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A conversation with the Wheaton College Chinese Students Fellowship

16 September 2016

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1–3 ESV)

  • You must believe that knowledge is a good thing
  • You must understand that ‘knowledge’ that denigrates another person is not true ‘knowledge’. It is folly masquerading as knowledge.
  • You must acknowledge that the opportunity to dedicate a portion of your life to acquiring knowledge at Wheaton College is a precious and unusual gift.
  • You will carry around the ‘burden’ of knowing more in your area of expertise than most of the people with whom you’ll interact … as well as the ‘burden’ of an inquisitive spirit.
  • You should internalize the fact that knowledge is ‘merely on the way’ to deeper knowledge.
  • You will learn to translate your knowledge for the benefit of those who lack the vocabulary and the abstract concepts that have become natural to you.
  • You must embrace the fact that there are many kinds of intelligence: emotional, intuitive, abstract, concrete, etc. You must not exalt your own strength of knowing over others.
  • You will become more and more contextually aware.
  • You must recall that knowledge proceeds from love and thrives best when encased in love.

 

This exceptionally planned and executed visual introduction to the Colombia surpasses any other coffee-table book about a nation or region that I’ve seen.

51ebrfdjyzl-_sx362_bo1204203200_-2Its 333 pages and high-quality paper stock make it an admirably heavy work, a full five pounds in the lifting.

Best of all, its exquisitely photographed images communicate the beauty and stunningly regionalized diversity of this South American nation. The prose does not pander to the reader, but introduces him or her to just enough context to form a helpful setting to the photography, which dominates.

A well-written (in Spanish) ‘Prologue’ and ‘Presentation’ give way to a presentation of one of the signature characteristics of the country: ‘Territorio de Contrastes’ (A Territory of Contrasts). The rest of the work leads the reader across the major regions of this vast country: ‘Altiplano Cundiboyacense y Santanderes’, ‘Region Caribe’, ‘Antioquia y Región Cafeteria’, ‘Pacífico’, ‘Sur Andino’, ‘Alto Magdalena’, ‘Orinoquía’, and finally ‘Amazonía’. Continue Reading »

Stephen Kinzer’s rambling walk through the saga of modern Turkey will delight the ordinary reader with an interest in this ‘bridge nation’, while occasionally distressing the historian.

The dedication of this revised version (‘To the People of Turkey’) signals that Kinzer writes 51aed7hll-_sx331_bo1204203200_from the heart and with affection rather than from the discipline and precision one expects of the historian. This is not a criticism of Kinzer’s formidable work but rather an attempt to define its genre. Those who come to Kinzer’s writing—as this reviewer did—through his superb treatment of the Nicaraguan conflicts (The Blood of Brothers) will anticipate the bent of Kinzer’s method.

Kinzer, the erstwhile Istanbul Bureau Chief of the New York Times, does not hold back his own views and even prescriptions for the nation that has become his subject. The book’s earliest pages telegraph this. Published in 2008, the book’s introduction observes that ‘(A) new regime has emerged in Turkey that is likely to govern for years to come. This is good, because this regime draws its strength from the people’s will, but it is also disturbing.’ The first chapter’s opening line introduces us to a personal preference: ‘My favorite word in Turkish is istiklal.’ Continue Reading »

If John Ortberg’s books from the first quarter of the 21st century are still being read—as I suspect they will be—in the century’s second quarter, this achievement will no doubt turn on his remarkable capacity for interweaving careful and disciplined reflection on the biblical text with an uncanny accessibility to the popular reader. What may well distinguish Ortberg from similarly high-achieving peers is his hilariously self-deprecating humor.

51ipoeuikvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Put simply, Ortberg is a very fine thinker and a remarkably intelligent writer.

Borrowing his title not from an obscure theologian but rather from Dr. Seuss, Ortberg in this work explores what one can make of an enduring mystery: the relationship of determinism to human freedom. Christians will make up the majority of his readers. Whether or not they realize it, Christian readers most frequently frame this same philosophical conundrum in terms of God’s sovereignty and free will.

Without falling needlessly into the facile and reductive traps, Ortberg navigates these waters with a particular eye not so much to the philosophical dilemma itself, but rather to what the Christian believer is to make of his or her life’s decisions in the context of this mystery. In this sense—though not in the cheaper sense with which the word is so often deployed these days—Ortberg has given us a profoundly practical book. Continue Reading »

Near the end of twelve impeccably written lectures delivered to Fuller Theological Seminary in 1964 and published in 1968 as The Inescapable Calling, R. Kenneth Strachan summarizes his work by asking this question: What good is the Christian in the world today?

Strachan’s life ended prematurely in 1965, so this book is in some way the valedictory of a respected mission statesman who had found credibility among both his Latin American and North American constituencies at a time when such an outcome was by no means guaranteed. Indeed, it was doubtful, so tense were the times. The Latin America Mission was taking its first innovative steps towards ‘turning everything over to the nationals’, a step that raised eyebrows among conventional thinkers, put at risk deep institutional legacy, and—in retrospect—defined the genius of the ‘LAM’. Continue Reading »

In Rosalind Ziccardi’s debut novel, Sealed and Delivered, we never meet Rey. Or Paul. Or Steve. Or Annah. At least we do not meet them in any conventional narrative sense.

Yet this book of letters—for this is what Ziccardi has given us, from front to back—takes us inside the lives of each of its protagonists as we read the sealed and delivered lines that map their lives through tragedy, love, folly, wisdom, and the loss and rediscovery of a kind of moral sanity that makes sense of life when present. And leaves even well-meaning souls bereft and wandering by its absence. Continue Reading »

This bird house is sized to attract, in my Midwestern American region at least, House Finches, Sparrows, and Chickadees.

91lrHPub0rL._SL1500_It’s made of a lightweight wood, as befits the modest price point. The front panel swings out at the bottom in order to give access for cleaning out the abandoned nest after the chicks have fledged. There are two holes for attaching the house to a post. One, at the top center of the rear panel, can be seen in the product photography. The other is in the center of the rear panel and can be accessed with a screwdriver when the front panel has been swung into its open position. Continue Reading »