Thursday, April 29, 2010

Family pictures and recent readings

I've just finished reading Colin Duriez's biography of Tolkien and Lewis. Dennis Smith gave me the book as a going away present when I moved to America (thank you Dennis!) and I have only just got around to reading it. 

Duriez uses the friendship of these two men' as a springboard to consider their lives and literary significance. While the book is not particularly well-written, it has certainly been interesting and worthwhile.

I've also been reading Tom Wright's excellent book Surprised by Hope. It is an excellent antidote to both evangelical Gnosticism and secular materialism, emphasizing that the Christian hope is rooted in the the goodness of creation, not heaven.

We've been listening to some good music recently. Last Christmas I took the children to see Handel's Messiah and Susanna can still talk of nothing else. All the children seem to be quite interested in music, something I try to encourage by playing them some of our tapes of the Music Masters series. In this series, extracts from a composer's music is interspersed with narrative about their lives. I listened to these tapes as a boy and it is a great way to bring alive the great composers for children.

Here are some other books I've been reading with some or all of the children:


Here is a book I have been reading to myself, dealing with globalization and the way technology has been changing our world.

As I research for my book on Christian Heroes, which Canon Press is publishing next year, I have been studying about the Celtic Saint Columba (or Columbanus). I must confess, however, that the 7th century account, written by Columba's biographer, Jonas of Bobbio, does sometimes strain the edges of credulity. During one of his journeys Columbanus apparently stumbled upon an entire band of madmen, whom he quickly restored to sanity before carrying on his way. He is said to have been able to command birds and beasts with a single word, to predict the future, to heal children who lay on the point of death, to miraculously fill storehouses with grain, to restore a broken finger to a man who had cut it off, to heal a man who had been hit in the forehead by an axe by applying his saliva to the wound and to miraculously resupply beer that had leaked onto the ground. Jonas also reports that Columbanus replicated some of Christ’s miracles, including the miracle of the loves and fishes (although Columbanus introduces a slight variation and multiplies loves and beer). I don't want to be too hasty in dismissing these tales, since Jonas’ account was based on years of interviews with Columbanus’ own companions. Whether Columbanus could actually order the weather and create an instantaneous feast of beer and bread, it is clear that his own companions believed extraordinary things about their leader. If that has wet your appetite for more, you'll have to purchase my book next Spring!

Finally, here are some recent pictures of the family. This is a picture of Matthew and me playing our own arrangement of "Pumpkin Boogie" for the Oaks talent show (the Oaks is a private school Matthew attends in Spokane).

This is a picture of my Dad taking us out to dinner to celebrate my book contract.

Timothy and Matthew playing cowboys and Indians.

One of the things that my children like about my parents visiting is that they stay in a motel with a swimming  pool and then invite the grandchildren to come over and swim.

Further Reading

Totalitarian Creep

Bill Gates: Vaccines Can Help Decrease Surplus Population

Is Obama a Man of Peace?

What the Treasury Department is not Telling you About the National Debt

Blog Posts on Totalitarianism

To join my mailing list, send a blank email to phillips7440 (at sign) with “Blog Me” in the subject heading.
Post a Comment

Buy Essential Oils at Discounted Prices!