Category: Books

My Favorite Pauschisms; Earnest Is Better Than Hip

Earnest is better than hip.

I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term.

Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface.

“Hip” people love parodies. But there’s no such thing as a timeless parody, is there? I have more respect for the earnest guy who does something that can last for generations, and that hip people feel the need to parody.

–Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture

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Actions Really Do Speak Louder Than Words

What would you do if your doctor told you that you only had a few months to live?

I heard that question posed to an audience recently, and the questioner went ahead and answered it for everyone present: “Well, I’m sure that we would all spend the remaining time telling everyone about Jesus and how much he has done for us.”

The question was a good one. The answer? Well, it seemed a little odd and incongruent to me at the time. I recognized it as “Church of Christese,” code for “get out and door knock or go on a mission trip.”… Read the rest

Which is Better, Cat or Dog?

For some reason, this quote has been circling in my head over the past couple of weeks. I take this to be a sign that I should post it, so here it is:

To know and to serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word.

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I Am So There

There are two things that soothe my soul these days, three places where I find some much-needed grace and peace…

At a Barnes & Noble on a Friday afternoon, a cup of coffee in hand, perusing the recent releases and the latest bargin bin deals. My reward for a hard week’s work…

Near the end of a Saturday morning 10-mile run, when the endorphins hit my bloodstream with a mighty roar. Natural opiates–a gift from God…

Kneeling at the altar rail of an old, liturgical church, hearing the priest say, “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven; the Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation.”… Read the rest

Each Moment Is, and Always Has Been, a Gift

I knew that drop off day last Thursday would be busy and unpredictable, so I took Number One Son out to lunch at Little Rosie’s on Wednesday to serve up a little fatherly wisdom along with some steak fajitas, chips and gaucomole on the side. So far so good: no apparent E. coli poisoning.

I started off by saying that if I were to tell him everything that I know that he needed to know as a college freshman starting out, that I would flat-out fry his brain. Instead, I promised to keep it simple.

First, I wanted him to know how I “backended” into my career as an optometrist, having never even thought about that profession during college, but instead seeking it out after my first choice of clinical psychology “didn’t work out.”… Read the rest

Harry Potter 1, David Beckham 0

Potter v. Beckham:



Are you ready to rumblllllle?!

Actually, with Potter already rolling across the internet and Becks hobbled by a bum left ankle and unlikely to see action v. Chelsea, this one was over before the opening whistle. Maybe Becks should consider taking up Quidditch. Less stress on the joints and all.

Final Score: Harry Potter 1, David Beckham 0

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A Red State of Mind–A Good Read

The stack of books on my nightstand is about to get one louder, uh, I mean higher. My blogging friend Nancy French has a new book coming out October 9th–A Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle. If that down home and intriguing title doesn’t grab you, maybe the paperdoll cutout with the big hair will:


You gotta admit, that took some guts. The book chronicles the adventures of a conservative, evangelical former beauty queen reject from Paris, Tennessee as she plunges headlong into the deep, Blue State waters of New York City and Philadelphia.… Read the rest

I’ve Been Booked

(Sigh) As if I didn’t have enough to write about already…

Just like 7th grade, I’ve been tagged by Jason the Youth Minister, this time for my take on the following book categories:

1. One book that changed your life: C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity–nothing else comes close. It’s the main reason that I remained a Christian through a period of very intense doubt. Kudos to the Harding University Bookstore for daring to carry the work of a pipe smoking, ale-quaffing Anglican literature professor who wouldn’t have been welcome as a student or professor at that fine, teetotalling institution of higher learning.… Read the rest

Real Sex is a Winner

winner.jpgNow that I have your attention, I wish to put in a good word for a book that I’m currently reading (consuming might be the better verb), Real Sex:The Naked Truth About Chastity by Lauren Winner.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Mike, shouldn’t you know what “real sex” is by now?

Well, yes and no. Yes, I know some things about what sex is, should be, and can be, but no, it doesn’t mean I know everything I should. Nor does it mean that that I’m very effective at teaching my sons about sex and how to faithfully answer God’s call to chastity in a postmodern, sex-saturated society.… Read the rest


After coming clean on my shoe addiction, I’m ripping off a page from everybody’s favorite Catfish Queen reject Nancy French and having my first contest at Ocular Fusion.

(Cue the audience to shout) Name…That…Shooooe! (cue wild, audience applause and generic game show music)

That’s right, the first person to correctly ID the following shoe will receive, courtesy of yours truly, a signed copy of Doug Mendenhall’s new book, How Jesus Ended Up in the Food Court: Seventy-Seven Devotional Thoughts You Never Thought About Before.

Here’s the picture. Remember, I’m looking for the exact name of this Nike classic:

nikeoregonwaffle-01 2.jpg

It’s really not that hard; there are sufficient clues scattered here and there that should lead you toward the correct answer.… Read the rest

Buy, Take Up and Read

According to Augustine, the key point in his conversion came when he heard the sing-song voice of a little girl telling him to “tolle lege” or “take up and read.” The book she was referring to was The Bible, and when Augustine obeyed, his eyes fell upon Romans 13 and the rest is, as they say, history.

Now comes another otherworldly voice offering a good piece of advice– “Buy, take up and read.”
dougs book.jpg

This time the book is entitled How Jesus Ended Up in the Food Court: Seventy-Seven Devotional Thoughts You Never Thought About Before by my good friend Doug Mendenhall.… Read the rest

The Da Vinci Nap–A Review (Sort of)

Da-Vinci-Man.jpgI wasn’t going to go see that movie this past weekend. I’m just not a bandwagon kind of guy. I’ve studied a little (well, actually a lot) of church history on my own, and when I read the book a couple of years ago, I laughed out loud at the bogus story line.

But then through a weird set of circumstances, I came about two free tickets, so off Eyegal and I went to follow the herd. I figured that it must have been God’s will.

But here’s the truth: I fell asleep. Not once, but twice (I think Eyegal might have punched me the second time thinking that I was about to snore).… Read the rest