The Horse and His Boy

horse_and_his_boy_by_elandainBest quotes from Narnia!! This is my son Micah’s favorite book of the set — it’s somehow different from the rest.

The Good Quote:

I say!” said Aravis. “I have had luck.”

“Daughter,” said the Hermit, “I have now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and have never yet met any such thing as Luck. There is something about all this that I do not understand: but if ever we need to know it, you may be sure that we shall.”

It reminded me of the first of all the Star Wars movies, when the origional Obi Wan said, “In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” But CS Lewis wrote it first.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But I’m guessing he would have been lousy at skydiving, had he tried it, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: There are continual rumors about making this book into a movie, but it never seems to happen. That’s just ugly.

The Real “Utter Nonsense” of Missions and International Ministry.

My daughter Megan, setting the world straight on missions. Really.

LateToEveryParty

I keep coming across the same arguments against Christian ministry and not just from those outside the church, but from Christians.  We’ve all heard the claims before, they are 2000 years old. While reading this morning I came across this passage where Paul speaks directly to these criticisms: 1 Thessalonians 2:3-9 (NIV)

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1 Thes 2:3 “For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.”
Claim  1. Christians are ignorant or have hidden motives and therefore, mess things up.
– Christian organizations value freedom and education and will won’t stop working even after making mistakes.

Paul said, “We do not spring from error”, something Christians are learning to do better. It’s scriptural to not spring from error, it’s also scriptural to spring into action. Paul didn’t say  “we sit in perfection to avoid messing up.”

Get involved, be intentional and get wise…

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

lionwitchwardrobewallpaper1024Best quotes from Narnia!!

I received the Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas from my daughter, having worn out our old set reading them over and over to our four kids. So, I thought I’d do The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly book reviews on these, some of my favorite books.

 

The Good Quote: “Is–is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. . . Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe?” . . .

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

 

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But I bet he was lousy at auto-mechanics. And that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

 

The Ugly: Turkish Delight. Immediately addictive chocolate. That’s flat evil.

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain

voodoo-mtThe Good:

A 24-year-old girl from the States goes to live in Haiti and lives. And God changes her life. And her community. Sometimes there is nothing more unbelievable than the truth. Fiction could never been this crazy. I’ve been going to Haiti since 2007, and this book brings you as close to being there as you can get short of a plane ticket.

This is a MUST read.

 

The Bad:

The restavek system, voodoo, crime, humidity, fake orphanages, child slavery. . .  But not the book, the book is terrific – about a young girl moving to Haiti and watching God work to defeat the restavek system, voodoo, crime…

 

The Ugly:

The Son of God Orphanage was the ugliest part of the book for me – even worse than the voodoo. At least voodoo is what it is, it doesn’t pass itself off as light. Anyhow buy this book, it’s the first time i’ve found myself crying while reading in a LONG time. If you want to know more before ordering here you go!

http://www.respirehaiti.org/

Meanwhile, I’ll be back in haiti soon, at a ministry we believe in. Someone needs to write it a book! http://mcmhaiti.org/

 

Interrupted

interruptedInterrupted: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by Jen Hatmaker

The Good:

In spite of the current LGBT controversy around Jen Hatmaker, this is a good book. Not great maybe, but it has some terrific humor, combined with some convicting truth that make it a worth-while read. It is one of the best books,on helping “the least of these” in our own community, that I have read.

For those who don’t know, Jen’s affirmation of LGBT relationships resulted in her books being pulled from LifeWay Christian Stores. I support LifeWay in that, but it doesn’t take away from the good teaching in this book. The problem is that now it is difficult to recommend Interrupted, when you don’t know where the author is going with her life and theology. Most who start down this road of accepting most of the Bible while reinterpreting parts, end up reinterpreting most and accepting parts.

But, back to the book, I absolutely loved this quote she put in by Soren Kierkegaard “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God, ‘you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined.’” She followed that quote in a new paragraph with, “Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

 

The Bad:

Jen makes a point of sacrificing for people like the disciples – world changers, but also for people like Judas. We may be willing to be broken for future martyrs, gospel writers, and world changers, but it is much more difficult to be willing to be broken for a Judas. I thought that was a great point, convicting and true. However she ruined it, in my view, when she then talked about Judas being at the first communion. She says on p. 62 that “Judas was at Jesus’ table, eating the broken bread that was His body.” Actually, by this time we know Judas had left. He was out rounding up the Pharisees to come arrest Jesus, not eating with him. Had she stopped with Jesus washing Judas’ feet, that would have made the point.

So, either Jan didn’t do her research, or she is stretching the truth in order to make her point. Neither one makes me rest easy. I love her point, that we don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated by those we are caring for. But, Judas wasn’t there, and saying he was ruined the chapter for me.

 

The Ugly:

If you are a guy, Jen Hatmaker may be a new name to you. But she has 670,000 following her on Facebook. That’s more than John Piper with 431,000, double Tim Keller with 295,000, and triple the largest church in the United States, Life.church with 215,000.

This gifted a writer, with this large a following, can do great things for Christ. Jen already has. We have lost so many to liberal theology after getting a following, Jen deserves our prayer support to do exactly what she wrote. “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly.”

I can recommend the book, but not the author. . . yet.

But having said all that — here is another great quote.

interrupted_page-28

 

Late Christmas Letter

img_1517COOLEYS 2016

So Micah and Dad had grand plans to get the Christmas letter out for Christmas this year. Micah started it, gave it to Dad, and next thing you know it was Christmas. So, in the grand Cooley tradition of late New Year’s letters, here we go.

Mama and Papa Cooley: After seven years of being portable, the church finally has a building! This is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is that neither JO or Dan have to yell at their children to get up early to set up or stay late to tear down–which might be more exciting for Micah and Caleb than it is for anyone else. We merged with another church, oddly like what I’d assume a blended marriage to be like. So far, so good. JO is still working for Presbyterian Hospital as a Patient / Family Advocate. After 30+ years living with Dan, she knows how to keep stressed mental people content.

Megan and Joimg_1623n: They had a baby, and we know it’s theirs because it likes to stay home, shuns people, and loves sleep. They are getting along very well, and it’s pretty much everything they could have hoped for. His name is Memphis, but everyone just calls him Muffins. Megan is working at Presbyterian Hospital when not with Memphis. Jon graduated with a degree in Communications from UNM in May, and continues to work in the sound industry. We thought there might be an opening taking over the DNC emails or Trump twitter accounts, but they are still waiting for the call. Whose loss?

Amanda and Jake: After a year of figuring out life with epilepsy, Amfullsizerenderanda can drive again! This is yet another great thing for Caleb and Micah, as it means that they’re not chaperoning Amanda and her toddlers around. Emerson is now 2, Oliver 3, and they are a ton of fun when not breaking things. Also, Amanda is about to have another baby (July 2017), because you know, why not, it’s a new year. They also bought a house close to the new church with a great view for Balloon Fiesta.

img_1564Micah: graduated from UNM with a degree in English, then spent a summer at Camp Peniel, and then a couple months teaching English in Haiti. He decided not to retire in Port-au-Prince, and instead is on orders with the Air Guard for the next six months. After that, God knows. The saddest part of 2016 for Micah was when Dad borrowed his limited-edition Miata, only to be rear-ended by a drunk driver just a half-mile away and have the beautiful car totaled. We kept the gear-shift knob. Not much else was left.

 

FullSizeRender(1).jpgand Caleb: finished at the community college, and is about to go to Moody Bible College in Chicago. His Christmas wish list was a coat, and mitts, and boots, and long underwear, and a hat, and…. Dan bribed his way to a Masters there in 2000, and Caleb’s grandma Cooley graduated from Moody in 1945, which was, I believe, a very good year.

Hoping and praying 2017 is a great year for you as well.

2017 thought: “Look for Christ and you will find him. And with him, everything else.” – CS Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Things I’ve Learned After Moving Back to Haiti

For those going to Haiti with AnchorPoint this year – this is a terrific blog – with lots more on her site!

Living Green in Haiti

Last week marked one year since I returned to Haiti to pursue life as an emerging adult. Wow.. that sounds way fancier than it actually is. Anyway, I won’t add more to this intro. So voilà! Hope some of these are useful to you

1.  If you see a piece of tree on the road, it’s not because it rained and it accidentally got there. It could be. But this is how you’ll know there’s a car accident nearby. Slow down.

2.  TAG supermarket sells some of its stuff 3 times the price of other markets

3.  You can find fluoride-free toothpaste, harmless deodorants and other stuff that conscious shoppers generally care about at Caribbean Super Market

4.  At Epi d’Or if you order the chicken meal (or fish or beef or whatever). You will get served the meat only. That’s it. You also have to state and pay for the rice…

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Don’t give Trump so much credit, America

“Your success as a family . . . our success as a nation . . . depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.” Barbara Bush. This is a blog worth reading!

Purpose on the Prairie

In less than 24 hours since Donald Trump has been named the President-elect of the greatest nation on this earth, it’s become apparent he’s being given far more credit than he’s due.  There’s anguished cries of, ‘How will my children grow up knowing not to discriminate?’ or, ‘How can I look my daughter in the eye and tell her she has purpose?’  Really?  Really, America?  You have given Donald Trump, a mere mortal man, far more credit than he deserves, especially considering the man hasn’t even taken office yet.  Trump does not have the power to mold our families, that is our flat-out our responsibility.

Your children will learn to love or hate, be respectful or disrespectful, wise or foolish, not by the character of the family in the White House, but by the family in their house.  May I submit to you that your sons and daughters will be…

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The Fir Tree: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

fir-tree-01By Hans Christian Anderson

Illustrated by Sanna Annukka

The Good: It’s awesome — if you don’t mind a depressing Christmas. It is Hans Christian Anderson, after all. The illustrations, the gold foil on green cover, the cool classic Christmas tale – it all works together to make this a keeper. We will be setting it out with our Christmas decorations, for older kids and adults to pick up and read. I’m not sure younger kids would connect with the geometric artwork or story as well as older ones.

The Bad: We tend to read and watch stuff with our kids where everything turns out alright, despite our actions. As a result, we can inadvertently teach that regardless of how we live, everything will be OK. Anderson is much more real, but prepare yourself – and if reading to a young child it might be best to prepare them – for an unhappy ending. The benefit of this type of writing is that it encourages some deep thinking when reading alone, and discussion when reading to others. I think it’s better to prepare for reality than to ignore it. This story is a classic for a reason.

The Ugly: Not the book – it’s gorgeous. Not the story – it’s classic. It’s the truth being told that is ugly – to look at life now and enjoy what is beautiful about it, because in the end we will all be ash. It’s a good thought to remember at Christmas, to enjoy life now, but a bummer to remember we only have so many Christmases left. On the positive side, as a Christian, I figure this life is as bad as it gets, and the day I’m burnt up I’ll see my first Real Christmas.

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books for an honest review. I chose it because of the cool looking cover, and am glad I did.

Danielcooley.com

AllBks

Thriving Trough Ministry Conflict – The Good, the Trump, and the Ugly

thrivingThe Good: I absolutely loved this prayer quoted in the book. It is by monk and writer Thomas Merton.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils along.

Oh – the rest of the book is good too.

The Bad: Had this book had been loaned to Donald Trump in early 2016, and had he applied it, this election would have been way more boring. More successful for Donald, certainly, but boring. I couldn’t read about the “red and blue zones” and not think that had he read and applied this book – for good or ill – Hillary would have been history. I suppose I was supposed to apply it to myself – my bad.

The Ugly: This little book reflects its teaching back on the reader. I find it much easier to read about how others are my problem. Wanting to be liked, I abhor conflict, have avoided it, and created more ugly as a result. Thriving Thru Ministry Conflict convicted me – it would have been much easier to stay ignorant. More painful, and less profitable for myself and my church, true, but easier.

This is one of my favorite books on church conflict, and easily the most helpful at getting me to deal with my part of the mess. I’ll be loaning it out and recommending it to others. Wonder of Donald reads book reviews?

Danielcooley.com