Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Longing For Home: Book Review

The Book

The Longing For Home
Frederick Buechner

After getting ripped off by Barnes and Noble (I didn't realize it at the time, but some lawyer informed me that I was, in fact, ripped off) I was included in a settlement. As a result, I had a few pennies to rub together in my Barnes and Noble account. A good friend of mine, +Jonathan Roberts, had recommended that I read some Frederick Buechner. He said that he really enjoyed Buechner's work and that I would probably enjoy it too. I went ahead and purchased a couple of his nook-books and just finished reading The Longing for Home. I am glad that I did.

Technical Merit

Frederick Buechner is a wonderful writer. He is an author of both fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry. As such, he is creative in both his thinking and expression. I remember one of my librarian friends said that she did not like poetry, but she loves when poets use their talents to write prose. I felt this way about Buechner's writing.

As a result, sometimes Buechner's arguments are difficult to follow. I give The Longing for Home 4 out of 5 stars for technical merit for clarity of argument. I am certain that second and third readings will provide the clarity I desire, and this may prove to be a positive thing as I will likely read this title again.

The Review

In the long run, each of our stories turns out to be the story of us all, and the home we long for has in all likelihood been home to others whose names we don't even know and will be home again to still others when the ever-rolling stream of things has long since borne us away. (pg. 76)
The Longing For Home is divided into two parts: The Home We Knew and The Home We Dream. In The Home We Knew, Buechner looks back on the places that he considered "home" and shares several episodes of what that means. He looks at places, people and relationships that make up the critical elements of what "home" is and continues to be despite how physical circumstances have changed.

This chapter is full of sentimental scenes, painting the picture of what is meant by the old adage which asks what converts a house into a home. An especially tender and heart-moving chapter contains the letter that he wrote his grandson, which was to be read at the grandson's twenty-first birthday. Yet, in the midst of all this sentimentality, Buechner states the following:
We are in constant danger of being not actors in the drama of our own lives but reactors. (pg. 80)
So even though it is good to look back and remember. Even though it is good to be cognizant of the love that surrounds us. We must also be ready to actively live out this life and not dwell on the past and depend on it to carry us forward.

The second section, The Home We Dream, looks to scripture and loosely applies the methodology of the first section to the heavenly realm. Buechner plays on the idea that our citizenship is not on this earth, but elsewhere. One of his favorite scenes is the breakfast the Jesus makes his disciples after his bodily resurrection. It is a reassuring meal, prepared by a loved one, in a familiar place. If this is not home, I do not know what is.
To be homeless the way people like you and me are apt to be homeless is to have homes all over the place but not to be really at home in any of them. To be really at home is to be really at peace, and our lives are so intricately interwoven that there can be no real peace for any of us until there is real peace for all of us. (pg. 102)
Finding peace of mind, to Buechner, is the ultimate sense of being at home. Restlessness is true homelessness. For the Christian, Jesus Christ is their prince of peace and, due to the connected nature of the human race, we will not be at peace until everyone accepts our prince of peace. In this way, finding home while living in this world is necessarily to evangelize and spread the gospel. While it is a command, it is also a natural longing.


As always, this review is a small glimpse of the many topics that are covered in this title. I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves poetry in prose and likes connecting the dots to see the big picture of what an author is expressing. The Longing For Home is part artful expression, part worship, part challenge, part homage.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Skype Study Audio: An Intro to Deuteronomy

Session One

Last Saturday, we got together via Skype and held the first of our Summer Skype Study Sessions with Jonathan Brower. Our intention, as stated repeatedly on this blog, is to study what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We began with an in-depth introduction to the book of Deuteronomy complete with an overview of God's ultimate plan and what level of commitment the scriptures require of us.

I have edited the study and posted them on my podcast: The Christopher Jimenez Show. It is also on Youtube, and I have embedded the same audio in both formats below for your consumption.

The Christopher Jimenez Show


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Talking Holy Things... on Facebook

A New Page

Hello readers, casual followers and those who jut stumbled upon this blog. I have finally taken the plunge and converted my old, mostly dormant Sunday School page into a shiny, gently used We Talk of Holy Things Page! I knew that I should have done this earlier, but now the deed is done so I don't have to beat myself up over it any longer. Here's the link, go like it now!

It's like a portal to Holy-Facebookness. Or at least Thingy-Facebookness.

Seriously, What's Different?

Absolutely nothing.

Well, that's not exactly true. While my posts are still going to be fleshed out here on the blog, and all my quote images are going to be posted here too, it will be nice to see those images on Facebook where they can be shared more easily. Or maybe more discussion will be sparked that way. Or maybe I'll be able to conduct more Facebook polls to see what my readers are up to. Or maybe it will be easier to share microblog-style thoughts!

Maybe this Facebook thing will be revolutionary...

Or maybe it will be hot for a week and then forgotten. Either way, I'm giving it a shot! Remember to like the page on Facebook so you can get the content from this blog delivered strait to the website everyone knows you use most!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Religious Wrong

A BT Sermon

In this video I highlight and discuss a statement made by Henry Sardina at Chapel—well, that and the NBA Playoffs (#GoHeat #HeatNation). It is something I have been saying for YEARS and I felt like I was taking crazy pills the entire time (yes, a Zoolander reference). Here is the quote:
"No law of man has ever put true morality into the heart of man."
- Henry Sardina
Specifically, he calls out the mentality of the religious right which believes their number one priority is to legislate morality by prohibiting gay marriage and abortion in this country. Is that really the Christian's number one priority? In fact, he hits the nail on the head when he refocuses the conversation to love. The Christian should show love. Christ did not come to condemn, where do we get the impression that taking up the mantle means condemnation?

So here's the actual quote and my analysis. Skip to the 11-minute-mark for Holy Things discussion. Enjoy! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

All Your Heart: Strong and Very Courageous

This post is part of a continuing study on The Greatest Commandment
Use that link to read other articles in this series.

Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:5b-9

Courageous Because You Care

With this ongoing discussion of what it means to love The Lord with all your heart, we have focused on the interpretation of "heart" that focuses on what we would call courage. Courage (or boldness) is the virtue which allows one to do what is right in the face of opposition. Clearly, when discussing courage in scripture, one cannot do so without coming across the first chapter of Joshua.

Interestingly enough, the virtue that corresponds with "courage" is humility. Humility is the act of thinking of oneself less while thinking more of God's will and glory. When one looks at their life in light of eternity, it follows that the individual will be emboldened to step out in faith and do what God has commanded. The problem comes when we take our eyes off of God's word and gaze at our circumstances.

As Joshua entered the land, it was imperative that he always remember God's words. Notice words like "careful" and "meditate." These are not impulsive words. These are words that imply deliberation. We are to be deliberate as we study and simply read God's word. Not only are we to be deliberate in the reading of scripture, but we are also to be deliberate as we apply the word to our lives. Be careful when you step, that wherever possible your footfall may be in the direct center of God's will.

Note that God's presence is directly behind the call to be courageous. The Christian also has God's presence as a promise. We are always carrying around within us the dying and resurrected Christ. The life we lead is led in his power. In light of this, why should we be anything but courageous as we live for him? As a result of the presence and power of his love, how could we not respond with courageous love for him?

Finally, realize that courage is nothing less than a command. Courage is not something that you have or don't have, courage is something you do. It's like running. You may or may not consider yourself a runner, but if you laced up your shoes and pounded the pavement, you were just running. Likewise, if you stood up and did something even when it wasn't popular, you were just courageous. God commands us to stand up and live a certain way, even when the world's opinion is contrary.

That's called courage.

That's called loving the Lord with all your heart.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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