Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: christianity (page 1 of 43)

Giveaway: “The Great Escape” chapter book

On Easter-eve I was flipping through the channels on the television and found Charlton Heston. He was dressed as Egyptian royalty giving orders to the other Egyptians. It was, of course, the well-known film The Ten Commandments.

M. J. Thomas continues his Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series of children chapter books with the third installment – The Great Escape – by providing a slightly different take on the famous Moses narrative.

Siblings Peter and Mary hear the roar of the lion and are transported to ancient Egypt to solve the mystery of the hidden scroll. The children emerge into the narrative of Moses pleading with Pharoah the let the people go. Peter and Mary meet both Egyptian and Hebrew children that offer a different perspective to this well-known story.

The Great Escape is a fun book for young readers ages 6-9. It has plenty of adventure to keep children engaged.

Teachable Moments

This book lends itself well to educational opportunities. It could easily be used to teach about ancient Egyptian culture, including language. There is an opportunity to discuss how those who are not in power are often marginalized and oppressed. Comparisons can be made to plenty of connections throughout history, and how even today we see the same power dynamic at play. And while I was never a fan of vocabulary in school, there are plenty of new words introduced to young readers.

The Giveaway

Thanks to WorthyKids/Ideals, I am able to give away one copy of this book to a lucky winner. Use the form below to enter.

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"The Great Escape" is the third in M. J. Thomas' The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. This book is ideal for children ages 6-9, reading level grades 1-3. Young readers will join Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank as they travel back in time to ancient Egypt as Moses pleads with Pharaoh to let the people go. Shipping will be provided to winners in the continental US. More shares on social media will increase your chances of winning. Thanks to Worthy Kids/Ideals for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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You can buy your own copy of “The Great Escape” by clicking on the image below.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader’s copy.

What I’ve Been Reading: From Batman to Michelle

I read a lot! From Batman comics to works of theology, current events to historical reflections. Here is a sampling of what I have read over the last several months.

The Time of Our Lives: Collected Writings (Peggy Noonan, Twelve Books, 2015).

A former speechwriter for President Ronald Regan, Noonan has been a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Her book pulls many of her pieces together in one collection. A gifted writer, Noonan is able to share critical observations about current realities without being overly political. But don’t let that fool you. She praises Regan as one of the best presidents and is overly critical of the Clinton’s and Obama. That said, it is important to remember that this collection of essays is being read out of context. Weekly columns deal with the present. Perhaps the best part of this book is the introduction. Noonan offers a glimpse into her writing process. For any person whose main form of communication is the written word, Noonan provides a primer in writing.   (3 out of 5 stars.)

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Book Review: Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers

Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers, Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy Brady, Worthy Kids/Ideals, 2018.

The latest children’s book from the VeggieTales franchise is a padded board book of bedtime prayers.  Complete with colorful illustrations from Lisa Reed featuring the well-known, and well-loved VeggieTales characters.

There are short, easy to understand, rhyming prayers that can be used as part of the evening ritual of reading books before bed. The prayers in this little collection are designed to help child and parent reflect on their day and prepare for the day yet to come.  Scattered throughout the book are verses from the Psalms.

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Book Review: Whisper

Book Review

Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, Mark Batterson, WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2017.

Let’s face it. It’s hard to hear the voice of God.

Especially when we consider the multiple voices, alerts, and notifications we listen to. There are the voices (and tweets) of politicians, gurus, and talk show hosts. They are loud and overbearing. There is the constant 24-hour news cycle. And the notifications that pop up on our smartphones.

Then there are the coworkers, family, and friends who give us advice. There are iTunes, podcasts, and newscast. Then there are demands at work, at home, and at church.  The demands on us continue as we pack lunches, help with homework, pay bills and manage money.

Our lives are full.

And we are supposed to hear God?

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YouTubevotional: Lend a Paw

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

Lend a Paw is a Mickey Mouse short from 1941. It is the only Mickey Mouse short to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Since Steamboat Willie in 1928, Mickey’s popularity skyrocketed! Mickey’s personality was so good-natured that, as journalist Irving Wallace wrote in 1949, “No expletives, violence, practical jokes, double dealings, cruelty, nor arrogance may be found in his present-day make-up.”

Mickey represented the best of humanity. So other characters, like Donald Duck, began to embody other human characteristics. In Lend a Paw, that duty fell to Mickey’s pal Pluto. Like Donald Duck, Pluto has a little devil and a little angel chattering in his ear.

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Book Review: Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

 Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News, Brian Zahnd, Waterbrook, 2017.

Brian Zahnd has been on a theological and spiritual journey. And thankfully, he has taken any who are willing to go, with him. Much of this journey has been documented in his earlier books and through his sermons at Word of Life Church.

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God continues to take us on this journey. Here Zahnd turns a traditional theological understanding of a vengeful God on its head. That is, the idea that God has utter contempt for humankind that was introduced by Jonathan Edwards in 1741.

Edwards’ sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which I read for the first time in an American Lit class in college, is the main vehicle of this idea. A Puritan classic, the sermon is one of the prominent influences on American evangelicalism. Zahnd provides plenty of quotes from Edwards’ sermon in the opening chapter as he prepares the reader for the shift he is about to make.

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Book Review: 365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories

365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories: Inspired by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible, Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2017.

Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930) was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Born in New York City, Hurlbut pastored churches in New Jersey including in Newark, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Hoboken, Morristown, Orange, and Bloomfield.

Hurlbut was a contributor to the Sunday school and tract work of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as secretary of the Epworth League from 1889-1892. He also served as a District Superintendent of the Newark District.

Hurlbut was a prolific writer.  His Story of the Bible was written to help children become familiar with the stories of the Bible. These retelling of Old and New Testament stories were written for children ages six and older.

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Book Review: Moses

Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet, Adam Hamilton, Abingdon Press, 2017.

In Moses, Adam Hamilton retraces the footsteps of Moses, whom Hamilton argues is the “single most influential person in the Hebrew Bible.” While he blends historical facts and reflections on visiting sites, Hamilton steadies the course that there is much to learn from this reluctant prophet.

Moses is equal parts history, theology, and commentary. Taking a serious look at Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the reader is invited to consider what he or she can learn from the Moses narrative. I am careful here because it is not just Moses’ life that offers implications for our own. It is the also the people around him.

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YouTubevotinal: Trick or Treat

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

In the 1952 Disney short, Witch Hazel observes from her broom as Huey, Dewey, and Louie ring the doorbell of their Uncle Donald’s house. Donald has decided to trick the boys instead of giving treats. Donald is having fun with it, but Hazel feels sorry for the three boys. She attempts to get a treat from Donald, but he only offers a trick.

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Book Review: Who Counts?

Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons, Amy-Jill Levine & Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

 Fred Craddock, a New Testament scholar, refers to the three “lost” parables in Luke 15 as “Three Parables of Joy.” He writes, “The three parables of chapter 15 are a trilogy in that all three speak of the joy of finding that which was lost.”

Amy-Jill Levine, a professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, a rabbi and Director of Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative at Bulter University and Christian Theological Seminary, give readers a fresh take on the familiar parables in Luke 15 in Who Counts? These stories of Jesus are retold in modern-day settings and with modern, diverse characters.

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