Searching for the Big 25

A writing colleague posted a link to a list of 25 Influential Atheists today. I found it most distressing for a lot of reasons. I’ve researched for the last half hour, looking for a foil to that list, something like: 25 Influential Christians, Prominent Thinking Christians…anything.

(The best I found was an early 2000’s TIMES photo essay depicting 25 of America’s Top Evangelicals. A fairly impressive list, but containing few scholars. And shortly after, one of those, Ted Haggard, had a rather public failure that likely knocked him off any such list for the near future. )

I made it through our denominational Christian Liberal Arts college and earned a (da, da, da, dum!) bachelor’s degree in Sacred Literature. I still don’t recall any actual Sacred Literature in the three-year program. Psychology, Sociology, English, Western Civilization, Music History…sheesh. Not even any Bible courses, likely my own choice at the time, though you’d think that those would have been core courses and required for graduation.

I’m not mocking my alma mater (and the degree is no longer offered), simply my once-fond assumptions that a degree, any degree, would make me a “thinking Christian”.

Oh, I may have thought myself a thinker at one time. Sometimes, depending on the hormones, I imagine I can think. I think well in spurts, like a whale spouts. But do I do it well enough and long enough to result in a life or a collection of words that might nudge anyone toward faith?

My last book has a teacup on the cover. I love that cover. There may be more covers like it. People love that cover, they tell me, and they love what’s inside the book. But nevertheless, there’s a teacup on the cover. And cookies. Lilacs, too, and chubby bare feet.

And echoing in my ears is this quote from Elizabeth Elliott:

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you. But if you actually make them think, they’ll hate you.

Now that I’m a grandmother to four nearby grandchildren under five, I find myself struggling to keep a modicum of intelligence in my faith columns and broadcasts, and any other articles I write—for any followers who have kept patience with me thus long.

Back to the list. Surely there are, somewhere out there, alive, 25 Thinking Christians, who are doing great damage to Satan’s kingdom, and who are equally respected and known OUTSIDE the church. And if not, oh, Lord, the atheists are winning hands down in the public arena.

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Happy New Year!

I interrupt my mostly computer-free holiday to bring you my best hopes for a beautiful, rich year, filled with wonder, hope, and God’s nearness. Speaking of God, the Bible says all nature praises him. Take a 43 second glimpse at one crazy penquin who may, in his own way, be doing just that.  Or perhaps he simply can’t stand the music. You decide. Either way, guaranteed you’ll smile.

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A Christmas present for my readers…West Nile Diary, the audiobook

Since Rick (my husband) contracted West Nile Disease in 2007, we’ve told his story across North America, both in person, and through the book, West Nile Diary.

Along the way, we’ve heard often that our story has encouraged others facing their own difficult life situations,  particularly health crises. We’ve also heard a repeated request for the book in audio format, from those who either aren’t able to hold it to read it, or simply would rather listen. 

SO….because we love bringing this message of strength and hope, I’ve recorded an audio-version West Nile Diary, and as my Christmas gift, I’ve posted it on my site. If you look up, you’ll find it in the menu under A Christmas Present For You!

Most of the sections (except the first) opens with the sounds of flipping pages, typing, and the quiet humming of one of my favourite hymns. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate well into the mp3 version. Just be patient for the first 10 or 15 seconds, and the reading will come.

Merry Christmas….enjoy the audiobook over the holidays, and please share it with anyone you think needs it! The links may not be permanent.

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Into the Woods

Ever fought thick black clouds of depression? I have. Among other tools I employ to combat it–taught me in a Depression Recovery workshop by Dr. Neil Nedley and my good friend Glenda, a nutritional consultant–is to GET OUTSIDE every day, to breathe deeply, and enjoy God’s good nature.

Through the magic of Smilebox, come along–for a minute or two–with Glenda and me as we don our cross-country skis and head down a rather long (for me!) and breathtakingly beautiful trail. This may not raise your own seratonin levels, but perhaps it’ll inspire you to take in some fresh air yourself. (If you can’t find that where you live, you’re welcome to come and sample the pure prairie air in my beautiful province of Saskatchewan,  Canada.)

Godspeed, and God’s cheer! Now…into the woods. (Play fullscreen by clicking on the icon on the upper right once the slideshow opens.)

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Daniel, anyone?

After our sudden onslaught of serious winter, we reverted to glorious autumn, almost summer, again in my portion of the prairie. Sweet winds, blue skies, blooming pansies in bold, bold colours.  (Whoever first used the phrase “like a pansy” to imply “wimpy” had no acquaintance with the flowers. They’re some of the toughest blossoms in the garden.)

Today, though, it looks as though winter has remembered that it had started a task and is slowly turning around to finish it. My outside thermometer reads bang-on zero. And yes..the pansies are still blooming–that’s some of them up there in the photo.

Does anyone else remember, as children in Sunday School, singing  “Dare to Be a Daniel, dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm, and dare to make it known”? I sure do.

I’ve been humming that song a lot lately. I’ve been spending a bit of time in that Old Testament book of Daniel. How had I forgotten that the first several chapters all have happy endings? Eating vegetables proved best; God shut the lions’ mouths; the dreams, identified and interpreted by Daniel came true; and two kings became God-believers through Daniel’s “dare to stand alone,” dare-to-bloom-in-winter kind of faith. Wow! Daniel was a pansy. Who knew?

And most of us think we’re doing well if we’re bold enough to share our faith with a non-threatening stranger. Can we do better? Dare ya.

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