Transition: Coffee, Study and Books

biblereadingWhat does a staff worker do all day?

Drink Coffee.
Study the bible with students (Christian and those seeking)
And read copious amounts of books…

There is more to it then that, but in a tight nutshell, you could boil the years as a staff worker down to those things and throw in the travel that goes between them.

It has been a privilege to have the time and space to do those things. To spend hours preparing a bible study that will help my students gaze upon Jesus. Looking intently at scripture, opening commentaries and praying for insight as we prep notes and ideas to help students engage with the text. I love the fact that my job is to read the bible…

Now drinking coffee is important. It has to be good coffee. It’s the only way to get through the day, especially the afternoon. Coffee shops became my office and my students knew it! If I asked to meet up with them, they knew it was going to be in a certain coffee shop in town… Welcome to my office. It got to the point where I would walk into the coffee shop and they would know my order before I even asked! Coffee is indeed, a pleasing aroma…

I don’t know how many books I have read over the years, but I have a whole bookcase of books that have been generously given to me and most of them I haven’t read yet! But its been wonderful to have the space to sit and read and get into good theological books, making my brain hurt and fuelling good conversations with friends. Some of my favourite books over the years have been:

  • The Good God – Mike Reeves
  • Serving without Sinking – John Hindley
  • A New Name – Emma Scrivener
  • Popologetics – Ted Turnau
  • Desiring the Kingdom – James K A Smith

Wonderful books that have challenged me, shaped me and it was part of my job to read them! Although none of these things need to stop next year, I just wanted to share my appreciation of having this opportunity and also all the free books. Thanks IVP!

 

iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual & Social Lives

igodsbook Today the world is literally at our fingertips. We can call, text, email, or post our status to friends and family on the go. We can carry countless games, music, and apps in our pocket. Yet it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by access to so much information and exhausted from managing our online relationships and selves.*

Digital Technology is in the fabric of our world, we use it everyday to function as a society, to keep in contact with people and to run businesses. Craig Detweiler explores the history behind some of the companies that have really shaped the way we live our lives. He goes behind the scenes of Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon. He looks at how these creative companies changed the way we work, shop, build communities and walk with Jesus. While unfolding the history and aims of these companies, he also reveals some of their effects – both good and bad on our lives.

This book is challenging and what I think is rather unsettling about all of this, is that we don’t really know the long-term impact of online shopping, social media and a library full of information we can pick up whenever we want. There have been hints of the potential good that can come out of it all, but also on the other end of the scale, there could be destruction of real face to face communities where isolation is rampant, shops closing down and people losing jobs and an overwhelming amount of information at our finger tips that allow us to be jack of all but master of none. 

facebook-markzuckerberg

It was helpful to have Craig Detweiler bring in a Christian perspective that not only highlighted some of the warning signs of using such technologies, but also celebrating the triumphs and good things that these companies have achieved. It was enjoyable and interesting to read. As someone who did a degree in Computing and IT around the time when Facebook was beginning to establish itself, it is interesting to see how much they have grown in the last 10 years and where technology may be heading next!

And what about our spiritual lives? As Craig says:

“Where shall we express our hopes and fears? If we post our concerns on Facebook, we may forget to cast our cares on the Lord, the one who sustains us in our sorrows.”

This is easy to do as I wake up every morning and turn on my phone instead of getting on my knees in prayer. And yet it connects me with people in the world that need prayer, it links me to find information about certain theological topics quickly so I don’t have to try to find it in the local library. There is a balance.

googleBut more than ever, Christians must be vigilant. With the enemy prowling round like a roaring lion, we need to be awake and engaged in what we are doing. We can not be caught up in the promises of Facebook and the advertising of Google where we can become our own igods – omnipresent on Facebook and omniscient on Google. Falling into a trap that I can be a certain way on social media but different face to face. That as I create my profile, I can fashion it and craft it to bring the best out of me and get people to admire me.

I am the centre. I am the igod.

Suddenly Jesus falls out of focus.

I would recommend this book to you, even just for an understanding of how these companies came about and how they have changed over the years. I think Craig Detweiler writes well and raises some good points, both good and challenging about the digital technology we use every day. And as he brings in a Christian perspective, it can help us have a bit more wisdom about what we do with digital technology and how much we should use it.

You can buy this book here.

*Quote from http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/igods/345171

Collection of Webs 2013

I thought as we are coming to the end of 2013 I would do a special Collection of Webs with a round up of films, books, and blogs that I have enjoyed this year. I would love it if you also let me know what your favourites were in 2013!

Lets start with…

Books

Here are my top 3 christian books of the year and then top 3 fiction books of the year.

Top 5 Christian Books:

1. Desiring the Kingdom
PrintThis is a fantastic book about worship and how humans worship. There are so many insights into how people are lovers before they are thinkers. That our heart drives our motives and actions. Every time I read this I had to keep putting it down and spend an hour thinking over what I had just read!

 

2. Serving without Sinking

servingwithoutsinking

This is a book that I would recommend every Christian to read. It’s very challenging and gets to the heart of our motives of why we do or don’t serve. This book brings us back to who Jesus is and how to have our joy in Him.

 

 

3. Of gaming and God

GamingandGod

I read this book because I was doing a seminar at a Christian Conference about Christians playing Video games. This is probably the best book I have read on how to approach video gaming in a godly way rather than a “It’s all a waste of time”. I enjoyed reading this and if you are a gamer and a Christian then this is a book you should certainly read!

 

Top 3 fiction books

1. The Silmarillion

Silmarillion

This is quite a heavy book to read, so if you pick it up thinking you are going to read something like Lord of the Rings then think again. Instead this book gives a back story of Middle Earth and its a wonderful picture of creation, the fall and redemption. Tolkien is a brilliant writer and I love how the story all weaves into one.


2.Life of Pi

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This is a wonderful creative story based around a boy in a shipwreck and his imagination. I thought it was rather clever and an enjoyable read, plus the twist at the end was rather good!

 

3. Cloud Atlas

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I really enjoyed this book, although it was rather strange especially in the middle of the book! But the way the story weaved together and worked itself out was brilliant!! The film is also very good.

 

Here are my top 3 favourite films that I have seen this year:

1. Seeking a friend for the end of the world – This was a film that had a mixture of laughter and tears for us as we watched this. I thought the very idea of this was brilliant. The end of the world is coming and at the very center of this is a story about two people becoming friends and needing each other. I really enjoyed it!

2. Now you see me – A film about illusionists, deception and a bit of magic. With twists, turns and action this film was rather fun to watch. I loved the twist at the end!!

3. Zero Dark Thirty – I think this film was based on a true story? A rather moving film with heart wrenching scenes throughout. I thought the film was well made and would certainly recommend it!

Blogs worth visiting:

There are loads of blogs/websites/articles out there but here are some ones that I have enjoyed this year to put on your list:

1. GameChurch – A Website and blog full or articles and reviews written by Christians about video games.

2. Feminist Frequency – A website of videos and articles about how women are portrayed in video games. A very interesting read!

3.Ted Turnau’s blog and website on how Christians are to engage with pop culture.

4. Claire Bruff’s fantastic website with her own music on there. She is a lady from my church and she has an amazing voice! Certainly worth listening to!

Well that is my list for the year!! I hope you enjoyed it and please do comment or add your list on your blog or comment below!

Happy New Year.

Recent Book Reviews

Just thought I would flag up some book reviews I have been doing over at the Book Square Blog:

forwomenonly  1. The most recent book I have reviewed is called: For women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn: A book about relationships and the inner thoughts of men. It is a guide to help the wife or partner to understand their husband/boyfriend better. It touches on how to serve him well and what they really think about in certain situations.

 

2013-10-22 12.16.202. Connect – How to double your number of Volunteers: A book I wouldn’t normally have read but it proved to share some good insights about how to recruit and double your volunteer base at Church (and CU). There are lots to think about here and I hope to share some more thoughts on it soon.

 

communicating for a change3. Communicating for a change: How we communicate is important. How we preach or do talks that are communicating what we mean in a way that is interesting is often hard to do. This book is rather helpful in giving ideas on how to communicate better.

Collection of Webs: September

A slightly late post of collection of webs for September, my apologies. The start of term has been slightly manic. But here we are for a round-up of articles, blogs and fun stuff to read or watch that I noticed in September! Enjoy

Blog Posts worth reading:

From the Internet Monk: A Joyful and Vibrant Life: Cultivating Community as Slow Churches “It can seem more practical and convenient to keep to ourselves and minimize the risk that we’ll get entangled in the lives of others. And yet, as much as we are formed by Western individualism, and though we have allowed that individualism to shape the way we read scripture, our calling in Christ is to community…”

The Science of What Makes an Introvert and an Extrovert An interesting article about how Introverts and Extroverts approach situations and how their brains react.

Alison Bolton blogs about her new Role after being a UCCF staff worker. This is a brilliant article about how we view work and where we place our identity.

Also Kath writes her thoughts about work, which is another brilliant and challenging blog post: “It’s hard to maintain this wide picture of work in a world which places so much value on our paid work/job status. I’m so frustrated at the moment that our government can’t see this or express value in a life that doesn’t involve paid employment.”

Dave Bish blogs on 5 ways to do Social Media better – this is very helpful, especially if you love using social media or if you find it tough to know how much and in what ways to use it!

Books:

Just finished reading the Silmarillion by Tolkien. A wonderful book full of the history and stories of middle earth.

Now I am reading Eragon. Which is a fantasy book about a boy and a dragon.

And I am also reading Connect, which is about how to get more people to volunteer in church.

Posts on my blog:

Freshers, Fruit, Flu and Flyering: a post about freshers week

I am From – a I linked up with a Syncroblog post about where I am from.

Also do check out two new book reviews at the Book Square Blog on Communicating for a Change and The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness

 

Collection of Webs: Summer Edition Pt1

For most of the summer holidays I have been away, taking a break from blogging. It has been a fun summer with a mixture of going away on an IFES conference in Poland, holiday times at home and parents visiting. But now I am back & I thought I would do a summer edition of Collection Webs. Hope you enjoy it!

Books Read:

Summer is a great chance to read books, lots of books! Here is a snippet of some of the books I got to read:

Penelope_bookPenelope:

A very gentle and fun read about a girl called Penelope who goes to University. This is a very quirky story and you meet some interesting characters! A nice holiday read.

bravenewworldBrave New World:

A classic and brilliant book. Huxley wasn’t far off the truth when he wrote this about the future.

SilmarillionSilmarillion:

I am still reading Silmarillion and I think it is brilliant! There is so much in this story that is the same to that of the bible. It is a history of the creation of the world and we meet its creator. There

is a fall. There is good and evil. Wonderful stuff.

Creative:

It has been a rather creative summer for us, we have made homemade jam, homemade bread and lots of meals from scratch! Also my husband has done a step by step guide on how to do this DT project! How to make a Roman Catapult

What has also caught our eye:

Creative Bookmarks

How to make a Concrete Camera

Snaps from the summer:

2013-08-18 17.42.10 2013-08-24 14.54.49-1 2013-08-25 12.33.21 2013-08-25 12.54.46

Collection of Webs: June

Well here is a monthly collection of webs where I share with you what I have been reading on blogs, articles, books and what I have been watching or listening to. If you have missed any collection of webs this year you can find them all on this page.

Blogs Posts from friends:

Ali continues her Transition blog posts and this one in particular is the most hilarious: the one with the bible study and the man with a thong.

My Husband writes a poem about a rainbow fox inspired by a made up story by a little boy: The Rainbow Fox

What does success look like? My church leader blogs on it here.

Tanya blogs on the theology of hair curlers.

Blog Posts Out There:

Don Miller writes about how to avoid a People Hangover.

Ten Reasons Good Christians go Bad… it’s quite an interesting list!

8 Worst ideas for leadership growth

Books:

Check out our new book review website:

booksquare

 

 

 

 

 

Posts on my blog:

A Fairy Tale Ending – How we all yearn for a happy ending.

The rubber hits the road – Where theology and life go together

Building the Dung Gate – Not everyone will be history makers

What have you been up to this month?