Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gift of Blues

Yesterday, this came in the mail. And I can’t wait to read it. Ed is an engaging writer, and, as Phil Yancey says, “a gentle prophet.”

Besides, as I turned to the back to read the acknowledgements, my eyes welled up. I don’t know, it must have been the talk about a daddy missing bedtime stories and kisses for the sake of a book.

The epigraph also got me thinking… “First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:24)

Recently, I commented on the issue of ethnicity (and posted a poem), because I think that communion between all peoples is actually at the center of God's heart. For, in Isaiah 19:24, it says, "On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, 'Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.'"

Anyhow, I hope to catch a little more vision for that future by reading Ed Gilbreath's Reconcilation Blues.

To read more about Ed’s journey as a writer and editor of Today’s Christian, go to the L.L. Barkat article In the Stars.


Blogger Heather said...

This reminds me of the story of Babylon, actually of an interpretation of the story of Babylon. This professor did not believe that Babylon was an out-and-out punishment. God had already commanded the people to spread out to the ends of the earth. When you spread out, you naturally begin to develop different dialects and customs. The people disobeyed and in fact made an effort to stay together. (Note: the Bible never says they were trying to get to God, just that they were trying to make a name for themselves, i.e. build a big city.) God had to interrupt that and force them to obey His command.
All this to say that different cultures are not a punishment. We should therefore see different cultures as a blessing, as a way of learning more aboug God as each have the capacity to embody God and celebrate Him.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...


I am a Christian and I have prayed to god every night since being a kid but I am not sure if my words are heard and I am not sure if I am praying because I am scared what will happen if I do not prey.

If people ask me if I believe in God a say "I am not sure" is this because I am embarrassed amongst my peers to say full heartedly that I do? I know that I have got out of some sticky situations when I have prayed.

I admire people like yourself L.L seem to be fully committed to God.

I am just being honest with you L.L as to how I am.

Not long till Christmas!!!

Kind Regards


10:08 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Whoa, time-out. Stop everything. Martin, this is huge, and it is an honor to be a part of a community that you trust enough to be vulnerable like that.

Martin, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to pray for you, that the Sovereign Lord would draw you close to Himself as you desire to be fully committed to God.

11:19 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Heather... in fact, I have heard it put similarly.... that cultures/peoples are like puzzle pieces that, when put together, give us a broader, richer view of the God who created us in His image.

Martin... for a guy who usually makes me laugh, you have done the surprising and brought me to tears... I do believe it is your honesty that has done so.

All I can say is, being fully committed to God is kind of like falling in love with someone "the class" deems "unpopular." At first, we are embarrassed to even glance or hold hands in public... but then we cross a line... we know we've got Beauty right here beside us... and we kiss in every park and shady lane... regardless of what anybody thinks or says.

Craver... thanks for adding your blessed love to this conversation. As far as I can tell, prayer is always, always allowed. :)

11:39 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

Can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I read the prologue and first chapter online...and felt hopeless. Are all my positive interactions with people of different backgrounds than myself because they have adopted my "white" culture? I asked Ed to tell me that he provides a solution later in the book. He simply said he was desiring to provoke conversation. Well, so far so good (if the voices in my head count). Like I said, I can't wait to read the whole thing!

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really looking forward to reading this book too. Thanks for highlighting it, Laura. When I think of the divisions between race, I often remember the verse from the Psalms about brothers who get along being like oil running down Aaron's beard. This picture has helped me see that living in community with all kinds of people can be messy, but it is abundant and rich as well.

Wednesday, Dec. 20, A.M. on NPR's "Morning Edition" there is going to be an interview with two teenagers who are best friends, one white, one black. Amazing that this relationship is still considered unique.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Irish Church Lady :) said...

Thanks for your good wishes to me for the holidays! May I offer thesame to you and your loved ones and continued joy for the risen Jesus.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this book. I look forward to reading it.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., I hope to read this book myself. It is hitting on something that is so needed. There really is a rift still remaining, and in some ways that rift is even worse, because many live as if it doesn't exist at all (I refer here to white evangelicals, of whom I am one). Thanks!

5:50 AM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Martin, I've been where you are. Just hang in there and stay faithful. And if you aren't faithful yet, stay honest in your desire for truth. Honesty leads to God.

Of course, sometimes loving God feels like a duty. But that is the way love works. I think it is easy to expect the Hollywood kind of warm fuzzy thing. But love is really just a commitment to stay faithful and honor promises.

And God honors his promise to us. To you. To me.

About the courage to tell your peers that you believe in God. That's a tough one. Mostly I don't bring the subject up with my peers--if I know they are hostile toward Christianity. But I also feel free to discuss my church life, my reading, my job, etc. So they know I'm a Christian.

If they ask me point blank, I tell them what I think at the moment. But I also qualify my statements with the proviso that I change my mind often.

Craver, kudos to you for stopping the presses and noticing how important Martin's post was!

10:17 AM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Thank you L.L Craver and Mark for taking the time to reply to my comment, I did not think that it would cause so much interest but your thoughts have helped a lot!

Have a great Christmas to you all.

Kind Regards


2:37 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

LL. - I really have to check out this book over the weekend. Wouldn't it be grant to have united church under Christ? We will be when we are in heaven - so why not here on earth???

8:04 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

"communion between all peoples is actually at the center of God's heart"

LL, I agree wholeheartedly.


9:15 AM  

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