Silence. The new movie by Martin Scorsese – some 25 years in the making – has been billed by many as a “Christian” film. It is a “Christian” film in the same way The Lion King was a zoological film. … Continue reading →
Christian Cuevas on The Voice Like many, I’ve been alerted to the recent semifinal performance of [The] Voice contestant Christian Cuevas. He sang the popular worship song, ‘To Worship You I live.” And let me start off by affirming both … Continue reading →
The Book I wanted to write – but BETTER! At the outset, let me say that this tome is a scholarly tour de force by one of the best friends a conscientious Calvinist can find anywhere. David Allen serves as … Continue reading →
I know I’m going to be seen by some as a party pooper in this review – but bear with me. I think this little book raises from serious questions we DO need to ask.
That said – let me plunge on into it.
Heaven is For Real, is the (supposed) account of Colton Burpo – son of Todd Burpo, a pastor in Imperial Nebraska. When I use the word “supposed” in parentheses above, I do not wish to imply that there is any kind of fraud being perpetrated in this story. I use it only because a lot of what is reported in the book (beyond the verifiable historical facts), is all dependent upon what may or may not be the genuine experience, or dreams, or hallucinations or combinations of these – of 4 year old Colton Burpo. I do not use it either to impugn the sincerity of the Burpo family in any way. I use it because “experiences” are tricky things. And how we interpret our experiences may or may not be accurate. And herein rests a key problem with this little -quick reading and fun book.
In the mid-sixties, my family was in a horrible car crash on Christmas day. The car was totaled. My Dad had a broken ankle and severe lacerations on his forehead. The rest of the family all had their various bruises, cuts, strains, etc. Thankfully, no one was permanently disabled or killed. But my older sister – suffered the strangest of effects. For weeks afterward, she was plagued with uncontrollable crying. It seemed to have no direct connection to her emotional state either. Sad or happy, otherwise engaged or simply thoughtful, nevertheless, she would break out into tears. Everyone thought it would just go away on its own – an after effect of the shock of the whole incident. It didn’t.
One day, my Mom – who had suffered some serious back discomfort from all of this, went to see a Chiropractor who was invaluable in relieving her physical distress. As the whole incident was discussed with him, and all of our various conditions gone over – the curious case of my sister was visited too. And the good Dr. suggested Nancy (my sister) come to see him as well. It was amazing. One adjustment, one thing seriously out of place – put back into place – relieved what everyone assumed was a purely emotional malady. A pinched nerve (or so it was assumed) was producing the episodic and inexplicable crying. It ended that day.
How does all of this relate to Ken Stewart’s “Ten Myths About Calvinism”? Because for lack of a better term – this book is an exercise in ecclesiastical, historical chiropractic. It serves to realign some very critical, misaligned historical conceptions that for some (I have not a doubt in the world) have been producing undiagnosed pains, discomforts and perhaps even tears. It is a healing book. And I am profoundly grateful for it.
“Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” is a war story. It has the cast about it that all war stories do. Bitter-sweetness pervades. There is tragedy. And there is no “jump up and shout” victory.
This is the kind of war story that chronicles the unsung heroes. The ones stationed at the lonely, desolate outposts. They never charge up the hill. They are not the ones who throw themselves on the explosives in front of their comrades to take the impact so that others live to tell about it. The don’t get decorated. At least not here.