Author: Paul Nelson

Book Review: Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart: How to Relate to those who are Suffering by Dr. Kenneth C. Haughk Suffering is part of life. We are broken people living in a world shattered by sin, and the shards grind together and nobody escapes without the scars to prove it. Dealing with suffering is a difficult enough thing when we’re the ones who are suffering. It can be just as painful or even more so to have a friend or loved one who is suffering. Our desire is instinctively to remove the hurt, to counteract the sorrow. Instinctively we...

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Book Review: The Sunday Lectionary

The Sunday Lectionary: Ritual Word, Paschal Shape by Normand Bonneau I grew up in Lutheran congregations, and most every Sunday I would listen and read along as the pastor or a lector read one or more selected verses from the Bible. I learned that oftentimes these readings were pre-selected, and not by the pastor or lector. Rather, they were part of a larger cycle of Scripture readings selected especially for use in Sunday morning worship. This collection of pre-selected readings is known as the lectionary. I felt like I was pretty smart, knowing that much about the readings that...

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Book Review: After the Baby Boomers

After the Baby Boomers by Robert Wuthnow Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I’ve always kept this in mind any time I come across a statistic or figure, which these days is pretty much constantly. Statistical data is one of the primary means in our culture for demonstrating the validity or importance of what sort of shoe to wear, what toothpaste to use, and what your neighbor thinks on any number of issues. I don’t trust ‘em. So reading an entire book by a social scientist based on statistics...

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Book Review: Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols

Walk into any Lutheran sanctuary and you are likely to see symbols. For those of us familiar with Lutheran churches, these symbols are familiar and comforting. However it’s possible that we still not be familiar with all of them and their meanings. More likely still, visitors less familiar with historic Christian symbols may be confused by them. Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols is an easy read that provides some basic information on many of the symbols found in Christian sanctuaries. The book is written by a Catholic (and to a small extent for a Catholic audience) so...

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Book Review: Mudhouse Sabbath

I purchased Lauren K. Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Disciplines because it enabled me to get free shipping on some other stuff that I needed to get.  But while the purchase might have been spontaneous, I’ve been fascinated with Orthodox Judaism since falling under the spell of Chaim Potok in high school.   I find that the almost total break modern Christianity has made with traditional Judaism seems at the least regrettable, if not outright problematic.  How do we understand almost 70% of Scripture if we have no functional link to our Jewish theological heritage?  And how do...

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