Reclaiming Eve


Interesting post by my wife. (and yes, it talks nicely of me (^_^)/ )

Originally posted on BENEATH...:

I have a number of things I am passionate about. These are: discipleship, youth ministry, preaching The Word, and sharing the good news to people. I realized this year that I have one more thing to include in that list, and that is empowering women.

This year, I have been given the opportunity to facilitate a Bible study at our church here in Okinawa, Keystone Church of the Nazarene. We are now studying how God created women in His image, and we have been really blessed by the book Reclaiming Eve by Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright.


It is so funny that while I was reading through the book, it brought me back to my seminary days, when I wrote with all of my heart about this topic on my papers. It felt like reading some of my work and I reminisced about my research on how throughout history, women…

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As you guys know I am a pastor and I am currently working as chaplain in an international school. What you may not know is that I am a very enthusiastic videogamer. I am particularly fond of Nintendo and its Legend of Zelda franchise. Anyway, the other day I was grading some journals from my Bible class students and all of a sudden I thought, “it would be so cool if the Bible would be in videogame form, that’d make it much easier for my students to learn the stories.” So as practical as I am, I went to google and wrote: Bible Videogame. To my surprise the top result was a kickstarter project from some guys who call themselves “Tornado Twins,” wanting to make precisely that, a video game of the Bible.

I took a look at their project and it was AMAZING. These guys are pros in the videogame industry and they dream big. To make the story short, after a few minutes I was putting my pledge to fund their project… it was THAT good!

The first installment of the game will be the story of King David

The first installment of the game will be the story of King David

Now, if they do not get the needed funds by November 1 the whole project may fail, so I am writing this to ask something from you, go to http://kck.st/1q6Qidn and take a few minutes to see what they want to achieve and why they want to do it.

As a minister who has read the complete Bible several times, I know that it can be daunting at times, but I also know that there are PLENTY of amazing stories of heroism, adventure, struggle and freedom; most important, there is one huge story of salvation that I would like the newer generations to know in whatever way possible.

The graphics actually look like those of the new Zelda for Wii U

The graphics actually look like those of the new Zelda for Wii U

So there you go, please visit http://kck.st/1q6Qidn and if you feel like it, support the project either by pledging or by sharing the word with others.

God bless you all!

Overcoming Spiritual Barriers in Japan
Overcoming Spiritual Barriers in Japan by Keith E. Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting short book attempting to analyze the problem of lack of growth in Christianity in Japan from an exclusively spiritual perspective.

PROS: The book is written in a very understandable and straightforward way. This is not one of those books that try to impress the reader by showing the complexities of the author. Furthermore, the chapters of the book are so short that one can easily read one chapter in pretty much every tiny break. This does not mean that the book is a collection of unrelated chapters; instead, the author has structured his thesis in a clear manner. Finally, there is also a good number of citations that attempt to give the book a more scholarly appearance.

CONS: The fact that the book is so short makes the reader feel that it is more of a lecture or a sermon than an actual treatise or monograph. But the biggest weakness of the book is the fact that it is written specifically for Pentecostal / Charismatic Christians and the author gives the impression not to care much about readers from different Christian groups. As a reflection of this, his quotes are almost exclusively from leaders of these groups and have little weight for anyone else.

The author presents three “strongholds” behind the slow propagation of Christianity in Japan: (1) powerlessness, (2) conformity, and (3) fear of incongruity. Whether one wants to call them strongholds, social factors, or any other way, these three are clear and accurate descriptions of Japanese society. The argument of the author is also well presented and even if one does not belong to the kind of Christian group that will accept everything he says, there is no doubt that the author cares about Japan and has attempted to do a good study out of his concern for the people of this Eastern nation.

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The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A touching story of a man on his road to personal atonement from the consequences of his disastrous decisions.

PROS: The writer manages to present a story that is both realistic and poetic. The main character struggles with the mistakes of his past and constantly reflects on his life in a very insightful way. Nevertheless, his circumstances and life events are as real and crude as it is our world today. Because of this the book speaks to both, our intellectual, reflexive capabilities, and our down-to-earth experiences. Moreover, the book reflects faithfully some of the cultural elements of the modern Middle East. Lastly, but arguably most important, this book speaks of the possibilities that we all as humans have to make terrible mistakes and wrong decisions, but also to mend those and seek for a better way through forgiveness and actions.

CONS: It’s hard to find cons in the book. The only thing I can think of is that the author portrays the United States as some kind of haven where most of the characters finally find rest from their troubles. This to me seemed unrealistic, especially considering the ethnic background of the main characters and the context of opposition that people like them experienced in real life due to the conflict and prejudices derived from the terrorist attacks of Islam extremists.

CONCLUSION: Good book, good story. It can stir some interesting thoughts and discussions, and especially it can serve as a tool to teach elements like forgiveness, redemption, and hope.

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Japanese Reader Collection Volume 2 Momotaro the Peach Boy
Japanese Reader Collection Volume 2 Momotaro the Peach Boy by Clay Boutwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really nice book for those who are just beginning in the study of Japanese.

PROS: As long as you are able to read Hiragana and Katakana, this book has everything you need to understand the text. From grammatical notes per sentence, to full Kanji text, it covers different levels of beginners in Japanese language. Furthermore, the book is written in a progressive form, so that difficulty increases as you advance through it. Lastly, it also includes the story of the tortoise and the hare, I do not know why is not advertised since it takes about half of the book’s length.

CONS: There is a significant number of format errors (mainly lack of spaces between words). Though this does not radically affect comprehension, it does disappoint; hopefully there will be an update with better edition.

CONCLUSION: If you are just starting in Japanese language and would like to have a story to read at your level, this is a good option. You can also get several stories with similar format from the same publishers.

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The Craft of Research
The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book for anyone who, willingly or unwillingly, is involved in writing a research paper, thesis, or dissertation.

PROS: This book is great to give you light in the midst of darkness. I had the bad experience of having a lot of subjective, and often contradictory, guidelines as I began working on my thesis; this, plus a hard time finding a good advisor and the heavy bias of my school towards social sciences even when my program was in the humanities, left me very confused. This book presented me with all of the information and inspiration for undertaking the writing of my thesis proposal. From finding a problem to learning about writing style, this book will surely serve you no matter how expert you think you are in research.

CONS: The edition I read is clearly written for the North-American market. The authors mention that there is a more global edition but I did not have it. Because of this, many examples make little sense for the foreign reader.

CONCLUSION: Highly recommendable. The authors are experts in their fields and in research, but that does not mean that they make things difficult. Rather, their expertise is showed in the simplicity and clarity they use in writing; even more, they encourage the reader to do the same, and that is a good thing for everyone.

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How to Think Theologically
How to Think Theologically by Howard W Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good book for people who are interested in understanding Christian theology or in teaching it to others.

PROS: The book explains nicely the essence of theology and makes a very good distinction between practical and academic theology. It is precisely because of this that readers from both groups, i.e. all of us, can benefit from reading it. This edition also bring reflection questions that are excellent for group study or personal reflection.

CONS: Because the book is very introductory, the authors are forced to cover a lot of information and this gives place to some mistakes. As a member of the Church of the Nazarene and fairly knowledgeable about John Wesley and Methodism, I picked up some of those (Methodist quadrilateral, anyone?).

CONCLUSION: Godo book overall. Many people get some entangle in academic theology that they forget that theology happens naturally at church and it is natural in all followers of Christ. This book manages to demonstrate that using fancy words IS NOT the task of theology. I can see myself using it in small group settings with new believers or lay people.

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