Weekend Reading: December 3, 2016

Good morning!  I’m really excited to be having an early breakfast with my good friend Matt, who is in from out of state!  But before we slurp down our coffee, here are a few stories from the week to check out, and an update on books I’ve been reading that you might enjoy…

First, in case you hadn’t seen this, Chip and Joanna Gaines have come under increasing heat for being members of a church that believes in traditional marriage (as if that has anything to do with remodeling homes). Al Mohler responds here in his daily podcast. 

Politics: Trump picks retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense.  Excerpt:

Mattis, 66, served more than four decades in the Marine Corps and is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, a strategic thinker who occasionally drew rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.

Like Trump, Mattis favors a tougher stance against U.S. adversaries abroad, especially Iran. The general, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in April, said that while security discussions often focus on terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”

TECH: Apparently Apple is working hard to catch up to Google Maps, and they’re using drones to do it. Good for them – they need to do something, their maps stink (hows that for an straight forward opinion ha!)

In sadder news, the city and surrounding area of Gatlinburg TN was ravaged by a terrible fire.  Our family and friends have enjoyed several vacations in this area, and our prayers are with those having to rebuild.

BACK TO POLITICS...Politico has a story called ‘The New Rules for Covering Trump’ that does a pretty good job of providing a window into the mindset of Washington media types.  I almost typed “media elites”, but what is deserving of this monogram? Are they well read, brilliant writers or savvy journalists with zeal and integrity?  I’m literally laughing aloud writing that!  I’m not posting this to make you angry, and I couldn’t care less about their strategy for covering the President-elect.  But I point it out because a few things are notable to me: 1. The media is writing stories about itself (in their world they think readers give a rip) as if they are the story (THIS ISN’T JOURNALISM!) and 2. They feel like they have to reevaluate how they cover this President. What leads them to that conclusion?  I bet there isn’t just one answer, but at the essence, its because more than any other candidate or political, Trump uses them to his own ends.  They haven’t been owned or manipulated this much in years and it bothers them…its pretty funny to watch.

NERD ALERT!!!

BOOKS!!!  Tony Reinke has his top 16 books for 2016.  Several are pretty cool – I’ve given a few to others, and own others myself or am looking forward to buying. Enjoy!

As we all get into the gift-giving season, I’m always interested in the new geeky kind of things.  What are people pushing that is cutting edge? So I stumbled on this – I don’t think its going to be on my purchase list this year (my kids aren’t old enough), but it was still cool!

Continuing the theme, my buddy Brad S. acquired one of these beauties and is raving about it.  Like me, he’s a gadget guy.  Super cool.

Lastly, if you run across one of these, you darn well better buy it and sell it on eBay, because they are IMPOSSIBLE to find (trust me, I’ve looked). Fortunately there’s hope! (so they say).

WHAT AM I READING?  The update is that I’m slowing down a bit on the reading. The Election (obviously) put a cramp in my style, but I’m back on the horse, and have been enjoying the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Samuel Johnson, and Horace while plowing through David McCullough’s Path Between the Seas (just finished) and John Adams (almost done!).  I’ve tremendously enjoyed The Hunt for Red October – I’ve seen the movie a million times, but the book has been extremely enjoyable. Clancy is a good writer, and extremely well researched, so reading this classic has been a pleasure! Another pleasure has been perusing the diaries of George Washington.  I stumbled on a four volume edition from a hundred years ago or so, and have been enjoying the President’s entries.  He did a lot of fox hunting and car playing in his spare time! haha!

I just started Susan Wise Bauer’s history of the ancient world.  I read the introduction, which is really good. I like her philosophy of history, more specifically, I like her philosophy of how a historian ought to write. It should be a fascinating look at ancient history through the fall of Rome.

CONFESSION: I’m still stuck on volume 5 of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  The first four I plowed through with a good mind, and volume five is good, but I think I’ve been distracted with other good reads.  This volume is chalked full of good stuff, so I just need to refocus I guess. Hope to report back from a more accomplished aspect in the near future.  What I can report is that for anyone desiring to listen/read to the best writer in the English language, you need go no further. Gibbon tops Dickens and Austen by a just a hair. His prose is so good that sometimes you find humorous strains laced in places where a serious comment ought to be but don’t realize it until all the big words are digested – then you die laughing because he totally made fun of some general or prince using million dollar words in such precision that you can’t believe “he just said that!”  Poor souls, didn’t even know what hit them!  haha!  Anyway, if you enjoy that sort of thing, its worth a run.

It’s Advent!

A few years ago, my friend Matt Parker and I wrote an Advent devotional for our families and friends.  The focus on this is Christ, and how we can see Him anticipated even from the beginning of creation. There are so many great advent books and reading plans out there – my own church put out a great devotional!  You can download our devotional for free and enjoy it with your family by clicking on this link: The Anticipation of Christ

That’s it!  I know I was a bit light on the newsy stuff, and I think its because I find myself reading more books than articles during the holidays.  I hope you get that same time to shift into a more relaxed reading mode!

Enjoy the weekend!

PJW

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