Thursday, May 10, 2007

Breaking the Silence

My blog entries the past few months have been spotty. The only excuse is well-worn: Too many things to do, and too many pedestrians… Nonetheless, here’s my first contribution to altering that reality.

I’m thrilled to say that my article for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), “The Church of the Last Stop” just appeared this week. In it, I offer five distinctives from Reformed theology that have guided our congregation, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, through a period of growth and renewal: the doctrines of Christ alone and of grace alone (that’s two), translating the contents of our faith into the vernacular, the church for the world (i.e., mission), and the sovereignty of God. The piece should be available on Geneva Press’s website,, but I haven’t seen it there yet. So send them harassing emails daily until the article appears.

Umberto Eco meets Milan Kundera—that’s the vibe from The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and that’s what I’ve been reading recently as I prepare a review for the periodical, Books and Culture. Here’s what Taleb asserts: “Our world is dominated by the extreme, the unknown, and the very improbable (improbable according to our current knowledge) [i.e., the Black Swan]—and all the while we spend our time engaged in small talk, focusing on the known, and the repeated.” That’s provocative for sure, especially because we like the predictable and the idea when we’re surprised that “we should have seen it coming.” The book so far also reads chaotic and in desperately in need on an editor. Gregg Easterbrook panned it in The New York Times Book Review, and I find the argument a bit flighty in spots. But I suppose that’s what we should expect from a book that asserts the unanticipated makes the biggest difference in life—a style that is unpredictable and jumpy.

I’ll have more to say as I indeed read more… What do you think? Have you read The Black Swan?

1 comment:

Peter said...

"The Church of the Last Stop" is posted on The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation - free resources webpage at:
Direct link for download is at: