Tag Archives: Review

Church Sues Woman for $500k Over Negative Google review

Via KATU/The Raw Story: “A church in Beaverton, Oregon is suing a woman after she posted a negative Google review calling them a “cult.” Julie Anne Smith revealed on her blog in March that Pastor Chuck O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church had sued her for 0000 over negative reviews on Google and DEX that claimed that she had been shunned for no reason…”.* Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur break it down on The Young Turks. *Read more from David Edwards: www.rawstory.com Subscribe to The Young Turks: bit.ly Find out how to watch The Young Turks on Current by clicking here: www.current.com The Largest Online New Show in the World. Facebook: www.facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Book Review: Give Us Grace: an Anthology of Anglican Prayers by Christopher L. Webber

Book Review: Give Us Grace: an Anthology of Anglican Prayers by Christopher L. Webber

Useful book for people interested in reading, using prayer

This is a book that I read, but more I use for prayer. I grant many of the prayers by the well known and should be known Anglicans in this book are old. And their language may be unusual to us moderns, at least to an extent, but they are useful and meaningful.

I bought this hardback to have access to prayers. I had read a biography of Terry Waite, the Anglican held captive some years ago in Iran. He said of his captivity, that one thing that held him was staying with prayers he knew from his prayer book. Albeit I have The Book of Common Prayer, and I say those prayers from it as do many Episcopalians. I thought to myself that I needed more, and though I don’t believe that Terry Waite, a devout man, only said those prayers from his prayer book, and none of his own, nonetheless it is a good idea to have a source of prayer like the Anthology as also starting point and inspiration. Those who wish to widen their scope will find this a useful book, one full of history of the Anglican Church.

Say you are perusing the book, rather than reading it from one cover to the other, you will find all kinds of interesting prayers. Some are long. There is John Donne, who says prayers before various sacraments, like marriage. He is of course giving a sermon at the marriage. Here is some text to give you a taste of the language you may encounter. This from the time of 1571 to 1631:

“O Eternall and most gracious God, who hast promised to hearken to the prayers of thy people, when they pray towards thy house, though they be absent from it, worke more effectually upon us, who are personally met in this thy house, in this place consecrated to they worship. Enable us, O Lord so to see thee…”

The language is to this reader most moving and lovely. The book has many such samples of prayer. Here is another sample, this from Jeremy Taylor:

“An Act of Contrition…Lord, thou shalt find my heart full of cares and worldly desires, cheated with love of riches, and neglact of holy things…”

I was introduced to prayers from the New Zealand Prayer Book by a minister, and I was happy to find some of those prayers in this book, which Episcopalians may find a good source of history and interesting reading. There is a text before the prayers of each person who is quoted that tells of that persons life, and the years they lived. The quotes from the New Zealand book are too lengthy for here, but this excerpt about the night:

“The night is dark/Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.” “The night is quiet./Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,/all dear to us,/and all who have no peace.”

That is a modern, contemporary prayer from their book.

More prayers, or subjects for prayer are given. Elizabeth Goudge, a layperson who lived 1900 to 1984 has some of her prayers in this book “Give Us Grace:” “For the Crippled, For the Blind,” “For the Dying,” “For Political Prisoners,”

Frankly, I enjoy finding these prayers, and I think if you are so inclined to a need to get words to pray and connect with God on all sorts of topics, you will find this a treasure of such good things. A book to keep, the type is large enough for easy reading and the hardback binding seems sturdy. So one can put this book to use for a long time. One reviewer calls this book, a “Feast.” I think it is that, too. The publisher is Morehouse Publishing, an Episcopal Church publishing house. Interestingly, the genre or category for the book is “spirituality,” and that should tell you something of it, too. There is no harm in being introduced to a rich tradition. The book is compiled by a well known Episcopal editor, Christopher L. Webber. Congratulations to him for an eminent job. Rich in prayer, this book is a keeper for those so inclined to the spiritual path and religious reading.

–Peter Menkin, Mill Valley, CA USA This is a book that I read, but more I use for prayer. I grant many of the prayers by the well known and should be known Anglicans in this book are old. And their language may be unusual to us moderns, at least to an extent, but they are useful and meaningful.

I bought this hardback to have access to prayers. I had read a biography of Terry Waite, the Anglican held captive some years ago in Iran. He said of his captivity, that one thing that held him was staying with prayers he knew from his prayer book. Albeit I have The Book of Common Prayer, and I say those prayers from it as do many Episcopalians. I thought to myself that I needed more, and though I don’t believe that Terry Waite, a devout man, only said those prayers from his prayer book, and none of his own, nonetheless it is a good idea to have a source of prayer like the Anthology as also starting point and inspiration. Those who wish to widen their scope will find this a useful book, one full of history of the Anglican Church.

Say you are perusing the book, rather than reading it from one cover to the other, you will find all kinds of interesting prayers. Some are long. There is John Donne, who says prayers before various sacraments, like marriage. He is of course giving a sermon at the marriage. Here is some text to give you a taste of the language you may encounter. This from the time of 1571 to 1631:

“O Eternall and most gracious God, who hast promised to hearken to the prayers of thy people, when they pray towards thy house, though they be absent from it, worke more effectually upon us, who are personally met in this thy house, in this place consecrated to they worship. Enable us, O Lord so to see thee…”

The language is to this reader most moving and lovely. The book has many such samples of prayer. Here is another sample, this from Jeremy Taylor:

“An Act of Contrition…Lord, thou shalt find my heart full of cares and worldly desires, cheated with love of riches, and neglact of holy things…”

I was introduced to prayers from the New Zealand Prayer Book by a minister, and I was happy to find some of those prayers in this book, which Episcopalians may find a good source of history and interesting reading. There is a text before the prayers of each person who is quoted that tells of that persons life, and the years they lived. The quotes from the New Zealand book are too lengthy for here, but this excerpt about the night:

“The night is dark/Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.” “The night is quiet./Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,/all dear to us,/and all who have no peace.”

That is a modern, contemporary prayer from their book.

More prayers, or subjects for prayer are given. Elizabeth Goudge, a layperson who lived 1900 to 1984 has some of her prayers in this book “Give Us Grace:” “For the Crippled, For the Blind,” “For the Dying,” “For Political Prisoners,”

Frankly, I enjoy finding these prayers, and I think if you are so inclined to a need to get words to pray and connect with God on all sorts of topics, you will find this a treasure of such good things. A book to keep, the type is large enough for easy reading and the hardback binding seems sturdy. So one can put this book to use for a long time. One reviewer calls this book, a “Feast.” I think it is that, too. The publisher is Morehouse Publishing, an Episcopal Church publishing house. Interestingly, the genre or category for the book is “spirituality,” and that should tell you something of it, too. There is no harm in being introduced to a rich tradition. The book is compiled by a well known Episcopal editor, Christopher L. Webber. Congratulations to him for an eminent job. Rich in prayer, this book is a keeper for those so inclined to the spiritual path and religious reading.

–Peter Menkin, Mill Valley, CA USA This is a book that I read, but more I use for prayer. I grant many of the prayers by the well known and should be known Anglicans in this book are old. And their language may be unusual to us moderns, at least to an extent, but they are useful and meaningful.

I bought this hardback to have access to prayers. I had read a biography of Terry Waite, the Anglican held captive some years ago in Iran. He said of his captivity, that one thing that held him was staying with prayers he knew from his prayer book. Albeit I have The Book of Common Prayer, and I say those prayers from it as do many Episcopalians. I thought to myself that I needed more, and though I don’t believe that Terry Waite, a devout man, only said those prayers from his prayer book, and none of his own, nonetheless it is a good idea to have a source of prayer like the Anthology as also starting point and inspiration. Those who wish to widen their scope will find this a useful book, one full of history of the Anglican Church.

Say you are perusing the book, rather than reading it from one cover to the other, you will find all kinds of interesting prayers. Some are long. There is John Donne, who says prayers before various sacraments, like marriage. He is of course giving a sermon at the marriage. Here is some text to give you a taste of the language you may encounter. This from the time of 1571 to 1631:

“O Eternall and most gracious God, who hast promised to hearken to the prayers of thy people, when they pray towards thy house, though they be absent from it, worke more effectually upon us, who are personally met in this thy house, in this place consecrated to they worship. Enable us, O Lord so to see thee…”

The language is to this reader most moving and lovely. The book has many such samples of prayer. Here is another sample, this from Jeremy Taylor:

“An Act of Contrition…Lord,

Book Review: Listening Hearts, Discerning Call in Community by Suzanne Farnham

Book Review: Listening Hearts, Discerning Call in Community by Suzanne Farnham

Hearing God’s Call for vocation

The popular question, “Does God speak to us or tell us what we should do?” comes to mind when I think of the book, “Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community,” Morehouse Publishing, 1991. We do live in an era of doubt, and Christianity or belief in God is lacking. Even among believers one wonders if one is following the will of God. In this book the reader finds ways to discover what God is saying for one’s life.

I came across this title as part of a one-day conference held by the Episcopal Church on discerning a call within community. The book was recommended reading by the San Francisco Bay Area organization (ECUSA). I read it gladly, and with interest. I want to know if I am doing what I should, and if I am meeting the needs of both my community and my Church–most certainly the will of God. For me, this is not an arrogant request, but a genuine one.

The book is easy to read, informative, intelligent and direct. Its premise goes like this: “A call may come as a gradual dawning of God’s purpose for our lives.” Some may be surprised that lay people will want to respond to a call, usually thought reserved only for ordained clergy. I think call comes to the laity, too. We are under baptismal vows. If you are a Christian, or interested in knowing about God’s will for you in work, service, prayer, even marriage, this is a worthwhile book. It is a book about ministry.

Here is the rationale for ministry:

“Doing good things–volunteer work, for instance–may not be ministry if God is not the motivating force–even if the person doing them is a Christian. On the other hand, if God is the motivating force, even those who do not consciously bear the name of Christ may participate in God’s work. God used Cyrus, king of Persia, to release Israel from captivity, saying, “…I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me” (Isa. 45:4). One task of the Christian, then, is to recognize, affirm, and celebrate Christ’s reconciling action in others, including non-Christians. A true minister is “anybody who is the channel to others of God’s love, and is willing to share something of the cost of that love; and whose eyes are open to perceive God’s presence everywhere and in everybody.” In The Rule of St. Benedict, this same thought for monks goes: “…the work of the monk is to accept and participate in the divine saving activity in our life.” The quote (Terrence G. Kardong, OSB) from another book demonstrates that this request of God and us is for all Christians the same. It is a general request that “Listening Hearts” addresses.

You can see that I like this book, and I like the fact that a group of people put it together, a team effort of its own which reflects the kind of book this is for people who may be living in a community or team setting. It is as if a whole group thought these were good things, and a way to hear what God is saying.

One needs confirmation in the subject area of discernment and acts of discernment, so there is a need for a book like “Listening Hearts.” The book suggests this confirmation by community, and offers a guide to the book’s use by groups. The appendix titles: “Guidelines for Discernment Groups;” “Types of Questions to Raise When Serving in Discernment Groups;” “Suggestions for Recognizing and Encouraging Ministries;” “Informal History of the Project and the Research Methods Used” by Suzanne Farnham. Authors of the book: Suzanne G. Farnham, Joseph P. Gill, R. Taylor McLean, Susan M. Ward. This edition is, “With Newly Formulated Guidelines for Discernment,” and the “Newly Revised Edition.”

Some chapters are shorter than others. “Supporting the Ministries of Others” is a shorter chapter, but a necessary one for a book like this. I say a book like this, because it talks of living in community: “Without support, ministry may become lost. Without support, we may become lost.” It isn’t the length of chapter that is important, nor the pithy nature of the text, but the direct and practical way theological matters are explained. There is a common sense to this book.

To emphasize the quest for God as subject for man and woman, the introduction quotes Soren Kierkegaard (1835): “What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know…The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do…What good would it do me to be able to explain the meaning of Christianity if it had no deeper significance for me and for my life?” “Listening Hearts” is an aid in this journey of finding deeper significance in life. Not too long, written in a readable manner for the general reader, the book is good for group discussion and for individual reading.

I don’t think the writers considered this book the end or maybe even the beginning of a book on the subject of discernment. But among those available, this is an excellent one to have on hand, to read. The intent is to help with a living a question of what God may want for us, as living the good and bad in our lives is a living in the tensions of life with God. “Thus we gain hearts to listen and respond to God’s call.”

–Peter Menkin, Easter 2007

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco).


My blog:

http://www.petermenkin.blogspot.com

Book Review: a Seven Day Journey With Thomas Merton by Esther De Waal

Book Review: a Seven Day Journey With Thomas Merton by Esther De Waal

Helpful meditation-retreat for going into the heart with God:

Today, again, I asked myself during centering prayer, to let my heart be open to God. This is the Christocentric God of the Trinity about which I speak. The book, “A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton” by Esther de Waal is an excellent exercise for home retreat that helps one come to opening the heart to God. The book does so in words, and it has photographs by Thomas Merton.

Irregardless, through the words or by looking at the photographs, one can find a way of looking at the world in the everyday and finding God. Set out as a seven day journey, take the book kindly and give it attention during the day, setting aside the time to go into the retreat. In the notes on Thomas Merton, the writer says, “The message of love, the primacy of love, this is the most basic definition of monastic life as Merton discovered it…”

Thomas Merton was a man who lived a life of love, learning so much about it and Esther de Waal, a Benedictine, is a good person to help us along the way with this love that Thomas Merton knew.

She asks questions in the days of the retreat. In day one, she asks, “Who am I before God at this point in my life?” She goes on in an intimate way, teaching us to become intimate with God: “…I am overawed to think of the person that I am, that unique person, so lovingly created by God in all the fullness and riches of my own individuality, a person made to be His daughter, His son.” Is this too close for some readers (what I think is these are starting points for considerations). So, as to being too close, I think not; the book is personal. If the reader has a starting point of relationship with God, and is not afraid to explore both the sensitive and open areas of relationships, he or she will find these more meaningful statements as time goes on. This is a book to be used more than once, is what becomes apparent.

Another thing this book helps with is the way of contemplation. As she quotes Thomas Merton, using his poetry throughout the book, we have a guide to help us in our spiritual exercise and quest. On “Day Three–The Solitary Within: The True Self” Merton is quoted: “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?” From Psalm 139 she quotes a response for this retreat exercise. “For it was you who created my being/knit me together in my mother’s womb/I thank you for the wonder of my being,/for the wonders of all your creation.”

“Day Four–Encounter With Christ” is the fourth day, and the central day of the retreat. Remember,this book is a retreat for seven days read a chapter at a time, day by day. The great gift Merton offers readers is a sharing of his experience in contemplation, his spiritual journey, and mostly his coming to know God. The book is kept under the section of books for “Spirituality/Prayer” and those interested will find that they too are with “..the Christ of God who in the spirit of his love lives in the people of God…” This is a book that is open to the reader, and open to people who are seekers of God who desire to pray. This is a prayerful book, need I say.

How religious is this book? I ask the question so that you as a reader will know that this is a book that is approachable. It “answers” the statement by John Cassian, in his “Conferences” which I am now reading about the relationship with God that a seeker may look for in his life. Even the advanced who are spiritually inclined will find this an approachable book by this measure of Cassian’s: “…We ought to know where we should fix our mind’s attention and to what goal we should always recall our soul’s gaze.” That can be an advanced question for many of us, and this book is helpful in meeting the statement’s intent for one’s life. This is a book that has life moving possibilities, one step at a time.

I would be missing a significant aspect of this book if I did not mention the photographs by Thomas Merton. One can say that one has seen his photographs, if one reads this book. Something worthwhile for an educated person in the 21st century. If you are a reader of the journal “Weavings” you may come to Thomas Merton’s photographs better prepared for seeing the contemplative in everyday things. The Journal is a quarterly series of articles from Upper Room publications on such topics. “A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton” does a comprehensive job of helping one to see. Thomas Merton sees things in his world, and one must look at the photographs and then make the connection with the common things of ones world and life. That for me is a good entry point of understanding these photographs in a book that is a retreat.

A commentary on Thomas Merton by a woman who is well prepared and able to make such commentary, essentially this book is her interpretation of Merton’s writings set as a retreat for people at home or use in a retreat setting away from home. With a foreword by Henri Nouwen, and photographs by Thomas Merton (including a most intriguing one of him next to a cross — large, large one) on the cover, the title by Esther de Waal is published by Servant Publications of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I listened to a webcast some years ago, from Trinity Church in New York if memory is correct, when a woman editor with Publisher’s Weekly said that one of the things that competed with Church life was good reading — in other words books. This is one of those books that can compete with a retreat time away from home, and for me that was the value of it. I could have the book at home, use it for study and prayer on a seven day course and come closer to God in my relationship with Him by the book. This book is a good thing in the world.

–Peter Menkin, Mill Valley, CA USA

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco).


My blog:

http://www.petermenkin.blogspot.com

David Crowder* Band “Church Music” Album Review

In the 3rd instalment of God Tunes Reviews, it’s time to review David Crowder* Band’s new album released on September 29, 2009 titled “Church Music”. Sorry if the video is a bit quiet. Hope you enjoy the review. Remember you can leave an album review requests in the comments below or fill out a request form at my website. Please comment, rate and subscribe. See you at the next album review coming soon. TWITTER: www.twitter.com WEB: godtunesreviews.weebly.com
Video Rating: 0 / 5

Stephen Stills Stephen Stills Rock Music CD Review

Stephen Stills Stephen Stills Rock Music CD Review

Stephen Stills has released him most recent CD entitled Stephen Stills.

I wish it weren’t the case but, it’s not everyday that I get a CD from an artist that I can just pop in and comfortably listen to from beginning to end. There is usually a song or two that I just can’t force myself to get through. Not at all the case with Stephen Stills. Every track is enjoyable and was pretty easy for me to listen to from start to finish.

Stephen Stills has a pleasantly varied, mix of 10 tracks that are very well written songs by this clearly talented artist. Most of the songs display a lot of the kind emotion that makes for a really great listen. Seemingly drawing from what I can only imagine are him own real life experiences. At different points touching on the most real emotions like love, and the pain of failed relationships can certainly be heard.

Listen to and I think you’ll agree that the song choices are excellent, the production is outstanding and Stephen Stills is clearly in top form.

While this entire CD is outstanding some of my favorites are track 2 – Do For The Others, track 4 – Old Times Good Times, and track 10 – We Are Not Helpless

My Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore […as in “Stuck On REpeat”] is track 1 – Love The One You’re With. Great track!

Stephen Stills Release Notes:

Stephen Stills originally released Stephen Stills on December 5, 1995 on the Atlantic label.

CD Track List Follows:

1. Love The One You’re With 2. Do For The Others 3. Church (Part Of Someone) 4. Old Times Good Times 5. Go Back Home 6. Sit Yourself Down 7. To A Flame 8. Black Queen 9. Cherokee 10. We Are Not Helpless

Personnel includes: Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, organ, keyboards, bass, steel drums, percussion); Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton (guitar); Sydney George (flute, alto flute, winds); Booker T. Jones (organ, keyboards, background vocals); Fuzzy Samuels (bass, background vocals); Dallas Taylor, John Barbata (drums); David Crosby, Graham Nash, Cass Elliott, Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, John Sebastian (background vocals).