Recent Reads

Another year has begun on campus and new freshman everywhere are acclimating to life away from home.  I enjoyed this “Open Letter to College Freshman” and I think every Christian college student would do well to read it.  Here is a snippet from the end:


Plunge deeply into the life of the mind, and savor the beauty and the rhythms and richness of the scholarly life.  Immerse yourself in friendship and fellowship and commit to learn from one another.  Enjoy the sports contests and the public lectures and study abroad.  Explore all the idiosyncrasies of your school and community, the traditions and hidden treasures.  And learn how to love and be loved by a significant other.  You will change majors and change jobs and change careers many times before your professional life is through.  That’s fine.  And you will go through your romantic ups and downs.  That’s fine too.

Just make sure you major in the majors and minor in the minors.  Remember your first love, remember who is the Way and the Truth and the Life, seek him, and the rest will work itself out.  ”Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4).  ”In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  Whether your college years bring you hardship and misfortune or flourishing and joy, or more likely both, seek God through it all.  Probably the most important thing I learned in my college years came when I broke my neck in a gymnastics accident, and I learned in truth that nothing could separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38).  God’s gracious communion is the one thing needful.  No matter what else might be taken from you, if you have that, then you have enough and more than enough.  The goods of the world will come and go.  Yet the peace and the joy of your fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ will endure forever.

Live for that fellowship, live in it, and live out of it.  In the end, the rest are details.

The race to nominate a competitor for Barack Obama in the 2012 election is now in full swing.  I did not watch the Republican debate the other night, but in reading a little bit about it one thing caught my attention.  Apparently Governor Perry commented (boasted?) about the number of executions in Texas (234) while he has been running things there.  I agree with this blogger: “Applauding Executions May be American, but it is Not Christian.”  Here is part of that post:

I guess this incident wouldn’t bother me so much if the Christian faith was not being so interwoven into the GOP primary race with a particular set of Christian values taking such a prominent place in today’s political discourse. But it is, and some of us need to keep telling a different story of faith. Revenge, payback and ultimate justice may work for the movies and it may indeed fall right in line with “American” triumphalism, but these are not Christian values. In fact, in the Romans passage above and in others, ultimate judgment lies with God and we must do all that we can to avoid giving into the emotionally and physically violent ways of the world.  What makes this all the more difficult is that we are not merely called to avoid revenge and repaying evil with evil, but we are challenged to go even further and show compassion and care for those who we believe do not even deserve it . . . our enemies.

I recall during the last election many Christians believed that it was wrong to vote for Obama due to his record on abortion.  Voting for any candidate who has a record of supporting the killing of innocent unborn babies in the name of choice was simply un-Christian.

I cannot help but ask why it is okay to vote for candidates who have strong records supporting killing in other regards, such as executions.  We can say there is a difference because those on death row are not innocent in the way that babies are.  But the scary thing is that as more evidence comes to light, many on death row, and sadly many already executed, appear to be innocent.  There is one well-document case of a man executed under Perry’s watch in Texas who almost certainly was innocent (you can read the disturbing story here).  If it is un-Christian to vote for one candidate who has a record of supporting abortion, is it not un-Christian to support another candidate who has a record of supporting executions?

This is partly why I am disillusioned with politics.  It ends up being a choice between the lesser of two evils.  I dread the election getting closer as inevitably some Christians will talk and act like the Christian thing to do is to support one candidate while others will say the same thing about the other candidate.  All the while it seems to me that as far as religion is used by the candidates, it is just another manipulation for them to get votes.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ is still on the throne.  Maybe I need to reread this book.

I plan to read this article today, a friend recommended it a while back: How America Criminalized Poverty.

Have a nice day.

One thought on “Recent Reads

  1. I read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel & Dimed a few years ago and it was very thought-provoking. Having been involved in helping people in all kinds of situations (especially those in the criminal justice system), it’s easy to see her perspective. The book, by the way, is a kind of travelogue of her stepping into a minimum wage job and trying to live on it for several months. She tells her own story and that of people she met and worked with.

    Of course, she has an angle and everything is slanted by it. You hear the terrible stories (and I could add more than a few from folks I know), but what’s the solution? I don’t know. The problem is far more complex than a bad break or even a bad economy. Everything from personality issues to health to IQ to drugs/alcohol to–well, it goes on and on and often it is a combination of things. Frequently, extended families (which make up the natural safety net) is not just missing, but is equally messed up.

    I believe that if we can help in some permanent way, that’s better (like helping someone find a job or get training). But sometimes we just help for a day (food, rent, utilities) and trust that God will open some door tomorrow.

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