Monday, December 27, 2010


Kelly, originally uploaded by MegBiallas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Digital Story of the Nativity

What if Jesus had been born in 2010 - amid viral videos, cloud computing and GPS capabilities? How would news of his birth spread? (I'm willing to bet the coming of Christ would have made CNN headlines, and trended on Twitter). Three cheers to this clever, modern take on the birth of our Savior!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From The Outside Looking In

I believe there is wisdom in perspective - many perspectives. Every now and again, it's healthy to see how others see Christianity - from the outside looking in. I finished two books recently that gave two "outside" perspectives on Christianity and the Church. The first is fictional, the second is a first-person account.

How To Be Good (Nick Hornby) follows a family's upheaval when the wife cheats, and her husband has a spiritual conversion. It's a rather depressing book (not the first depressing British novel I've read, either), and a rather raw look at a damaged marriage. I even considered giving up on it. But after learning of the spiritual element, I forced myself to finish it. The unfaithful wife wants to reconcile and is perturbed by her husband's selfless-ness. She asks herself throughout what it really means to "be good." In one scene she thinks reflectively about her desire to attend church again. I was struck by her honesty about her ideal church service:

It's the lack of conviction I want, of course. I was hoping for a mild, doubtful liberal, possibly a youngish woman, who would give a sermon about, say, asylum seekers and economic migrants, or maybe the National Lottery and greed, and then apologize for bringing up the subject of God. And somehow in the process I would be forgiven for my imperfections.

In The Land Of Believers (Gina Welch) is a step down from a church expose. Gina, an atheist Jew, spent two years at Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) in Lynchburg, Virginia to better understand the Evangelical Christian faith. She describes her intent:

My hope for this book is that it will provide readers with a vivid portrait of evangelical hearts and minds to eclipse the old, broad caricatures; that people like me-people who bristle at public prayer or roll their eyes when someone asks if they've heard the Good News-might find in my book ways of accepting and connecting to Evangelicals.

Others have gone undercover at churches - and at TRBC, too. There's another book that came out around the same time - one that I haven't read, but appears to put not-so-nice a slant his experience at Jerry Falwell's Baptist church. It's called The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University.

Gina is newly arrived in Washington, D.C this year as a lecturer at George Washington University. As such, she's been interviewed by Brightest Young Things and Washington Life magazine, where you can learn more about her experience.