Friday, October 9, 2020

A Memoir Wrapped in Quotes

I have been humbled by how many people graciously went out of their way to read, interview, and write reviews of a book I wrote in the aftermath of my father's death from cancer.  It was an attempt to take an honest look at grief, disillusionment, faith and hope. A review at CSI  offered some kind words:
In a grief memoir, I expected to find romantic poets, crusty theologians, and maybe a mega-church youth pastor or two. Instead, each chapter began with quotes from some of my favorite writers: Elie Weisel, J.R.R. Tolkein, Stephen R. Donaldson, Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, and Voltaire. And the quotes were thought provoking and, above all, authentic, adjectives that also describe the memoir that comes wrapped in these quotes.  

If you are interested in the book, click on the picture in the right hand column of this blog to go to the website, or just go to

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

"Vote Your Conscience." Well.....Maybe?

Honestly, I don't know what I think about this slogan. 

Joss Whedon once said, "Always be yourself. Unless you suck." He's not wrong. Well-intentioned comments can easily waver off course. "Always be yourself" seems like good advice, but do we really want the Jeffery Epsteins of the world clinging to that mantra? 

I feel the same way about "vote your conscience."  It's not that I want people to ignore their conscience. I believe God placed it in us for a reason, and we ignore the genuine nudges of that still, small voice at our peril. I just also believe that, in a fallen world, our conscience is fallen, and that still small voice might just be our own preferences - or might be cultural voices actively undermining the clarity our conscience is intended to bring.

So where, as a Christian, do I turn? I'm not going to reinvent the conscience wheel. For 2,000 years, the direction for Christians has come from the Bible. If I want to cut through the static, if I want to know if the nudge I feel inside is legit, that's where I go. I get it - not everyone reaches the same conclusions or arrives at the same applications on a lot of secondary issues, but there is always a foundational model that can be applied across times and cultures. 

When it comes to politics, there is no direct correlation between the United States and any nation from Bible times. However, God rolled out a vision for a just society through biblical revelation, starting with the Israelites in the Old Testament and moving into the church in the New Testament. As a Christian, I see a lot of issues to which the Bible speaks - issues which ought to guide my conscience and form my heart for the world. Justice is many splendored thing, and while some of issues will be more prominent in the minds of Christians than others - and should be - all of them are worth considering. Check out just a small sampling of verses.