Monday, January 12, 2015

Wild Flowers Book Club (Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith)

Did you know that A Field of Wild Flowers hosts a private online Book Club?  

You can read more about it HERE.  This past fall 18 people from all across the States (and one from New Zealand!) participated in a six week discussion of Parker Palmer's wise little book, Let Your Life Speak.  

This week I'm excited to announce our second book and offer you a chance to win a free signed copy.  



That's my oldest two posing with Michelle DeRusha's book, Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith.  Michelle's book arrived at my house while we were in the middle of packing up, changing schools and rewiring the house of our dreams.  If anything tells you how good this book is (and how enjoyable to read) it's the fact that I found time to read it and write a review right in the middle of that crazy time in our lives!  

You can read my review of Michelle's book here, where I list three things I liked about the book.  The one thing that excited me most about this book (that I didn't include in my review) is its potential usefulness in starting conversations.  Michelle's writing is so transparent and human that it easily sets the table for talking about our own experiences and struggles with faith.  

I'm excited to explore this book with you - it's suitable for those who lean steadily toward belief and also anyone who struggles in making sense of "Christian-ese" and wonders what this "Jesus thing" is all about.  Another bonus?  Michelle has agreed to join us one week for an "ask the author" session. 

Interested?  Here are the details:

The book has eleven chapters and our book club will run for about eight weeks (depending how things unfold) so there will be some weeks when we read more than one chapter, but never more than about 30 pages.  It will be hosted in a private Facebook group so our conversation will not be public.  Those who want to participate will need to "friend" me on Facebook so I can add you to the group. 

Monday, February 2 will be our official start date, which should give plenty of time to order, win or borrow a copy of the book.  We'll plan finish up by the end of March. 

Every Monday I'll post a quote from the chapters under discussion as a starting point for conversation.  On Wednesdays it'll be your turn to lead by posting a quote you especially liked or any questions you want to raise.  The best part about online book discussion is that you can check in and comment or reply at a time that works for YOU. 

You're free to comment as much as you like or be a "stalker" if you're more shy.  Some weeks you may not get to the reading, but you're still welcome to participate as much as you can.  The main rules will be that we will all show grace and compassion in regard to each other's experiences and opinions.  

You can find the book for sale on Amazon here for around $12.   

Now, (drum roll, please!) I'm grateful that Michelle has agreed to mail a FREE signed copy to one lucky winner.  To be entered into the drawing for the free book, just comment below by 12 midnight on Thursday January 15th indicating your interest in participating.  To have your name entered a second time in the drawing, you can also comment on or like this post on the Wildflowers Facebook page (this will ensure that more followers see the post).  All names will be put into a bowl and the winner will be picked and announced by Friday the 16th. 

I would love your help in spreading the word!  Please share :) and let me know if you have any questions!


This post is linked with Playdates With God and Unforced Rhythms.

8 comments:

  1. Terrific! Please add me to the group. (I don't need a copy - hopefully someone else will sign in here soon and win it!)

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  2. Not sure if I'm allowed to enter twice... but I'm in! :)

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  3. Why we should believe the Bible

    We should believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible is historically reliable and divinely inspired. It speaks about:

    • Its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
    • The Bible's amazing internal harmony
    • The Bible's incredible scientific accuracy and foresight
    • Thousands of archaeological discoveries
    • Numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by extrabiblical historical sources
    • And so on

    THE BIBLE IS SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE

    For the Bible to be regarded as the inspired word of God, it must be scientifically accurate…since God would certainly know the facts about his creation. A word of caution, however, as we seek to evaluate the claim of scientific accuracy. Over time, science has often discovered new facts that confirmed a revised understanding of the truth, previously unknown. These discoveries have always been consistent with the Bible, however, at times a careful consideration of the words and
    The account of creation (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1900s). The account of creation as given in the Bible (Genesis 1) is accurate according to the steps understood by science. Written down originally by Moses, they were not fully recognized by science until the 1900s, using modern astronomy, physics, chemistry, paleontology, and geology.


    Time, space and matter had a beginning (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1916). The Bible’s first words are “in the beginning.” And elsewhere, including the New Testament, there are references to the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7). In 1915, Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity proposed a beginning of time, matter and space. Later these equations were confirmed by repeated experiments.

    The first law of thermodynamics (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1842). The law of conservation of energy indicates that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed (just converted). There are many biblical references to God’s completion (that is, there was no more creation), going as far back as Genesis (2:2-3), and also in several other books (Psalm 148:6; Isaiah 40:26; 2 Peter 3:3-7; Hebrews 4:3-4,10). Joule and Mayer both independently discovered this in the same year (1842), what is now known as the first law of thermodynamics.

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  4. The second law of thermodynamics (the Bible: 1000 B.C.; Science: 1850). Commonly known as entropy, this law states that all things progress from a state of order to a state of disorder (within a closed system) without a purposeful input of energy. Common illustrations: things decay, springs unwind, stars burn out, heat dissipates, and materials become mixed over time. There are many references to the principle of entropy in the Bible, for example,

    In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like garment (Psalm 102:25-26).

    Other similar references include Isaiah 51:6; Matthew 24:35; Romans 8:20-22; 1 John 2:17; and Hebrews 12:27. In 1850, Clausius discovered this second law of thermodynamics.

    Circumcision on the eighth day (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1947). No one really knows for sure why God specifically chose circumcision as the sign of his covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:11). Though it seems like an odd practice, research has indicated that it does have medical value. A study in the mid-1900s showed that Jewish women had a lower rate of cervical cancer. The smegma bacillus has been shown to be a major cause of cervical cancer. It can be easily carried in the foreskin of uncircumcised males and transferred to females through a abrasions of the cervix (as those occurring in childbirth).

    Interestingly, God specified that newborns be circumcised on the eighth day after childbirth (Genesis 17:12). Research shows that infants are particularly susceptible to hemorrhaging from the second day after birth to the fifth. A small cut can be deadly. Vitamin K, necessary for the production of prothrombin (the body’s blood-clotting substance) is not present sufficiently until days five through seven. It skyrockets to 110 percent of normal on day eight, and then levels off. The Bible specifies the best possible day.

    Sterilization (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1800s). It is easy to take our understanding of germs and disease for granted. However, germs and sterilization were not understood until the time of Joseph Lister (1865), near the end of the Civil War. The Bible required sterilization for many things: infectious disease (Leviticus 13), childbirth (chapter 12), bodily discharges (chapter 15), and handling of the dead (Numbers 19).


    Interesting to note that many of the world’s greatest scientists have been Christians working from within a Christian worldview, including men such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Sir Isaac Newton. These brilliant men found to be true what many others discovered: The Bible is a book that can be trusted.

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  5. Archaeological Evidence


    Archaeologists have discovered substantial support about many
    details of Jesus’ life. Some examples include:

    Indirect Resurrection Evidence

    Evidence that the people in Jesus’ time believed in the resurrection is found on caskets of bones (ossuaries) discovered in a sealed tomb outside Jerusalem in 1945. Coins minted in about A.D. 50 were found inside the caskets, dating the burial within about 20 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. Markings are clearly legible, including several statements reflecting knowledge of Jesus’ ability to overcome death. Example of writings (in Greek) of hope for deceased loved ones include: “Jesus, Help” and “Jesus, Let Him Arise.” The caskets also contain several crosses, clearly marked in charcoal. This is powerful evidence that early Christians believed in Jesus’ ability to triumph over death. It also ties the idea of victory over death to the cross.

    Jesus’ Burial Shroud?

    A burial shroud (Shroud of Turin) is believed by many people to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus (Matthew 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). Items supporting its authenticity are:

    1. Test that confirm fiber type and small particles of limestone dust unique to the region.
    2. Confirmation of blood, in wounds precisely as indicated in the accounts of Jesus’ unique execution.
    3. Confirmation of a crucifixion as likely cause of the type of image created: matching a deceased body.
    4. Coins on eyes dated about the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

    Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”


    The Dead Sea Scrolls

    Any doubt regarding the accurate transmission of manuscripts was erased in 1947
    with the discovery of hundreds of scrolls buried in caves for nearly 2000 years.
    Many were written before 100 B.C. Comparison of biblical books with recent
    Jewish copies shows virtual no change in words or even letters.

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  6. The Trustworthiness of the New Testament

    1 The New Testament has better manuscript evidence than any other ancient book.

    a. There are over 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, the majority of classical works have less than 20 manuscripts.

    b. The dates of the New Testament manuscripts are close to the original writings. One Gospel fragment (Ryland’s) dates about 25 years after the Gospel of John and most of the New Testament (Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri) from 50-150 years after the originals. Most classical works date from 700 – 1400 years after the originals.

    c. None of the canonical New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, 107 of Livy’s 142 books of history have been lost and about one half of Tacitus’ 30 books of Annals and Histories is missing.
    2. Good arguments can be given that each of the Gospels was either written by an eyewitness, or significantly influenced by firsthand testimony, as recognized by many contemporary scholars.
    3. Even without proving eyewitness authorship, the Gospels measure up well by normal historical standards used in ancient historiography.
    4. The Gospel are trustworthy sources, as explained by A.M. Hunter
    a. These Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material.
    b. The Gospels are close to eyewitness sources.
    c. The Gospel authors were honest reporters.
    d. The picture of Jesus presented in the four Gospels is virtually the same (see Archibald M. Hunter, Bible and Gospel, pp. 32-37).
    5. The Gospels and Acts exhibit a specific interest in reporting historical facts, not mythology. This is especially the case when the life of Jesus is reported.
    6. Contemporary historians frequently opposed the application of radical criticism to New Testament studies. According to A.N. Sherwin-White and Michael Grant, such attacks fail at a number of crucial points (see A.N. Sherman-White, Roman Society, pp. 186-193; Grant, Jesus: An Historian Review, pp. 179-184, 199-201).
    a. Numerous ancient works exhibit intentions and methodologies similar to that of the New Testament authors, and yet these ancient works are well accredited as historical works.
    b. There are no ancient writings in the category that radical critics place the Gospels.
    c. New Testament books such as Acts have been largely confirmed by external test of historicity.
    7. The Gospel and Acts were recognized as inspired books almost immediately after being written (see J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers).
    a. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 and refers to it as “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Rome (about AD 95) speaks of the “Gospel” and quotes portions found in all three synoptic Gospels, referring to them as the words of Jesus (Corinthians 13,46).
    c. Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 3) and Polycarp (Philippians 2, 7), both writing about AD 115, refer to verses in the synoptic Gospels as the words of Christ.

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  7. 8. Paul’s epistles were also recognized as inspired Scripture almost immediately after being written.
    a. 2 Peter 3:15-16 calls Paul’s epistles “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Roman (Corinthians 47), Ignatius (Ephesians 10; to Polycarp 5), and Polycarp (Philippians 1,3-4, 6) all refer to Paul’s writings as inspired.

    Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable. He was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account!


    Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) Greenleaf, (former Atheist), one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, and a world-renowned expert on evidence, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen. Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.


    Manuscript Documentation

    The position of Jewish scribe was one of the most demanding and esteemed jobs in biblical times. After training for years, scribes were allowed to practice the profession only after age 30. Often referred to as doctors of the Law, they joined the priests in the teaching of the Law.

    Scripture Copy Rules

    Recording of Holy Scripture was a serious responsibility. So important was exact reproduction that Old Testament scribes were forced to adhere to demanding rules anytime a manuscript was copied:

    1. Scrolls – special paper, ink, and surface preparation required.
    2. Tight specifications – specified column number, 37 letters per column.
    3. Master used – no duplicates of duplicates.
    4. Each letter visually confirmed – no writing of phrases.
    5. Distance between letters checked with thread.
    6. Alphabet – each letter counted and compared to original.
    7. Letters per page counted and compared to master.
    8. Middle letter of scroll verified to be the same as the master.
    9. One mistake – scroll was destroyed (i.e., master scrolls)

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  8. Consider the following facts about the Bible:

    First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few.

    Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.

    Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.

    Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.

    And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe . Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God's people.

    Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What's more, this collection of books shares a common storyline - the creation, fall, and redemption of God's people; a common theme - God's universal love for all of humanity; and a common message - salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and
    commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God's word truly is an amazing collection of writings!

    The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.


    The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption

    The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”
    (Matthew 24:35).

    The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.







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