Pictures: Queen's Botanical Gardens (pt 2)

We found a couple trees, the grass tree and the bottle tree, that were imported from Australia.

100111 Grass and Bottle Trees

And we found some banana plants where the flowers were easy to see:

100111 Banana Flower

Pictures: Queen's Botanical Gardens

We took my folks to the Queen's Botanical Gardens north of Chiang Mai. It was a leisurely day of walking around, admiring the many plants and flowers, and taking many pictures. Here are a couple pictures of the flowers:

100111 Queen's Botanical Gardens

100111 Queen's Botanical Gardens

If you're interested, I have previously blogged about the Gardens here and here.

Pictures: Warorot

While each part of town has a neighborhood market, Warorot is a giant market that attracts folks from all over town; no other market is quite like it. So we took my folks there one day to have a look. We bought dried fruit and clothes, sampled a coconut shake, and took pictures, a fun experience.

100108 Warorot Day Market

100108 Warorot Day Market

In case you forgot, I blogged about Warorot last Feb.

1 Kings 16b-18

I continue to work my way through 1 Kings. This week I finished God's initial attacks on Baal through the prophet Elijah. You can find my commentary on my website.

Fender Bender

To experience the complete Thai lifestyle, one must participate in a car wreck. Given the way they drive here, it almost seemed inevitable, and a couple weeks ago we had a wreck. Well, wreck is too strong of a word; it was just a fender bender. Traffic stopped suddenly, but the guy behind us didn't stop in time and rear-ended us. Fortunately he wasn't going very fast and had a car smaller than our truck. No one was hurt. Also, the Thai people in the other vehicle were very kind and pleasant; we chatted amicably while the settlement negotiations took place. No police. No lawyers. No insurance companies. I suppose if one must be in a wreck, this was the best kind to have.

100108 Fender Bender

Pictures: Christmas Part II

When James' folks came to Thailand for a visit we had second Christmas (kinda like second breakfast for all you hobbits). Jasen's big present was a camera, while Emmy got clothes and a WebKinz. Ann's big score? Dr. Pepper flavored Jelly Bellys.

100107 Second Christmas

Pictures: Prince Royals College

I went to Prince Royals College here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, recently to do a bit of photography. Well, either kids in Thailand are *way* ahead of their American counterparts, or "college" doesn't mean what it means in America.

101005 Prince Royals College

But doughnuts are good no matter country you're from:

101005 Prince Royals College

Pictures: Jacen's 11th Birthday Party (part 2)

So after watching several hours of Clone Wars, the boys naturally headed outside to practice. That meant lightsaber fights with sticks, of course. Luckily, no blood.

100102 Lightsaber Fighting

Pictures: Jacen's 11th Birthday Party

Wow, it's hard to believe, but my son is already 11. We celebrated his birthday a few days early with a birthday party. Four of his friends joined him for some chocolate birthday cake and presents as well as several hours of watching Clone War Season 1 cartoons. They had a blast.

101002 Jacen Birthday Party

Pictures: Our Family

A friend recently took some family photos for us. (Thanks, Will!) Here are the two we liked most:

100101 Garriss Family

100101 Garriss Family

Pictures: A Photoshoot

Another family in town that we are friends with asked me to do a photoshoot for them. Below are a few of the pictures.

Love the eyes:

091229 Photoshoot

It can be tough to get a good smile from kids, but this one is spot on:

091229 Photoshoot

Ah, siblings:

091229 Photoshoot

Picture: Bull

Caught this scene on the way to work recently. I'm sure the bull outweighs the truck. If he shifted his weight suddenly...

091229 Bull on Pickup

Pictures: Thai School Christmas Program

I went to a Thai elementary school to watch a Christmas program. Not much was actually about Christmas, and none was about Christ, but it was still fun to watch. Below are some photos I took.

A sea of faces watching the program:

091225 Thai school Christmas program

Traditional Thai dancing:

091225 Thai school Christmas program

A Thai Santa, entirely too skinny:

091225 Thai school Christmas program

Pictures: Another Photoshoot

Just before Christmas I did a photoshoot of a family who came to Chiang Mai to visit their daughter; here are a few shots:

091223 Photoshoot

091223 Photoshoot

091223 Photoshoot

1 Kings 12-14a

Continuing to work my way through 1 Kings, I have posted my commentary on the dividing of the kingdom and Jeroboam's sin.

Pictures: Jacen

Just before Christmas I took a few pictures of our fast growing up son:

091219 Jacen portrait

091219 Jacen portrait

Some Thoughts on "Why Johnny Can't Preach"

“To preach the Word of God well, one must already have cultivated, at a minimum, three sensibilities: the sensibility of close reading of texts, the sensibility of composed communication, and the sensibility of the significant.” Thus T. David Gordon summarizes his book “Why Johnny Can’t Preach.” It’s a homiletics book, or more precisely it’s a book about the current state of homiletics. As one might guess from the title, Gordon thinks things are bad; he asserts that most preachers cannot and do not exposit the Word of God when they preach. I agree; for that matter, I have found few church members who can accurately define what exposition is.

The primary problem, in his estimation, is that preachers cannot closely read texts; that is, they don’t appreciate the skill with which a piece of literature is composed. This leads to a lack of ability to discern the true meaning (significance) of a text, and thus they preach sermons that are on the text but miss the point of the text. Gordon goes on to write that his problem stems from the abundant presence of electronic media that constantly distracts our attention and keeps us focused on the insignificant (can you say sitcom, Facebook, or Twitter?). In a similar vein, preachers can’t write well either, thus they can’t organize a good sermon.

His fourth chapter is a wonderful plea for Christ-centered preaching as well as a list of poor (though common) alternatives to exposition. He ends with some suggestions for homiletical improvement, many of which are quite good.

Overall, I find myself to be in agreement with his book. Perhaps the one area I would disagree most with Gordon is his emphasis upon reading classical literature, notably poetry. Gordon argues that learning to reading poetry will develop the skill of closely reading texts; while it may, I think there are probably many other degrees, jobs, and skills that can develop it. Computer programming, as one example, requires a person to pay close attention to details; I’m fairly certain that other occupations such as medicine and law do the same. Furthermore, I think anyone who takes time to develop inductive Bible study skills, such as those taught by Kay Arthur and Howard Hendricks, can learn to closely read a biblical text.

Overall, this short book is solid. But for those who are well read in expositional and Christ-centered homiletical books, it probably doesn’t really break much new ground.

Pictures: Our Thai Friends

Recently some Thai friends asked me to take their family photo. He's a pastor here in town and she's a Thai tutor (and teaches Ann and the kids). Afterwards they served us a delicious Thai meal, and despite a few language difficulties, we had a great evening of fellowship together.

091212 Ogaat

091212 Ogaat and Taay