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 3/11/14 at 12:23 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." -Ephesians 5:15-16
Once in a while, I meet a Christian single who is very dissatisfied with his lot in life. He seems to be hovering over life, fixed in a holding pattern, until God reveals that perfect mate who will share life and ministry and make his life complete. I can't help but feel sorry for that type of person. He is never content. Because he is so busy gazing on what he thinks are greener, more productive pastures, he misses God's will for him today. How sad, and how unnecessary. God has called each of us to a particular station in life. That station may change, just as the seasons change, but each is for a specific purpose.
Therefore, it behooves the single person to be careful how he conducts his life. I like to call it having "single savvy." The Random House Dictionary defines "savvy" as being "wise, having understanding." Ephesians 5 picks up this thought when it encourages all of us--single and married alike--to be wise, to make the most of our time. Why? Because the days are evil. Just look around you. It doesn't take long to figure that out. Billboards blare out provocative images. Television and movies splash sexual acts across the screen and into our living rooms. Gay and lesbian militants scream for legalized homosexual marriage and the right to adopt children. A government who prays before every session casts prayer out of its nation's schools. Need I say more? The days are indeed evil. So, how can the single find purpose in his current situation, walk as a wise person, and make the most of his time in these evil days? I offer these suggestions: FULL POST
Posted 3/7/14 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Tomorrow morning at 2:00 a.m. we change our clocks. I’m not sure why we do this at 2:00 in the morning because most people that I know don’t stay up that late. Please don’t tell the time police but I usually change mine around 10:30 on Saturday night so I don’t have to stay up until 2:00 on church day.
I can never seem to remember if we save daylight in the spring or in the fall. If we save an hour in the spring why couldn’t we use that hour we’ve saved in the fall? It’s just a thought. I understand our Alabama legislature is considering a bill proposing that we stay on daylight savings time year round. Wow! We could actually watch the ball drop from New York on New Year’s at midnight (rather than at 11:00). We could go to Georgia, at least half of the year, and not lose an hour. Darkness wouldn’t fall at 2:30 in the afternoon during the winter months. Actually, I’ve never fully understood how we save daylight. Just because we move the clock one hour doesn’t actually give us more daylight does it? The days do get longer in the summer but I don’t think moving the hands on the clock causes this. Can we actually save daylight? Can we seal daylight up in a jar and then take it out to use later? If I saved up enough daylight I could have daylight all night and pretend I was in Alaska in the spring when it’s light all night up there. I’m getting a headache from all this thinking! FULL POST
Posted 3/5/14 at 12:28 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I have always loved John 11:1-6, the beginning of John’s story of Jesus calling Lazarus back to life. It says that Jesus waited a couple of days after he got the news that Lazarus was ill. It even prefaced this statement with the fact that Jesus loved Lazarus.
What kind of sense does this make? Why didn’t he leave right away to help someone that he loved? Especially when he had the power to heal and had been healing lots of people lately, like the man born blind?
Jesus' cryptic explanation to his disciples was that God would be glorified through his handling things this way.
I’m not sure about all the theological ramifications of this statement. I am comforted by understanding that just because Jesus’ agenda is different from what I’d supposed, it doesn’t mean he’s not listening to me. The answer may be different from what I’d wanted, too—maybe even more exciting. FULL POST
Posted 3/3/14 at 2:09 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I’m writing my next novel (working title, The Fire Trail), a story about the “medication generation,” hooking up, love and marriage, sexuality today, jungle culture versus civilization. I collected a thick file of news clippings, Internet printouts, and quotations from relevant reading. I revisited my first books on craft – creating characters, plotting plot. To develop my characters’ backstories, I tried a new technique. I wanted to care about them, so that readers would care as well. Each of the main characters – Jessica and Sebastian – wrote their backstories first-person. What did they want? What did they love? What were their fears, hopes, dreams? What were the painful events in their lives that molded them into who they were in the Fall of 2014? FULL POST
Posted 2/27/14 at 3:05 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Bro. Billy Bob Bohannon is the pastor of The Last Baptist Church, in Bird Bump, Alabama. His wife is Thelma Lou Jean and they have thirteen children. He exists only in my mind as well as in the books, songs, and stories I write, and the humorous programs I perform as him. He is a colorful dresser but not necessarily good at matching colors or patterns.
Billy Bob was born out of necessity in February 2002. I created him as an emergency fill in for a Valentine’s banquet at the church where I served as pastor. Our original program personality cancelled too late for us to find someone else. My church staff talked me into telling a few stories and singing a few funny songs. I decided to do so in character as Billy Bob. Although I had no original intention of performing in this role more than that one time I am still actively performing and writing as Billy Bob fourteen years later. FULL POST
Posted 2/24/14 at 12:15 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
A woman in a meeting I attended, during a discussion about major questions we have, said that when she died she wanted to ask God why he allowed our suffering.
I wondered why she planned to wait to ask God after she died. Why not ask him now? Job did, and God answered. It was a dialog, actually, in which questions and thoughts and ideas flew back and forth. Job did not get the answer he expected—but he discovered a more informed faith as a result of having asked.
We have this idea that good Christians never ask questions. We could take a look at Abraham in the book of Genesis, conversing with God about God’s planned destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He presented his input to God, and God listened to him.
“Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” the Psalmist asks in Psalm 42:9 (NRSV). Questioning may be answered later with faith: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” (Psalm 42:11, NRSV). Respectful questioning of God can be a part of a maturing faith.
Even Jesus on the cross asked, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” FULL POST
Posted 2/20/14 at 1:32 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Kathleen Parker, in a column for The Washington Post, (“To Defeat Poverty, Look to Marriage,” January 14, 2014) points to marriage as a poverty fighting measure.
Others weigh in. Jerry Z. Muller in his article “Capitalism and Inequality; What the Right and the Left Get Wrong” (Foreign Affairs, March/April 2013) writes: “Abundant research shows that children raised by two parents in an ongoing union are more likely to develop the self-discipline and self-confidence that make for success in life . . .” He cites quickness of mind, character, social skills, and knowledge as products of such upbringing. All, Muller says, “are increasingly crucial for success in the postindustrial marketplace.”
Children as emotional capital? Have we returned to a model recently ignored in our modernizing West?
We should not down play measures that improve schools and encourage jobs that pay a living wage. Such programs, however, require political agreement and compromise. Marriage is a personal choice. FULL POST
Posted 2/18/14 at 1:03 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I love the winter Olympics. The skiing events are my favorite. Alabama has never hosted the winter Olympics (summer either, for that matter). If we had enough snow to ski on, driving on it to reach the slopes would be the next problem. We do have a ski slope in Alabama. Mentone has one slope but I don’t think it compares to those in Sochi. It doubles as a golf course in summer. Watch for golf balls if you ski there.
I learned to fall, I mean ski, around thirty years ago. Amazingly, in all those years I’ve never skied on the U.S. Olympic team. Since I grew up water skiing I figured snow skiing would be a piece of cake. After all, snow is little more than frozen water. I soon discovered the only thing water skiing and snow skiing had in common were skis and even those weren’t alike. The first time I went I took the introductory ski lesson. I learned how to wedge, how to turn, how to get up after I had fallen, and how to stop. After several runs down the bunny slope I still had all body parts intact. I decided it was time to advance. FULL POST
Posted 2/14/14 at 12:08 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
The often-used adage “falling in love” has been a silly one to me. You fall off a log, you fall into the pool, and you fall off a bike, but love? It’s true that the emotions may be quick, the attraction strong, your knees may be weak and your giggles plentiful. But when it comes to love - falling is a bit of a scary thing! Taking a tumble should not be the way you begin a lasting relationship.
Love, the real love, is a verb. It’s an action word. Once the attraction has worn off, which I assure you it will, there has to be depth for love to last. Whether in two dates or two years real life always steps in. It’s at this point that you need to ask yourself this question “does the one I’m attracted to possess the character that can be loved over the long haul?”
You also need to determine if you are capable of loving even when you don’t feel it. A bunch of years ago the movie phrase “love means never having to say you’re sorry” became everyone’s ideal of real love. So you never have to apologize again? Wrong! Love means not only having to say you’re sorry it means being willing to say you’re sorry. It even means saying you’re sorry when you’re not the only one at fault! FULL POST
Posted 2/13/14 at 12:12 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
One of our family’s favorite times of the year when the girls were young was October, not because of colored leaves, pumpkin pie, and impending holidays (although those were all great!), but because that was when our church hosted its annual missions conference.
Every fall an excitement hung in the air as our girls anticipated decorating the gym, attending nightly meetings, and most of all, hosting our very own missionary family. Those were the days when we lived in a smaller home and usually sacrificed the master bedroom to our guests whose children camped out with ours on the living room floor or in their bedrooms. For three solid days, the missionaries ate with us, swapped adventure stories, played with our kids, and even studied along with our children who were home schooled. I believe to this day that our girls have a heart for missions because they got to know so many missionary families up close. FULL POST