Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bio busts

Unfortunately, the two biographies I mentioned in an earlier post, on John Calvin and the other on Cicero, were not very interesting at all. They were dry, too detail-oriented, without giving any real insight to the unique personalities. The Cicero one was a tad bit better, but I eventually got bored of that one as well. To switch gears a little bit from famous political-historical figures, per a friend's recommendation, I am going to start reading the autobiography of the greatest college basketball coach in history (I don't think I'm biased here, even if UCLA is my alma mater), John Wooden. Another friend of mine had the chance to visit Coach Wooden at his home to take a portrait shot before he passed away, and told me what a gentleman he was. I'm not much of an autobiography fan, but let's hope it's better than the last two!

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Blog

I wanted to advertise for a new blog which a friend of mine is part of, called "The Two Cities." It has a very nice layout and with the diversity of writers, it should make for a good place for conversation. My friend, John Dunne, is starting his PhD this Fall as the first batch of N.T. Wright's students (or maybe his only student; I don't know how many students he took this year) at St. Andrews. Check out his first blog post titled, "Alcohol in the Bible: Part One (The Old Testament)." Go check out the rest of the blog here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

People's lives are interesting... to me at least (and hopefully to you too)

I'm not sure what it is, but I've always been very curious to learn the details behind the lives of figures in history. So, one of my reading habits is reading biographies of anybody I'm mildly interested in whenever I get the chance. I don't even recall what my first biography was, but thankfully, for the most part, I've enjoyed almost every single biography I've read to date. This past year, I've read a biography of the following (in no particular order):

George Whitefield
Louie Zamperini
Alexander the Great

I admit, a couple of the books above I did not finish because they were not very good, but otherwise, the rest of them were fun to read. In terms of being the most compelling read, I'd have to say Metaxas' book was probably the best page-turner (despite the critique of some reviewers). And on the other hand, the Vanderbilt book lost a lot of steam as it continued and I basically skimmed the 2nd half... I'll be starting two biographies soon: one on John Calvin and the other on Cicero. Hopefully they'll be interesting reads.

My question to you is, do you like biographies? If so, what have you read that is worth reading? Any suggestions welcome!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good article

I just came across an insightful article by Professor Stanley Hauerwas who teaches here at Duke, and in it, he lays out a strong critique of American Protestantism, and how its own presuppositions are contributing to its possible demise (at least in its current form). I recommend you all go read the article for yourself, but here's a quote to whet your appetite:

"More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go. For the church is assumed to exist to reinforce the presumption that those that go to church have done so freely. The church's primary function, therefore, is to legitimate and sustain the presumption that America represents what all people would want to be if they had the benefit of American education and money. That is what Americans mean by "freedom."