My Mentor, the BLOG

Mixed Media
|

This year my wife, April, learned firsthand of the wonders of Internet blogging. After moving to Spain four years ago to help start a church, we now find ourselves living in a small coastal town with few Christian communities. Without a small group to take part in reading the Bible, praying, and sharing her Christian journey, April turned to the Internet. She discovered several Christian blogs written by women who have become an integral part of her life for the past two years.

By definition, a blog—or weblog—is a type of website where entries are displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or, in April’s case, pursuing a meaningful devotional life. The blogs that April reads serve as personal diaries of faith and struggle, and the authors truly serve as meaningful faith mentors.

I’d like you to meet a few Christians who have two things in common: they are high-profile bloggers within their respective fields (some actually blog for a living), and they are visible Christians.

Mary DeMuth of relevantblog.blogspot.com

Mary, the author of Watching the Tree Limbs and other books, blogs daily about writing and parenting with a specific interest in mentoring young writers.

Andy Gray of japanwindow.com

Andy is an award-winning photographer living in Tokyo. Andy regularly showcases photos on his photo blog. His readers leave comments about impressions and technique.

Andrew Jones of tallskinnykiwitypepad.com

Andrew has been blogging since the inception of blogs. He offers daily thoughts about church and the Internet, often sparking debate among his lively community of readers. He has mentored many Christian bloggers, including one of my personal favorites—Jonny Baker of jonnybaker.blogs.com.

Darren Rowse of problogger.net

Finally, if you’re skeptical that someone could actually blog full time about blogging, meet Darren Rowse. He makes his living giving advice about how to write better blogs. Darren combines faith and business very well.

Didn’t find what you were looking for on this list? Maybe you’ll find something just for you on one of the other 50 million blogs in the Internet blogosphere. If not, start a blog about finding blogs!

Kelly Crull is a church planter with Christian Associates International in Castellón de la Plana, Spain. He blogs at spaindad.blogspot.com.

CD

Surprise

by Paul Simon

reviewed by Robert N. Hosack

At age 64, Paul Simon, one of the greatest songwriters of our day, returns with Surprise, his first new release in six years. Unabashedly autobiographical, Simon searches his soul, family, and God for meaning amidst life’s malaise. Unlike many of his aging musical peers who rely on their past classics, Simon is never afraid to reinvent. The legendary producer and soundman Brian Eno is credited with the “Sonic Landscape” on the recording, and indeed he shapes an aural atmosphere that sends Simon in defining directions. The haunting “Wartime Prayers” offers a prophet’s paean to the confusion of post 9/11 North American life. (Warner Bros)

http://www.paulsimon.com

Fiction

Abide With Me

by Elizabeth Strout

reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

After a tragic loss, Reverend Tyler Caskey’s life slowly unravels. Once he had thought, “I am a large man, and I will do large things.” However, his view of himself is not shared by his small-town parishioners. He struggles to minister to them, trying to help them understand the difference between cheap and costly grace. Meanwhile, he longs to escape a prison of his own making and to recapture the sense of closeness he had with God. Strout’s novel, though containing profanity, sexually explicit scenes, and violence, celebrates the fact that “only the infinite mercy of God can meet the infinite pathos of human life.” (Random House)http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400062072&view=excerpt

Biography

Mockingbird:

A Portrait of Harper Lee

by Charles J. Shields

reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird became the most popular 20th century American novel. In a survey, readers ranked it “as the most influential in their lives after the Bible.” Yet, 46 years later, this is the first biography ever written about Lee. Though Lee herself repeatedly refused to be interviewed, Shields based his biography on 600 interviews with people who knew her. He gives an intriguing inside look at a brilliant woman: an advocate for the underdog, a skilled observer of small-town life, and, ultimately, a recluse who was unable to duplicate her success by writing another novel. (Henry Holt)http://henryholt.com

Nature

The Tree

by Colin Tudge

reviewed by Phil Christman Jr.

Our ancestors were ecologically smarter than we are. They knew the flora and fauna well enough to care for them. Now, when such care is more important than ever, few of us know elms from poplars. That’s why we need books like this marvelously readable guide to trees. Briskly and clearly, biologist Colin Tudge steps us through the classification of trees, their histories, life cycles, and the social changes needed to ensure their (and our) survival. This book is an aid to wonder and a call to action, helping us understand and love what God commands us to protect. (Crown)

DVD

Duma

reviewed by Ray Wiersma

Directed by Carroll Ballard (Fly Away Home, The Black Stallion), Duma is a charming story about the bond shared by a 12-year-old boy and a cheetah cub. Their friendship is tested when they get caught up in a dangerous adventure through the wilds of the South African desert. This film has documentary-like qualities, and the cinematography of the landscape is breathtaking. Duma’s plot is predictable at times, and some scenes (predator vs. prey) may be a bit intense for very young viewers. However, the themes of adventure and love create a movie the entire family can enjoy. (Warner) :  http://dumamovie.warnerbros.com

Picture Book

Flotsam

by David Wiesner

reviewed by Sandy Swartzentruber

My china cabinet holds a collection of picture books so special that I’d grab them if the house were on fire. Caldecott winner David Wiesner’s book Flotsam is the cabinet’s newest resident. In this book without words, a boy discovers an old “Melville underwater camera” washed up on the beach. He develops the film inside and is rewarded with photographs that document a jaw-dropping deep-sea world and introduce him to the previous “owners” of the camera. But why does the boy throw this amazing camera back into the ocean? Read Flotsam and find out! (Clarion)

X