Friday, February 29, 2008

A Hermeneutics Quiz

A what quiz? we interpret the Bible. Do you consider it the literal words of God? Is it a collection of human authors' words? Somewhere in between? Your "hermeneutic" is the set of rules by which you read and interpret scripture, and you may be surprised at how inconsistent even the most conservative, and most liberal, Bible-readers are in their hermeneutic. Take the quiz to get an idea of where you stand. It's not the perfect tool, but it's interesting enough to get a conversation started.

From the creator of the hermeneutic quiz, Scot McNight (who blogs on Jesus Creed, a worthy blog to follow):

This quiz is designed to surface the decisions we make, perhaps without thinking about them, and about how we both read our Bible and don't read our Bible. Some will want to quibble with distinctions or agree with more than one answer. No test like this can reveal all the nuances needed, but broad answers are enough to raise the key issues. On a scale of 1-5, mark the answer that best fits your approach to reading the Bible. (If you fall between response 1 and response 3, give yourself a 2.) Your score will reveal where you land on our hermeneutical scale.

After you complete the quiz, links will take you to a results page where your score is explained. I would be interested to know who takes the quiz and what you thought of it.
Distracted Parents Beware!

Supposedly seen in a grocery store near you...if I really believed it would happen, then yes, this would strike fear in my heart and make me doubly observant of my wander-prone children:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Delivery Day

My first child was born a week after his due date, and that only because we evicted him (he was huge). I remember vividly my due date coming...and going...and every day thereafter my anticipation would rise like a hot air balloon, only to be deflated at day's end when no sign of labor was to be found. Seven days of hope and despair. I can't wait to see this baby, finally meet him, hold him in my hands, feel his smooth skin, find traces of family resemblance...

Of course, the day we finally met him made all that waiting so worthwhile. What a doll. (Confession: when the nurse handed him to me and I saw his face for the first time, my first sensation was relief, as in whew, he's not ugly; he really is cute. I know--I'm shallow.) He looked great, felt great, and was welcomed into our family.

Why the fond reminiscing?

My coauthor and I have recently joked to one another that we feel like overdue expectant mothers. Really, the book isn't even late--it's technically still to be released in March. But we knew it was in the warehouse over a week ago, so each day since then the anticipation has heightened, only to be deflated every evening when the doorbell didn't ring.

But yesterday was D-Day! The doctor (aka UPS man) delivered a big box of our highly anticipated, long-awaited book, Mixed Ministry, to my doorstep(as did other UPS guys to Sue and Henry). I spent the rest of the day carrying a copy around with me, leafing through chapters, checking out the cover art, generally thrilling over its arrival.

Even third babies are exciting, right?

It will be a few weeks before Mixed Ministry hits the bookshelves, but you can pre-order it on Amazon or CBD. Thanks for celebrating with me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Financial Tip

No, I can't help you on the stock market or with your mortgage rates. But I thought I'd pass along a web site that will give you access to your annual credit report. For free.

Go to to obtain your credit report from all three of the major consumer reporting companies--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You do not have to purchase a thing to get their reports. If you want your actual credit score, however, they will charge you a fee. If you are currently applying for a loan, you might be able to get that for no charge, too. But if you're just double-checking, curious, or filing for safe-keeping, you might like to see and print your report.

Bookmark the page and you can go back next year for an update. Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission and their "Avoid ID Theft" pamphlet that has this and other helpful tips on keeping your identity safe.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Special Valent-ersary
Many Valentines ago, in a home not too very far away, a dashing young man dropped to one knee...and scratched the dog's belly. His lovely young lady (it's my story--if my memory is too kind, how will you know?) narrowed her eyes and waited, suspecting something more but thrown off track...temporarily.

Must not be tonight, then. The flowers and music box delivered earlier had already confused and delighted her. He was about to escort her to dinner. And he does hate to be a cliche. She decided she could wait.

The young man, still earning the fat yellow lab's adoration, then extended his other hand to his "pretty lady." He offered a black, velvet box, the sort that needs no further description.

Her narrowed eyes popped wide in surprise. She snatched the box, opened it, and said...

"You propose while you're petting the dog?! You'll never live this down!"

Well, not really. He asked, she accepted, they went out for some Cajun food. Three months later they married. Eleven years, three children, many adventures, and one different fat dog later, they continue their unique and abiding love story together.

(He contends that he'll never be able to top that Valentine's gift, so why try?)

(She still ribs him about the dog.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where do you fit?

This map, which I found on various websites, originated with the Glenmary Research Center . This organization produces many other maps showing distributions of churches, church-going populations, and a variety of combinations related to religious life in America. You can find this map and many others like it at, an online course site that looks much like a syllabus.

This map of the US shows the leading church bodies per county. The map highlights 8 major Christian denominations, showing where they represent a plurality (and in counties marked with a + at least 50%) of the relevant counties’ population. Note, this does not total individual churchgoers, only the churches themselves. Still, it provides an intriguing look into American religous patterns.

Where do you fit? Do you worship with the majority in your county? Thoughts on the map in general?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Oh Baby, Our Book!
As the mother of three children, and now the co-author of three books, I thought I'd take a shot at comparing the two. At least from my own experience.

  • Parents and authors both endure approximately nine months gestation from the creation of their "baby" to the day their prize arrives to be held in their hands. Sue and I delivered the Mixed Ministry draft to our editors last May. We expect to receive our copies this week or next.

  • During that gestation time, parents & authors suffer through long periods of boredom followed by bursts of activity. Moms go through the "am I really pregnant?" phase because, face it, you don't look it, feel it, or sometimes believe it. Then, boom, your sonogram shows a wildly-beating heart, then your belly pops out and your scale creaks. Similarly, authors turn in the manuscript, then in effect forget about it for about four months. We feel forgotten, too, by our editors. But in reality, they are busy, busy morphing that original manuscript into a masterpiece worthy to be read by others. One day they send it back to you and give you two weeks to answer all their questions, fix all the problems they found, and return it in publishable form. Yeah, right.

  • Both get their rooms remodeled. That poor third child...surely he/she deserves to have the nursery repainted or remodeled. We decided to do the same: a few weeks ago I announced that our web site had recently been remodeled, refashioned, and completely redeveloped. Sue and I put time and money into that effort, after several years of neglect, because we knew our little family of books was soon to grow. Mixed Ministry deserves a little room of its own!

  • The arrival of both baby and book means...MARKETING! Of course you market your baby--you just call it "birth announcements" or "baby showers" or "visiting hours." Authors unfortunately call it marketing. But really, it's fun and rewarding to let the world know about your new bundle of joy. We want you to get excited about the imminent arrival of Mixed Ministry, a resource for church leaders that challenges the way men and women do ministry and life together. Like any doting parent, we'll be sure to point out the unique qualities--the ones you won't find in any other book on the market--of our pride and joy. For instance, where else can you find a book that...
...tackles mixed-gender relationships in the workplace from a biblical perspective

...invites believers to renew their eyes when viewing their sacred siblings in the church

...offers a means to healthy community among men and women who work together for God's kingdom within the context of our oversexualized culture.

...and more.

I'm sure there are many other similarities between birthing babies and books. I think it would be fun to keep going with that, but--hey, my due date is here and it's time to look to the future!

In an early bid to get this marketing going, our publisher, Kregel, has noted this blog as their featured author site for the week of February 4th.

If you would be willing to review our book, please email me on how to get a review copy. We welcome all honest and thoughtful reviews for amazon, CBD, and your own blogs or web sites.

Don't forget to check out our web site for more details on Mixed Ministry, our past books and articles, and our future ministry plans. I'll post the "birth announcement" on this blog as soon as I find out.