As you know if you follow this blog, I am a trial lawyer. About fifteen years ago, I represented a Christian man in a religious discrimination case. He was actually a part-time pastor in a very small town but had to work at a trucking company to supplement his pastor income. The other men at the trucking company mercilessly harassed him about his religious beliefs, making fun of him on a daily basis.
We had to file the case in federal court about 2 hours from where I live, and so when it came time for the case to go to trial, The Wife and I traveled there for the trial. We arrived the night before the trial was to start, and after getting our bags and trial materials moved into the hotel, went for dinner to the restaurant next to the Quality Inn where we were staying. After being shown to our table, I went to the restroom.
While I was in the restroom a server, who was not assigned to our table, came to the table and told The Wife her name was Rose. She said, “I know this may sound weird, but I am a Christian, and I felt like the Lord wanted me to tell you that He is going to give you victory in what you here to do.” The Wife thanked her for sharing that but didn’t tell her we were in town representing a Christian in an employment discrimination case. When I returned, to the table The Wife told me what happened.
So, what you didn’t know, because security within the GSB team is lock tight, is that there was a tour in the works last summer that would have taken us to Rome, Revenna, and Venice. The theme would have been the early church, the conversion of Constantine the Great at the Milvian Bridge, and some Byzantine and crusader sites as well. It was a trip we had in the works for a few years, but then came “the Covid.”
Now, just this last week, Europe has announced they are opening up for tourists, specifically the kind who have have had Pfizer and Moderna tickle their immune system. Since The Wife and I are Pfizer folk, we, along with the rest of GSB team, are looking seriously at a September 2021 tour in Italy. Ann, a vaxxed GSB Travel Blog regular, staunch Calvinist, and fierce protector of all things Protestant (she can sniff out popery from a 1,000 yards), is also game.
There are a few challenges. For one, The Wife and I binge watched twelve seasons of Mayday and Air Disasters during the pandemic and swore multiple times we would never get on a plane again. If you are familiar with the GSB travel blogs, you know yours truly does not travel well, although until recently that has been driven more by the inconvenience involved in getting in the air more than the fear of falling out of it.
Last year I fell short again of my goal of reading 50 books in a year.
It’s a lofty goal I have reached only a few times, but one that stretches me, which is a good thing. One of the reasons I fell short last year was I spent entirely too much time reading the news. I sometimes spent an hour consuming the news on my iPhone before I got out of bed in the morning.
Sure, some of that reading was focused on COVID-19 and the pandemic, which was useful in my job, but much of my reading was also about current events, and sometimes about celebrities, the Kardashians included.
And here’s the thing, when I finished reading the news, I never felt I had accomplished anything of any importance. I was up-to-date on the events of the day, but the next day there would be a new set of events, and I would repeat the process, taking the click bait of interesting and usually misleading headlines, and gleaning facts of no particular usefulness.
1. The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton. G.K. Chesterton is the greatest writer you’ve never heard of, and if you have never read him you cannot imagine what you are missing. Tagged “The Prince of Paradox,” Chesterton has a way of turning a sentence back on itself while clearly expressing a thought you never thought and you never would have thought to write. Chesterton is at his best in this book, which C.S. Lewis called the best apologetic he had read and which influenced Lewis’s conversion.
2. Beyond Bullet Points, Cliff Atkinson. What, might you ask, does a book about Powerpoint have to do with the kingdom of God? Well, it has to do with work—my work as an attorney—and work has everything to do with the kingdom of God. This book swims against tide, arguing that text on a slide does not a powerful presentation make. In fact, Atkinson argues that text actually divides the reader’s attention between the speaker and the slide, making the communication less effective. His suggested solution is worth the price of the book.
3. The Destruction of Jerusalem, George Holford. Written in 1809 by a British lawyer and member of parliament. This book shows how Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fully realized in 70 A.D. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is one of the most important historical events for Jews and Christians alike. For Jews it marked the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; for Christians it marked the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and puts much of what many Christians worry about as a future event firmly in the past.