I've taken very little time to blog lately so I thought I would check in to let everyone know I'm still alive and that life is good. Hopefully someone still reads this. While I have no intentions to quit blogging, I do wonder if blogging is a passing fad. It seems that three or four years ago everyone was blogging and reading blogs. But now I find that many of my friends and cyber friends have either given up the practice or have been on a very long hiatus. The more popular blogs that once received anywhere from 15 to 30 comments a post are now getting about three to four per post.
I think facebook and twitter have largely displaced blogging as the online means of social networking. But blogs will continue to be written by aspiring writers who have something to say and want to bounce some thoughts off others. I have personally learned a great deal just from those who comment. I've learned about resources and perspectives I would otherwise not know about. So blogging has kept me somewhat connected.
With the holidays just behind us, I've naturally received books and gift cards for Christmas. Then, lo and behold, I learn that one of our local bookstores is going out of business. I was the first customer this morning at their storewide 50% off sale which has not yet been advertised. I'm on the inside track since the proprietor's in-laws are members at our congregation. A going-out-of-business sale is always a bitter-sweet event for me. The bitter part is that one more opportunity to browse real books in an actual location is going away. The sweet part is---well--50% off.
A good portion of my library has been built from going-out-of-business sales, library sales, flea markets, used book stores, and warehouse and outlet stores. I've discovered many gems, some of which were on my ongoing want-lists and others that I would not have discovered if I had not been in the right place, at the right time, intrigued by a book at the right price. So in addition to the nine books I got for Christmas (including the gift card purchases) I came home with four more this morning.
The gift card, by the way, was to a place called Ollie's. I believe it's pretty much a northeastern chain since I've only found them in Ohio, New York, and Maryland so far. In each store is a large section called "inspirational books" with bargains galore. And don't let the category fool you. The books aren't always the popular level donut devotional and self-help stuff. My latest Ollie's finds include the categories of church history, philosophy, and world religions.
Preaching and Assorted Ramblings
Having wrapped up 20 or so weeks in Joshua, I'm about to start a sermon series on Genesis, dealing primarily with chapters 1-11 as I attempt to lead the congregation toward an understanding of the Judeo-Christian world-view. As with the author(s) of Genesis, I also intend to contrast this world-view with it's competitors, both ancient and modern, with parallels that demonstrate there really isn't anything new under the sun. I'm reading a ton of stuff on Genesis, most notably books by Nahum Sarna, a Jewish scholar, whose book Understanding Genesis is one of the best advanced introductions you will find. (I picked it up for $4.00 at a flea market in Tulsa when the Workshop shopping wasn't much to blog home about).
I've also just begun writing a new class curriculum on the origin, inspiration, and authority of Scripture, which I'll be teaching through at least February while the teen class studies the same material. I'm also doing a lot of study on American history, Church History, Restoration History, Philosophical trends, and how they all overlap.
Put this together with my "pastoral" and evangelistic efforts and as you can see, I've been rather busy. Sure, I could blog about some of the stuff I'm studying, but I haven't even had the time to convert much into a blog-post format. As always, I'm going to try to write more here, but just haven't got to where it's flowing real naturally these days. But I'll get there again. So stay tuned. In the meantime, if there is a topic you'd like to request that I blog about, I've taken suggestions before and it's gone really well (judging from the comments at least). But keep in mind that this blog's niche will continue to be biblically related topics. I probably won't be talking about my kids' basketball games, the latest Youtube video, or what I had for breakfast. But who knows?