Kiva Posts

Holiday Music for 2022

Holiday Music for 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is the day all you latecomers finally start thinking about listening to holiday music. I’ve been waiting for you for a while now.

So here is your yearly reminder I take great pride in offering you the sounds of the season. First up, a Thanksgiving playlist. Yes, you read that right. You didn’t know such a thing existed? It doesn’t really, so I’ve made my own. Admittedly, there isn’t as much to choose from here and some of you may want to skip on down to my next playlist.

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Hunting Magic Eels

Hunting Magic Eels

I recently finished reading Richard Beck’s latest book, Hunting Magic Eels. It was a fantastic read and a book I’d recommend to anyone. The subtitle explains his premise well: “Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age.”

I was initially drawn to this book as this topic seems to be an underlying premise of so many of our conversations on the Forest and Trees podcast (see: podcast page). In addition, I still think about things Beck wrote in his book Unclean many years after I read that one. Beck writes deeply about the Christian experience from the perspective of psychology (he’s a professor).

One of the themes throughout the book is that we need to be mindful of what gets our attention. And if we want to experience more of God, we need to find ways to aim our attention in that direction.

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Christian Nationalism

One of the biggest frustrations I hear from people about the institutional church is its embrace of Christian nationalism. This can play out in a variety of ways: the overwhelming endorsement of Trump, the need to fight culture wars, the emphasis on abortion laws, the celebration of America’s military, the willingness to justify almost any means for the sake of the end goal, etc.

Some pastors have found ways to grow their church using this idealogy, some pastors try to quietly distance themselves from it, and some pastors are trying to speak against it.

This week my dad shared with me a document he wrote for a pastor’s gathering he was recently a part of. He picked the topic of Christian Nationalism to address. I was incredibly encouraged that he was willing to even dive into this topic and acknowledge the concern over it. In hopes that it might also offer you a note of encouragement, I asked him if I could share what he wrote.

He began by asking them to consider their answers to the following questions.

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Opportunities to Grow

I volunteered to coach one of my son’s baseball teams this season. This was after they had extra kids show up for tryouts and realized they needed more coaches and more teams. That meant I came late to the party and drafted kids I hadn’t even seen try out. Most of our kids didn’t know each other before joining the team and I’ve had to learn their personalities as well as what they are good at when it comes to baseball.

In addition, we play most of our games against club teams who have been together previously and usually have lots of resources committed to their team and their players. When we’re practicing on the weekends they are often playing in tournaments. And this has meant that in most of our games—despite how admirably our kids show up—we get pounded on.

This has surprisingly been one of the best things for my personal growth.

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2022 Reading List – 3/4

2022 Reading List – 3/4

The weather is finally cooling down! Fall is in the air!

Sorry, but I really like this time of year. The holidays are upon us and those of us who live in Arizona can go back outside. Here’s a check-in on my reading list so far this year. My goal is one hundred books and I’m currently not on pace to hit that so we’ll see how the next few months go.

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2022 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.

Click on any of the titles below to get a link to buy it.

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Celebrities for Jesus

Celebrities for Jesus

I heard much fanfare about Katelyn Beaty’s recent book—Celebrities for Jesus—and was excited to dive in for myself. It is even better than I anticipated.

Beaty has worked as a journalist for Christianity Today as well as in the Christian publishing world and has a unique vantage point on how Christian celebrities operate. In many ways, this book would be great as a “deconstruction” resource. She observes (as do many Christians in the deconstructing community), that “Institutions are too often platforms for self-expression rather than arenas of deep moral formation.” This is why a book like this is timely and practically helpful. She strikes a fair balance of criticism of modern Christianity and its leaders coupled with hope for how things can be better.

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