Okay, continuing yesterday's post, a recap of some of the TV shows we enjoyed watching in the past few months.  We watch a few shows "live" but we prefer getting the whole season and watching a few at a time.

TV Shows:

Soooo good!  At first we were just kinda watching it in the background, but slowly the characters and storylines started to grip us.  Yes, some of the plots and character arcs mysteriously disappear from time to time, but as we all know, the heart of this show is Coach and Mrs. Taylor.  I kind of refuse to acknowledge their daughter Julie's existence.  Her storyline was one of the more aggravating ones.  Like The Wire, season four of this series is television drama at its absolute best.

I feel obligated to end this with the tag line, but I won't...  so... clear eyes... full hearts...

We just started watching this series on the many, many recommendations from friends and reviews.  It's definitely intriguing and the acting is phenomenal, but we just haven't given it enough time yet.  I'm sure it will eventually grip us in time, but it seems like a pretty bleak way to spend an hour.  Plus I keep waiting for Malcolm to show up as a strung out meth-head.

Drop what you're doing and go watch this show.  It totally flew <ahem> "under the wire" but it absolutely deserves a viewing.  Every seasons takes about 5 episodes to get going and half the time you don't even know what people are saying because of the urban slang and gang lingo, but trust me, this is one of the best written and performed TV shows ever.  Did you know two of the main actors have harsh British accents in real life?  When you see them in interviews, you feel like they're pretending to be British.  Uncanny!  And like I hinted before, season four of this show is just hands down the best ever seen on TV.

We're toying with the idea of starting Game of Thrones, but that one's going to be a tougher sell for the wife and we're still basking in the good memories from Friday Night Lights....  CAN'T LOSE!!!


Everyone I knew was reading this book at one time or another.  Now with the movie out, I'm glad I made it a priority to read this one a few months ago.  I know folks are making a hubaloo about the whole "white savior" theme of the book, but I didn't really get that on my first reading.  Maybe the movie comes across differently.  Regardless, this is a fun read.

I took this one on my flight to Africa and was kind of worried about how that might look, but I'm glad I did.  Heartbreaking and tragic, this book served me well in my unexpected journey into learning about the world of Africans and African-Americans.  Like my experience in China, however, I have really come to appreciate just how generic an umbrella term like "African" is when you're dealing with an incredibly broad and diverse people group with an ancient history and deep roots.  Makes it all the more tragic when you think of how those roots were ripped up in one generation.

Mmmm...  I savoured this one like a great meal at my favorite restaurant.  The timing couldn't have been better as I was reading this one while doing some of my own discernment regarding my pastoral vocation.  Nobody holds the "holy" and the "everyday" in tension better than Eugene Peterson.  And that's a critical skill for any pastor.  My pastoral education continues under the wise tutelage of Peterson.

This read was kind of cool because it's really evident how Tim Keller's InterVarsity background shaped his view of both scripture and ministry.  This volume could be an excellent companion piece to a year-long study of the Gospel of Mark.  Mark and Keller, two of my favorite authors coming together in one book.  Great stuff!  (okay, small caveat, I think Keller's a far better speaker than he is a writer, but it still warrants a read -- just imagine he's reading it to you).

Big disappointment.  I remember people making such a big deal out of this book when it first came out.  I guess there are still heart-warming moments and good life lessons, but honestly, Morrie kinda comes across as a preachy Yoda figure who keeps dispensing unsolicited advice to Mitch whenever he comes to visit.  Too cynical?


Good stuff!  Okay, I'm an Obama fan.  There's no way around it.  I thoroughly enjoyed Dreams From my Father and I thoroughly enjoyed this one as well.  There are definitely longer 'policy' passages, but what do you expect?  Reading this book makes Obama's 'surprise' run for office in 2007 less surprising.

Obviously there was a lot of controversy generated around the pre-release for this book, which I won't get into, but if you just read it on its own terms and remember that he's writing to a pretty specific audience, you just wonder what the big deal is.  I don't think he says anything different than Mr. Evangelical Quote Factory, C.S. Lewis suggests in The Great Divorce.  It's fine.  Love Wins.  My only beef is how such an effective communicator and seemingly stylish dude could approve such an ugly book cover.

A wonderful read.  Imagine taking the writings of Dallas Willard (too philosophical) and adding in some Richard Foster and creating a book that could very effectively be used as a small group discussion book and you have The Good and Beautiful Life.  Part two of a three part series, Smith has created a gift for the local church.  I recommend starting with the first volume, but you can also just dive in with this one.  I also think doing the exercises at the end of each chapter is a good use of time.

When I first heard about this book, I became very, very excited.  Over the years I've used A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants as my morning devotional, but I was looking for something a bit more liturgical and communal.  Along comes Common Prayer.  Recently it went on sale for the Kindle and I have been happily doing my morning devotions from it ever since.  I am looking forward to allowing Common Prayer to help shape our rapidly approaching sabbatical time, as well.  Highly, highly recommended.

After Min read the first volume, I picked it up and then proceeded to devour the rest of the series.  Bloody, violent, horrifying and thrilling, this is definitely a different kind of children's book then I grew up reading.  At the end of the day, it's a pretty classic story about standing up to 'the man'.  It cries for a movie adaptation and sure enough, we'll see one in just a few months.

Reading this right now.  It's a form of masochism.  First watching Food Inc, then Fresh, now reading this I have learned these three things:

a) if we are what we eat, we will be a race of corn-people in no time
b) Joel Sallatin, alternative farmer in Virginia is my new hero
c) the work of redeeming all of creation may be God's greatest miracle since creation itself


I'm not huge on hip-hop, but after hearing the debut single, "Otis" and considering the collision of hip-hop giants Jay-Z and Kanye, I was too intrigued not to check it out.  It's really well made and though the "clean" version gets annoying sometimes because of all the bleeping (or lack of bleeping, I guess) it's still a great album.  Kanye's words of advice to his "son" in New Day are pretty hilarious.  Uncomfortably autobiographical.

Precocious vocals and one of the most overplayed singles (Rolling in the Deep) in recent memory, these two albums made for a great late-summer soundtrack.

Former Regent College classmates, these guys do a great job of re-imagining and faithfully re-creating ancient hymns, bluegrass, gospel and folk music into a worshipful and highly listenable set of music.  Min agrees, though she has an irrational distate for the banjo.

I will listen to anything Tom Wuest.  His first two albums, Unless the Seed Falls and Rain Down Heaven have provided the church with songs that give expression to brokenness, justice, mercy and reconciliation where such songs have been in short supply.  This latest album is a set of lullabies he and his wife sang to his kids.  Sparse and humbly recorded, this album is still new to me but I look forward to letting its melodies win me over like his two previous efforts.  Click here to sample more of his music.

I first heard these guys on the Relevant Podcast and I think I once fell asleep with their music playing on my ipod.  A few weeks later an incessant melody would be playing in my head but I couldn't remember what song it was.  Thankfully, a few weeks after that the new album by All Sons and Daughters would come out containing the song that haunted my dreams.  Brokenness Aside, the title track is so good and these guys have a bright future.  Think Civil Wars for congregational worship.

This guy's also worth a listen.  I first heard him performing with just his guitar and one of those looping pedals and I was hooked.  Unique vocals and thoughtful lyrics, this latest album is quality -- and it's a free download online!!  Go pick it up here!

Okay, thanks for reading through my thoughts on all the media we consumed this summer.  Again, I know there is more theological reflection to be done, but I trust that those reflections will come.  For now, I think the practice of writing regularly is the place to start.


  1. min, you better catch up on GOT before I see you next?!

  2. i don't like this comment feature!