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An Excerpt From Mark Buchanan’s Upcoming Novel ‘David’

Mark Buchanan generously provides us with an excerpt from his upcoming novel David.
This section deals with Saul’s daughter, Michal, who would be given to David in a marriage that would end unhappily.
The subject of this excerpt is not David though, but Samuel, the prophet who had a very complicated relationship with her father.
I’m looking forward to this because Buchanan is a wonderful writer, and, as you’ll see he’s not creating extra detail, but using a narrative to bring out understandings gleaned from the biblical text.
This is different from his previous works, and I’m curious as to how it will work out.
I’m on the record as mocking historical fiction based on biblical characters, but I trust this author.

My first remembrance of my father was of his wondrous tallness. Even after I had become a woman, and he was old and worn by his own accumulation of years and misery, he loomed. He was always thin, even when in later years a little sack of stomach, like a smuggled idol, bulged beneath his tunic. But he was never thin in the way some men are, brittle and gangling, ivied with vein, vulnerable to windgust. My father’s thinness was like a judgment against other men’s excess, their indiscipline. His tallness he bore like a vindication.
I recall looking up from the ground upon his great height. Perhaps I was four. Literally, to me, his head was in clouds, swarmed with sky and thunder, defying heaven. Even then he was distracted, fretting at some shadow, something that only he saw or sensed. I loved him the way daughters love fathers, simple and complicated, full of hope and anger. And once in a while he would turn his full attention to me – I was his momentary obsession – and it terrified and exhilarated me altogether, as if one of the hill country’s legendary giants had deigned to make me its personal doll. He would take me in his lap and move his face so close to mine I felt the rasp of his beard on my cheek and could smell him, muttony and sour, though his hands smelled like he’d been forging metal, smoky and oily and acrid. He spoke in a low soothing voice. It had the thinnest edge of menace.
“Do you want to know how I became king?”

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Stan Lee’s Marvel Movie Cameos

In honor of Stan Lee’s recent 90th birthday here are all his cameo appearances in movies featuring Marvel Superheroes.
In case the youtube ever disappears, here’s an online article featuring the same info.

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Tim Keller’s List For Character Self-Evaluation

Tim Keller takes a fair bit of John Newton, adds something of his own, and comes up with a list to assist with self-evaluation of one’s own character.
If you’re into new-year oriented self-reflection this would be helpful in framing some resolutions.
And don’t spend time applying these to someone else. That’s too easy.
This is about refinement, not self-loathing; about course-correction, not despair; about growth, not complacency.
They’re for you. And me. And Tim, And John.

Austerus is a solid and disciplined Christian, but abrasive, critical and ungenerous in dealing with people, temperamental, seldom giving compliments and praise, and almost never gentle.
Infitialis is a person of careful and deliberate character, but habitually cynical, negative, and pessimistic, always discouraging (“that will never work”), unsupportive and vaguely unhappy.
Pulsus is passionate, but also impulsive and impatient, not thinking things through, speaking too soon, always quick to complain and lodge a protest, often needing to apologize for rash statements.
Querulus is a person of strong convictions, but known to be very opinionated, a poor listener, argumentative, not very teachable, and very slow to admit they were wrong.
Subjectio is a resourceful and ambitious person, but also someone who often shades the truth, puts a lot of spin on things (close to misrepresentation), is very partisan, self-promoting, and turf-conscious.
Potestas gets things done, but needs to control every situation, has trouble sharing power, has a need to do everything him or herself, and is very suspicious and mistrustful of others.
Fragilis is friendly and seeks friends, but constantly gets his or her feelings hurt, easily feels slighted and put down, is often offended and upset by real and imagined criticism by others.
Curiosus is very sociable, but enjoys knowing negative things about people, finds ways of passing the news on, may divulge confidences, and enjoys confrontation too much.
Volatilis is very kind-hearted and eager to help, but simply not reliable—isn’t punctual, doesn’t follow through on promises, is always over-extended, and as a result may do shoddy work.

Read Blemishes in Christian Character: a List for Self-Examination at Redeemer City To City Blog.

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A Word In Favour Of Denominations (via Jason Helopoulos)

While networks, fellowships and groupings of friends seem to be trendy ways for churches to relate in these days, Jason Helopoulos writes a few reasons why the more structured and accountable nature of denominations are a biblical pattern which offer genuine protections for both the local congregation and their leaders; encourage a unified precision in theological expression; and offer an accountability which goes beyond the capacity to take some form of credit for everything that goes well in the network, while disclaiming everything that goes bad as being only the business of the local body.
Independency suits the spirit of the age, but sooner or later the wheel of the denomination will be reinvented, probably given a new name, and then presented as something brand-spanking new.

“We are moving into a post-denominational age” or so we are told. If that is the case, I for one don’t think it is good news. Denominations serve a real purpose and are worthy of our promotion, propagation, and commitment. I know that many of us have been “burned” by denominations and there is much fruit being born by different networks, fellowships, and independent churches. However, we shouldn’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Networks, fellowships, and independent churches can’t provide the same benefits as a denomination. They may be able to provide some of the things below, but not all of them.
Read In Praise Of Denominations at DeYoung, Restless and Reformed.

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Report On ‘Watch Yourself And Your Teaching’ Conference In Timor Leste (via Bondia Timor Leste)

A followup report on the recent visit to East Timor by a pastor training short term team led by David Burke.

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Seasonal Doxologies (via Cardiphonia)

I liked using some different doxologies (short song of praise to the Triune God) over the past few weeks.
They were featured on a helpful blogpost at Cardiphonia.
I matched the words up with familiar tunes for mgpc, but they also have suggested tunes as well.
Here are two.
This one I matched up with the tune Church Triumphant (The Lord Is King!)
To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally.

And used Nottingham (Take My Life And Let It Be) for this one.
Praise to you, O Lord, we sing.
Praise to Christ, our newborn King!
With the Father, Spirit, one,
Let your lasting kingdom come.

See a couple of others here at Cardiphonia.

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First Sighting Of HXBs 2012/13

Today, at Woolworths.
I’m thinking they only do this as a joke.
No, I didn’t buy any, I’m still eating shortbread.