The Call of Christian Writing

Richard Doster writes:

. . . Augustine argued that Christians not only had a right to employ “the art of rhetoric,” but also the obligation. Though sometimes skeptical of literature, he recognized that Christians, should they abandon the field, left it open to “those who expounded falsehood.”

. . . just as we need composers to create hymns, the church needs writers—novelists and theologians alike—to build up the body, to enhance our worship, to delight us with stories that exemplify the truths of the Christian faith. Still—it may be time to confess that we’ve left literature in the hands of those who have no hope to offer.

Has a ‘Caesar’ Overtaken Your Lord?

From Trevin Wax’s Holy Subversion (new from Crossway):

. . . Christians are turning the world upside down! They are acting against the Caesars of our day.

They are disobeying the Caesar of Success by praying for their competitors, making career choices that put family over finances, and seeking to be above reproach in their business practices.

They are dethroning the Caesar of Money by giving away their possessions and downsizing. . . .

Dangerous cult?

While opening a carton of books from Zondervan Publishing today in the bookstore, a question occurred to me:

“Who was this man Zonderv, and what were his teachings? And who are his followers, these Zondervans? What do they really believe?”

Inquiring minds want to know.

Scandinavian Mysteries

Scandinavian crime fiction is popular these days, for example, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Laura Miller writes about it for the Wall Street Journal.

“Counterintuitive as it may seem, the Scandinavian brand of moroseness can be soothing in hard times. Its roots lie deep in the ancient, pagan literature of the region, preserved in sagas that were first written down in medieval Iceland. The sagas, created by and for people who led supremely difficult lives, are about love, death and war, like all great stories, but above all, they’re about fate.”

The Answer to an Important Question

What cereal should I eat? According to this chart, which recommends Cinnamon Life or Golden Grahams as the best cereal ever, if I am not in Australia, am not Marty Mcfly, and care about the roof of my mouth; if it isn’t October, I’m under 50, I don’t want chocolate milk with my cereal, but I do chew on gravel, then I should pick Grape Nuts. I had Grape Nuts with my ice cream last night. Maybe I should try gravel.

Mini-review: Final Victim, Stephen J. Cannell

This will be a mini-review. I’ve reviewed one of Stephen J. Cannell’s novels already, and will doubtless review more (I’ve become a fan). Final Victim isn’t a world-changing novel, but I thought it very well crafted, and I just wanted to meditate on its virtues.

Cannell, as you likely know, is one of the most successful television producers in the industry. He’s also a prolific script writer (though, interestingly, he’s dyslexic). As a professional, he knows how to tell a story, seizing the viewer’s (or reader’s) attention with a wrestler’s grip, and never letting go. Continue reading Mini-review: Final Victim, Stephen J. Cannell

Olsen letter #4a


Katrina and Ole Olsen Kvalevaag

It’s been a while since I shared one of my translations of the letters from my great-great grandfather to my great-grandfather. (The first three are posted here, here, and here, and here.) This one is the most dramatic of them all. I’ll give it to you in two parts, but this section is the meat of it. Five years have passed since the last preserved letter, and John has moved from Illinois to Iowa.

[Envelope postmarked 7 IV 97, addressed to Mr. John Walker, Radcliffe, Harding co., Jova, North Amerika]

Kvalevaag, the 7 April 1897

Mr. Jan H. Olson,

Dear children of my heart,

I received your very welcome letter this afternoon, and re-read it with tears, and I want to answer it right away if I get the strength from the Lord to manage a letter to you at this time. I saw and heard from your letter to me that all was well with you when you wrote to me, which was precious to me to hear from you.

Ja, dear son and daughter and children, I have another piece of news to tell you today, and that is that the Lord has called your mother from me to Himself; and now, God help me, I am left here forsaken and alone as a wild bird, and have no one to cling to. Ja, God must now be my comforter and helper both now and preferably forever. Continue reading Olsen letter #4a

The Good, Old Book

For some time, “higher critics” of the Bible have assured us that the biblical text can’t be older than the 6th century B.C., “because the Hebrews didn’t know how to write before that.”


“It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research,” said Gershon Galil, a professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa in Israel, who deciphered the ancient text.

As an added bonus, the inscription itself (not an actual biblical text) is a rather lovely one, calling on the reader to show kindness to widows, orphans, the poor and slaves.

Tip: Mere Comments.

Book Reviews, Creative Culture