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  • Patrick OFlaherty "Excite My Ears" - Great Photo-Bio of Liz

    for 78 years nobody photographed better than Elizabeth Taylor, whether it was on the big screen, papparazi or international photojournalistic images, her beauty and personality was always evident. This book is a nice collection of phototgraphs dating from Elizabeth Taylor's childhood years to her waning years on the screen and in later life as an American icon. The book contains light anecdotal and biographical text of personal events and landmark Hollywood aspects of her storied life. My copy has made the rounds with friends and family who saw it on the coffee table and asked to borrow it -- and later bought a copy of their own for themselves. For fans and collector's of Liz and Hollywood legends this is a no-brainer purchase.

  • The Profit - Prime.

    I own both the iPad 2 and the transformer Prime, and I absolutely am flat out impressed with the overall experience thus far of the Prime. I have an iPhone, iPods, nanos, everything from Apple, and was super hesitant to get the Prime, but for work and leisure I couldn't be more pleased. Where as my iPad 2 was great at first, this new tablet really steals the show. A lot sites that I previously couldn't fully functionally use with the iPad 2 are now available to me on the Prime. The keyboard design is phenomenal. I suggest you try both before you pick. Make sure that the Prime is in performance mode and prepare to be amazed. There are a bunch of videos online that you can find that helped me decide on the Prime, but you gotta try it out. Love my new Asus!

  • Aaron Armstrong - A Must-Read, Especially for Anyone in Pastoral Ministry

    There are few subjects touchier than the question of homosexuality and Christianity.

    In recent years, in order to shift the portrayal of Christians as vicious homophobes, many mainline denominations have fully embraced homosexual practice as compatible with Christianity, as have some in "post-evangelical" circles, such as Tony Jones.

    Given the enormous pressure to affirm and embrace homosexual practice, it can be really tempting to go along with it, or worse to give unsatisfying, pat answers to hard questions about Christian faithfulness and homosexuality.

    So what do you do if you earnestly believe that God's Word is true, and what it says about homosexuality is in fact the truth?

    What if you truly believe that homosexuality is a serious sin as outlined in Scripture?

    And what do you do if you believe it--and you're gay?

    Wesley Hill seeks to answer that question in Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. What qualifies him to do so?

    It's his struggle.

    Washed and Waiting tells Hill's story of seeking to be faithful to Christ while struggling with homosexuality; at the same time it provides an encouragement to gay Christians who are convinced that "their discipleship to Jesus necessarily commits them to the demanding, costly obedience of choosing not to nurture their homosexual desires" (p. 16).

    Hill does a wonderful job of ministering to readers while at the same time strongly affirming the Scripture's clear teaching on homosexuality. Throughout the book, he never relents on the point that homosexuality is a sin--a result of the fall of man.

    And the hope offered to all who deal with same-sex attraction is the same that is offered to all who "fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23): the gospel.

    He describes himself as one who is "washed and waiting," drawing upon imagery from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 8:23-25. Those who put their faith in Christ have been washed, sanctified, justified and they wait eagerly for their adoption as sons and the coming of Christ's kingdom in its fullness.
    It's this hope, seeing all of life in light of what Christ has done and who He makes us to be, where Hill finds the answer to the question of why can't one be a practicing homosexual and a Christian.

    Seeing life in light of the gospel--of confidence in the forgiveness of sins, of our frustration with our stumbling and pain in putting our sins to death, of belonging to God and to the corporate body of Christ, and of long-suffering endurance in partaking in His sufferings--these are the most compelling reasons to believe what Scripture says about homosexuality, explains Hill.

    "[The] struggle isn't a mindless, unobserved string of random disappointments . . . And faithfulness is never a gamble. It will be worth it. The joy then will be worth the struggle now," he writes (p. 79).

    Unfortunately, as he's experienced, the life he describes is one that is incredibly lonely. There's a great temptation for homosexual Christians to pull away from any non-erotic same-gendered relationship for fear of it becoming something inappropriate. As a result, Hill (and many others like him) spent years trying to bear his burden on his own. "My very longing for loving, affectionate, yet nonsexual, relationships with persons of the same sex had paradoxically led me to shrink back from those relationships," he writes (p. 114). And correcting this, he says, requires a profound theology of brokenness.

    "I have come to realize my need to take the New Testament witness seriously that groaning and grief and feeling broken are legitimate ways for me to express my cross-bearing discipleship to Jesus," he explains (p. 119).

    There is a time coming when all who believe will no longer struggle with brokenness and when we will stand in the presence of Christ. "But until that day, we groan in faithful anticipation. We long for the end of longing, the end of our loneliness" (p. 120).

    I really appreciate how well Hill handles the subject matter. Reading the book, it was evident that he was desperately seeking to be accurate and faithful to the Scriptures, even as he was drawing out his application. As a result, the struggle he describes isn't one simply about living as a homosexual Christian, although that is the immediate context--it's about living as a faithful Christian while we all continue to struggle with sin.

    So there's a sense in which Hill's struggles are my struggles. They manifest in different ways, but the root issue is the same: Sin. And in light of this, the question of whether or not someone can practice homosexuality and still be a Christian is revealed as the wrong one: The real question is whether or not someone can live an unrepentant life and still be a Christian.
    And the answer to that is no.

    Our lives are to ones of continual, ongoing repentance. To seek to live in light of who Christ has called us to be. I am grateful for the reminder that Hill has given me in this book.

    In Washed and Waiting, Wesley Hill's thoughtful and biblical attitude toward same sex attraction and Christian faithfulness is a shining example of the sufficiency of the gospel. Read this book and allow it to break your heart and renew your hope for those struggling with homosexuality.

    -----

    A complimentary copy of the book was provided by the publishers

  • HMB "HMB" - Keep organized AND look cool. We're talking at the same time here, people.

    First of all, let's be real - we all know you look way cooler when you're carrying around a Moleskine notebook. Moving on...

    I found the layout of the planner (daily on the left, lined notes page on the right) to be particularly helpful in terms of: 1) not having to carry around both a planner and a notebook; and 2) helping me remember relative dates of various ideas/thoughts. I also think it is imperative for planners to have a place for your general schedule (e.g., a place to put recurring events such as classes, meetings, etc.). This is included, and Moleskine allows you to provide your own time scale (e.g., by 30 minute increments, one hour increments, etc.). I have also found the back pocket with mini removable address notebook to be helpful - I'm not keeping addresses in there, but you can easily use this for whatever else you like. And, because it's replaceable, you can feel free to be free in there - if you screw something up, you can just take it out. This brings me to my last point: One of the reviewers noted that the pages are thin - I haven't found them to be too thin in terms of my writing showing through the page; HOWEVER, I did accidentally tear a page while erasing something. And, because I can't look at my planner if I know there's something wrong with it this early in the game, I just went ahead and bought another one. The good news is that it's so much cheaper on Amazon that I could actually afford to do that.