A Brick in the Valley

IMPORTANT: MOVING DAY! (And, I need your help)
June 2, 2008, 12:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

THIS BLOG IS RELOCATING TO www.chrisbrauns.com . . .

As of today, I am officially moving my blog to a new location: www.chrisbrauns.com.  There are a couple of ways you can help me make the move.

(1) Subscribe to the feed of my new blog in your feed reader.  If you are not using a reader, or don’t know what I mean by this, then go to this post.

(2) Link to me off your blog or web site.  It really does help & I appreciate those of you who have linked to this blog.

(3)Tell others about my blog.  Using the Internet is one way we have of creatively communicating with a large number of people.  Luke 16:8-9 has had a big effect on my ministry.  In that text, Jesus encouraged his followers to creatively and shrewdly leverage resources entrusted to them.  Unquestionably, the Internet has given us unprecedented opportunities to communicate with people.  It has never been so easy for me to point so many people to a wealth of resources.

(4) Comment.  It’s fun to know people are reading. 

(5) Check out my online store.  While it is true that Amazon rewards me if people order from this, I assure you that this will only help off-set my book spending a smidge.  What I think is truly important about this is that I have the opportunity to point people to a large number of quality books.  If you are looking for something to read, then go to my “rec reading” and review the different areas.  Notice in the upper right corner there are categories.  I will make changes in an ongoing way.

(6) Pre-Order My Book.  Let me say up front to my family, I am planning on giving each unit a copy, so you don’t need to complain in the comment section about being forced to buy a copy.  And, for our church family, Jamie and I plan to donate a number of copies to church — so, buy local.  Church will then get the funding.  Just to show you my heart is in the right place – – I am offering a discounted price and free shipping to those who pre-order. 


23 Minutes in Hell
June 1, 2008, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Several people have pointed me to a recent book, 23 Minutes in Hell.  The book is about a man who had a nightmare that he was in hell. . . It is a  fairly influential book.  You can read Tim Challies review here.

Chris vs. the Skunk – Alternative #1 Operation Dirty Dozen
June 1, 2008, 7:30 am
Filed under: Stupid Stuff

What would appear to be a large bull* skunk has set up residence in my front ditch.http://fohn.net/skunk-pictures-facts/  It moved into a cavern which I suspect was created by a little driving maneuver done by a party to remain unnamed (initials D.H.) a winter ago when he thought our driveway was on the other side of the mailbox.

WARNING: If you see a skunk as something more than a furry rat equipped equipped with chemical weapons, than stop reading.  You probably won’t like what I am planning.

To defend myself going in, the skunks in our neighborhood have already proven to be particularly aggressive.  Dixie, our neighbor’s sheltie, is one of the nicest dogs on earth.  And, a vicious skunk sprayed it last year.  I have no doubt, this skunk is kin to the one that assaulted Dixie.

So, the skunk has to go, and given that it is equipped with advance weapons systems, I don’t see peaceable negotiations as a possibility.

This being the case, I am officially at war with the skunk. 

I will be weighing options in the days to come.  My first plan of attack is adapted from the movie the Dirty Dozen.  So far as I can tell, the skunk does not have an emergency exit from his abode.  So, my thinking is, if I :

(1) Block the opening with a large boulder during the daylight hours, the skunk will be sealed inside.  (Skunks are nocturnal, so I figure it will be indoors at high noon).

(2) Drill a ventilation shaft.  This shaft will need to be large enough to do step three, but small enough that if the skunk chooses to use the nuclear option, I will be able to quickly plug the hole leaving him to inhale his own chemical warfare.

(3) We’ll call this the Lee Marvin step.  I will then pour a gallon or so of combustible fluid ($4 worth of gasoline) down the hole.

(4) Now enter Jim Brown.  I will then drop the equivalent of a grenade (a lit match) down the ventilation shaft and run hoping that the Nazi skunks don’t get me while I make for the jeep.

I think this is a good option.  But, it does have some flaws.  It didn’t work out so well for Jim Brown in the movie.  And, I fear that if the hole is not properly sealed, then the skunk will be able to inflict his carnage even if he does go out in flames.

Further, it may not be that humane. 

I am open to other suggestions.


*I’m not sure if a male skunk is called a “bull” skunk.  But, this one is big enough to deserve the title.

Harris Brothers Set the Bar High for Teens
May 31, 2008, 9:14 am
Filed under: Parenting

Alex and Brett Harris are teen brothers who have written the book, Do Hard Things.

I strongly encourage parents and teens to become familiar with their leadership.  A good place to begin is to listen to their recent interview on NPR.  Listen here.

Collin Hansen on the Shack / Triple Point and the Trinity
May 31, 2008, 3:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Shack continues to be wildly popular.  It is a work of fiction that attempts an allegory of the doctrine of the Trinity.  Collin Hansen rightly cautions that writing such an allegory  is a difficult, and potentially, heretical exercise.  (Click here).

So, I like Collin’s article, but I do want to tell him about “triple points” which are really cool.

In his article, Hansen argues that using solid, liquid, and gas as an analogy for the Trinity is incorrect because all three phases of matter don’t exist at once. 

I agree that any analogy ends in heresy, but, technically, this critique is wrong.

Physicists have long understood something called “triple point” – – basically there is a combination of temperature and pressure at which all three phases of matter exist at once.

So, if you had the right temperature and pressure, you would find both ice, steam, and water existing at the same time.

There was a Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society article in 1993 by an Auburn physics professor named Michael Bozack where he made this very point.  Bozack wrote,*

In summary, the triple point shows how one substance can exist in three fundamental forms concurrently, each fully the same in nature yet clearly distinct to the extent of having a real interaction with each other, different properties, and different applications.

The triple point shares a number of common elements with the Trinity, including a singular nature shared by three coequal but distinct subsistences, economical properties, and ontological properties. . .

Bozack goes on to describe where the analogy breaks down.

*The Evangelical Theological Society, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 36, 36:67 (The Evangelical Theological Society, 1993; 2002).

The Chapman Family Mourns
May 30, 2008, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Recommended Links

Soon enough, we will all be called to walk through deep valleys. There is much to learn from the example of others and how they manifest the grace of God at such times.

Tragically, the Steven Curtis Chapman family lost their little girl last week. Here is a television report on the memorial service.

HT: Trevin Wax

Deliver Us From Evil
May 30, 2008, 2:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our culture seems increasingly unwilling to identify evil and call it what it is.  But, we live in a fallen world where it is real.  God’s people must stand up against it.

Of course, being honest with the reality of evil forces us to address difficult theological questions.  Why does God allow evil?  Here, I think Os Guinness’ book, Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil is must reading.

Unfortunately, one of the most monstrous forms evil takes is when those in Christian leadership take advantage of people under their care.  Pastor James Emery White talks about how local churches should not and should respond in this post.  (Click here).

As for those who perpetrate such evil, it would have been far better for them if they had drowned first (Matthew 18:6).