Sunday, May 25, 2014

Enjoying a Beautiful Day with a Good Attitude, Plus Getting Some Books

I didn’t go to church this morning.  It was a beautiful day, so my Mom, her husband, and I went to Syracuse to eat breakfast, go to the zoo, then go to the Goodwill, which has a big store there.  We didn’t get to go to the zoo because it was crowded: the traffic extended far back.  But we did the other two things, and later we got ice-cream.  I had a strawberry shake.

The Goodwill had lots of books, not to mention videos, DVDs, and CDs.  I didn’t buy much, though, because, if I were to buy everything that caught my eye, I’d buy up most of the store, and that would cost me lots of money, even though most things there are cheap in price!  Consequently, I only bought what especially grabbed me.

I bought four books.  The first was Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism.  I recently read her History of God and found it to be enjoyable, informative, and potentially useful as a teaching resource.  I figured that her Battle for God would be similar.  I did not buy her biography of the Buddha, however, though it was also at the Goodwill.  I don’t have fond memories of her biography about Muhammad, so I shied away from her biography of the Buddha.

The second book that I got was Charles Templeton’s Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.  Charles Templeton was a Christian evangelist and close friend to Billy Graham, but Templeton left the Christian faith.  He has been on my mind lately because I watched a movie about Billy Graham’s life, Billy: The Early Years, which I wrote about here, and also because I read a book review of William Martin’s biography of Billy Graham, A Prophet with Honor.  The review said that Billy Graham chose not to follow Templeton down his path to skepticism because, when Graham spoke with authority about what the Bible says, he got more converts.  I’d like to read what Templeton has to say.  His character seemed intellectually sophisticated in Billy: The Early Years, since he read a dissertation about theologian Karl Barth, and I am curious as to how he comes across in his book.  Of course, the book is a popular rather than an academic work, so he may simplify things.

The third book that I got was Four Views on Hell, which is part of the Zondervan Counterpoints series.  These series feature diverse evangelical views about religious topics, as prominent evangelicals present their cases and respond to each other.  The book about hell debates about whether hell is a literal place of eternal fiery torment, a place where the torment is metaphorical or spiritual, a place that is purgatorial, or a place where the wicked are annihilated rather than one of eternal torment.  I try to gobble up these Zondervan Counterpoint books whenever I can find them at a cheap price.  They are not as cheap as I would like on Amazon.  I hardly ever find them at libraries.  I’m glad that I found one at the Goodwill.

The fourth book that I got was Gordon MacDonald’s Who Stole My Church? What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century.  It appears to be about how the older generation can deal with the church that they love becoming different to appeal to the younger generation.  I was debating getting this book, but I finally decided to do so because it deals with such issues as discontent with church and the use of traditional hymns vs. more contemporary praise songs.  These are issues that interest me.  Plus, the book has stories.

I was somewhat afraid that I would get into a bad mood on this trip.  When I am at home, I can take a prayer break when my mind goes in the wrong direction.  On the road, I cannot really do that—-at least not as I do it at home, which is basically reading my Bible and praying aloud for ten minutes.  I took steps to keep my mind from going negative.  I did not turn on my computer this morning to check my blog stats.  (Yesterday’s stats were LOW, lower than they have been in years.  Today, they’re pretty good.  I wanted to avoid discouragement.)  Whenever my mind thought about people who have disliked me, those I dislike, or my flaws, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to think about that,” and that seemed to do the trick.

Today was an enjoyable day.  It was good to get out into the sunshine!

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