Friday, May 31, 2013

May's Top 5 Posts

The Month of May a very special month. So special that I hardly have time to post. So here are the things that my audience found interesting, hopefully new readers will find them interesting too!

May Posts

All-Time Posts

Dec 20, 2012, 2 comments

What were your favorite posts? 

Tell me why, leave a comment!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No Nacho Libre Today

I Smell Cookies...

So I have no new Nuggets of Nacho today, I'm sorry about the pain this undoubtedly causes you. I have been preparing for this weekend's Spanish Family Camp, and there simply hasn't been time for me to cook up any Nuggets of Nacho. This is going to be the first conference that I have been asked to speak (I'm not counting the baby-sitting from Couples Plus). I'll be delivering a couple 45-minute messages for Middle/High School/Early College kids who want to hear a message in English. We'll see if they show up.

So, in order to satiate your need for Nuggets, I give you an index of all previously published Nuggets of Nacho. Catch up on all the yummy goodness from Nacho and the Bounty of God's Word.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Life, God, and Other Small Topics: Book Review

The Book

Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics"
Eric Metaxas

This book was placed in my hands with no prior buildup. Usually, a friend will talk up a book a few times before they hand the volume over to me. This book was literally placed in my hand with no warning and I was told to read it because it did a very good job of presenting many approaches to Apologetics.

My friend was right.

Technical Merit

It is hard to judge the technical merit of this book since it is a transcription. Socrates in the City is an informal lecture series hosted by Eric Metaxas where the brightest minds in all kinds of Apologetics get together to ask the big questions about life.

I give the work 3.5 stars because the editing is quite good. The format of the lecture is as follows: Eric Metaxas introduces the speaker, the speaker gives their lecture and there is a set time for questions and answers. Given the format and the live nature of the entire setting, the potentially weakest point is the Q&A. However, they were able to mitigate most of the difficulties with Q&A transcription and, at times, it becomes a strength.

Metaxas is a very humorous man, though some of the humor reads with a "you had to have been there" tone. This should come as no surprise for Veggie Tales fans, as he worked extensively with the program and narrated the movie dealing with Queen Esther. Still, the humor helps cut the dry, somber nature of the topics addressed.


This book approaches 360 pages and covers a lot of different approaches to Apologetics, including scientific, philosophical, literary, political and historical, to name a few. Speakers range from Charles Colson to Alister McGrath to Francis Collins. The range of voices is actually quite diverse.

As was mentioned earlier, Eric Metaxas engages in witty banter with the audience that, at times, does not translate well to print. For the most part, I skipped over the introductions and got right into the main speaker's lecture. I suggest reading the first introduction and deciding whether that humor appeals to you or not.


I enjoyed the lecture given by Sir John Polkinghorne entitled Belief in God in an age of science. It was thorough and debunked the dualistic thought process that believes that one must be either a good scientist or a good Christian and there is no room for middle ground. Polkinghorne lays out how these two aspirations are not mutually exclusive. He believes that by studying the universe in it's complexity we can appreciate God's creativity within the system he has put in place.

My next favorite piece (lecture) was Paul Vitz's The importance of fatherhood, which directly pointed out the fact that most of the great Athiests had no strong father figure in their lives. On the other hand, most of the great defenders of Christianity had strong father figures. The term "Father Figure" is used because this figure need not be the biological father, it could be a grandfather, uncle, male neighbor or male church member who takes an interest in the child's life.

During this lecture, Paul Vitz also describes a shift he is seeing with regard to traditional values. He states that in the middle of the 1900s we had Modernism which called into doubt some of our traditions and criticized them in the light of higher learning. Soon, Post-Modernism took it another step and simply rejected traditions offhand as passe. Now, Vitz argues that we are seeing Trans-Modernism where we realize on a qualitative level the benefit of previously unchallenged traditions. Having strong father figures happens to be one of these traditions that we should be realizing is a good thing.

In the end, I heartily recommend this book. It avoids the technical nature that an entire book on Apologetics tends to run into due to Metaxas' humor but still tackles all the tough topics.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Saw You From the Village

"How did you find me here?" 
"I saw you from the village."

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. --Philippians 2.3 NASB

The Quote

The Scripture

The quote highlighted in this scene has always struck me as incredibly self-absorbed and ridiculous  I suppose that's what makes it great comedy. But what's not funny is self absorption.

I have argued before that the opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness. Love is supposed to be social, it's supposed to be given away. When one's love is occupied with themselves it excludes all others. This behavior sometimes leads to situations where one actually starts feeling that they are all alone in the wilderness when they are actually quite visible from the village.

Scripture clearly teaches that we are to have a proper perspective when considering ourselves in relation to others. We are to give preference and respect to others.

The Application

Notice that humility is a mentality. It is something that we must consciously do. In other words, this does not just come naturally. We must consistently evaluate our thoughts and behavior to ensure that they remain humble. Naturally, we will wallow in self-absorption and pity. That is not the attitude that God desires for us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Ragamuffin Gospel: A Book Review

From Barnes & Noble

The Book

The Ragamuffin Gospel 
Brennan Manning

I decided to read this classic work again due to current events. I noticed that Brennan Manning was a trending topic on Twitter during the late hours of April 12. Several Christian artists and writers posted little tributes to him and I knew that he had passed on into glory. I added my own tribute to the author.

I posted a short tribute on this blog (By the Grace of God Go I), decided that this was a good time to re-read The Ragamuffin Gospel and even announced my intentions to my twitter friends:

Unfortunately, my reading life suffered that week due to the Boston Marathon Bombings, which merited another blog post (Thoughts on the #BostonMarathon Tragedy). However, I finally began and finished this small manifesto on grace last week.

Technical Merit

Brennan Manning was a cerebral writer. You can tell that he carefully chooses his words and illustrations for maximum effect. At times, he flirts with stream of consciousness writing, but always returns to his structured argument. I give him 4.5 out of 5 stars for technical merit. I feel that he uses just a tad too many quotes in this book. I understand that there are times when other men's words are more potent than your own, but I found myself wanting more of Brennan Manning's thoughts but got a curated list of phrases from others. Those quotes were potent and relevant, they were just a little more numerous than I expected.

Brennan Manning was also very candid with his life story. He generally uses himself as the negative example and other as positive example. This format is generally acceptable in order to avoid a condescending tone in the piece. In other words, his illustrations are graceful.


This book, as mentioned earlier, is an unabashed manifesto on God's grace which never ceases to amaze us. His premise is simple: God's every attribute is more immense than you can imagine, especially his grace. God's grace stretches past what we think we understand. As a corollary, a proper view of God's grace instills a humility in the Christian's life that properly orients us to both God and each other.

The Gospel of Grace is Brennan's preoccupation in this book. He argues that Grace is for those who feel they need it. Those who are too proud in themselves to receive grace miss out on it. This is where the ragamuffin comes in. He argues that the beat up, bedraggled, burnt out ragamuffin is the prime candidate for reception of God's grace. Christ came to seek and save the lost, those who are well have no need for a doctor, Christ was accused of identifying himself with sinners by going to their houses to eat and drink, the woman caught in adultery, Zacchaeus, the disciples--all of these cases strengthen the argument that God gives grace to the humble.

While Manning makes this argument, he makes a point of declaring that God's grace is not given as part of a meritocracy. Just as one cannot be good enough to deserve God's favor, there is no minimum required length for one's rap sheet in order to merit grace either. He clearly states that grace is distributed according to the Father's good pleasure. He gives grace because that is what he likes to do. Those who recognize their need are the ones who capitalize on it.

At Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence, many of us pretend to believe we are sinners. Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven. As a result, our whole spiritual life is pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss.

I featured this quote in a previous post on pseudo-spirituality because it encapsulates the essence of this book's importance to today's church. The chances of a non-believer picking up this book and realizing that God's gace extends to them is not impossible, but they are quite slim. Chances are, this book's impact is far greater on those who at one time considered themselves to be ragamuffins and accepted grace, but have since grown cold to grace as their sense of personal morality increased.

I suppose I can only speak for myself and my own experiences, but the church tends to grow in morality and shrink in grace as they progress with their spiritual lives. More emphasis gets placed on what activities please God and less emphasis is paced on God's desire to shed his grace abroad. When we pretend to be redeemed then we only pretend to have forgiveness. This make-believe Christianity is detrimental to our spiritual growth and well-being. Therefore, Brennan Manning argues that the only way to live the Christian life is in constant awareness of and reliance on the marvelous grace of God.


The grace of God is an immense thing. It truly is greater than all our sin. It is greater than we can fathom. Brennan Manning, if nothing else, reminds us of the enormity of God's grace and it's cleansing power. I place this book on my shelf right next to Max Lucado's "In the Grip of His Grace" and rate it similarly with regard to the topic. It is a must-read for all Christians, but it's especially pertinent to the Christian whose life has been turned around. It serves to check the pride that wells up in the heart of the redeemed, reminding them that without God's grace, we would be hopeless.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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