Archive for July, 2017

519W8+BwhcL._SS300_As one of the evangelical movement’s most interesting and fruitful popularizers, Richard Mouw can almost be imagined rolling out of bed and dashing off an intriguing treatment of Isaiah’s sixtieth chapter, then placing it the next day in his readers’ hands. Such is the effervescent ease of his prose. Yet surely a book like this discloses instead years of reflection about what the Christian gospel has to say about God’s final purpose(s) with his world and how that ought to shape human conduct meanwhile.

As a signal of his (and this world’s) destination, Mouw writes early on that …

Isaiah 60 records a vision of a magnificent city. In it the prophet is speaking to the city, calling attention to various aspects of its appearance. His tone is joyful, his mood excited. This city is not like any other that he has seen among the products of human efforts at urbanization; it is a city built by God. Sometimes Isaiah addresses the city in the present tense; at other points he employs the language of future fulfillment. Though the city has not yet been established, he is certain that it will someday arrive. It is clearly a transformed city. Many of the people and objects from Isaiah’s own day appear within its walls, but they have assumed different roles, they perform new functions.

Transformation of what God has made and what has fallen from its intended purpose is a core feature of Mouw’s vision of history’s destiny. His argument broadens out beyond exposition of one chapter of an Old Testament book’s sixty-six to offer a richly traced counterproposal to skinny Christian views of human fulfillment as ‘dying and going to heaven’.

Mouw wants to know—as apparently did the Isaianic tradition—what will become of all of this, not just of me and of people who believe things like the ones I believe.

The result, in this reader’s assessment, is a stirring vision in which all nations bring their best stuff—their cultural, religious and existential product—to the perfecting of a city that is resplendent in both beauty and justice.

Mouw sees the walled but gates-flung-open city of Isaianic vision as something of a metaphor for this world when it has been duly refined, purged—again, transformed. It stands along more familiar descriptions of the same that travel under the title ‘new heavens and new earth’. The author avoids narrow definitions of ‘how things will be’ that fail to recognize the vivid power of imagistic description. Yet for all this Mouw never distances himself from the vision’s concreteness, whether in its beauty, its justice, its joyfulness, or its inclusion of surprising agents and elements.

This delightfully readable book has retained its value since its genesis in the early 1970s and its revision at the onset of a new century. It deserves strong recommendation still, particularly to potential readers who are interested in Old Testament prophetic vision, biblical theology, missional eschatology, or hope in a context of hopelessness.


Read Full Post »

51uijBUz+-L._SS300_As this reader approaches the end of six decades and pauses to consider the rescued dogs and cats that have shared his home and made their bed in permanent corners of his and his family’s heart, I wonder if it was because my siblings and I devoured James Herriot’s veterinary tales early in life. (‘James Herriot’ was the pen name of the real Alfred ‘Al’ Wight.)

It wouldn’t surprise. Such was the uncanny ability of Alfred Wight’s eye to capture the immensely rich nuances of man and beast in the Yorkshire hills and dales of the earlier 20th century. Over a re-read that has lasted a year or two, I marvel at the patient and slightly awed love—I think that’s the word—which fuels the gentle, acute conversations that are sprinkled across every page of All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful.

I’m not sure whether you need to adore animals in order to delight in these books. Perhaps so, but maybe the short chapters work their way into readers’ hearts and turn them into animal lovers. And devoted readers.

I can think of only one tribute to these readable classics that comes even close to giving them their due: I’ll just have to start reading them all over again.

Read Full Post »

313DbgNoOLL._SS300_Don’t ride without this.

Please, don’t be a hero. Saddle sores are for horses. Buy this, smear it on liberally regardless of your politics.

Then DON’T talk about what you’ve done. Your fellow cyclists already know the dark arts, and they can tell from your face that you’re packin’. That’s quite enough.

Read Full Post »

41PUV81btPL._SS300_It may help if I clarify that I made a value choice when I ordered these bike shorts. I’m not a competitive biker and was not looking to pay top dollar for a slight performance edge or for the panache of a high-dollar brand.

I got exactly what I expected, and I’m a fan of these shorts after two long rides. The padding is perhaps not as thick as some shorts offer, but this may be what you want. As a bonus added on top of the inherent quality, I actually really like the minimalist style of these shorts.

NOOYME’s fitting guide seems to consider that some of us are ‘larger’ than we think we are. But that’s just a word, and you can trust the guide if you simply follow it for your measurements.

A strong, reliable value choice here.

Read Full Post »

31XM1pbOBvL._SS300_Well constructed, comfortably fitting, good looking, apparently durable solution for the cyclist’s feet during log rides. Note that they are slightly higher above the ankle than some similar socks.

Read Full Post »

51-kmbNiW0L._SS300_These accessibly priced wireless earbuds are so far beyond earlier solutions I’ve tried that it’s difficulty to consider them members of the same category.

Let’s start with the comfort factor. Both the soft-plastic grip that goes around the outer ear and the soft earbuds that deliver the music to the ear are almost cushy. They just feel really, really good when in place.

As for the sound, the snug fit helps right off the bad. Add to that a sound quality that is itself far beyond adequate, and I have myself rejoicing over the quality of both music and narrated books.

Then, the controls are simple to learn and the bluetooth connection occurs almost instantaneously after a push on the right earbud’s main button turns the unit on. As a first-time user of *wireless* earbuds, I’d have no difficulty with learning the how.

But the real killer here is the price. These are simply great value at just south of thirty-six clams.

Read Full Post »

61wRQdXNgbL._SX522_Why has it never before occurred to me to buy ‘glasses straps’ in quantity instead of holding on to the old one until it had all the zippy tautness of a deceased night-crawler?

At this price and this quality—this eyeware retainer holds my sunglasses and goggles securely in position during the sweats and bumps of a road-cycle ride—I can simply toss the old one and move on to the next one when the time inevitable comes for that.

No fuss, great buy.

Read Full Post »

51g-vRNuohL._SX522_-2This marvelously versatile and well-conceived tool is perfect for small to medium adjustments at home and even as an on-ride security blanket for those who fear the worst when the wheels are rolling.

An added touch is the inclusion of an Allen wrench for keeping the tool itself tightly wound.

You’ll still need your bike shop. Just not as urgently.

Read Full Post »

61Huz-bT0kL._SY679_I had to stare awkwardly at my shoes for a while before springing for this Thule product when others that cost less were available. But I figure I’ll likely own only one of those puppies, which reduces the window for recovery from a bad choice. So I sprang not only for the Thule but for the three-bike as opposed to the two-bike option.

Nearly five thousand road miles later, I’m not only satisfied. I’m impressed.

We own a pickup and a sedan, each of which is equipped with a different one of the conventional tow-hitch sizes. The Thule handles the transition effortlessly and securely. There is simply no discernible ‘slip’ or other movement when this career is installed in either of the two vehicles.

The in-and-out hanging of the three bikes is extremely quick work, and more secure than I would have imagined possible.

Through no fault of the manufacturer (the culprit shall remain unnamed), I ended up with one too few of the anti-sway attachment. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Thule replacement parts are available quickly and and for a song from http://www.etrailer.com, a Missouri supplier.

Honestly, I never imagined that $400 would solve bike-transporting needs with this much style and dependability.

Read Full Post »

61dxdtzU0PL._SX522_The very first words of the product description read ‘Easy entry and exit due to a fluoropolymer material …’ and I’m finding this to be true after two weeks of debuting these Look KEO cleats. They’re significantly easier on this front than my previous cleats. As a relative novice on a road bike, I’m finding this feature to be useful in avoiding needless and embarrassing low-speed Road Rash.

The cleats were exceptionally easy to install on my Giro shoes, both of which allow for meaningful adjustment in the preferred placement of cleats on shoe.

Great price, too.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »