Friday, December 31, 2010

New Book Favs: 2010

1. The Chestnut King, N.D. Wilson
2. Herman Bavinck, Ron Gleason
3. Defending Constantine, Peter Leithart
4. Generous Justice, Tim Keller
5. What I Learned in Narnia, Douglas Wilson
6. The Fort, Bernard Cornwell
7. Colonel Roosevelt, Edmund Morris
8. Loving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic
9. In the Company of Others, Jan Karon
10. Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxis
11. Abortion: A Rational Look R.C. Sproul

New Music Favs: 2010

1. Still, Nathan Clark George and Mark Stoffel
2. My Cry Ascends, Greg Wilbur
3. Twelfth Night, HEM
4. The Distance In Between, Matthew Perryman Jones
5. Infinite Arms, Band of Horses
6. So Runs the World Away, Josh Ritter
7. A Good Day, Priscilla Ahn
8. Feedback, Derek Webb
9. In Feast or Fallow, Sandra McCracken
10. Raising Up the Dead, Caedmon’s Call
11. Broken Bells, James Mercer and Danger Mouse

Monday, December 27, 2010

What I've Learned from TR

1. The first prerequisite of true leadership is a happy home. The private life is the proving ground for the public life.

2. Leadership is the art of pursuing the ideal in the midst of a world that is something less than ideal—and never losing sight of either notion.

3. A leader is an idealist who is simultaneously blessed with a strong dose of reality.

4. A leader knows that what is really important in life rarely puts on airs of importance.

5. There is little extraordinary about the achievements of a genius, a prodigy, or a savant. Inevitably, a great leader is someone who overcomes tremendous obstacles and still succeeds.

6. A leader has the ability to take any circumstance and see it through the lens of happy providence. He is living proof the fact that laughter is indeed, the best medicine.

7. The efficacy of leadership depends, to a large degree, on the leader’s incognizance of the consequences of doing right.

8. A leader understands that failure is merely the backdoor to success.

9. A leader will always prefer to be faithful than famous.

10. A leader invariably lives his life as a sincere imitator of the best attributes of others. Heroes always have heroes.

11. With great privileges come great responsibilities. Blessings bring with them duties. And the joy of liberty is the most sober obligation ever entrusted to men or nations.

How to Deal with Critics

1. “Remember, it is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

2. "Receive constructive, helpful criticism; use it to grow, learn, change, and repent. Shrug off destructive, hateful criticism; just acknowledge it as a lamentable but inevitable part of life in this poor fallen world." Francis Schaeffer

3. “It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do. Ten percent of people will find a way to take anything you say or do personally. Expect it.” Tim Ferriss

4. “People are always least productive in reactive mode.” Samuel Smiles

5. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” Colin Powell

6. “If you are really effective at what you do, ninety percent of the things said about you will be critical.” Scott Boras

7. “If you want to learn, grow, and improve, you must be content to be thought foolish and stupid as you do.” Epictetus

8. “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

9. “The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had little or no impact on you. That, and showing how much fun you’re having. Don’t get angry, don’t get even--focus on living well and that will eat at them more than anything you can do.” Tim Ferriss

10. “No commendation is greater than the condemnation of one’s fiercest sworn enemies.” Theodore Roosevelt

11. “Keep calm and carry on.” Winston Churchill

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bah Humbug: As Far As the Curse Is Found

1. Humbug is an old word of indeterminate etymology meaning “spectacle” or “hoax” or “jest,” often referring to some unjustified reputation or publicity.

2. Of course, the word is most often associated with Ebenezer Scrooge, a character created by Charles Dickens in The Christmas Carol. He famously dismissed Christmas declaring, “Bah! Humbug!” Interestingly, variations of the term make appearances in any number of European languages:

3. Humbug may well be derived from the Old Norse words hum, meaning “night” or “shadow” or “dark air,” and bugges, a variant of bogey, meaning “apparition” or "ghost."

4. In Icelandic, húm means “twilight.”

5. In Faeroese, hómi means “unclear.”

6. Humi in Swedish means “dark suspicion.” This word may well be derived from the Old Swedish verb hymla, still in use, which means “to conceal," "to hide," or "to evade the truth.”

7. In Old English and Anglo Saxon, hum means “to deceive.” And bugges is a word that appears in Wyclif’s earliest translation of the English Bible meaning “specter.” And that may well be derived from the much older Celtic word bwg, meaning “scarecrow.”

8. But, it could also be derived from the Early Italian, uomo bugiardo, which literally means “lying man.”

9. Uim-bog is supposed to mean “soft copper” in Ancient Gaelic—still used in Ireland as slang for “worthless money.”

10. In other words, “Bah! Humbug!” may very well be an apt declaration for Christmas (much to the chagrin of Scrooge): it is the declaration that Christ has come to expose the fraudulence, the impotence, the bugaboo nonsense of this poor fallen world; but even more, He has come to replace the dark specters, the apparitional hoaxes of sin, the evasions of the truth at the heart of sin.

11. Thus: He has come to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Favorite Christmas Books

1. On Christmas: Poems, Essays, and Stories by G.K. Chesterton
2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
3. Corrie’s Christmas Memories by Corrie ten Boom
4. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
5. No Holly for Miss Quinn by Miss Read
6. Village Christmas by Miss Read
7. The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
8. Christmas Bells and Other Poems by H. W. Longfellow
9. Texas Night before Christmas by James Rice
10. The Fourth Wiseman by Henry van Dyke
11. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, November 29, 2010

Most Frequently Consulted Eschatology Books

1. “Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary” by Steve Gregg
2. “The Last Days According to Jesus” by R.C. Sproul
3. “An Eschatology of Victory” by Marcellus Kik
4. “Israel and the New Covenant” by Roderick Campbell
5. “Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of Revelation” by David Chilton
6. “Paradise Restored: An Eschatology of Hope” by David Chilton
7. “The Puritan Hope” by Iain Murray
8. “The Returning King” by Vern Poythress
9. “Heaven Misplaced” by Douglas Wilson
10. “Vindication of Jesus Christ: A Reader’s Guide” by James Jordan
11. “The Message of Revelation” by Michael Wilcock

What I Must Always Remember

1. Remember the one, central story: the whole Bible is about just one thing. The pattern of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.
2. Remember that the Bible is its own best commentary. The Word interprets itself; Scripture explains Scripture.
3. Remember to read individual passages in their context—textual, literary, symbolic, historical, cultural, grammatical, and theological.
4. Remember that all Biblical revelation is intended to reveal. Always look for the most obvious literary sense of a text.
5. Remember that all Scripture is inspired and superintended by the Holy Spirit. So, every little detail matters.
6. Remember that Scripture has only one meaning but multiple applications—so, it is important to distinguish between indicatives and imperatives.
7. Remember that we read translations of the Bible. All languages have strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities—and moving from Greek and Hebrew to one of our modern languages (such as 21st century American English) will always require some additional scrutiny and study.
8. Remember that we must always interpret experience in light of Scripture; not the other way around.
9. Remember that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.
10. Remember that “there is nothing new under the sun.” So, beware of innovative or novel interpretations of Scripture. Steer clear of new “discoveries” in Biblical revelation. We have a rich legacy of wisdom passed down to us from throughout church history so we should consult good commentaries whenever possible--and look to the “old paths” more often than not.
11. Remember that we should always read Scripture prayerfully, submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

My Favorite Books on Puritanism

1. “A Quest for Godliness” by J. I. Packer
2. “Worldly Saints” by Leland Ryken
3. "Magnalia Christi Americana" by Cotton Mather
4. “The Puritans” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
5. “The Reformation in England” by Merle d'Aubigne
6. “Cromwell” by Theodore Roosevelt
7. “The Puritan Hope” by Iain Murray
8. “The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations” by I.D.E. Thomas
9. “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford
11. "Visible Saints" by Edmund Morgan

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Favorite C.S. Lewis Books

1. Beyond Personality (later, included as a part of Mere Christianity)
2. An Experiment in Criticism
3. The Screwtape Letters
4. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition
5. The Pilgrim's Regress
6. The Great Divorce
7. An Introduction to Paradise Lost
8. They Asked for a Paper
9. Surprised by Joy
10. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
11. Till We Have Faces

(Yes, yes, I do realize that the Narnia books are not on this list. But, well, the Narnia books did not make the list despite the fact that I really do love them. There are just so many other wonderful Lewis books ahead of them. Also missing are the Space Trilogy books, most of the essays, and a bevy of other worthwhile-reads. So, for this Eleventary tribute on the anniversary of his death in 1963, I've just listed my top eleven must-reads).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Favorite BBQ Joints

1. Red Baron's, Midland, TX
2. Rudy's, Leon Springs, TX
3. Smitty's, Crockett, TX
4. Salt Lick, Austin, TX
5. Angelo's, Fort Worth, TX
6. Goode and Co, Houston, TX
7. Sonny Bryan's, Dallas, TX
8. Red Bryan's, Dallas, TX
9. Dreamland, Tuscaloosa, AL
10. Arthur Bryant's, Kansas City, MO
11. Cafe Tejas, Franklin, TN

Monday, October 25, 2010

Favorite Ben Franklin Quotes

1. A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
2. A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
3. A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
4. A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
5. All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.
6. As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.
7. Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
8. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
9. Creditors have better memories than debtors.
10. Diligence is the mother of good luck.
11. Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Greatest Influences: In the Living Years

1. Francis Schaeffer
2. D. James Kennedy
3. John R. W. Stott
4. J.I. Packer
5. R.C. Sproul
6. William Lane
7. Paul Johnson
8. Jay Adams
9. Iain Murray
10. D. Martin Lloyd Jones
11. Haddon Robinson

My Greatest Influences: Democracy of the Dead

1. Charles Spurgeon
2. Thomas Chalmers
3. G.K. Chesterton
4. Abraham Kuyper
5. Arthur Quiller-Couch
6. Augustine of Hippo
7. Martin Bucer
8. Jan Amos Comenius
9. J.R.R. Tolkien
10. C.S. Lewis
11. John Calvin

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books by or about Thomas Chalmers

1. The St. Andrew's Seven by Stuart Piggin and John Roxborough
2. A Scottish Christian Heritage by Iain H. Murray (just a chapter, but excellent)
3. Unity and Diversity by Sandy Finlayson (again, just a chapter)
4. Sabbath Scripture Readings: New Testament by Thomas Chalmers
5. Sabbath Scripture Readings: Old Testament by Thomas Chalmers
6. The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers (a powerful sermon)
7. Lost Causes by George and Karen Grant (just one chapter)
8. Astronomical Discourses by Thomas Chalmers (due later in 2010 from the Chalmers Foundation, with an intro on his apologetic methods by George Grant)
9. Second Fiddles by George Grant (one chapter in a book due in 2011 from Reformation Trust)
10. The Churchmanship of Thomas Chalmers by George Grant (also due in 2011 from Reformation Trust)
11. Thomas Chalmers: Pastor, Reformer, Educator, and Pioneer (due in 2012 from Christian Focus)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Favorite Books by William Gairdner

1. War Against the Family
2. The Book of Absolutes
4. The Trouble with Canada
5. The Critical Wager
6. Constitutional Crack-Up
7. On Higher Ground
8. After Liberalism
9. Canada's Founding Debates
10. The Trouble with Democracy
11. Rethinking Track and Field

Friday, June 25, 2010

New iPhone Apps I'm Testing

1. Evernote
2. SoundHound
3. GoodGuide
4. iBooks
5. PoliticsDaily
6. GoodReads
7. ESPN ScoreCenter
8. Shazam
9. 8-Glasses-a-Day
11. Pandora

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What I Write in My Journal

1. Notes from whatever books or journals I am currently reading
2. Memorable quotes I run across
3. Ideas for books, articles, poems, lectures, songs, stories, illustrations, or other projects
4. Outlines and bibliographies for whatever it is that I’m presently researching
5. Architectural sketches, doodles, conceptuals, floor plans, layouts, site plans, and illuminations
6. Devotional reflections and Scriptural insights
7. Sermon and lecture notetaking
8. Rants--particularly those that are unfit for publication
9. Long-term planning ideas, goals, and aspirations
10. Reflections from self-examination
11. Prayers, intercessions, supplications, and thanks

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why the Church Must Be Pro-Life

"Souls are more or less firmly attached to bodies." Amy Carmichael

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reformational Models for 2nd Fiddles

1. Geert Groote to Thomas a Kempis
2. Jerome of Prague to Jan Hus
3. Philip Melancthon to Martin Luther
4. Peter Martyr to Martin Bucer
5. Martin Bucer to John Calvin—and Luther and Zwingli and Cranmer
6. Heinrich Bullinger to Ulrich Zwingli
7. Theodore Beza to John Calvin
8. Groen van Prinsterer to Abraham Kuyper
9. James Stewart to David Livingstone
10. James Bryan to Birmingham
11. Hans Rookmaaker to Francis Schaeffer

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Biblical Models for 2nd Fiddles

1. Jethro to Moses
2. Joshua to Moses
3. Caleb to Joshua
4. Deborah to Barak
5. Jonathan to David
6. Nathan to David
7. Andrew to Peter
8. Philip to James
9. Timothy to Paul
10. Titus to Paul
11. Epaphroditus to Paul

Monday, May 17, 2010

What I'm Looking Forward to in London

1. Blessing My Students with What Blesses Me
2. King's College Evensong in Cambridge
3. All Soul's Church on a Sunday Morning
4. A Quiet Walk through Bunhill Fields
5. Churchill's Study and Studio at Chartwell
6. Hever Castle's Gardens
7. Borough Market on a Saturday
8. G. David Bookshop in Cambeidge
9. Ely Cathedral's Lady Chapel
10. Waggamama's Noodle Bar
11. Covent Garden's Pret, Marathon Store, and Stanford's Maps

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Endurance Race Bucket List

1. Boston Marathon
2. Reykjavik Marathon
3. Prague Marathon
4. Ragnar Relay
5. London Marathon
6. Chicago Marathon
7. Chattanooga Triathlon
8. Race the Trace 250-Miler
9. San Antonio Marathon
10. New York Marathon
11. Houston Marathon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Traveler's Counsel to My Students

1. “Never forget that every place is unique—just like every place else.” Tristan Gylberd

2. “Life is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.” Arnold Toynbee

3. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

4. “Travel somehow broadens the mind and softens the heart.” Mark Twain

5. “See the world and you’ll see it altogether differently.” Groen van Prinsterer

6. “Travel is the laboratory where theory meets practice, where notion encounters application.” Benjamin Franklin

7. “Travel is more than a visitor seeing sights; it is the profound changing—the deep and permanent changing—of that visitor’s perspective of the world, and of his own place in it.” James Ferguson

8. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.” St. Augustine

9. “If you always go where you have always have gone and always do what you have always done, you will always be what you always have been.” Tristan Gylberd

10. “You can lead a youngster abroad, but you cannot make him travel.” Hilaire Belloc

11. “With visions of redemption, I walk against the crowd.” Arthur Quiller-Couch

Churchill's Challenge: May 13, 1940

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

List of Lists from Eco's Infinity of Lists

1. Achilles’ Shield, Iliad, Book II, vv. 595-1015
2. The Battle of Lepanto, Andrrea Vicentino
3. The Fall of Rebel Angels, Gustav Dore
4. Cupola del Duomo de Parma Correggio
5. Allegory of Fire, Jan Brueghel the Elder
6. Entering the Ark, Jacob Savery
7. Fallen Angels, Peter Paul Rubens
8. Arrival of Isabella of Parma, Martin van Meytens
9. Banquet at Casa Nani, Pietro Longhi
10. Picture Gallery, Giovanni Paolo Pannini
11. The Library, Felix Vallotton

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Most Terrifying Words

“I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Post-Health Care Reform Resolves

1. Pray more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2. Listen first. James 1:19
3. Work harder. Colossians 3:23
4. Serve others. Galatians 6:9
5. Defend life. Proverbs 24:11-12
6. Grumble less. James 5:9
7. Do justice. Amos 5:24
8. Love mercy. Micah 6:8
9. Walk humbly. Proverbs 15:33
10. Rejoice always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
11. Trust Jesus. Revelation 19:6

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Lifetime of Reading

1. Read--“A broad interest in books usually means a broad interest in life.” Lyman Abbott

2. Read Deeply--“ Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Richard Steele

3. Read Out of Your Time--“I hate to read new books. Contemporary writers may generally be divided into two classes—one’s friends or one’s foes. Of the first we are compelled to think too well, and of the last we are disposed to think too ill, to receive much genuine pleasure from the perusal, or to judge fairly of the merits of either.” William Hazlitt

4. Read Classically--“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” Italo Calvino

5. Read Above Your Head--“You may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it.” Jane Austen

6. Read and Re-Read--"Re-reading, we always find a new book." C.S. Lewis

7. Have a Plan--“It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

8. Medium Is Nearly as Vital as Message--“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them.” Winston Churchill

9. Follow the Footnote Trail--“If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.” John Ruskin

10. Leave a Legacy--“A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history.” Henry Ward Beecher

11. Joy in the Journey--“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if there is any left, I buy food and clothes.” Desiderius Erasmus

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Super Bowl Ad Favs

1. VW: Stevie Wonder Punching Game
2. Google: Parisian Love
3. Snickers: Betty White
4. The Late Show: Leno, Oprah, and Letterman
5. NFL: Liftoff
6. Budweiser: Longhorn and Clydesdale
7. Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood
8. Dodge Charger: Man’s Last Stand
9. Denny’s: Overworked Chickens
10. Doritos: Ninja Revenge
11. Focus: Tebow and Mom

Friday, January 29, 2010

Favorite Fiction of 2009

1. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
3. Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
4. The Ebb Tide by James Blaylock
5. The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
6. The Stress of Her Regard (Revised Edition) by Tim Powers
7. Metamorphosis by James P. Blaylock and Tim Powers
8. Relentless by Dean Koontz
9. Ancient Highway by Brett Lott
10. Tales of the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien
11. Again to Carthage by John Parker

Favorite Non-Fiction of 2009

1. Infinity of Lists by Umberto Eco
2. The White Horse King by Ben Merkel
3. Churchill by Paul Johnson
4. Reflections on the Revolution: Islam and the West by Christopher Caldwell
5. Free by Chris Anderson
6. Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology by Burk Parsons, editor
7. Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger
8. Planet Narnia by Michael Ward
9. Heroes by Iain Murray
10. The Christian Lover by Michael Haykin
11. Five Cities that Ruled the World by Doug Wilson

Favorite Theology of 2009

1. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
2. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson
3. Sabbath Scripture Readings by Thomas Chalmers
4. Romans: St. Andrew’s Commentary by R.C. Sproul
5. The Commission by David Zanotti
6. Sermons Beyond Volume 63 by Charles Spurgeon
7. John Calvin by John Piper
8. Speaking the Truth in Love: John Frame's Theology by John Hughes
9. The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Thomas Boston
10. In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson
11. A Better Freedom by Michael Card