The Road Back to You

The Road Back to You

I’ve been hearing about something called the Enneagram for years now. I’ve kept my distance from it mainly because I didn’t understand it. You may have heard of it before, and you likely know it’s a personality assessment. And like me, you may have already spent time analyzing yourself in a number of ways that provide you a letter (DISC Assessment), an animal (Smalley Institute), a grouping of four letters (Myers Briggs), or any other number of tests out there (honorable mention to the Harry Potter quiz). Each can be useful in different ways.

The Enneagram test assigns you a number from 1-9. It’s a bit more abstract, and even the origins of the assessment are a bit of a mysterious story. I’ve used the DISC assessment in a professional setting and seen the value. I’m not immediately sure how to use the Enneagram this way, but I’ve found that it is great for self-reflection and for learning to better understand those key people in your life (who likely have a different number than you). To dive into this more, I recently read Ian Morgan Cron’s book, The Road Back to You (see: Amazon link).

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How to Think

How to Think

When I saw Alan Jacob’s latest book that released this month, How to Think, I was immediately intrigued by the title (see: Amazon link). If that didn’t sell me by itself (which it did), I would have been equally persuaded by the subtitle: A Survival Guide for a World At Odds. Few things sound as needed as this conversation right now. How do we navigate our opinions and those of others around us that we disagree with? How did we even develop the opinions we currently have? This book explores these ideas.

Jacob’s writes as both an Academic and a Christian. These two camps don’t often fit well together. But this helps him provide a unique and very helpful guide, especially for Christians. Because of how many other people and examples Jacob’s quotes throughout the book, it feels as if you’ve read many books by the time you’re done.

One of the ideas I liked most was his emphasis that we cannot think by ourselves. While this seems counterintuitive and even a bit insulting, this emphasized for me the importance of a healthy church community in which we help each other grow together. As Jacob’s explains,

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Disarming Scripture

For a while now I’ve had numerous people recommend Derek Flood’s book called Disarming Scripture (see: Amazon link). I see why, as I deeply resonated with much of what Flood writes and the questions he asks about Christianity and the Bible. While he raises some great tensions, I found his solutions for those tensions a bit too reliant on our own subjective criteria. The main topic of this book is what to do with the violence of God in the Bible. Essentially, Flood explains how our common sense and our experiences need to shape what we conclude today. While there is much truth to that, it seems incomplete and opens the door to numerous other topics that are left unresolved. I feel that books like Cross Vision from Greg Boyd (see: my book review) offer a more helpful method of navigating the violent texts objectively.

Nonetheless, Flood raises many thought-provoking ideas and challenges the reader to see things in a fresh way. For that I am truly grateful for a book like this. We need to read books like this on a regular basis—regardless of how much we agree or disagree with—in order to challenge our biases and blind spots. His main idea is that there are two ways of reading the Bible. “The Pharisees are representative of the way of unquestioning obedience, and Jesus is representative of the way of faithful questioning.” Processing whether we are reading the Bible with unquestioning obedience or faithful questioning is a helpful way of framing our interpretations of Scripture.

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The Speed of Your Imagination

The Speed of Your Imagination

Lately I’ve found my internal thoughts a bit more chaotic than usual. We moved a family of seven to a new state, to a new community, and I began a new job. This brought numerous new things into our lives—many of which we anticipated—and more than a few we didn’t.

As things have sped up in my life recently I’ve felt the need to be even more intentional on slowing down my internal space. Two things in my life correlated to cause me to see this uniquely. First, I read this thought-proking article from the Harvard Business Review called The More Senior Your Job Title, the More You Need to Keep a Journal. Second, I bought a typewriter at a garage sale for a dollar (featured in the picture above). That got me thinking that a typewriter would slow me down enough to write differently and process through my thoughts. The only problem is that my typewriter doesn’t currently work. I plan on taking it into a shop to get looked at, but in the process I found a really cool app made by Tom Hanks called Hanx Writer.

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Reunion (Book Review)

Reunion (Book Review)

I recently finished a great book from a Canadian pastor named Bruxy Cavey. Bruxy has helped to challenge my theological assumptions in numerous ways over the years (I even quoted him from a previous book if you watched my sermon yesterday). He also has the coolest tattoo I’ve ever seen which I explained in my blog about his last book (see: The End of Religion).

As you’ll learn the more you get a feel for him, he has an incredible ability to help you see past the weirdness of religion and refocus on Jesus. The image above (in yellow) is what he calls the Gospel in 30 words. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Bruxy’s latest book called Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners:

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Staying in Love with the Rain

Staying in Love with the Rain

I’ve lived in Portland for more than a month now, and as I write this we are experiencing our first real rain since I’ve been here. For those that know me well, I love the rain. It was actually a contributing factor to my original interest in moving to the Pacific Northwest. We were at a friends’ house this evening and they laughed as my kids literally kept stopping what they were doing to point out the rain and enjoy it.

Now type these words on my front porch and I’m in awe of the sound of the rain falling into the trees around my house and the intoxicating smell of the crisp air filling my lungs. It makes me feel both sleepy and yet somehow alive at the same time. But the irony is that almost everyone I’ve talked to around here is dreading the fact the rain is back. This summer has been one of the driest in recent memory and yet many Oregonians have been soaking up every ounce of sunshine.

It’s the difference of perspective. I spent the summer in the intense Arizona heat only to come to Oregon at the end of a very warm summer and into a house with no air conditioning (yes my AZ friends, you read that right). I could not wait for the cooler air to come. Yet everyone keeps telling me how tired I’ll get of the rain once it begins in earnest. I have no idea whether I will get sick of the rain and when that might happen if it does, but I also know that I’ve spent my entire life in sunshine. I’ve never really had seasons with leaves that change and snow that signals the arrival of Christmas. My new friends around me have a very different experience than that.

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