Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good BooksTweet
Bindings offers thought-provoking blogs by vibrant, published Christian authors on faith issues, life and current events, and intriguing, must-read books.
Posted 12/18/13 at 12:17 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
“High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant clarion of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break up the camp of ease, and start on some fresh march of faithful service.” –J. Martineau
Once I left for college, I rarely stayed in the same geographical place or the same job for long—usually three to five years. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t suggest my life as the only example to follow. By his grace, God was able to use the decisions of an immature follower. When I look back at my life, I’m astounded to see how all worked together for good, considering how I could have floundered.
I left friends behind that have been forgotten over the years, when we might have forged enduring kinships of soul. To leave friends behind is a serious matter. Yet, the experiences of different places and different cultures bequeathed insights I wouldn’t have had otherwise. FULL POST
Posted 12/16/13 at 1:32 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I was once again late for an appointment, panicked I flew through the house grabbing everything I thought I would need. Somewhat conscious of the sound of my husbands voice as it followed me out the front door….“I know you’re late but DON’T SPEED!”. He knows me pretty well and it was an appropriate statement to make. The other thing he knows is I often don’t heed warnings. I jumped into my car put it into drive and hit the accelerator.
This was one of those days, 15 minutes into my drive I looked up at the oncoming traffic to see the quick turn on of flashing lights. I dropped my eyes to the speedometer; I was the one speeding and not just a little bit. In my rearview mirror I saw the state trooper make a U-turn, my heart sank as I pulled to the curb.
Before the officer even came to my drivers side window I texted my husband, ”Just Got Pulled Over….”. Spineless way to confess but what could I say…. I had just done exactly what the man that knows me the best warned me against. Certainly wanted to break the news before I landed back on our doorstep. FULL POST
Posted 12/12/13 at 2:39 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I recently asked a friend why folks don't like to use the word "sin." They are comfortable saying "mistake." But in common conversation it is awkward to say "I sinned."
My friend answered with a profound statement. "It's too big a word."
I've been thinking about that. We use the term "freighted" sometimes when speaking of words that have huge connotations. I suppose "sin" and its cousin "forgive" are freighted with implied judgment, God's judgment. And yet we all admit judging ourselves and others by some kind of standard. Wouldn't God's judgment be more reliable than yours or mine? He was after all author of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes and a few other refinements on basic behavior. But such authority is no doubt part of the bigness, part of the freighted baggage that modernity wishes to throw off the train. But where does that leave us? Without bigness and only smallness.
We sin against God and against one another. When we do this we actually are sinning against ourselves, according to Raymond Raynes, late Superior of the Community of the Resurrection in England. Father Raynes argued that since God is our Creator and has set up the system of natural laws that govern his creation, when we break those laws we actually break ourselves. Sin destroys. Sin pays wages we may not want – including death. FULL POST
Posted 12/9/13 at 11:59 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
You devour fast fiction as you do fast food. You savor slow fiction like you linger over an old-fashioned Sunday dinner with family and friends.
In her book, God’s Hotel, Victoria Sweet writes of “slow medicine,” medicine that allows a health professional time to listen to a sick patient and to observe. Such practices lend themselves to chronic illnesses and to patients diagnosed with multiple conditions.
Cooks create slow food for leisurely eating, usually for enjoying in community with others.
Slow fiction, in the sense of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead or Ann Patchett’s Run, is best read slowly, time taken to consider the characters, their victories and defeats, and perhaps impart meaning to our own lives.
We need fast medicine when an emergency or an easily diagnosed condition arises: A broken leg requires definite and rapid action. Antibiotics heal certain infections in days. A heart attack calls for immediate measures to stabilize the patient. FULL POST
Posted 12/9/13 at 1:44 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
John 11:35 is one of the most confusing verses in the Bible to me. For most of us who were raised in the church and in Christian homes, it was probably the first verse we could quote, since it is notoriously the shortest verse in the Bible. But for me, it is a very difficult verse to explain.
I’ve heard preachers speak of Jesus’ great compassion and his deep love for Lazarus that he would weep for him. But my question is this: WHY would he weep for Lazarus? Did Jesus not know He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead? Was Jesus weeping for His loss, even though He knew Lazarus’ resurrection was imminent?
Or was He actually weeping for all those friends of Lazarus that just wasn’t getting it? Was he actually weeping for Mary, whom he loved deeply, when He saw her great suffering and loss? But if so, why? If He knew He was about to resurrect Lazarus, why did He not say to her, “Stop crying! I’m here and all is well! Start rejoicing!”? FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 6:03 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
My smartphone went missing at an airport about this time last year and I somehow sank into those purported "steps of grieving", and yes, I realize that phones are inanimate objects. I do apologize for my dependence. In case you aren’t familiar with the stages for grieving the loss of an inanimate object, they go something like this:
1. Denial—It isn't lost; it is misplaced. I must have left it at my son's house. I could have dropped it in their driveway or left it on the countertop or the bookshelf. Maybe my little grandson put it somewhere. It might be in the rental car. It will show up.
2. Anger—the person in line after me at airport security could have swiped it from my tub of belongings. Most likely, when I Iaid my cell on the counter to pay for my latte, I left it there and someone snatched it. The airport lost and found department didn't really check to see if it had been returned, as they said they had done. Whoever found it should have demonstrated higher moral principles by making sure that I got it back. Nobody cares that it's probably being resold on the Internet right now, except me (and my otherwise patient husband). FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
What do you picture when you read the phrase, "family devotions"?
Well-mannered children sitting around the dinner table listening to Father read the Scriptures?
Mama, Daddy, and kiddos huddled together on their knees by the bed?
Bored faces, even yawns?
Frustrated parents trying desperately to get little ones to sit still?
Maybe you've been that child or are that parent right now—confused, bewildered, clueless, perhaps even a little guilty. Take heart, before you slink off into the shadows, let's consider what the Bible has to say about family devotions.
Or does it? Hmm . . .
You won't find the phrase “family devotions” in the Scriptures, but you can find plenty of instruction on how to bring your family together for worship.
A great place to start is with Christ Himself. If Jesus came to your house and led family devotions, what do you think they might look like? FULL POST
Posted 12/3/13 at 12:36 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
As I sit to write this little essay, I find myself being very hesitant to make myself this vulnerable. But the Lord has been nudging me for a couple of weeks now and I have put it off for one reason or another and finally admit I will have no peace until it is said. So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share my opinion—on the ‘Christmas Season issue’.
To me, Christmas is the MOST glorious season and holiday of the whole year! Yes, Easter is blessed and holy also, but none is as glorious as the birthday of our Savior and Lord. Yes, I know that many people have exploited the Holy Day by encouraging us to change it into a Santa holiday, but…it’s our own choice to make it what WE want it to be. I personally have never seen how Santa fits into it at all, so that little myth has no place in our family’s celebrations. In fact, when our oldest son was a small child a lady pointed to a Santa figurine and said, “Look, Nathan! Who’s that?” My small son looked at the funny plump fellow in his furry red suit a bit, then looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, do I know that man?’ I have to admit that she and I were both a bit shocked at his ignorance, but it made me realize how unimportant the whole Santa concept is. We’ve always enjoyed Christmas immensely, and Santa has no part of our celebration. FULL POST
Posted 11/27/13 at 2:03 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
Thanksgiving. A time of giving thanks.
We gather together as a family, a family of cultures forming America. We give thanks for our country, its founding, and the diversity of its peoples, a rainbow promising many pots of gold.
We gather together in order to gather up all of our peoples to celebrate this remarkable land – its fields and forests, streams and lakes, seas and bays, cities and towns, large and small. Our peoples are many, and of many colors, of many races, of many generations, of many beliefs.
In a way, our Thanksgiving holiday echoes our Independence Day. But the Fourth of July remembers a pulling away to protect and defend who we thought we might be, an identity we groped to formulate, two hundred years ago. But since that time of our founding fathers, our nation has matured and we have come to know ourselves better. We know how rich and prosperous and talented we are. We appreciate, honor, our differences. We have learned humility in mourning our mistakes, our fallen heroes, our false prides. FULL POST
Posted 11/25/13 at 1:41 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Several years ago I heard about NaNoWriMo and I thought it was the most ridiculous and outlandish thing I’d ever heard of. The idea was to write an entire 50,000 word novel in one month, namely November. It sounded impossible to me and why would anyone want to even attempt it? I added it to my long list of things I’d never want to do and promptly forgot about it.
This year, just out of curiosity, I went to their website. I discovered that it is an international event. Started in 1999 by a bunch of 21 year olds as a crazy fun thing to do, it has blossomed fourteen years later into something that writers and would-be-writers look forward to with about 300,000 signing up. The website keeps track of each participant’s words, regional word counts and total word counts for the month of November.
Interesting, I thought, but not for me. While I outwardly went about my business, my inner writer began compiling outlines, scenes, character sketches and frantically scribbled notes in the middle of the night, all about a novel that I hadn’t planned on writing anytime soon. This novel is the sequel to one that hasn’t even been published. It took shape in my mind unlike any other book I’ve written. I never make a detailed outline, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted in each chapter. FULL POST