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Posts tagged ‘Christian Piatt’

What’s On Your Bucket List? by Linda Brendle

Published in the Community Chronicle December 15, 2019:

when i grow upAsking a child what he wants to be when he grows up can be very entertaining. I’m sure my son Christian went through the typical hero-worship phase, but the first career ambition I remember was when he began kindergarten. We lived within walking distance of the school, and I was a stay-at-home mom, so we got in some exercise as well as some together time when the weather permitted. We had to cross one major street, and Christian immediately fell in love with the kind man with the bright orange vest and bright red sign who greeted him every day and escorted him safely across the street. Forget the fireman, policeman, and even Spider Man – he wanted to be a crossing guard.

Christian showed great ambition through the years. He wrote his first story as soon as he could hold a pencil, and he created his first book out of samples our paper-salesman neighbor gave him. In the summer he carried lemonade around in his wagon, visiting the neighbors who were working in their yards instead of waiting for them to come to him, and in December he knocked on doors, offering bundles of mistletoe tied with red yarn for 50 cents each. (more…)

Packing – it’s a family tradition | by Linda Brendle

Published in The Rains County Leader on February 20, 2018:

RVNewer readers may not be aware that several years ago I wrote a memoir about Alzheimer’s caregiving. It was structured around a seven-week, sixteen state motor home trip we took with my parents, both of who suffered from some kind of dementia. In one of the early chapters, I shared the difficulties of getting ready for the trip. Following is a paragraph about getting Mom and Dad’s clothes ready to go: (more…)

Feeling Grateful | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 22, 2016:

gratitude-journal-2-chic-stealsI developed the habit of keeping a gratitude journal years ago when Mom and Dad lived with us. Caring for two people with Alzheimer’s, regardless of how much you love them, is enough to change the most positive person into a grouch. When I realized how negative I had become, I bought a small notebook and resolved to write down at least three things each day for which I was grateful. Finding three things proved to be more difficult on some days than others, but after months of practice and discipline, my attitude began to change. I learned to look for and appreciate the small joys and to overlook the less joyful moments. (more…)

Who did you vote for? | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 1, 2016:

politics-and-religionWhen I was growing up, I was taught that it isn’t polite to tell people how much you make, how much you paid for something, or who you voted for. Those rules have long since gone the way of a lot of the other customs and traditions of the pre-Sixties world. The one about sharing your candidate preferences is particularly outdated now. In fact, in the past weeks and months, the subject has dominated most polite, and lots of impolite, conversations. One of my favorite people to discuss politics with is my son, Christian Piatt. (more…)

Book Review: The Coffeehouse Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Coffeehouse ChroniclesThe Coffeehouse Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett is a collection of three novellas:

  • Is the Bible True…Really?: A Dialogue on Skepticism, Evidence, and Truth
  • Who Is Jesus…Really?:A Dialogue on God, Man, and Grace
  • Did the Resurrection Happen…Really?:A Dialogue on Life, Death, and Hope.

This work is very different in some ways from the book I reviewed yesterday: postChristian:

Josh McDowell

Josh McDowell

What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care? The Chronicles are fiction rather than non-fiction, and the authors approach their subject from a more conservative world view than the author of postChristian. McDowell, an apologist, evangelist, and writer, partnered with Sterrett who is an educator, ethicist, and evangelist. Piatt on the other hand is described as a “fearless and provocative spiritual trailblazer.” However, all the authors offer in-depth reasons for their beliefs along with information that will help their readers avoid sound-bite theology. (more…)

Book Review: postChristian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care? by Christian Piatt

CoverAs promised yesterday, I’m posting the first of two reviews intended to spark interest in apologetics, or learning exactly what it is you believe and why. postChristian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care?  was written by Christian Piatt who describes himself as an author, speaker, antagonist, and God nerd. The book is an in-depth look into the decline of institutional religion and what might lie ahead for Christianity.

Structured in a problem/solution format, the book offers alternating chapters featuring Christian scandals,

Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt

loosely based on the “seven deadly sins,” followed by Christ-like virtues. The author writes in a way that at times made me want to sit back and say “Word” – which I think is the current equivalent to “Right on, man” – while at other times I scratched my head and thought, now what exactly did he mean by that? His scholarly citations sometimes challenged my lazy intellectualism, but his conversational style, contemporary references, and personal stories clarified his point and answered many questions. (more…)

Sound-Bite Theology | by Linda Brendle

Sound biteThere is an old social sound bite that says successful social gatherings should never include discussions of religion or politics. I was involved in a family get-together a couple of years ago that ignored that advice, and the results were not pretty.

David and I were visiting our son and daughter-in-law, and one evening, as often happens in their home, dinner turned into an impromptu party. After dinner, we retired to the patio to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest weather, and since there were several ministers and a couple of Christian writers in the group, the forbidden subject of religion came up. (more…)

Quotes from A Long and Winding Road | Labor Is a Screaming Matter | by Linda Brendle

Labor is a screaming matter

In A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos, I tell not only the story of our seven-week, sixteen-state trek in a forty-foot motor home, but I also tell some of the stories of how life brought us to this point. Our travels took us to Pueblo, Colorado to visit our son Christian, and we timed it so we could help celebrate his birthday. Of course, that evoked memories of his debut into the world and of the nurse who reminded me somewhat of Nurse Ratchett in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”



To read Chapter 1 of A Long and Winding Road, CLICK HERE.

winding road Cover 25 percentA LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available for $6.99 at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Disenfranchising Christian | by Linda Brendle

LeverVotingMachineBoothNo, this isn’t a political rant against “The War on Christianity.” Instead, in honor of Election Day, it’s a brief story about my five-year-old son and a voting booth. It was taken from a previous post titled My Son, the Holy Heretic.

Christian was always an independent thinker. In 1976 I took him with me to vote. I thought it would be good for him to be exposed to the process even if he didn’t understand what was going on. It wasn’t the first time, and definitely not the last, that I underestimated him. (more…)

Review: Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach



About the Book:

What if reconciliation is central to the biblical message? And what if Christians, who have been missing the mark for millennia, are awakening to the gospel of peace? International mediator and Mennonite John Paul Lederach offers guidance for Christians seeking guidance in Scripture and personal applications of reconciliation. Originally published as The Journey Toward Reconciliation and based on Lederach’s work in twenty-five countries across five continents, this revised and updated book tells dramatic stories of what works—and what doesn’t—in resolving and transforming conflicts. A section of resources for congregations and small groups offers litanies, discussion questions, resource lists, and practical ideas for peacemaking in everyday life.

“Lynne and I feel deeply called to the work of peacemaking these days. We know it is very near to the heart of the One we serve. No one’s writings have helped us more than John Paul Lederach’s.”—Bill Hybels, co-founder and senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

Buy Link: Amazon

My Review:

After describing the horrifying evening when he was informed that his daughter was the target of a kidnapping plot aimed at undermining his peace building efforts in Costa Rica, John Paul Lederach wrote the following paragraph:

I can no longer take John 3:16 as a short formula for salvation. I can only understand it as a foundational principle of reconciliation. It is an ethic based on willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of an enemy. It is an ethic undergirded by and made possible only through the immeasurable love and grace of God.

This statement is pivotal to Lederach’s approach to conflict resolution which involves approaching your enemy in the hope of understanding him and finding common ground rather than attempting to force him into accepting your point of view.

When my son, Christian Piatt, first recommended this book to me, I told him it would probably be over my head. I’m a lazy intellectual, and I have to keep reference sources close at hand when reading a lot of what he reads, as well as some of what he writes. He assured me that Reconcile was written in a narrative style that makes it an enjoyable as well as an educational read. He was right. Lederach’s stories draw the reader into the personal lives of his own family and of those he has met in his ministry of reconciliation while also teaching how to find the truth, justice, mercy, and peace that are so lacking in our conflicted world.

I was further concerned that, since Lederach’s work is global in scope, his insights would have little practical application for a small-world person like me. While I am aware of the chaos that makes up the nightly news, and I attempt to vote and live in a responsible manner, my primary focus is geared more toward the people whose lives touch mine on a more personal level, both here in small town America and on the Internet where my life intersects with others through my writings and theirs. However, the path to conflict transformation outlined in Reconcile is applicable to individuals, churches, and workplace environments as well as an international setting.

Christian recently posted an interview with the author on his blog. Following is his last question and Lederach’s answer.

If you had one dream for the impact this book would have, what would it be?

That it provokes reflection and meaningful conversation that leads to taking a risk, maybe a small step, toward building better, more healthy relationships in and through the many conflicts life affords us.

This book is an interesting read but not an easy one. It’s not one to be scanned and put back on the shelf. Instead, it is a text to return to often, to meditate over, to share in a group study. If enough of us read, understand, and live these truths, perhaps Lederach’s dream will come true.

About the Author

John Paul Lederach has worked in international reconciliation for more than thirty years. He has developed training in conflict transformation and provided direct mediation and support services for reconciliation efforts in some of the most violently conflicted regions across five continents.
Lederach has consulted with the highest-level government officials and national opposition movements in war-torn settings like Nicaragua, Somalia, Northern Ireland, Colombia, Nepal, and the Philippines.

As professor of international peacebuilding and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Lederach is the founding director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

He is the author of twenty-two books and manuals and numerous academic articles and monographs on peace education, conflict transformation, and mediation training. Lederach’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he is in international demand as a lecturer, consultant, and mediation trainer.

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