News of Note

Two items have caught my attention in the past couple of days:

1. The State of California has rewritten some language in an education bill that threatened to greatly infringe on religious liberty in that state. Had the bill passed unchanged, the only students that could receive any type of religious education would have been those training for a career in ministry. It would have effectively outlawed Christian colleges and universities, reserving religious studies to seminary students only. More here.

2. Target is about to spend $2 million on individual use bathroom stalls in all of their stores. Many stores already have such facilities, in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms, and soon all loctions will. Target denies the changes have anything to do with the boycotts and petitions generated by their bathroom policy announcement. I saw this headline in the Washington Post of all places.

Book Review: Parenting Without Regret

parentingI know what some of you must be thinking by now: Clark Bunch lauds the praises of every book he reviews. Between pastoring, seminary classes, raising a family and so forth I don’t have a lot of “extra time” for reviewing books. The truth of the matter is that I’m very selective. If the title or short description seems New Agey, short on theology or otherwise flaky, I don’t accept that book for review. With very few exceptions, the books I have chosen to review on The Master’s Table are ones that I expected to get something out of and would have enjoyed anyway. I’m not a professional reviewer and don’t waste my time reading books I don’t like. Continue reading

Back to School

We mentioned back to school on Monday but that was about it. Apparently we did a whole back to school themed Happy Monday post last year that I totally forgot about. We listed several “special editions” in the #200 post last week and the timing would have been perfect to include this one.

A significant portion of our society falls into the student/teacher/parent population. Below is a special mid-week repeat of Happy Monday: Back to School Edition, originally posted August 10, 2015.

Screenshot 2015-08-04 at 9.34.57 AM

The first day of school doesn’t affect everyone equally. Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Sermon…

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 6.27.46 AMAfter the 9/11 attacks on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at a live taping of Saturday Night Live. The show has always been distinctly New York and he spoke very frankly with the cast, audience and show creator Lorne Michaels. He wanted the show the go on and encouraged them to do it. Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” And with a straight face Giuliani wryly replied “Why start now?” Continue reading

Meanwhile in California…

Screenshot 2016-07-01 at 11.29.59 AMEarlier this week, The Christian Index hosted a discussion of sorts about America being a “Christian nation.” Christians who responded were split over whether America used to be a Christian nation and no longer is vs. those who felt America never was a Christian nation to begin with. Very few argued that it still is today.

Meanwhile, California is about to become the first state to do away with religious/ faith-based education at the college level. If passed as is, SB 1146 would limit religious education to seminaries. Church affiliated schools, or colleges and universities that apply Christian principles to all areas of life, would be restricted from doing so with all students except those preparing for vocational ministry.

Please read this article by Ed Stetzer and Marty Duren via Christianity Today. This is one of those issues that could drag on through the court system for years to come, but we currently have an aging Supreme Court that’s already short one member and a presidential election coming up that could dramatically alter its balance of power. Who knows what the long term implications of this state legislation could be?

Book Review: Slow Kingdom Coming

Screenshot 2016-06-29 at 12.13.49 PMSlow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World by Kent Annan is not a very long book (146 pages including Appendix and Notes) but it offers practical application meant to be used on a daily basis.

We live in a world surrounded by great needs and good causes. There are children starving in other countries, hurricane and earthquake victims right here and home, and homeless people probably nearby no matter where you live. A single person can be overwhelmed and wonder “why even bother?” No one person can do it all and with a little bit of perspective we realize that no one has to. With focus and discipline we can each do our part, realizing that God’s will being done “on earth as it is in heaven” is a slow process that does not bring instant gratification. Continue reading