Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review: Sacred Meal

Rating: three stars out of five.

Thomas Nelson Publishing has recently put out a series of books that deal with different spiritual practices. I've already read the book on tithing (reviewed earlier this year) and look forward to reading the one on sabbath (coming soon). But I just finished the book on communion called Sacred Meal by Nora Gallager.

Sacred Meal wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe that’s why I only gave it three stars. Nora Gallager is actually an excellent writer. I really enjoyed her style; very easy going reflective thoughts. She weaved her personal experience and personal thoughts in and out of the topic of communion which was often very insightful.

But being more of a linear student type of a reader I was expecting a book that brought more history and biblical teaching to the subject. That’s not what Sacred Meal is about but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. To be fair, the quality of the book is five stars if you are looking for this style of work. (Although, my guess is that some conservative readers will feel like she totally missed the mark since her writing is based more on story than biblical teaching.)

Another curve for me was that Nora comes from the Episcopalian stream. That was interesting to me as someone who is not from that spiritual background. It’s always interesting to see how God works through different groups of people. On the other hand, I felt like she missed a lot of my experience coming from more of the Baptist/Pentecostal tradition. I would have liked to have heard more from other people with various communal experiences. But that’s really not her intent with this book.

Whether or not you should buy this book is based on what you are looking for. If you want in depth teaching on communion or a well balanced discussion from a variety of spiritual streams then this isn’t the book for you. But if you enjoy reading an excellent writer exploring her own thoughts and experiences from her particular church tradition then I highly recommend Sacred Meal. Nora is a gifted writer with a tender spirit who is able to use her life experiences as metaphor for God’s activity in life.

Note: I review books from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for free books. But I’m not required to give their books positive reviews.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's Bless Others This Christmas

There's a good chance you missed Sunday because of the snow. I talked about adding some "legs" to our words, that is, adding action to our faith.

I mentioned in the second service that I'm an activist by nature. I don't do well just watching. I'm a "roll up your sleeves and get dirty" kind of guy! And that's the kind of church I want Cedarbrook to be. The saddest thing to me would be for Cedarbrookers to simply be satisfied with attending a service now and then and calling that "good". In contrast, the best thing would be if we came together to bless others.

That's what the Advent Conspiracy is all about. We are working at creating a new Christmas tradition of blessing others rather than simply blessing ourselves with presents and parties. I hope you'll download my message. The audio has my interview with Joe Draxler who has helped to dig wells this past year with Living Water.

My challenge to the church is for each one of us to set aside a portion of our Christmas fund to donate to either:

1. Stepping Stones Shelter here in Menononie, or...

2. Living Water International. We want to raise $10,000 to dig two wells this year. One in Honduras and one in Haiti.

Thanks so much! We will collect the money on Christmas Eve as well as the Sunday before and after Christmas.