Reading About Hudson Taylor

I love biographies. I'm especially fond of biographies of Christian missionaries and pastors. I knew of Hudson Taylor and his work in China in the 19th century, but I had yet to read anything about him; until this week.

My wife recommended I read a brief account of Hudson and Maria Taylor's marriage and ministry. Hudson Taylor & Maria: A Match Made in Heaven is a quick read and gives the reader a glimpse into the Taylors' faith in a wise and sovereign God as they labored to spread the gospel throughout inland China.

Pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed.

Calvin on the Theologian's Task

More Christians ought to read Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. Many people assume Calvin's writings will be dry, abstract, and difficult to understand. What you'll discover when you dive in to the Institutes is that Calvin is very accessible and edifying. I think that Calvin's ability to teach biblical truth in a clear and engaging manner is due, in part, to his understanding of the theologian's task.

The theologian's task is not to divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true, sure, and profitable (1.14.4).

If you'd like to get a feel for Calvin's writings you can read the Institutes online at CCEL.

Kindle: Two Months Later

KindleIn January I received a Kindle (3G + WiFi) as a birthday present. I was very excited about this gift since I love to read and already owned several Kindle books (the Kindle software for PC and iPhone substituted for an actual device). I immediately downloaded a number of free classic books and dove in. Now that I've used the Kindle for close to two months I feel like I can speak to what I enjoy about it and what I don't.

What I enjoy about the Kindle

1. Free books - There are many public domain works available in the Kindle store. In addition, you can find more free Kindle format ebooks at websites like Archive.org and Project Gutenberg. I rarely read fiction that is younger than I am so the availability of classic works is a big selling point for me.

2. Highlights and notes - I mark up my physical books quite a bit. The Kindle allows me to highlight passages and add notes. I can then access my highlights and notes via the Kindle website.

3. Synchronization - With the Kindle software for PC and iPhone I have access to my ebooks from virtually anywhere. The ebooks, last location, highlights, and notes are synced across the various devices.

4. Easy on the eyes - The thought of staring at the screen of an electronic device for more than a few minutes isn't too appealing to me. However, the Kindle display is very easy on the eyes. It isn't backlit like a computer screen so my eyes don't tire the way they would if I were reading something on my laptop.

What I don't enjoy about the Kindle

1. Ebooks are ebooks - Obvious, I know. There's something about holding a book in my hand that I really enjoy. In my opinion, the reading experience on a Kindle just can't compare with reading a physical book.

2. Can't export highlights - I use the highlighting feature a lot. The Kindle website enables me to copy and paste those highlights into a word processor, but I'd really like to see a simple 1-click export feature.

Overall I really enjoy the Kindle. It's a device I plan to use for years to come. If you're a reader I recommend you give the Kindle a try.

Prayer and the Gospel

I'm really enjoying A Praying Life by Paul Miller. In a chapter titled Learning to Be Helpless Miller connects the gospel to our prayer life.

Prayer mirrors the gospel. In the gospel, the Father takes us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of salvation. In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers.

Great stuff!