Monday, July 30, 2012

early reader's bible

Early Reader's Bible by F Gilbert Beers, illustrations by Terri Steiger on Amazon

early reader's bible coverIntended for very young kids, this version of the Good Book includes several dozen well-known Old Testament and New Testament stories. The NT ones mostly are from the synoptics and from Acts, along with Jesus cleansing the temple in John 2 (way to go, the basis of Jesus' Ministry!) and from John 20, the risen Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene (basic apostleship!); there's also a single Philemon pericope. The Early Reader's Bible has basic words and new words vocabulary lists, scripture references, with end of chapter questions and activities to help review the story—what we'd call applications in a bible for older readers. "Words to know" in a box at the start of each story also can serve as keywords.

Terri Steiger's illustrations are bright and fun without being exclusively those basic red, blue, yellow, and green spectrum colors many kids' toy manufacturers seem to think are the only hues that attract kids. One reviewer mentioned all the people in the stories are Caucasian; they're all "basic humanity" Mediterranean-looking, and for sure I'd have drawn a far greater variety of ethnicities and abilities, but their appearances do reflect the actual characters in the actual scriptural events. Answering the questions and doing the activities can help readers insert themselves into the narratives.

Besides young people just learning to read, this fat, board-bound book would be a great resource for folks of any age just learning English or for older adults learning to read, as well. I haven't been researching or comparing versions of scripture for young readers, but this seems like an excellent choice for home, church, or Sunday School libraries.

my amazon review: a good version of the good book

Friday, July 27, 2012

minimalist 5

Sally is moving house and does that usual wondering where all the stuff came from; thus, today's minimalist 5. She introduces with:
So bearing in mind you are allowed the Bible, a bed + linen, a functioning kitchen, and a comfy chair, clothes within reason (no dragging last centuries wardrobe in case), and probably essential today a lap-top OR computer choose one from each of the following as your luxuries:
Sally provided the cute moving kitteh pic!

minimalist kitteh1. A book? Assuming sets are allowed, all 4 volumes of The Gospel In Solentimane. It's way long outta print and though it's not technically my fave gospel commentary, it's right up there and impossible to find online.

2. A piece of music (albums/ sets allowed) ... rather than music to listen to, I'll take (literal scores of) music to perform, and it's gotta be (oh, such a tough one) the Beethoven Piano Sonatas.

life stuff button3. Sally didn't list phone as essential, but likely it's a default inclusion, so my electronic/tech equipment will be a CD player/radio boombox, because sometimes I want to be away from the puter and it actually would be more all-purpose than an iPod, but maybe iPod was included, too?!

4. luxury item of clothing: it ain't real luxury, and it is from the last year of the last century: I'll take the wonderful tan corduroy with dark red quilted lining winter vest (no hood, sorry) I got for $1.00 on sale at the church thrift store. I did need to have it dry-cleaned in order to make it wearable, so the total price was a little more.

5. One item of your choice—it can be as normal or as weird as you like. Art supplies, another multiple that easily packages up into a zipper case.

Monday, July 23, 2012

hometown prophet

Hometown Prophet on Amazon

Hometown Prophet, the website

Recently I joined SpeakEasy, a new reader/reviewer bureau with promises of "Subversive Reading. Great ideas." Hometown Prophet is my first blog and review for them.

hometown prophet book coverScripture distinguishes between the (fore)seer of future events, and the prophet, one who speaks "truth to power." Hometown Prophet Peter Quill operates mostly in the former category, accurately predicting events that will occur (admittedly because individuals, agencies, and organizations have not acted with justice and righteousness), though towards the close of the narrative he gets into some heavy-duty laying out of "if - then" alternatives. If you didn't already guess it, "Hometown" in the title is about home as in the place a person basically grew up; for personal and economic reasons, Protagonist Peter has returned home when he starts prophesying.

Author Jeff Fulmer sets the fictional story in heart of the Bible Belt Nashville, Tennessee, with church portions all centered in congregations that emphasize the more demonstratively eschatological gifts of the Spirit, practices those of us in the mainline typically don't give a thought - let alone a nod - to from day-to-day. Although "any similarities to actual persons is purely coincidental" prevails, the text references actual places and events that happened in some of those locales.

Hometown Prophet wasn't difficult to read, but I longed for more colorful descriptions, less predictable sentence structure, and [pages 218 and 264] I hope future editions will spell "publically" correctly... it's publicly!

The release of Hometown Prophet especially encourages me because I imagine a lot of conservative, evangelical (in the popular sense of "evangelical"), and pentecostal Christians will buy this book because the central character is one of them. When they reach the best part of the book they'll probably be surprised when (page 301) Peter acknowledges he is gay, he is Muslim, he is unemployed, a migrant worker, homeless, hungry, he is planet earth in distress, and more! In this Pentecostal time of the Church, the Holy Spirit of Life, Renewal, and Reform calls all of us who follow Jesus to live and act in solidarity with the broken, the outcast, the underclass, and the unwanted. To become Hometown Prophets? Maybe so!

my amazon review: a call to all of us?

The Gathas of Zarathushtra

The Gathas of Zarathushtra: Hymns in Praise of Wisdom by Piloo Nanavutty

Gathas cover Historical and cultural background, commentary, images, notes, and explanations make this an eminently approachable resource for anyone interested in Zoroastrianism. I'm very much a newbie to the study of this world religion, yet very much aware of ways its dualism, apocalypticism, and high ethics have influenced post-exilic Judaism (though by definition "Judaism" is post-exilic...) and Christianity—especially Mark's gospel, the epistles of Paul and the deutero-Pauline canon. From a neophyte's view, this book seems like an excellent introductory view into sacred texts of a people, words that define and describe their interactions with the divine, with one another, and with all creation.

Back matter includes glossary, index, and brief bibliography for those of us who need to know more. The only shortcoming I discovered is not wanting to write my own marginalia into this beautifully formatted and produced edition! Since it isn't about the Hebrew Bible or New Covenant Scriptures I don't have the credentials to assess this book's contents, but whether you're a student of world religions, of culture, of anthropology, or love literature in general, I'll still suggest you consider adding this edition of the Gathas to your library.

my amazon review: an excellent intro to Zoroastrianism

Friday, July 20, 2012

next 5 months friday 5

Today Jan hosts a prospective and reflective 5 about the remaining months of 2012 and wonders:
What do you look forward to in the next five months; or what is scheduled? What is meaningful for you in each of these months? Or memories you have of these months? You decide what to write about for each month!
sprouts againI've illustrated this post with one of my own fave paintings of sprouts, trusting the visual metaphor will becomes actualized. Here's my quick, late, abbreviated play:
1. August
I'm planning to synchroblog—it's early for August or maybe that's "late for July," since we usually play Tuesday during the 2nd week of the month. And a memory: Sunday afternoon trips to the beach way back when I was an undergrad. I still can smell the classic sea 'n' ski and how fun it was to bring along some of my neighbors. Needless to say, Sunday evening showers and getting ready for another week always followed; those also are great memories. In prospective terms, something similar could happen again, but not unless I can find some way to connect with community.

2. September
I hope, expect to have housing and survivable income all figured out. A September memory? Starting school again, which most years post-HS was fun, exciting, and full of expectation. Buying 25 70-page, wide ruled notebooks was essential!

3. October
Maybe I'll enter the local St Mark's digital art show again? Memories: simply entering the fall digital and the spring all-media show at St Marks most of the years I've been back in this geographical area.

4. November
Considering how wonderful it is that I've learned to appreciate the shorter, cooler, days and longer nights that start visibly rolling in by mid-October. Memories? Near-countless Thanksgiving Day feasts with friends and neighbors followed by an astonishing number of lonely ones in isolation. You get to the point you no longer can do the community service...

5. December
Advent again! And once again it will be Luke's year, lectionary year C. Memorable? Planning Advent music, advent preaching, advent activities.

Friday, July 13, 2012

2nd friday random 5

Today is the 3rd Friday the 13th of 2012 and revkjarla hosts another 2nd Friday random 5 that seems perfect for helping to lighten my current almost ├╝ber-serious modality:

life stuff button1. If a spaceship landed in your back yard, and three very cute little aliens knocked on your door and asked you to show them around Earth, where would you take them? (Remember, you have superpowers from last month's Second Friday Five, so if you need to use them for transportation, feel free to do so.)
When I checked out my 5 for the 2nd Friday in June, the only superpower I noticed was having all the ingredients on hand for a super sandwich, so maybe the pleasure and energy I'd get from enjoying that sandwich would help transport the VCL Aliens to a few of my fave venues: a desert, any desert, but why not the local Anza-Borrego? A big city, so I'll make that The City of Angels a little north of here; a beach, too: how about La Jolla Shores? Yep, only those three for now, and several more for later. BTW, I know the VCL Aliens would like the earth sandwich, too.

2. What is making you grumpy these days?
After far too long, still trying to figure out how to find community that welcomes me and celebrates my participation instead of casting me aside with stupid excuses. And yes, I've finally learned to leave after waiting a reasonable time.

3. O.K., so now that you got the grumps out, what is one thing today that will be sheerly joyful for you?
I have another organ supply gig for Sunday and I'm excited about practicing hymns and liturgy on the new organ at that church later today. Since this one was a surprise, I'm waiting for the pastor to email me the hymns so I can have the pleasure of choosing related prelude and postlude. I'm also excited about this blog's 10-year blogoversary that's coming up Monday; I want to figure out something wonderful to post within the octave of that date.

4. I am pitifully, once again, trying to grow a garden. Last year I only harvested one cucumber. This year, I have zucchini, cucumbers and tiny tomato plants. Everything is abloom, but the jury is out whether there will be any yield. So, do YOU have a garden? What are you growing? If you don't, what is your favorite fresh summertime vegetable/fruit/flower?
No fruit, berry, veggie, or flower garden here, but my fave summer bounty includes berries and tomatoes and I tend to go crazy with the wide local supply from Mexico and California. It took me a long time, but I've finally learned not to buy produce that's been shipped any distance for the multitude of familiar reasons.

5. If the aforementioned aliens suddenly demanded all the contents of your closet, OR ELSE (as in clothing, shoes, etc.) but kindly said you could keep three items, what would they be?
As much as I adore the really truly vintage Jessica's Gunnies skirt I got on eBay a while ago, it's also kinda fragile (I wear it as little as possible and have patched it discretely with iron-on from the back in several places), but I love skirts and dresses in general and since in the warm weather I wear them as much as possible my three would be my just below the knees lightweight embroidered corduroy skirt, a white cotton shirt to go with it, and one of my three tan safari dresses. I'll choose the one with longest sleeves so I won't get too chilly: every inch of sleeve helps lots.

Friday, July 06, 2012

grateful! gratitude! gratitudinous! 5

kathrynzj hosts over on the revgals…

Getting out of denial, rationalization and excessive defenses is the hard part; thankfulness comes easily. Nonetheless, here's my list for today:

1. The incessant rhythms of nature's seasons and the seasons of the liturgical year that vertically and horizontally embed me in all creation, in the history of this planet.

2. Colour, line, pattern, light, dark, contrast, splash, spot, design, art!!!

3. The desert and the city. The desert is necessary condition for knowledge of self and trust of God; the desert is the primary constitutive and re-constitutive location for individuals and for the community. In many ways today's deserts remain fairly close to their pristine state. Although the city is a built, "constructed" human work, ultimately the city becomes the place of community, necessary condition of our lives together and the location of the new creation, where rivers of the water of life flow from the cross.

4. The sacraments.

5. The beach—possibly counter to the desert, and we find beaches everywhere except the desert: in urban, suburban, rural and everywhere areas.