The Rise of the Introvert Jul10

The Rise of the Introvert

We live in a world that seems tailored to extroverts – a world, that is, where the ability to connect with others easily, persuade others convincingly, and flourish in social settings regularly is of enormous value. As a result, introverts – essentially people who recharge and find energy from more solitary and contemplative pursuits rather than by interacting with groups of others – often feel overlooked and undervalued. Lately, however, more and more research shows that the world is changing and, with it, the value introverts may hold and influence they may exert in this new world. In particular, there is increasingly a great need...

Celebrating Green Eggs and Ham Mar14

Celebrating Green Eggs and Ham

I have been seriously remiss with regard to my promise a week or two ago to write a bit more about Theodor Seuss Geisel, the beloved author better known as Dr. Suess. But while I won’t fulfill that promise in full, I will share just a bit about one of his most famous creations. Geisel, as you may know, thought that children’s books – particularly those designed to encourage reading – where a bit of a travesty: dull, unimaginative, boring. (And if you ever had to sit down with the “Dick and Jane” stories you’ll know what he meant!). And so he set out to rectify matters by taking a basic set of 225 vocabulary words that were the...

The Relational Pastor: A Review

Describing Christian ministry as “relational” is not new. Since at least the 1970s, church leaders and authors have been inviting us to more relational ministry. But what kind of relationship did this paradigm assume? That’s the very important question that Andrew Root asks at the outset of his new book, The Relational Pastor: Sharing in Christ by Sharing Ourselves. [A quick but important disclosure: Andy is a colleague and good friend, and we’ve discussed many of the elements of the book while running together through our neighborhood. So I’m more than a little predisposed to recommend his book. Nevertheless, I really do think...

How to Build a Fictional World Jan22

How to Build a Fictional World

Because I love grand fiction that involves the creation of other “worlds” – Tolkien’s Middlearth or Lewis’ Narnia or Collins’ Panem – I found this animated video from TED-Ed really interesting. The question that bestselling children’s author Kate Messner seeks to answer in it is, “How do you build an alternative world that people will find believable?” Her answer has a lot to do not just with stories per se, but with us: we humans who are to the core deeply narrative creatures. Because narrative has the benefit of ordering events in a way that makes sense – that doesn’t mean it’s right, mind you, or the only way to...

Catching Fire Review and Discussion Nov29

Catching Fire Review and Discussion

Fifth Friday Film Forum: Catching Fire Spoiler alerts: If you haven’t read Catching Fire or seen the film, you may not want to read this. I have to admit that when I first read Catching Fire and realized that Suzanne Collins was going to send Katniss and Peeta back into the arena to compete in another Hunger Games, I was disappointed. What seemed such a brilliant plot element in the last book suddenly seemed tired, as if Collins was a one-trick pony. But that feeling soon disappeared. Although there is indeed a second round of the Hunger Games competition in Catching Fire, the plot both inside and outside of the arena was different enough...

Free e-Book on the Cross Feb13

Free e-Book on the C...

My friend and fellow Twin Citian theologian Tony Jones wrote a short ebook on the cross last year. Called A Better Atonement, it’s a relatively quick read – as far as theology books go! – and gets at the question of the meaning and significance of the cross in relation to...