Stephen King wrote one of my favorite books on writing called On Writing. His take on adverbs clearly has stuck with me. He has also written a popular book here or there. Terry Gross' interview of King on Fresh Air yesterday was really good, including a bunch of quotes worth checking out. Here's a great example. You should go listen to the whole thing.
I choose to believe it. ... I mean, there's no downside to that. If you say, 'Well, OK, I don't believe in God. There's no evidence of God,' then you're missing the stars in the sky and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, 'Well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar,' and you have to wonder about that guy's personality — the big guy's personality. And the thing is — I may have told you last time that I believe in God — what I'm saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I'm totally inconsistent.
The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, what about the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us first class children of God! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, with everyone doing his own part; if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of meeting: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good! We shall meet there.
I'm preaching on the parables of Jesus over the summer. Here are some key books I'm using...
Stories With Intent by Klyne Snodgrass | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] I got a lot of recommendations to pick up this book after a tweet asking for the best resources on the parables. After wading into the first bit, I've already collected a number of insights and quotes. And it's a massive resource. Excited to read more.
Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] Kindle version is 1/2 the price of the paperback. I've read the introduction to the section on the parables. Excellent.
Turning Your World Upside Down by Richard Phillips | [Amazon | WTS] I've used this before and it's been helpful.
The Challenge of Jesus' Parables edited by Richard Longenecker | [Amazon] Some good stuff from various essays by leading scholars.
Preaching the Parables by Craig Blomberg | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] Haven't read much yet, but heard many good things.
Glory Veiled & Unveiled by Gerald Bilkes | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] I love that this practical, devotional, personal book is there to temper more scholarly books above.
Been looking forward to it for a while, on an important topic that I think Barrs is well-equipped to tackle. Barrs was formerly involved for 18 yeas with Francis Schaeffer and L'Abri. Now he teaches at Covenant Theological Seminary and is Resident Scholar at the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute
Delusions of Adequacy: "The National are such a powerfully gifted band, they need no theatrics to deliver an absolutely stone-cold beast of an album. With the music that is on here there is yet another thirteen songs to savor and salivate over until the next batch of songs comes about."
My friend, Darryl Dash, attends a study group for pastors that I've known about for a while and is a great idea. Here's a blurb...
Every May I gather with a group of pastors from Monday to Friday. The agenda is simple: to work through a book of the Bible together as we think about preaching it. Every year we bring in a different scholar who has written a commentary on that book. We also have our former preaching professor (Haddon Robinson) help us think through how to preach that book.
We've had Bruce Waltke, George Guthrie, Douglas Moo, Daniel Block, and more. This week we've had D.A. Carson. It's hard to beat. I've been to a lot of conferences, but this by far is my favorite learning event of the year.