Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Book Review: God’s Servant Job

gods-servant-jobGod’s Servant Job: A Poem with a Promise, Douglas Bond, P & R Publishing, 2015.

The story of Job in the Christian Old Testament is one of the most poetic pieces of literature in the world. At the same time, it is one of the least read books in the Bible because its difficultly to be understand. Douglas Bond, in his book God’s Servant Job: A Poem with a Promise, crafts the well-known story into verse form.  Coupled with powerful illustrations from Todd Shaffer, the story of Job with all of its joy, anguish, and revelation, come to life in a new way.

Readers of all ages will appreciate this approach to the story. The use of rhyme is engaging and captures the essence of the plot. Job, a wealthy man, is tested by Satan, and his life is turned upside down. Satan’s bet is that Job will turn on God. Satan is proven wrong.

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The Ten: Be Truthful

“Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16, Common English Bible)

tablets_9750cIn an episode titled “Greater Good,” from the first season of the drama-comedy Boston Legal, Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) represent a large, drug company in a civil suit. The two lawyers disagree on a key ethical issue surrounding the lies about a clinical trial for a new drug.

The doctor who participated in the clinical trial is conflicted. Shore wants her to be truthful about the potential harm the new drug may have caused its patients. Crane, on the other hand, wants her to be quiet about it. Shore reminds the doctor that when she testifies in court, she will be under oath. Mr. Shore’s intention, of course, is to persuade the doctor to speak truth.

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Book Review: An Exact Likeness

27297236._UY200_An Exact Likeness: The Portraits of John Wesley, Richard P. Heitzenrater, Abingdon Press, 2016.

The latest from Dr. Heitzenrater is for all the Methodist nerds.

Heitzenrater is the leading Wesley scholar of our time. In his latest book, An Exact Likeness, the Duke Divinity professor explores the many different portraits of the great preacher. As in paintings, engravings, and busts of the founder of Methodism.

If you want to call it biography, you can. But be forewarned, the subject is the portraits, not Mr. Wesley. Heitzenrater’s writing is approachable as he explains the history of the varying portraits. Heitzenrater draws connections between historical evidence and Wesley’s journals as to which portraits Wesley sat for and which he did not.

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Book Review: Sock Monster

Sock MonsterSock Monster, Stacey R. Campbell, Green Darner Press, 2016.

Little Billy is a typical small child. He does not want to pick up after himself. When told he needs to pick up his laundry, he decides to hide the clothing under or in various parts of his room. In an effort to help Billy learn to clean up, his mother tells him a bedtime story about the Sock Monster.

Sock Monster is comical, at best. While there are elements of this story that could be scary for some children, Elizabeth Thieme’s illustrations remind the child and the parent that this is a fun story.

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Guest Post: A Crack in the Glass Ceiling

Inconceivable-the-princess-bride-3983999-260-300

by Rev. Lindsey Baynham

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 2016 has been the year of realizing what might be inconceivable is not. The year where the impossible is attainable and made real. To describe this feeling, I’ll use the phrase “glass ceiling”. The origins of this phrase are credited to the mid 1980’s when women were referring to this imaginary barricade of glass that prevented them from advancing, particularly in the workplace:

“Women have reached a certain point—I call it the glass ceiling. They’re in the top of middle management and they’re stopping and getting stuck. There isn’t enough room for all those women at the top…”[1]

But what if there was enough room?

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How to Help Louisiana

source: cbsnews.com

source: cbsnews.com

Louisiana is like a second home to me.  It is the place where my wife grew up, the place where I have family.  It has been hard and difficult knowing that people are still holed up in their homes when their streets are rivers. Many are still being housed in shelters, with no idea when they will be able to return home. The damage unknown.  One report calls this the worse destruction since Hurricane Sandy. The death toll is rising, and thousands of have been rescued.

It has been tough watching the news and updates on Facebook.

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More Than Firewood

More Than FirewoodWhen I was a kid, in the cold of winter, we heated our home through a wood stove – a fireplace. One of our chores during those cold months was to bring firewood up to the house so that there would be wood near by in the cold of the night.

The firewood chores, however, started well before winter. Sometimes as early as the summer, but always during the fall. Any trees that had fallen during a summer storm, or that just needed to come down, were fair game. Dad would cut the trees with a chain saw, and then the splitting would happen with an ax. We would be responsible for hauling the split wood to the wood pile and stack it just right.

It was sometime in 2008, while working at Lebanon United Methodist, I got a phone call about firewood. There was someone in our community without firewood to heat their home in the cold winter days. In the county over there was a church who had a firewood ministry, and as such they had a stock pile. They allowed us to use their wood. I called the United Methodist Men‘s president, Claude, and we rode out to load up a trailer full of wood and deliver it to the home in need.

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My PaPa

This was the eulogy/homily I gave at the service of death and resurrection for my PaPa, Ernest Carter Stanley. Some of the stories you may have heard in a sermon or at a youth retreat, or read here on this blog. I read Revelation 21:1-7 from the small, pocket Bible that a chaplain gave him during World War II. 

PaPaI had spent most of this warm, summer day helping my Momma clean, which is exactly what every middle school boy wants to do on his summer vacation, right? I managed to do what I think every middle school boy would do, escape under the phantom excuse of needing to take a walk. To my surprise, I actually did take a walk.

With the rural Virginia dirt under my bare feet, I set out on the longer of the paths that led through the woods behind the house, over the creek, and around the goat lot to the back field.

As I walked, I came upon the first creek to cross. I jumped over – well, really just stepped over – being careful of the barbed wire attached to the tree to my right. I stepped over the barbwire, with one foot on the ground and the other foot in the air when I heard it. It was a sound I had never heard in the woods before. I froze, listening intently to discern where the sound was coming from.

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Pete’s Dragon: Discussion Questions

Petes-Dragon-Movie-PosterPete’s Dragon is the newest family film from Disney. It is a brilliant film filled with adventure, laughs, and plenty of tear-jerkers. It is a great film to take a youth group, or other group, to. You can read my ponderings on the film here.

Below are some discussion questions you can use with your group. I’m sharing them here for those who are looking for such a resource. As a Christian educator, I should tell you, if you use these questions, don’t feel like you have to use them all. If anything, let the questions be a guide to having a conversation around the themes presented in the film.

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Pete’s Dragon and the Magic of Believing

The little boy wanders through the forest, alone and scared. Unsure what to do or where to go, he clings to a book about Elliot the dog. It is the only source of comfort he has. There is a wide range of dangers lurking in the darkness. Among them  lurks a little magic.

This is how Disney’s new Pete’s Dragon begins. It is gripping, demanding the audience to settle in to their seats and throw a few more pieces of popcorn in their mouths. Before the title appears on the screen, we have been introduced to the main character, a little boy named Pete, and met the mysterious creature in the woods. This magical creature shines compassion, erasing any fears we may have.

Pete_Elliot

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