Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Rick Riordan masterfully relocates a Greek mythological world into twenty-first century America.  Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, leads the heroic charge throughout the five books against the rise of the Titan, Kronos.  This story is full of monster flaying, demon slaying, and demigod fighting; there is even a love story that weaves its way through the books.  With wit and humor Riordan beckons his readers to delve deeper into world that many thought ended with the Greek and Roman empires.  I highly recommend this series; indeed, it is a fun read for all ages!

On another note, as I read this series I was reminded of how peoples, ancient and modern, have sought to explain this world apart from the Triune God of Creation.  The story compelled me to revisit the early chapters of the biblical narrative (especially Genesis 1-3) in which the Scripture paints a vastly different picture of God.  For one, God is singular, not plural, he alone rules over the creation at the beginning as he speaks the universe into existence (Gen 1:1); this is a truth repeated throughout the Scripture (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29).  Additionally, in contrast to mythological gods like Zeus and Kronos who clamor for power and fear their own demise the Scripture teaches that the God of the Bible alone is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.  He alone rules over the chaotic waters at the beginning of the world (Gen 1:2) and his enemies are no match for him at the beginning of the New Creation (Rev 20:10).  Once again, fiction is a helpful medium that enables careful readers to think more deeply about the biblical narrative and the story all Christians are called into in Christ (Eph 2:13).

The Servant King

I recently read T. Desmond Alexander’s The Servant King: The Bible’s Portrait of the Messiah.  With skill, Alexander articulately shows throughout his work how the entire Bible endeavors to tell one story about Jesus Christ.  Indeed, the Bible is one book wed together by multiple themes that tells one story about Jesus the Christ.

Alexander does more than creatively tie narrative themes together, he labors to make clear that there are two types of people: “those who display a positive attitude toward God (the seed of the woman) and those who are fundamentally opposed to him (the seed of the serpent)” (18).  The most visible difference between the two types of people is that the moral behavior of those within the kingdom distinguishes them from those outside of the kingdom (149).  As a result, the book is applicational as well as deeply theological.

It is an easy book to read (only 168 pages) and will help you read Scripture narratively. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to further understand the one story told between the Old and New Testament.

Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God

That little book slaughtered my sinful soul.

Recently, I had the privilege to meet CJ Mahaney.  He dined at Mitchell’s Fish Market, the restaurant where I work, on February 10, 2011 and I was able to serve his table.  About two weeks later I received a stack of books in the mail from Mr. Mahaney with a note indicating that he hoped that they would be useful for my life and ministry.  I was unbelievably excited (who wouldn’t be, they were free books!); since I wanted a break from studying from my classes at SBTS I picked up one of the books that he sent me that I had not yet read, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God (SRGG), and left to go exercise, I had no idea what I was about to read.

After I finished reading page 104, I remember thinking to myself a plethora of thoughts, “I need to enjoy my wife and the life that the Lord has given me in Christ.  I need to take myself less seriously.  The Lord really wants me to honor him by joyfully loving my wife and family.  God wants Meghan and me to not only have a robust theology of marriage but also a romantic and joyful life of intimacy as we endeavor to picture the Christ-church union in our marriage and the key to that kind of intimacy is touching her heart and mind before I touch her body.”

Through that book and some serious soul work the Lord revealed to me that I am a husband struggling with forbearance toward my wife (to be honest, for sometime he has been using Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1Pt 3:7 to bring me under scriptural conviction).  He also has revealed to me that I am becoming a man who has stopped pursuing the heart and affections of my bride.  He revealed to me that I am far too often a self-absorbed man driven by the calling to preach and to pastor, so much so that I am not actively and intentionally romancing my wife.  Though it is a good and noble desire to pursue such a calling (1Tim 3:1), I am often blinded and forget that the Lord has entrusted me with a wife and child, both of whom I am to care for or I am worse than an unbeliever (1Tim 5:8) and unqualified for gospel ministry (1Tim 3:5).

That said, I have been warring with this for some time.

Crushed, I asked the Lord and Meghan for forgiveness and have been actively repenting since.  I want my wife to know that there is no one other than Christ who rivals her; that no dream will eclipse her (not even the aspiration to pastor).  Now, I am trying to find creative ways to let her know that I love her and that I am thankful for her.

Here are some of the thoughts that I jotted down after reading SRGG to reflect on:

1)      Meditate on Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1Pt 3:7 as a way to remember that Meghan is my lover, bride, best friend, cherished companion, and fellow heir of the grace of life.

2)      Remember that the way that I love Meghan publically, especially before our children, will have eternal ramifications for the gospel – I am leaving a legacy whether I know it or not.

3)      The fact that we will both die should motivate me to love Meghan more lavishly and more passionately.  Therefore, considering that our life is but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14), endeavor to ask for forgiveness from God and Meghan whenever I sin against her in word or deed; labor to live a joyful life with no regrets, regardless of our financial means, so that I do not stand over her casket one day and think, “If only I would have spent more time showing and telling Meghan how much I love her.”

4)      Carefully compose spontaneous sayings and poetic words that communicate my appreciation, affections, and passion for Meghan in a way that is meaningful for her.

5)      Occasionally write Meghan letters as a way to try and express my love and deep affections for her with words.

6)      Study Meghan so that I can randomly surprise her with her a favorite snack, a desired book, a new piece of clothing, a dinner for two, etc.

7)      If possible plan a yearly vacation/getaway so that we can have unhurried and undistracted time as we labor to invest in one another and cultivate an intimate and romantic lifestyle as a married couple who cherishes each other.

8)      Try to establish a weekly or biweekly date night as a way to focus on one another and cultivate romance in our marriage.

9)      Try to call Meghan at least once a day while at work or at school to see how she is doing and to let her know that I love her.

10)  Have family worship at least 4-5 times a week with Meghan and Abigail as a way to cultivate spiritual intimacy in our marriage.

If you haven’t read Mahaney’s book, I would encourage you to read it (especially if you are a married man or an engaged man or a man who ever hopes to marry a woman!).  The wife’s counterpart to this book is Carolyn Mahaney’s “Feminine Appeal”.