Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Date at Black Hammock

Last night, Jonathan and I left Annie with Granne and Gred (Maggie's parents, Anne and Ed) and we rode the motorcycle out to Oviedo for a real live date.  Oviedo, although far more developed over the last two decades, is still considered a little bit "country" and we found the countriest part of all at Black Hammock Bar and Grill.  We drove out into the middle of nowhere to find a fish camp complete with wild birds, gators, live music, overgrown plant life, airboats and docks.  It was such a gift to know that Annie was sleeping soundly in good hands while we relaxed over beers, fried gator and mahi mahi.  The guitarist crooned Eric Clapton, Righteous Bros, Garth, Buffet and more to a synthesized guitar beat while we watched the sunset over the water.  It made me love Florida more than I have in a while--the old, untouched Florida is really beautiful.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Now

A year ago at Easter time, we were pregnant with little Annie and didn't even know it!! Now, of course, it is difficult to imagine live without.  This year, we were blessed to spend Easter with the Maynards.  We took this picture by the lake in their backyard.   Although our whole family was pictured together last Easter too, Annie was harder to see then.  

Bath Time!

Annie LOVES bath time.  She loves to be clean.  And she loves her pink bunny towel.  

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dr Tim Keller @ Google

While promoting his new book, Tim Keller was recently invited to speak at Google and answer questions from the audience.  This is a long lecture so get some cool aid and a churro and sit back and watch him articulate his thoughts on  The Reason for God: Belief in an age of Skepticism.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Palm Sunday

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Annie her palm in celebration of Palm Sunday and sings praises of her own to the King of the Earth, who came in such humility, all for sinners like Annie, Jonathan and me.  How sweet it is to know my king would die for us, would give up heaven for us, would live for us, would make a way for us.  He is a gracious God indeed, who reconciles the nations to himself. Hosanna!  Blessed is HE who comes in the name of the LORD!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Annie watches on while Pastor Padro plays his harmonica.  Annie loves music, and she even likes to listen to GrAnne and GrEd sing, so it was a real treat to have a live harmonica in the house. Leonora, Great Grandpa Bill's adopted daughter from Nicaragua bonded particularly with Annie and held her for a solid hour after dinner, even though it was way past Annie's bedtime. :)

Great Grandpa Bill Comes to Town

This weekend, Annie met her great grandpa Bill for the first time while he was in town for the Ligonier conference.  This was an extra special meeting, since Annie is named after Jonathan's grandma, Big Pop's first wife, Anne Oliver Iverson.  It was love at first sight for both the proud Great Big Pop, and the little Anne Oliver Iverson.   Annie smiles like a charmer for the camera and Big Pop beams over the baby.   Grandpa gathered us all together after dinner on Friday night, along with several pastors he brought with him for the conference, and prayed a prayer for our covenant child.  May she never know a day when she doesn't know Jesus as her Lord and the one who saves her from the sins that so entangle her.  For all things, Praise Him.

Keeping Up with the Coverstones

Sweet Baby Asher laughs on mamma, Brianna's lap--Asher is, quite possibly, the world's smiliest baby. He and Annie smiled at each other all afternoon on Friday during their play date. Brianna's three older kiddos, were so helpful and fun, and it made me (and Annie) all the more excited about having a big family.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Twins for a Sunday

"In that book which is 
My memory...
On the first page
That is the chapter when I first met you
Appear the words...
Here begins a new life

-Dante Alighieri

Wearing an old sweater of mommy's, Annie was really excited to wear something that matched her daddy last Sunday.  Life is beautiful...

Lots of Navy Love...

Lucky Annie has lots of cute boys to be her lifelong friends.  Although she's drooled rather excessively on her little navy blue dress, she really wanted to have this moment captured with Leah Madsen and Asher Coverstone, also dressed in navy.  We love our little ones!

Dinner at the Cunninghams

In these transient times, 
when we don't know where we'll be next, we are thankful for our friends who we know will always be our friends.  Here, Jen and Thom Cunningham hold Annie and Catcher (Catcher was born 24 hours or so after Annie, and surprised his mamma by being born even faster than Annie!! Yikes.

Jonathan and Tee do a little bonding while Tee's mommy and daddy help Annie and Catch get acquainted...

Sweet Catcher gives Annie a little grin. 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

We thought this was powerful.  Let us know what you think...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The best thing we've ever done...

Can you infer the newest love of our lives?  She's pretty small, but nonetheless amazing, and recently, she's rewarded us al the more with smiles, coos, and near-laughs.  We think Uncle Jim got her first laugh, but we don't have a picture of him.  Here are a few of Annie solo, and Annie with her parents.  Could this be the best thing we've ever done?  

Aunt Al, comes to town

Auntie Alison loves Annie and came down to Orlando for a night, just to meet her!  Aunt Al made Annie smile a lot.  On her last day here, we went out to lunch with Granne at Austin's.  

Annie and her Friends

Annie is blessed beyond belief with so many people who love her, pray for her, hold her, and who try to make her smile.  Thank you for loving our Annie!  
1. Catcher's big brother, Tee
2. Auntie Jen
3. My friend, Asher, born the day before me
4. Hutchinson, born a few weeks before me
5. Holding Hands with Hutchinson

Miroslav Volf and a Common Word

This past week at RTS we had a very interesting lecture series from the Yale Divinity school Professor, Miroslav Volf.  I was first acquainted with Volf's writings when I picked up a copy of The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World.  Volf, a Croatian born Evangelical Pentecostal, grew up in a nation at war and experienced personally what it means to suffer and be persecuted for one's beliefs.  The above mentioned book is sort of a walk through his mind as he attempts to reconcile the injustices and atrocities he experienced with the Christian ethic of forgiveness.  But Volf was not invited to RTS to discuss his view on Christian ethics.  
Some of you may remember in 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI gave a lecture on faith and reason in Germany and there quoted a Byzantine Emperor on Islam and violence.  His remarks were somewhat misrepresented, yet nevertheless careless, and violent Islamic protests ensued that left churches burned and Christians dead.  This sparked a series of interesting responses from both the Christian and Muslim camps and one such response in this exchange is a letter by 138 Muslim leaders and Imams addressed to the Pope and other Christian leaders.  A Common Word Between Us and You was dated October 13th, 2007 and contained what the Muslim clerics believed to be the fundamental truths of Islam that are transferable to the Christian faith and thus grounds for the beginnings of an interfaith dialogue.  They highlight such truths as the unity of God, that he has no 'associate', and the great commandments to love God and to love your neighbor.  On these basic truths upon which both Abrahamic faiths are built there rests the solution to solving the current escalating conflict between Muslims and the west.  
It was to this letter that many Christian organizations and churches responded (though nothing yet from the Pope himself) and the most widely read response was that which was composed by Miroslav Volf.  His response, entitled Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You, was subsequently endorsed by over 300 leading evangelical theologians, ministers, and writers (though some have since revoked their endorsement), and was printed in the New York Times.  Perhaps the second most read and respected letter to the Muslims (and a much better thought out letter) was written by the Barnabas Fund, a mission organization that focuses on ministering to the persecuted church, particularly in Islamic countries.  

Volf spoke at RTS regarding his response and regarding Islam in general.  In his first lecture entitled A Common Word, Volf discussed what unites Christians and Muslims: namely the Unity of God, Love of God, and Love of neighbor.  It was a crash comparative religions course with an edge of novelty.  Many academics (or western Christians in general) are mesmerized by the Muslim faith at first contact.  He highlighted a few things regarding the letter that were of importance to me.  Namely, that the majority of signatories on the Common Word were all Sufi
Muslims (which is NOT surprising) and the internal struggle within modern Islam for the 'rights' to the historical religion (more on that in another post).  

In his second lecture, Loving God and Neighbor, Volf discussed the rationale behind his response.  Met with a lot of opposition, he stood his ground and did a fairly good job articulating a rather compelling (yet borderline syncretistic) doctrine of 'Islamofied Christianity'.  

His third and fourth lectures were more theological, asking the questions, is it the same God? and is it the same love?  To both these questions he seemed reticent to disclose his personal opinions but did a great job of articulating both sides of each of these longstanding debates.  
Naturally, his work has been met with a lot of controversy, the majority of which has come from conservative evangelicals and conservative Muslims, both fearing the highly nuanced and subtle doctrinal concessions that each side has already made in this first exchange of letters.  Perhaps even more controversial for the Christians is the fact that men like John Stott, Greg Parsons, Rick Warren, George Verwer, Leith Anderson, Rick Warren, and Greg Livingstone are among the signatories.  John Piper came out in usual John Piper fashion, with an evangelical take on the issue, and Rick Love responded with a very good answer to Piper's attacks.  

Personally, I really enjoyed the interaction with Volf and felt blessed to have been a part of it.  While I really appreciate the spirit in which this letter was written to the Muslims, I have my reservations (though not in Piper's same vein) with Volf's content (e.g., he never once mentions the identity of Christ or names him as the messiah though the Muslim letter does!) and unnecessary concessions (e.g., he refers to The Prophet Mohammed rather than Your prophet Mohammed; he also takes responsibility and apologizes for the war on terror--in other words, he confuses the West with Christianity).  Furthermore, I believe strongly that Evangelical Christians could do a much better job responding to A Common Word--a response that better articulates our faith and finds more common ground with Muslims than what Volf offers in his letter.  

Perhaps I will write more on this later, but for now, I have to get back to my studies. 


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