Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Book Review: Three views on The Millennium and Beyond

This is an excellent book on what is fundamentally a very narrow question: is there an intermediate kingdom (a millennium) between the present age and the eternal state? The contributors chosen to represent their position (Kenneth Gentry for postmillennialism; Robert Strimple for amillennialism; Craig Blaising for premillennialism) are excellent scholars and skilled ambassadors of their particular take on the subject.

Each contributor outlines his position on the issue, followed by responses from the other two scholars. The postmill view goes first (along with the responses), the amill view is second, and the premill view (the longest section by far) wraps up the consideration. The overall tone is irenic and gracious--the book contributes light on the topic rather than heat--something I really appreciate.

Darrell Bock, the editor, writes an outstanding summary essay identifying the major interpretive issues that appeared repeatedly in the writing of the three contributors. This summary is excellent in its own right. In fact, I recommend reading the summary first, especially for those readers who are not very familiar with the debate. Bock does a good job of laying the issues out on the table and explaining their implications in a simple-to-understand format.

A recommendation: don't speedread this book. Read it slowly and carefully, looking up and thinking carefully about the Scriptures the writers cite. I forced myself to slow down and study the book carefully--as a result, I have gained a great deal more understanding about all three positions. And this even though I was already familiar with the issues, have studied the Bible for over 40 years, and have a graduate degree in Bible. Five stars, heartily recommended no matter what your starting position might be on the millennial question.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Book Review: Eric Foner's The Fiery Trial

Excellent book. Foner traces the evolution of Abraham Lincoln's views regarding slavery, emancipation, black suffrage, colonization (meaning, the opinion during his day that blacks should be relocated out of the country), and the civil and social equality of the negro.

Several things stand out about this book. Foner unveils the gross and malicious racism of not only the southern states, but even the northern states. The Republicans were distinctly uncomfortable with the contradiction between the high ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the actual experience of the black population, but many were willing to live with that contradiction. The Democrats were fighting to preserve that contradiction, in many cases arguing that the blacks were either subhuman or too inferior to handle freedom (the growing popularity of Darwinism was used to buttress their argument, by the way).

Foner teases out the factions (radical abolitionists, conservative Republicans, moderate Democrats, Unionists, etc) with great skill and copious documentation. He also makes clear the complexity and tension of the competing priorities of ending slavery while preserving the Union, keeping the border states from seceding, all the while defending the Constitution. Reading Foner provides a much clearer picture of the difficulties the country faced than does the modern progressive evaluation of American slavery.

Once the gross sin of slavery was introduced into the colonies, the die was cast for a bloody reckoning in the future, a reckoning that the Declaration would exacerbate--because that document demonstrated that men knew what was right even if they chose not to do it.

Reading Foner's The Fiery Trial is a worthwhile education as to the morals and mood of mid nineteenth century America. Not only does it display the dark, sinful underbelly of our history, it also demonstrates that within the seeds of the American experiment were the tools of correction, the ability to right a gross injustice.

Five stars--well worth the read.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Book Review: Kidner's commentary on Jeremiah

There are times that Kidner's words in this brief commentary rise beyond mere explanations to profound observations. I was repeatedly delighted with his applications of biblical truth.

If you're looking for a technical commentary, this one isn't it. If you are a busy individual looking for a popular level commentary, something concise to keep you on the guardrails of responsible, orthodox interpretation, Kidner's commentary is what you need. The book of Jeremiah is fifty-two chapters long: an academic treatment would run to over 600 pages. Kidner does an excellent job with the text in 176 pages.

For the layman, the turbulent period of Jeremiah's ministry can be very difficult to untangle from a historical perspective, a task made more difficult because the swinging door of Judah's throne is complicated by the use of multiple names for the same monarch (e.g. Jehoiachin is Coniah is Jeconiah; Shallum is Jehoahaz is Joahaz). The organization of the Hebrew text of Jeremiah's prophecy reflects that tangled sense. Kidner does a great job helping the reader to sort things out and place them in the proper historical context.

Sometimes commentaries lose the big picture of the movement of the text, getting lost in arcane details. Kidner does an excellent job of tracking the overall direction of the text, never losing sight of its main thrusts, and pointing the reader to ultimate fulfillments in Christ. Five stars, highly recommended.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Writing Update for Outlander Chronicles: Icarus, book three of the series

Three years ago next month (October, 2018) I started writing Outlander Chronicles: Icarus. Within two months I gave up--the story just was not coming. A year or so later I gave it another brief shot, only to give up again. The story just wasn't working and I wasn't happy with what I had written. I pretty much gave up on a book 3 of the Outlander series.

After several years off from working on the Outlander series, finally this past January I picked up the tale again, pretty much starting from scratch, (although I was able to use some scenes from my earlier attempts with significant re-writing).

Now I am a little over 1/3 of the way to my target word count of 100K, and I am excited about the tale--it's developing into a great story.

I'm also a little nervous. Normally I know how I want the tale to end before I even start writing it. Not so with Icarus. This is the first novel I've written without being sure exactly how I'm going to "land the plane."

I've often said that, as an author, I don't find out what's happening next in my tales until I actually write the scene. If you've read Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix, you're aware of a pretty shocking event near the end of the book (no spoilers, please) (and by the way, some of my readers STILL haven't forgiven me!!). I did not know that event was going to happen until I was actually typing the words. It was unplanned.

Not true with respect to the endings of my books. I know the ending when I'm writing the opening scene (although I haven't the foggiest notion of how I will get from 'A' to 'B').

Right now, the ending of Icarus in my mind is a blank page. Guess I'll find out when I get there...

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Book Review of Jim Newheiser's Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage is a terrific book to use as a reference, or to read cover-to-cover.

Newheiser's writing style is very accessible and clear. I'm tempted to use the first part of the book ("Part 1: Marriage") as a tool for pre-marital counseling.

The book is comprehensive. It's hard to imagine situations arising which have not been somehow 
dealt with in this volume. As such it is a go-to reference for Bible-believing pastors and counselors.

Newheiser is also relentlessly biblical, and makes it clear when he's just offering an opinion as opposed to a clear biblical principle. He is very even-handed and gracious to those scholars who disagree with his interpretations of the texts. For instance, when it comes to the exception clause, he very faithfully represents and interacts with the arguments of those who see no exception at all.

The book is organized in two major sections broken into seven segments:

Part 1: Marriage

A. The Foundations of Marriage
B. Entering into Marriage
C. Having a Successful Marriage
D. Challenges in Marriage

Part 2: Divorce and Remarriage
A. The Foundations of Divorce and Remarriage
B. Divorce and Remarriage Controversies
C. Practical Questions

Each of the forty chapters are titled in the form of a question (for example, chapter 12 is entitled, "What are the responsibilities of a husband"). This format enables Newheiser to deal very concisely with the particular issue. In my opinion, the expectations raised by the chapter titles are fulfilled by the content.

Newheiser has made an outstanding and important contribution to the biblical counseling movement with this book. Five stars, highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Psalm 44, and a prayer for Afghani believers

On first glance, Psalm 44 seems to have a conflicting message. It begins with praise for God’s work of delivering Canaan into the hand of Israel (vv 1-3) followed by a confession that the psalmist does not trust in himself, but in God for deliverance (vv. 4-8).

But then the psalm takes a difficult twist in verses 9-19, as the psalmist complains that God has nonetheless rejected them (v 9), saying “You sell Your people cheaply” (v 12). God’s actions towards them seem to contrast with their continued faithfulness to Him (vv 17-18).

In the final section (vv 20-26) the psalmist asserts their faithfulness (vv 20-21), even while “for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (v 22). The psalm ends with a desperate plea, “Arouse Yourself, why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever” (v 23), followed by the petition, “Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness” (v 26).

This is not what we expect to see. Why does God treat His people so, when they are seeking to be faithful? Derek Kidner’s comments on this seemingly conflicted psalm are excellent

“The psalm is exploring the baffling fluctuations that have their counterpart in Christian history: periods of blessings and barrenness, advance and retreat, which may correspond to no apparent changes of men’s loyalty or methods. Although its picture of the sleeping Lord may seem naive to us, it was acted out in the New Testament, to teach a lesson which we still find relevant: cf. verse 23 with Mark 4:38.
But the crux is in verse 22, with the phrase for thy sake. The psalm does not develop it, but it implies the revolutionary thought that suffering may be a battle-scar rather than a punishment: the price of loyalty in a world which is at war with God. If this is so, a reverse as well as a victory may be a sign of fellowship with him, not of alienation.” [Kidner, Psalms 1-72, Intervarsity Press, 2008, p.187. Emphasis mine.]
Paul cites Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8:36 and brings the psalmist’s complaint to its biblical theological conclusion, revealing God’s deeper purposes: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35–39)

God was pleased to crush His own suffering Son on the cross (Isaiah 53:10), despite Jesus’ absolute faithfulness to His Father. Jesus Christ was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), to pay for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:4-6). But that was not the end of the story. By His death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ overwhelmingly conquered death and hell in order to save His precious people. And because of His victory, God’s people likewise overwhelmingly conquer, even in the face of death and intense persecution.

May our faithful God grant to the precious Afghani believers protection, shelter, and safety from raging lion who walks about, seeking to devour them. And when God in His wise and faithful providence determines not to grant temporal protection, may He give His people courage, strength, endurance, grace, mercy, and comfort as they faithfully bear their honorable battle-scars for His name’s sake. He will wipe away every tear.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Book Review: Voddie Baucham's Fault Lines

Baucham’s book, Fault Lines, is an indispensable guide to how the modern Social Justice movement is affecting the otherwise orthodox Christian Church in America. Heavily footnoted with plenty of primary sources, Baucham makes the case that America’s preoccupation with “antiracism” is not simply a social movement but an inherently religious movement, and that evangelicals are jumping on the bandwagon without perhaps realizing the origins, goals, and theology of the movement they are supporting.

Frankly, in our current climate this is a book only a black man could write. As it is, Baucham is having to endure much criticism from all points of the compass for standing up and exposing the lies, the fallacies, the media exaggerations, the duplicitous statistics, and the religious nature and hidden agendas of Critical Race Theory and BLM. For example, Baucham walks through the latest examples of the shootings of black people by police, and using documented facts that are beyond dispute, eviscerates the narrative promoted by the media and BLM.

He’s not shy about naming names and organizations of evangelicals who have capitulated to the modern cultural current, and he demonstrates that biblical truth is the real victim. In all cases, Baucham critiques by using the individual’s or organization’s own explicit, public statements. The Southern Baptist Convention in particular takes it right on the nose, as well as a number of popular preachers.

The seduction of the antiracism movement is located in the fact that many of their particular concerns are indeed legitimate. There is a measure of racism in America (as there is everywhere). There are benefits that accrue automatically to the majority culture. Black people in America have suffered historically and have experienced oppression. These statements are true, but the conclusions and solutions which the Social Justice movement elicits from these observations are neither true nor helpful.

The Social Justice Warriors are engaged in an argumentation involving major premise, minor premise, conclusion. A sample of their logic looks something like this: major premise: all white people are racist; minor premise: you are white; conclusion: therefore you are a racist. As constructed it is a logically valid argument. However it is a true argument only if both premises are true. But the major premise is false, and from a biblical perspective, slanderous.

What Baucham shows is that if you accept the assumptions that begin the Social Justice contentions (i.e., the major premise), you will inevitably lose the argument. But in truth, those assumptions are terribly flawed (and unbiblical). There’s also a compression of history in the Social Justice thinking, as though it was only yesterday that slavery existed in America. There’s a willing blindness to the fact that that equality before the law for all races and ethnic groups has long been established in America.

If you’ve been struggling with (a) knowing that there are forms of oppression in our society, but (b) sensing that the Social Justice Warriors have grossly overstated the problem and seem to be following a hidden agenda, then Voddie Baucham’s Fault Lines is the book you need to read. It is irenic in tone, accessible and well-documented. Five stars, highly recommended.

Monday, July 12, 2021

He's not a mere man, Mark 5:21-43

There is an interesting incident recorded in Mark 5:21-43, in which a synagogue official begs Jesus to heal his dying daughter. While He is walking to the man’s house, a woman who was hemorrhaging blood touches His garment, creating a delay—a delay in which the man’s daughter dies. After speaking with the woman, Jesus continues on to the synagogue official’s house, and raises his twelve-year-old daughter from the dead. All three synoptic gospels contain the account (Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 8:41-56).

I’ve always found this account interesting, imagining the agony that father goes through when he sees Jesus delayed by the woman, only to hear that his daughter has died. I have wondered how he responded to that fatal interruption. “If only this woman had not distracted the Teacher, my little girl would still be alive!” Did he then have faith that Jesus could not only heal, but restore life to the dead? The account does not make clear his reaction, other than that Jesus told him, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” (Mark 5:36). Jesus then goes on to bring the man’s daughter back to life.

There’s an interesting side story to this, and it revolves around “touching.” There are several references to physical contact in the account. In 5:27, 28, and 30 are references to the fact that the woman touches Jesus. Verse 31 contains the disciples’ exasperated reaction to the affair. Once Jesus arrives at the synagogue official’s home, he takes the little girl’s hand. While Mark 5:41 does not use the verb “touch” it is obviously physical contact with her corpse.

So what’s the big deal? It’s a little subtle, but it is significant. In Leviticus 15:17-27 Moses instructs the people that a woman with a discharge of blood is “unclean,” and anything or anyone who touches her during that time also becomes unclean. In Numbers 19:22 it is clear that ceremonial “uncleanness” is contagious. Anything an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and if someone else touches what the unclean has touched, they, too, become unclean.

Were Jesus a mere man then He would have been made unclean by contact with the woman. As unclean, it is unthinkable that the power of God would have been present with Him to raise the little girl. And by the way, touching the corpse of the little girl would have likewise rendered Jesus unclean (Numbers 19:11).

But Jesus is not a mere man. He is the Glory of God tabernacled among us, as John tells us: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NASB95).

The word “dwelt” in John 1:14 is the verb form of the noun translated “tabernacle” in the LXX, the Greek version of the Old Testament. Jesus Himself is both God’s tabernacle and the final offering made there. And Exodus 30:26-29 tells us that the consecrated articles of the tabernacle are holy—and that anything that touches them becomes holy (Exodus 30:29).

The fact that Jesus did NOT become unclean through His contact with either the woman or the little girl, but rather THEY were “cleansed” through contact with Him demonstrates conclusively that He is no mere man but rather God in the flesh. He is the One who is able to make the unclean, clean, and the broken, whole.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Memorial Day Tribute

 I suspect that any man on the front lines of heavy fighting in World War 2 came home somewhat surprised that he had survived. One of the things I admire about my dad and all those who flirted with death is that day after day and night after night they answered the call, strapped themselves in the cockpit or hunkered down in the foxhole and faced the same terrors again. And again. And again. And again.

To all those men and women who have sacrificed so much, whether in WW2 or modern-day anti-terrorist operations--thank you. You have done your part to keep this country free and safe. I can only hope that those of us not in the military do our part as responsible stewards of the gift we've been given, a gift purchased by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who have served. My dad was one of those who served (1942-1966).

During his first tour in 1944, Dad was aboard theYorktown (CV-10) flying with fighter squadron VF-5. During his second tour he was on the light carrier Belleau Wood (CVL-24) flying with VF-30. At this time in his career dad was flying the F6F Gruman Hellcat.

It has been said that war is composed of a recurring cycle of days of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror. I think you'll see that in what follows below. It's an excerpt from my father's wartime diary during part of his second Pacific Tour, from February 1 to February 19, 1945. 

[Note to those not familiar with carrier operations: the LSO is the Landing Signal Officer (you'll encounter this in the February 11th entry). He is a very experienced pilot standing on the carrier who observes aircraft in the landing pattern and "waves them off" if the deck is not clear or if the pilot is not "in the groove" for a safe landing.]


Thursday and Friday, February 1 and 2, 1945, At Sea

Crossed the international date line so the date moved up one day today. We were paid today. Broke out the dice table, 20 of the boys put up $20 apiece and they form the syndicate which operates the board. I paid out all my money so the crap game doesn't worry me any.

Saturday, February 3 - Monday, February 5, 1945, At Sea

All routine days at sea so to save time & space I've combined 3 days on this page. During this period I have written over 20 letters. We refueled the cans on the 3rd. It seems odd to be steaming along through waters that were exceedingly dangerous this time last year. We passed within 50 miles of one Jap held island in the Marshalls. Passed Eniwetok our base by only 60 miles. We went within 200 miles of Truk, still Jap held. On the night of the 5th we had our first real GQ. Radar picked up a bogey which proved to be a cloud formation. During this period I & my team hasn't flown - just stood Cond. II.

Tuesday, February 6, 1945, At Sea

Stood condition II today. Thought we might have some fun this P.M., our ship rec'd a report that a large number of planes were seen taking off from Truk by one of our patrol bombers nothing developed from this however. We had 8 planes up on CAP this PM. My team is next to fly. Gunndaker settled at the ramp and broke his hook off on the ramp, he went into the barriers. Smitty who had just landed and taxied forward of the barriers was still in his plane, Gunners plane smacked into the tail of his. Gunners plane is a washout, Smittys is badly damaged, neither pilot was hurt. We get in Ulithi tomorrow AM. Hope we get some mail.

Wednesday, February 7, 1945, Ulithi Lagoon

Dropped anchor at about 1300. I have witnessed an impressing sight. Never on the face of the earth has such a fleet been assembled at one place as here in this lagoon. As far as you can see for miles around there are hundreds of ships. Ulithi is a typical atoll, very little land just a coral reef around a large lagoon.

The air group did not get mail though the ship did, sure makes me mad. This is about as poor a ship as I've ever seen. I have refrained from mentioning it prior to this because I thought things might change.

Tonight we received a shock, we are going to hit Tokyo Bay on a 2 day strike prior to a landing on Iwo Jima. This will be the first carrier strike on the Jap Homeland. Rather a dubious honor I'd say.

Thursday, February 8, 1945, Ulithi Lagoon

Still no mail. With the knowledge of where we are going this no mail deal is really setting hard on the squadron. Morale is very low. I tried to go to the mail ship myself but was unable to get there. We have no movies, no mail, no shore recreation no sun bathing and no athletics, all this is sure adding up to a unhappy squadron.

On top of all this comes word that the skipper and the executive officer will not get to participate in the Tokyo strike due to the fact that they know too much to run the risk of falling into Jap hands. This is also bad because the squadron feels like this will be a suicide raid, secretly I'm afraid it is.

Friday, February 9, 1945, Ulithi Lagoon

I spent all PM attempting to run down squadron mail with no success, there has been a foul up somewhere. It will be a long time now before we get mail.

Air Group and ship morale is very low, that's bad before a raid but it is strictly the ships fault. This is going to be a hell of a tour of duty unless changes are made.

We were briefed today on rescue facilities tough raid coming up. Sure would like to hear from my little girl. The letters we mail here won't be [mailed ?] for three weeks so it will be a long time before my little girl and the folks hear from me.

Saturday, February 10, 1945, At Sea

Hoisted the hook about 1030. I might mention that I am once again in Task Force 58 we are in group one under my old captain Jocko Clark. This is a large task force.

We did not get our mail this A.M. so we have the long prospects of no mail. Ship had gunnery practice in the P.M. Landed our 2 replacement aircraft aboard around noon. Briefing every day on Tokyo Bay area. Have a full schedule tomorrow I have 2 flights.

Sunday, February 11, 1945, At Sea

This is the darkest day I've ever had in my life. Young and Wescott were killed this AM on our first flight. We took off around 0700 on a strike against a spar towed by a CV. Young went in right after take off before he had rendezvoused. According to Lee who was right behind him he started his left turn and settled right into the sea, his plane blew up. Evidently he was working on something in the cockpit and just flew in. Wescott who was a spare was launched in his place. The hop went off OK and was 3 hrs & 1/4 long. I landed first, Curry got a waveoff, then Lee came aboard followed by Wescott, for some unknown reason, the deck crew held Wescott aft of the barriers and due to carelessness the L.S.O. gave Curry a cut with Wescott still aft of the barriers. Curry's hook pulled out on no. 5 wire and he crashed on top of Wescott. Wescotts death was merciful, the planes caught on fire immediately and Curry was very fortunate to get out unhurt.

Wescott's body was not saved as the planes burned for 15 minutes and finally had to be pushed over the side still burning. It was not Curry's fault at all nor was it Wescott's fault, it was the L.S.O. fault for giving Curry a cut, the LSO was busted down. Even if Curry's hook hadn't of broken he would have still crashed into Wescott.

Naturally Curry was all broken up and the Doc gave him some knock out pills and put him to bed. Team 9 was scheduled to fly again in the P.M. So with two substitutes Lee and I flew again, Lee didn't want to fly nor did I but I believe it was best we did.

This is the termination of team 9. We no longer have enough pilots for nine teams. The skipper since he does not have combat experience nor do none of his team has asked me to lead his 2nd section. Since I've lost my team, I don't care where or if I fly, I wouldn't have been prouder of my boys than if they were aces.

Monday, February 12, 1945, At Sea

I can't realize Wescott and Young are gone. Curry is coming around OK. We have convinced him that it wasn't his fault. I have some awfully tough letters to write soon.

I flew a scouting CAP this PM with the skipper. I find that I have the first strike against Japan with him, we are assigned to 27,000 ft against air opposition if there are no air borne aircraft we have 4 important fields to strafe. I guess the skipper convinced them that he should be allowed to go in over Japan. Lee & Curry fly tomorrow.

D-6, Tuesday, February 13, 1945, At Sea

I didn't fly today. Curry did however, and I'm glad because I was afraid he was going to be nervous. The Task Groups refueled today. The weather is getting cool.

D-5, Wednesday, February 14, 1945, At Sea

Flew a 3 ½ CAP over the Logistic support group. No Bogies. Spent most of the day being briefed. We hit Japan on D-3 day, day after tomorrow, good night!

D-4, Thursday, February 15, 1945, At Sea

Flew a 3 ½ hr. CAP with the skipper got a vector bogey which turned out to be a PB4Y-2 [??]. One other Group CAP splashed a Betty. Tomorrow is the big day, I'm in a VF sweep against Tokyo Bay area at 1055 big day ahead!

Tokyo Raid, D-3, Friday, February 16, 1945, At Sea

To tired to write much. 0-0 weather so strike wasn't very successful, very cold snowing in fact. The 4 of us shot down a Dinah the credit will probably go to the skipper & his wing man but we all had a hand in it. All of our boys returned safely. Will add more tomorrow am too tired to write now.

I couldn't believe it, there I was flying around in a lazy orbit off the coast of Japan gazing at the snow shrouded Fuji San [??], its the most beautiful mt. I've ever seen. I tallyhoed a Dinah and a Emily we got the Dinah but the skipper dropped the ball and let someone else beat us to the Emily. Because of extremely bad weather we did not attack the fields we were supposed to but were ordered to cover the rendezvous point while the other groups carried home the attack. Oscar kept popping down through the clouds but would not stay down long enough for us to engage them. Score for the squadron today was one dinah, 1 grace, 1 frank, and 1 oscar. Evenson was high with two. Extremely bad weather kept the task force from attack but also kept our planes from delivering a good punch.

Tokyo Raid, D-2, Saturday, February 17, 1945, At Sea

Same story, extremely bad weather kept the raids from being extensive. I flew a scouting CAP with Reber on my wing. Part of the time we were on instruments, never could we go above 500 ft. Snowed and rained all 3 ½ hr of the hop.

Aygher and Clark got in some good licks on a air strip 80 miles down the coast from Tokyo Bay, they met no opposition and succeeded in burning up numerous planes on the ground. All hands returned safely.

Retirement, D-1, Sunday, February 18, 1945, At Sea

Proceeding South today for our refueling rendezvous [off ] of Iwo Shima tomorrow. Weather some better. Flew a 3 hr. antisnooper patrol with Jake as a wingman. The Boys have got a good one on me, I requested permission to strafe a rock, yep old Eagle eye Cobb slipped up. While in my sector I noticed something on the surface of the water some 60 miles from the Task Group. I called the ship and they said they had no surface contacts in that area and for me to go and investigate. About 10 miles from the object I decided it was a Sampan under sail and requested permission to attack, almost immediately I realized it was nothing but a rock and shamefully informed the base as such. The ship had me turn on emerg. IFF and orbit it so they could get a fix on it and chart it. Can you imagine a lone rock in the middle of the ocean with no other land in sight? Dahms [??] shot down a Nick today.


Monday, February 19, 1945, At Sea

We refueled today while the Marines were landing on Iwo Jima. The baby flat tops furnished the air support. We may participate in it tomorrow.

Wonder of wonders we got mail today though not much. I heard from Helen and the Folks though so I am happy. Flew a CAP this PM, no excitement.


Thanks for serving, Dad--you were a great example. Love you. Miss you.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Book Review: Dangerous calling by Paul Tripp

Some writers make a living off cheap shots. It’s pretty easy to create a patina of profundity by manipulating guilt in your readers. It’s been done all too often in Christian circles, especially in books dealing with the modern church or modern ministry. That is not what Paul Tripp does in his terribly convicting book, Dangerous Calling, as he takes the reader on a tour of the lethal dangers associated with the ministry.

None of the hazards he explores come from the outside—they all come from within the minister himself. Pride, anger, hypocrisy, the danger of celebrity, the danger of personal isolation, thinking one has “arrived,” thinking that theological knowledge equals spiritual maturity, are just some of the minefields and pitfalls Tripp covers. It’s a wake-up call, whether you’ve been in ministry for forty years, or have just entered the ministry.

Tripp’s warnings are all the more powerful as he makes it clear that he himself has failed multiple times in multiple ways. He bares his soul—and his sins—to the reader. I think the book gains in two ways from Tripp’s painful self-disclosures. First it encourages those of us who struggle with transparency to become transparent ourselves, knowing that we are safe and forgiven in the grace of Christ. Second, when I see what Tripp struggles with, I know he knows what he is talking about. It’s not pastoral practice according to the ivory tower; it’s blood-and-guts practical.

But the book is not a negative downer. Each chapter contains reminders of the love and grace of Christ for broken sinners like us, and practical steps and suggestions for accountability, transparency, and a renewal of our love for Christ and passion for ministry.

Read this book. It might save both your marriage and your ministry. Five stars. Highly recommended.