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Archive for January, 2011

Sylvia, at Christian HomeKeeper, is giving away 5 DVD’s from the Bulk Herb Store. Easy-schmeazy entry. Sylvia is very wise, so you may want to click around a bit and get some reading done while you are there. 🙂

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is an essay on the practice of Communion, also called the Eucharist, in the Christian church.  This book is one of a series entitled The Ancient Practices.  Ms. Gallagher is preacher-in-residence at an Episcopalian church and has acted many times as Lay Eucharist Minister for that denomination.  Published by Christian publishing powerhouse Thomas Nelson, The Sacred Meal appeals to the general Christian populace seeking to understand the oft-repeated, rarely comprehended practice of Communion.

Unfortunately, the readers will be disappointed.  The Sacred Meal is a hodge-podge of mediocre storytelling and bad doctrine.  Scattered throughout the meandering personal anecdotes, liberal and humanistic theology blend with the stories of the gospel and the Christian church.  Examples of extensive Hindu meditation are compared favorably to a moving Communion experience.  Several times, MS. Gallagher equates Islam with Judaism and Christianity.  It would seem, by her writing, that Ms. Gallagher doesn’t believe Jesus when He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me.”  Instead there appear to be many ways to the Kingdom of Heaven and, “…it doesn’t matter how you worship or what you say you believe, it matters how you live.” (pg. 119)  In the effort to understand Jesus’ humanity, Ms. Gallagher reaches just a little too far, forgetting that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One and that Jesus was always about His Father’s business.  He didn’t heal the Canaanite woman’s daughter, as Ms. Gallagher states, because He was suddenly struck by the idea that He could fill her need.  He was not “healed…opened…changed” (pg.62) by this encounter.  He followed His Father’s orders and the Canaanite woman’s faith in this God, Who was not her ancestral god, is what caused Jesus to heal her daughter.  It is dangerous ground to imagine into the gospel accounts that which is not there.

One positive aspect of this book is the push to do something with your faith.  The American Christian church has, for far too long, sat on its haunches and enjoyed the blessings of God instead of sharing them.  Ms. Gallagher calls for us to put feet to our faith, share the love, grace, and blessing that the Lord has shared with us, and so reap the Kingdom of Heaven.

I would not recommend this book to anyone and, quite frankly, I am disappointed in Thomas Nelson Publishing.  One star.

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My Word for 2011

For the past few years, I’ve sought the Lord for a word for the year. My word for 2009: Abide. The word for 2010: Obey. This year, for 2011, the word is hunger. It is my prayer on my lips, in my heart, and deep, deep in my soul. I pray for more and more hunger for the Word of God, more and more hunger for His presence in my life.

I tend to be a great starter, but poor finisher. (I’m sure no one has noticed, right?) A lot of this is because I don’t have that hunger to see things through to completion. This irritating trait worms its way into all aspects of my life, from the foods I eat, to how I school my children, to my relationships with friends and family, to that absolutely most important relationship with my Lord. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m just sort of watching life go by…with little emotion or ambition to drive me.

So, my word, my prayer, my action for this year is hunger.

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