judge at all costs.
There is also another twist to the protective detail. This Federal Judge and the U.S. Marshal have a past. Michaels was married to a now dead friend of Taylor's and the reasons for his death are yet unclear to Taylor or Michaels. Jake must attempt to put his feelings aside in order to do his job and protect Liz Michaels from harm and possible death.
Follow the characters as the story unfolds right through the conclusion. This story is riveting and as the reader, I have a feeling you won't be able to close this book until you have finished it completely.
Irene Hannon is a wonderful writer and "Fatal Judgment" is a testament to her abilities and determination. Bravo Irene Hannon. I for one will most certainly be reading more of her work. Thank you so much.
Friday, May 27, 2011
By Eric Best
Author of Into My Father's Wake
In the years before I finally went sailing alone I struggled with something nameless whose manifestation in my life I did not recognize for the longest time. Most of it was negative -- a dull ache of some internal sort, sudden rage at conditions that would not submit to me, relationships that foundered in conflict or the effects of drinking, or drinking itself. This I had learned at home from a couple of experts and the traditions in which they came of age, where alcohol was just something one did at the end of the day. The drinking dulled but did not eliminate the background noise of the thing, which was perhaps the background noise of sadness, or echoes of irreconcilable conflicts, or the thing itself, whatever it might be. In matters of the heart, over time, I found I could only go so far and no farther, derailed or obstructed by something that must have been rooted in me early, if it was not my own by nature.
How much of this had to do with me alone and how much was a function of my family or the way I understood my place in it, or my father and mother, or the New England upbringing of my youth, I could not tell. It is easy enough to blame one's troubles on others, particularly the people who brought us into the world and raised us. But surely I figured in it somewhere. Who expected to be fully happy, anyway? Perhaps it was all in the pursuit, as books on the topic seemed to say. For a long time I did not appreciate that most people were not raised as I was, and therefore had their own experiences of parental love and the frailties and failures that went with it. Some of those were devious and for me would be intractable to understanding without the help of others.
Not until my first experiments with psychotherapy (in which I was the lone family explorer) with a grey-haired woman in Cambridge did I suspect there was something to uncover in my family that might explain some of my conflicts. Early school reports documented me as very clever and engaging, but contentious and sometimes explosive. My years growing up on a former dairy farm in a small Massachusetts town, and later in private schools, were marked by more than my share of fistfights, confrontations on the soccer field and a record number of ice hockey penalties, though I never developed a taste for bar-brawls or street fighting. I could be very funny and entertaining -- at least my family and friends generally said so -- but when it came to being argumentative or provocative, few could match me in any grade from kindergarten on up. I despised authority in any form and if I felt the least bit trapped or pushed, in word or physical space, self-control was not my natural instinct. Call it spoiling for a fight, or a chip on his shoulder, or just a confused kid in pain, this tendency did little to endear me to my contemporaries, among whom I had a few but fortunately enduring friends.
If a turning point was signaled along the way it came without much notice during lunch in a Fifth Street bar in San Francisco in the mid '80s. I was in my mid-thirties, stunted in some ways I could not name, drinking regularly if not relentlessly and slipping inexorably into the collapse of my first marriage. I remarked to another journalist and unrequited novelist -- bound together as we were by the San Francisco Examiner, our unrealized ambitions as writers and a common tendency to fly into rages over trivial matters -- that I didn't think I could ever write my first book while my father was still alive. Why I said this at the time I was not sure, but I knew it was true and felt I was disclosing something powerful by saying it out loud to anyone. I was telling a truth without knowing why.
It would be about a decade before my father died in his waterfront bedroom in Cape Rosier, Maine, in the house my mother's father had built 80 years earlier, overlooking the rocky shores of Eggemoggin Reach, where I did my first sailing and my father did his last. In the meantime I had sailed alone to Hawaii and back and struggled to write the story of that trip and the life that brought me to it. Expecting his death by congestive heart failure to arrive at any time, I invited him to read the first draft, about which he only said, with a grim, narrow look I knew too well, 'So, you hate me, then?' It defined the gulf between us more eloquently than anything I could have ever come up with on my own. A few months later, with that still between us, I drove him home from the Bangor hospital, knowing it to be the last time, so he could have a view of the water and his sailboat, 'Enfin,' idling at her mooring nearby. He died three days later in his sleep, just after I left on a business trip. A dozen years would pass -- including my mother's decline and death, and another failed marriage -- before something moved me to finish the story once and for all -- to try to accept and forgive and bury him with a decent tribute, and perhaps set myself free in ways I had never been.
It is a truism that we never know when we set out on a long journey just where we may arrive, or when. Life is made up of the unexpected, coming at us point-blank. Things are seldom what they seem, so our charted course is never the course we make in the end. While the father whom life dealt me left his indelible marks -- for better and worse -- there were others I found along the way. One was a tennis buddy of his, a former RAF pilot who flew night-fighters in Korea and then ran a mysterious business involving military hardware. During one of my explosive tantrums over a failed shot in a casual weekend doubles game, John Striebel looked at me with mild contempt and said simply, "That's it, I'm done." He sat down beside the court with an air of finality, rejecting summarily his younger partner, which broke up our precious Saturday game and made everyone a victim of my behavior. John was the first partner (or player) ever to walk off the tennis court when I was throwing a fit -- the only one, actually. And I felt oddly grateful, even as I had to walk the half-mile home alone as he and my father drove past without showing any sign of my being there. Years later John would counsel me through my first divorce -- don't let your anger take over, he said. He also warned me not to wait too long before trying to sail solo in the ocean. Getting older has a way of making you afraid to do things, he said, and the fear will come on you unexpectedly.
Other fathers I found, or who found me, helped me discover certain truths that I could not see clearly on my own. Don Michael, an educator and consultant who became a mentor to me in my consulting practice, looked at me with compassion when I recalled some of my earliest memories, some of them clouded or blocked, which had something to do with violence. "No child can reconcile love and brutality, it just doesn't make any sense," he said, putting me on a path to understanding my history over time. Joe Miller, a Sufi philosopher and spiritual guide in San Francisco, showed me the power of powerful listening and evoked words that would become my compass for the rest of my life. And Professor Bill White, who continued to teach through his last tortuous months at Harvard Business School as he died of leukemia, showed me with deathbed selflessness what it meant to help others find their way.
It was my own act of faith that in finishing this story something crucial about my father and my relationship to him might finally come clear, although its manifestation would be a surprise. The manuscript that had gone on the shelf after he died suddenly demanded attention when my son turned five. That was about the same age that I had become consciously aware that my father was in my life. He had spent my earliest years commuting from Connecticut to a New York City bank and was seldom at home when I was awake, a condition I had recreated in my own son's life. There was something about this age -- five. My first daughter was five when my marriage to her mother broke up, and I felt compelled to get into the ocean alone, to get out there -- maybe just to get out of here -- to be truly alone to figure something out. This journey would not be finished, if I could call it so, for another 20 years. In truth perhaps it would never be.
The above is an excerpt from the book Into My Father's Wake by Eric Best. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
© 2011 Eric Best, author of Into My Father's Wake
Eric Best is an author, speaker, and strategy consultant to individuals and corporations. Educated at Hamilton College, Harvard and Stanford Universities, his background as a journalist (Lowell Sun, USA Today, San Francisco Examiner), futurist (Global Business Network, Morgan Stanley), and solo ocean sailor (SF-Hawaii and back, '89 and '93) inform his insights. The father of three, he lives and maintains offices in Brooklyn, NY, where he currently consults for a global financial firm and is working on two new books.
For more information please visit http://ericbestonline.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
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Thursday, May 19, 2011
"The Book That Made Your World", by Vishal Mangalwadi, is a collection of thoughts and ideas which formed our world as we know it today. How often we take for granted just how our lives are shaped and managed. Mangalwadi, takes the reader on the pathway of just how the Bible influenced the way the Western Civilized world works. "The Book That Made Your World", is actually a history book, that of a history of how the Bible shaped our world.
In this collection the three different types of judgements are noted.
(1.) Moral Judgments - This is good; that is evil
(2.) Aesthetic Judgments - This is beautiful; that is ugly
(3.) Epistemological Judgments - That is true; this is false
From these judgments we can start to see just how the Bible became the force that globalized Western civilization.
Written in a text book way of forming of the ideas and taking the beginnings of civilization, Mangalwadi, expresses just how the Bible influenced how both Western Civilization took hold of the ideals of the Bible and Biblical teachings while the areas of the world such as Islam and Buddists cultures view their beginnings in such a different way.
At the beginning of Part Three is a quote which identifies with America. "The Bible was one book that literate Americans in the seventeenth eighteenth, and ninetheenth centuries could be expected to know well. Biblical imagery proveded the basic framework for imaginative thought in America up until quite recent times and, unconsciously, its control is still formidable." - Robert N. Bellah
This previous quote shows just how the West took hold of the Bible and ran with it, so to speak, forming nations filled with Bible believers and people who went to the Bible for the answers to their questions.
I must say that I did find this book hard to read, and for that reason I only give it three stars. But I also found it full of important information that everyone should be ready to explore. Once into this book, you will find all kinds of interesting information. Now we must figure out how to take our heritage and shout it from the rooftops. It will be a path most likely to be hard to follow, but with rewards beyond comprehension.