the blog of Jason C. Stanley

Tag: christianity (page 1 of 37)

Book Review: 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843, is now a classic. The short novel tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the wealthy man who despises the Christmas holiday and all of its cheer. The book has been reborn in various film versions throughout the decades. My favorite version is Mickey’s Christmas Carol.


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A Prayer for the World

CTukshqVEAAZdHXI was on my iPhone, causally scrolling through my Twitter feed, when I realized that there were a lot of things being said about Paris. I turned the news on, and saw the reports of what would be multiple attacks across the city, killing hundreds. I like many have been in a state of shock over the events. To the point that my journaling was just a list of words or phrases, no complete sentences, reflecting the impossibility of complete thoughts forming.

Today, I attempted to form that list of words and phrases into a prayer:

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Interview: Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

PastorRichJr_Headshot2Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is known for a lot of things. He is a fourth generation Pentecostal pastor. He took a young adult Bible study into being nine weeks into a new church plant. He is the pastor who officiated the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. He and his wife, DawnCheré, star in the a new reality show, Rich in Faith, on the Oxygen channel. And this week, he adds author to that list.

Wilkerson’s book, Sandcastle Kings, uses four powerful stories from Luke 7 to explain why spiritual fulfillment cannot be found in ourselves, in other people, in material things, or even in organized religion. By examining the stories of the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar, Wilkerson helps the reader take a closer look at all the ways in which we build sand castles that will one day be wiped away by the storm.

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Praying in the Woods

I left the house, most likely barefoot, and started walking through the woods. There was a path that had been worn in the dirt from all the other times I had walked this path. It is what I did when I needed to clear my head, ponder something, or escape from the stressors of teenage life. I would later have the epiphany that what was really happening was prayer. I was communing with the Creator.

There was an old stump by the creek where I would go and sit and think . . . . .I mean, pray.

Source: http://www.wildfrogphotography.com

Source: http://www.wildfrogphotography.com

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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Discussion Questions

I wrote this for our middle schoolers a few weeks ago to use in their Sunday morning small group. It’s a discussion that focuses on doubt and faith, and that we can trust in God.



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Book Review: I Want to Be Just Like Jesus Storybook

51tPMz-lzlL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_Just Like Jesus Storybook, Stephen Elkins, Wonder Kids, 2015. 

This is a neat little storybook perfect for toddlers. It has a lightly padded cover, with bright colors on thick, slick pages. It is a book with a very clear purpose: build good character, as shown by Jesus. Never mind Aseop and his fables, we have Jesus to show us what perfect character looks like.

Each section of the book begins with a theme and a related Bible verse. Then, it guides children to consider different aspects of Jesus’ character with the intention of considering how we might be like Jesus. Some of the ways we can be just like Jesus is to be thankful, responsible, kind, and caring.

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Sermon: How Long, O Lord?

A sermon preached at Peakland United Methodist on Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-5 for Children’s Sabbath.

Book Review: The Faith of a Mockingbird

cover65933-mediumThe Faith of a Mockingbird: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture, Matt Rawle, Abingdon Press, 2015.

I remember the first time I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Still impressionable, the character of Atticus Fitch beckoned to me. When I “grew up” I wanted to be Atticus Fitch. I knew then, just as I do now, that being a lawyer was not in the works for me. It was more what Atticus represented. Courage. Boldness. Compassion. Sense of Justice.

I think Harper Lee knew what we all, sooner or later figure out, being Atticus Fitch is not easy. But it is something we all strive towards.

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The Message 100


I have a lot of Bibles. Call it an occupational hazard. There are study Bibles. Bibles in various translations. Children’s Bibles, teen friendly Bibles, and Bibles I wonder where they came from. Many were gifts, others I purchased along my own journey.

When Eugene Peterson’s The Message first hit the shelves in October of 2002, there was a collective sigh of relief. People who had challenges reading any of the many translations of the Bible, now had, as Peterson himself calls it, a paraphrase of the Bible in today’s language.

The Message is one of the many Bibles I own. Mine is a small, compact Bible. I bought it when I started Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the University of Virginia. I needed a Bible that would fit in my white lab coat pocket.

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Keep Me Near the Cross

I had moved some of my cross necklaces that were hanging on the hook where I hang my alb. They were getting tangled up and just becoming a mess. So I took them down to set them aside until I could come up with a better solution.

The day proceeded on. I left work, went home for lunch, got a haircut. All pretty normal things. I had a meeting with a couple getting married this coming summer and needed to take Baby J with me. We loaded up and got to the office about forty-five minutes before the meeting was scheduled.

In a good mood, Baby J explored my office. Playing with the toys that were there only occasionally. At some point, she discovered the crosses I had earlier that day set aside. One cross, a wooden cross I brought back from Costa Rica one year, became her favorite.

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