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« November 2008 | Main | January 2009 »

December 15, 2008

Are You Comfortable Living over a Ticking Time-Bomb?

According to one report, the U.S. Treasury Department may be exploring a new cure for America's crisis: Islamic Banking, better known as "Shariah-Compliant Finance (SFC)." The Washington Times states, "At the very least, the U.S. government evidently hopes to emulate Harvard's success in securing immense amounts of Wahhabi money in exchange for conforming to the Islamists' agenda."

At the same time, Risk Specialists Companies, Inc. (RSC), a subsidiary of AIG, has just introduced what it is calling the first U.S. "homeowners insurance product that is compliant with key Islamic finance tenets and based on the concept of mutual insurance." Associate Vice President Jim Crain thinks that this introduction of "Shari'ah-compliant" finance "represents an important and emerging growth industry" for AIG. But this is not the type of growth we want or need.

In a video at Act! for America, investment professor Joy Brighton focuses on the newest and fastest-growing financial market in the world and one that brings much to fear: Shariah Islamic finance. Wall Street is focusing on the financial aspect, not realizing that this market exists because of Shariah, also known as "Islamic law."

Many Muslims across the world are warning against SCF, established by Sheiks wishing to impose Islamic law in western nations. After all, the object of Shariah is the supplanting of our government and the Constitution through violent or stealthy means. Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradawi calls it "Jihad with money," saying that "God has ordered us to fight our enemies with our lives and our money." Furthermore, new evidence shows that Al Qaida financed 9-11 with funds received from Shariah Banking. Anyone listening??

Continue reading "Are You Comfortable Living over a Ticking Time-Bomb?" »

A poem for winter and wintry times

Farm Animals in Winter
by Eve Perrera

Could I do it if I had to
Face some grim existence, stolid,
nostrils to the wind?

We'll only know when we get there;
when we face the wintry places,
what's the center we are made of,
and the wintry places look
much closer now.

Beyond them lies the only valid barn.

--As quoted by Luci Shaw in God in the Dark

Let the good times roll

14churches02190 Bad economy? Apparently, this is actually a boom time for evangelicals. (Free registration may be required to view article.) Break out the sparkling apple cider...

(Image © James Estrin for the New York Times)

Holiday horror stories

Upsidedownchristmastree I was oddly fascinated by the collection of nightmarish family memories aired in this online chat with Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax last week. (Scroll down to about halfway through the page. Occasional vulgarity.)

Most of us would like Christmas to look like the final scene in It's a Wonderful Life, but let's face it, it just isn't always like that. Still, once you've read about the parents who went at each other with knives and broken bottles, the grandma who gave one of her own gold fillings as a Christmas present, and the in-laws who got high on the patio with a DEA agent expected any moment, your own family reunions might not look so bad.

Stories like these also make me glad that, contrary to what loads of TV specials, movies, and commercials try to tell us every year, the "real meaning of Christmas" is not getting together with family, but the birth of the Savior of the world. Because that means that, even if what you go home to every year looks more like a Manson Family Christmas than a Norman Rockwell painting, you still have something truly wonderful to celebrate.

(Image © Hammacher Schlemmer)

Justice without mercy...

Ijm "And earthly power doth then show likest God's/When mercy seasons justice." -- William Shakespeare

The other night, I had the privilege of attending my very first International Justice Mission (IJM) benefit dinner, where I heard the wrenching story of Maite, a beautiful Guatemalan teenager.

When IJM first discovered Maite, the scars on her her arms bore witness to the frequent beatings she received as a slave to a woman--supposedly a "family friend"--and the woman's teenage son. After Maite's rescue, they discovered that her physical torture had also included repeated rape by the son.

IJM's team of lawyers secured Maite's freedom and sent her to live in a Christian aftercare house, where she is learning to live and to thrive. In a photograph (similar to the photograph of some other girls above), Maite's eyes were blurred out to protect her privacy, but there is nothing private about her radiant smile.

But what about the woman and her son? Thanks to IJM, one has been arrested and a warrant is out for the other.

Mission almost accomplished. Justice served. IJM has successfully fought for freedom once again.

But the young man's black and white mug shot makes me look again. There is no smile here, just emptiness. Likely because of his actions, a young woman has years of emotional healing ahead of her. Dare I ask: what has it done to him?

Continue reading "Justice without mercy..." »

The Point Radio: More Than Just a Game

You might think twice before you buy that video game for Christmas....


Click play above to listen.

Anne Harding, “Violent Video Games Linked to Child Aggression,” CNN.com.

December 12, 2008

Frugality: What a Novel Idea

With the changing economic conditions and the job market going kaput, frugality has been making a comeback. People have decided that they need to only spend what they already have. What a novel idea! Don't spend what you don't have! Too bad it took an economic crisis to help us realize that that is the only way to live life.

Our grandparents wisely understood the principle of living within ones means and not spending what you don't have. Not surprisingly, they or their parents were fresh out of the economic dark ages of American history. And yet, not even three generations later, we're learning that we can't live lavishly forever. Those who grew up learning to say no paved the way for a generation of financially successful parents whose kids had to have their own rooms and whatever else they wanted. Now we're back here again.

Frugality is reemerging, according to a recent article, because it's once again chic to be thrifty. Frugality is taking the form of clipping coupons and repairing possessions, instead of buying new ones. "It is a whole reassessment of values," says Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. "People are learning to say, 'No, not today.'"

Hopefully we can remember these handy hints for good living when we (if we ever get the chance again) find ourselves again in a time of plenty. And then, keep it that way.

The Point Wordle

Thepointwordle That Wordle site is awfully addictive. The Point's Wordle is here. I take encouragement from the fact that the largest word for our little blog is "think." That seems proper to me.

Re: Presidential Citizens Medal

Chuckcolsoncitizenmedal Just updating to add this photo that was taken at Wednesday's ceremony.

(Image © White House/Chris Greenberg)

No room in the split-level?

I've been reading a fascinating book by Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour titled The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross: Insights from an Arab Christian. In a chapter called "The Power of Paradigms," Jabbour offers some insights on the story of the birth of Christ, as related in Luke--insights that suggest that Jesus was not born in a stable, as Western Christians have always believed, but in a private home filled with relatives.

In chapter 2 verse 7, we read that Mary "gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

But as Jabbour points out, the Greek word used here for "inn" is kataluma, which "means the upper room of a home, and it is usually reserved for guests." Another Greek word for inn is pando, which we find in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jabbour notes--the story of the man preyed upon by criminals and was rescued by the Samaritan, who took him to an inn and arranged to have him cared for by the innkeeper.

"In this passage about the birth of Christ, why do translators insist on translating kataluma as 'inn' instead of 'upper room'?" Jabbour asks. "Why did Luke use the word kataluma when he could have used the word pando? If we look at Luke 2:7 again and translate kataluma as 'upper room,' will the verse make sense?"

Continue reading "No room in the split-level?" »

Who Is Jesus Christ to You?

Jesus_birth_1 Since we're in the midst of what I call the "silly season" with all its frenzied preparations, I thought it might be edifying  to take a few minutes to think about Who it's all about -- and in a very personal way.

So, in 100 words or less, tell us who Jesus Christ is to you. 

(Image courtesy of One Year Bible Blog)

Truth, Justice, Bravery and Sword-fighting

It sounds like there are some great themes in this upcoming film based on Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Award-winning book (click on the "Continue reading" link below). Ms. DiCamillo also wrote Because of Winn Dixie and a book that sounds very intriguing, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Continue reading "Truth, Justice, Bravery and Sword-fighting" »

Christmas in June?

Christmasballs1 Put the presents away and take the tree down. We've all been celebrating during the wrong month.

The Point Radio: Compassion the Best Therapy

If you think prison might be the last place you'd see people caring for each other, think again....


Click play above to listen.

Learn about the California Medical Facility's prison hospice program.

December 11, 2008

Daily roundup

Lesbians in West Virginia Want to Keep Baby

Now here's an interesting one on gay parenting, from deep in the heart of West Virginia. At first, the women in question might seem to have a strong case. But if the Judge is right in saying that he only gave them the go-ahead for foster care, not full parenting rights, then the women have a problem. We haven't had many cases like this in West Virginia, so it should be quite interesting to see what the state Supreme Court does with it.

Another Dismal Year for Movie Awards

Sean_penn I've always been a fan of the Academy Awards, until this year's show when I realized that I not only hadn't seen most of the nominated films, but I also had no desire to see them. Based on the dismal list of Golden Globe nominations -- always an interesting foretaste of the Oscar nominations -- it looks like I'll have another Oscar-free night in 2009. Most of the nominated films tanked at the box office, which is just another indication that moviegoers have better taste than the average film critic in L.A. or New York. 

So, just for fun, why don't you nominate your favorites for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. 

(Image © AP/Focus Features)

Some things never change

. . . . I welcome this correspondence because I admire your philosophical writings, which are lucid and well expressed. . . .

[And] I welcome this correspondence because I do not in the least admire your religious writings, which are confused, badly expressed and plagiaristic. There is evidence of hard thinking in every line that you write on philosophy, but you give your brain a rest when you turn to the uncongenial subject of Christianity. You may console yourself, however, with the reflection that in this respect you are not unique. In your attitude towards Christianity, you are a child of your age, an age which has decided that all standards of sober criticism may be suspended when Christianity is in the dock. H. G. Wells, Huxley and many another modern prophet display in their attitude to the greatest of all problems the same distressing blend of glib assurance and ignorance.

--Letter from Arnold Lunn to C. E. M. Joad, March 18, 1932, quoted by Joseph Pearce in Literary Converts

In need of a little inspiration?

How about starting off the morning with "40 inspirational movie speeches in 2 minutes"? (Actually, they're not all speeches, so it's more like "inspirational moments," but why quibble?) By the time you've heard from William Wallace, Aragorn, General Patton, Henry V, Senator Jefferson Smith, Captain Picard, and Fozzie Bear, you might not even need that morning coffee.

(Via Cinematical)

The Point Radio: Outsourcing Life

Outsourcing life?...


Click play above to listen.

Sites Allow Users To Outsource Life: Growing Number of Websites Make it Easy To Outsource Errands to Virtual Assistants,” CBS News, 25 June 2008.

December 10, 2008

Daily roundup

Presidential Citizens Medal for Chuck Colson

Chuck_colson Our fearless leader was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by George W. Bush today, "for his good heart and his compassionate efforts to renew a spirit of purpose in the lives of countless individuals." More information about the award is here. (Dr. Robby George, a friend of this ministry, also received a medal.)

A statement from PFM includes the following quotes from Chuck:

“Whatever good I may have done is because God saw fit to reach into the depths of Watergate and convert a broken sinner,” said Colson. “Everything that has been accomplished these past 35 years has been by God’s grace and sovereign design.”

In responding to the award, Colson directed the praise and accolades back toward the ministry of Prison Fellowship, the ministry he founded in 1976.

“I do not treat this medal as mine,” he said. “It is, like in the military, a unit citation. The staff of Prison Fellowship, the thousands of volunteers and the hundreds of thousands of donors have made this possible. So while I am overwhelmed in gratitude to God, I am grateful to all those associated in this movement called Prison Fellowship.”

Congratulations, Chuck!

Pray for the Pilot

Artplanecrashpressercnn Dong Yun Yoon, who survived last Monday’s jet plane crash in San Diego, can only utter words of hope and prayer for the pilot who accidentally killed his wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law: "Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident . ... I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."

I can’t imagine what he’s feeling right now but I'm impressed that he has the capacity not to blame anyone for his tragic loss. Referring to the military pilot, he added, "He is one of our treasures for the country." Well, Mr. Yoon, with your selfless response, so are you.

(Image © CNN)

A One-World Government?

Global_govt According to this article by Gideon Rachman, we're moving ever closer to a one-world government. Do you think you'll see it happen in your lifetime? If so, do you view such a change positively or negatively? Why?

(Image © James Ferguson for the Financial Times)

Giving Costly Gifts

Having just written a book on forgiveness, I guess I've been thinking a little bit about what forgiveness has to do with the Christmas season. A few of my musings appeared on Common Grounds Online the other day. I thought I'd share.

Here's the quote that I haven't been able to get out of my head since I wrote As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda. It's by Miroslav Volf and is the backdrop to my recent musings:

Under the foot of the cross we learn, however, that in a world of irreversible deeds and partisan judgments, redemption from the passive suffering of victimization cannot happen without the active suffering of forgiveness.

Could bloggers have changed the world?

Hitler460 Adolf Hitler has been getting his fair share of attention around here lately. But here's a question none of us thought to ask before: If blogs had existed in Hitler's time, could they have stopped him?

(Image © British Pathe PLC/PA)

The Point Radio: God’s Workmanship

Got talent?...


Click play above to listen.

In Crises Couple Help Fight Emotional Fires,” Washington Post, 16 October 2008.

December 09, 2008

Daily roundup

Re: Wheezing: A Christian Art Form

Time for a little wheezing...

That’s a new one

Parade When I was visiting my parents for a few days in Sequim (pronounced "squim"), Washington, I noticed a new variation on the annual call-it-anything-but-Christmas theme. Naming the annual Christmas parade the "Twinkle Light" Parade is new to me--and every bit as imaginative as Pittsburgh calling Christmas the "Sparkle Season" a few years ago.

Interestingly, the local business community has no difficulty with calling the big shopping event following the parade the "Christmastime Moonlight Madness Sale" (scroll down). Perhaps that's because there's an actual holiday named Christmas coming up--not a national Twinkle Day, or Sparkle Day--and merchants realize that the parents they're appealing to intend to buy their children Christmas gifts--not "Twinkle" gifts.

Yes, I know, the city fathers (and mothers and non-parents, for that matter) want to be "inclusive," which too often means discriminating against one religious or cultural tradition in favor of another (or none at all, unless there's a Twinkle cult I'm unaware of). To which I say: The original St. Nick was a fourth-century Christian bishop who gave gifts to the poor. Which means, if there's a Santa Claus involved, it's a CHRISTMAS parade.

Looking ahead....Perhaps we should re-name Valentine's Day so as not to offend non-lovers, or those who offended by holidays with names of Catholic saints in them. We could call it "National Heart-Shaped Chocolate Day" instead.

By the way, I'm writing something about all the Happy Sparkle Day/unity trees/don't even think of saying "Merry Christmas" nonsense. If you have any fresh examples, I'd appreciate your sending them along.

(Image © Lonnie Archibald for the Peninsula Daily News)

Another great Christmas gift

Austen_calendar Lori Smith's photographs from her trip to England have been made into a beautiful 2009 calendar. Order one for the Jane Austen fan in your life -- and if that person doesn't yet have a copy of Lori's book about following in Austen's steps, order one of those to go with it!

(Image © Lori Smith)

Calling in gay

I'm not sure how well this would go over at your workplace, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fly with Dave the Swede. (And more power to him.)

Climate Change Chic

Earth2 Stubborn thing, truth. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, you can resent it, ignore it, deride or distort it—but there it is. Truth, as Al Gore eagerly lectures, is an inconvenience to people content with their cherished beliefs. Interesting how some of the most inconvenient truths are those that keep cropping up about global warming. Read on...

The Point Radio: Don’t Need a Tryout

Are your kids making the grade?...


Click play above to listen.

Tedd Tripp, Shepherding Your Child’s Heart (Shepherd Press, 1995).

December 08, 2008

Daily roundup

Dream Showdown

Pacquiao_de_la_hoya Mike Tyson once said every boxer has a fight plan until he gets punched in the face. Boxing fans saw this truth played out last Saturday night in one of the most memorable fights in boxing history. Swollen and bruised, former U.S. Olympic gold medalist and welterweight world champion Oscar De La Hoya threw in the towel in the eighth round to give the victory to Manny Pacquiao. The fight was considered a dream match to many (including me) because of the David and Goliath comparison. Pacquiao, the smaller opponent, was fighting two divisions above his weight class against superstar De La Hoya. However, the dream fight last Saturday proved that in the boxing ring, size does not matter.

So what’s the spiritual takeaway? Pacquiao is a man of faith. He knows the truth that there’s a bigger power than he. Amidst the jubilation and before he raised his arms in victory, the first thing Pacquiao did when he knew De La Hoya had given up the fight was to go down on his knees for a silent moment of prayer. Clearly he believes that in the boxing match of real life, the size and the power that really matter are God’s.

(Image © The Times Online)

Hooray for Barbie!

Barbie_bratz I must admit that I smiled a bit when I read the news that Mattel, which makes Barbie dolls, has won its copyright infringement lawsuit against the maker of Bratz dolls.

Yes, I'm familiar with all the brouhaha over the unrealistic beauty standards implied by Barbie's fabulous face and figure. But I have very fond memories of playing with one of the earliest Barbie dolls (I still have her), mainly learning to make her clothes using fabric scraps from my mother's various sewing projects. I gave my daughter Barbie dolls when she was growing up, and I've purchased several for my granddaughters.

I have not, however, bought any of the wildly popular Bratz dolls. Why not? Because they're freaky-looking, they're dressed like prostitutes, and they have a name that implies that being a brat is somehow a worthy goal. Needless to say, I won't be shedding any tears over their demise -- though I'm sure some savvy doll collectors will snatch up all the available Bratz dolls and make a pile of money.   

(Image © Competitive Intelligence)

Martin Niemoller’s Warning

I was glad to see that Chuck Colson is one of the signers of the No Mob Veto ad in the New York Times.  Reading the accompanying article brought to my mind a famous dissident in Nazi Germany, Pastor Martin Niemoller, who felt guilty that he had not done more to oppose the Nazis as they rose to power, and who penned the well-known warning quoted below. I'm not a Mormon, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if radical homosexuals are able to intimidate the LDS church into dropping their opposition to gay marriage, then Bible-believing Christians anywhere will be in danger of suffering similar attacks. 

First, they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me. 

There is a God

Good_shpeherd I don't know about you, but every now and then I get hit by this truth like a two-by-four. This Friday night was one of those times. I hesitate to write about this because I don't want people to think I'm singing my own praises. I'm not. In fact, I'm writing about this because sometimes in the most ordinary circumstances of life, we see the hand of God so unmistakably, we know it's not us, it's Him.

I had just left work last Friday and I was heading for the Redbox to rent the movie Wall-E (by the way, Roberto, you were right, it is one of the most under-discussed Christian films of the year). Anyhow, if you know anything about Redbox (I love it so), I could have gone to any one of five grocery stores, all on my way home, to find a kiosk to rent a movie for a dollar. As it was, I choose the one closest to work, letting the green lights guide me.

I was standing absentmindedly in line behind another lady when a toddler ran out of the grocery store, wailing, "Daddy, don't leave me. Don't leave me, Daddy!" He had already made his way through one set of automatic doors and was now heading for the next set just beyond me. It took me a second to realize what was going on. He was already out the door. I ran after him into the dark and right into the middle of the street where no less than three cars were pulling out toward him. I leaned down to him and told him that I would help him find his daddy, and I picked him up.

Had I been a moment later, I shudder to think what would have happened to this little one, far below the line of vision of the SUVs and minivans heading out of the parking lot.

Continue reading "There is a God" »

Dog’s best friend

Make sure you have a tissue handy before you watch this.

’No Mob Veto’

Chuck Colson is one of the signers of a New York Times ad that stands up for the Mormons and others who voted "yes" on Proposition 8 in California:

The violence and intimidation being directed against the LDS or "Mormon" church, and other religious organizations -- and even against individual believers -- simply because they supported Proposition 8 is an outrage that must stop.

Click here to see the full text of the document and, if you'd like, to add your own name.

The Point Radio: Greedy Santa?

The man in the red suit makes big bucks....


Click play above to listen.

Jeff Canning, “$175-an-Hour Santa Sues to Keep Job,” Washington Times, 22 October 2008.

December 05, 2008

A $700 Billion Dollar Word

Bailout_wordle

How big was "bailout," etymologically speaking? While Congress was considering the enormous financial industry rescue package this fall, searches for "bailout" eclipsed perennial puzzlers like "irony" and the bedeviling duo of "affect" and "effect."

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary decided to choose the "word of the year" based on the volume of look-ups for the most misunderstood word of the century: bailout. The seemingly simple word suddenly took on $700 billion worth of importance, and Merriam-Webster could not ignore it.

Read more here.

’A Rock and a Hard Place’

Men just can't win for trying. It seems as though a number of women have given men conflicting messages on how to treat them respectfully. 

Here, University of Dallas student Ashley Crouch speaks out about the results of her chivalry poll. One paragraph stands out:

How do guys define chivalry? Three out of four responded that it had to do with respect, honor, and courtesy towards women. One man spoke openly: “Chivalry is the notion that a man has the duty to respect and serve women.”

But sadly, "too often . . . these same men lamented that their efforts to be chivalrous were met with scorn."

More thoughts on sex offender laws

I'm glad to hear the various thoughts that sex offender laws, particularly those in North Carolina, have provoked. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as we continue to ponder this issue:

First, the fact that some sex offender laws are too extreme does not mean we should eliminate all of them. Rather than throw out the entire system, we should seek a discerning response -- one that truly considers an offender's risk level and compares the return on public safety with the damage done to offenders' lives. 

Second, we can't blame people for wanting to be safe. While their methods may be absurd, their goals are certainly not. Those who lobby for and support tough sex offender laws really believe they are serving the public interest.  Many sex offender laws are responses to tragic stories. We must extend compassion to the hurting, scared families of little boys like Adam Walsh and little girls like Megan Kanka.

At the same time, we can explain to these people that their ideas are not the best way to keep us safe. Below are some articles that present great information to inform our dialogue about current policies:

Continue reading "More thoughts on sex offender laws" »

A Great Christmas Gift

Faith_and_culture I was thrilled last week to get my copy of Kelly Monroe Kullberg and Lael Arrington's Faith and Culture Devotional. Full disclosure--I have a piece published in it, so that added to the thrill. But also, I was excited to see the great line-up of authors and wonderful range of topics that the devotional covers: including Chuck Colson, Dallas Willard, Frederica Matthewes-Green, Os Guiness, John Elderidge, Phillip Johnson, Vera Shaw, Keith Getty, Gene Edward Veith and more.

As I flipped through my copy of devotionals arranged by topics of Bible and Theology, History, Philosophy, Science, Literature, Arts, and Contemporary Culture, I stopped to read passages on the wonders of God hidden in the periodic table, in T.S. Eliot and Julian of Norwich's writings, in Bach, U2 and Plato.

This morning I was reading an excerpt by Betsy Childs, formerly a writer with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, on holiness. It gave me a lot to think about. She writes about G.K. Chesterton's favorite childhood past-time of drawing with white chalk on dark paper. Quoting Chesteron, she pulls out this truth:

"'One of the wise and awful truths which this brown-paper art reveals is this, that white is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. ... The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.'"

Childs points out that we typically think of virtue as merely the absence of vice, but it is so much more. I'm pondering that, and looking forward to reading another devotional offering tomorrow.

By the way, all the proceeds of the book go to help Compassion International and Veritas Forum. That makes it a particularly good Christmas gift to add to your wish list or give someone else this year. You can buy it on Amazon.

The Point Radio: Twitterpated

How many ways can you waste your time?...


Click play above to listen.

Cheryl Miller, “Twittering the Day Away”, Culture 11, 22 October 2008.

December 04, 2008

Daily roundup

Mr. Crock Pot Saves the Day

Crock_pot Because my wife is having a difficult pregnancy, I was unexpectedly commissioned to take charge of preparing meals for my family. Thanks to Kim Moreland’s suggestion, I decided to give our crock pot a second chance at life. The device was raised from the dead after three years in the kitchen appliance cemetery (our bottom kitchen cabinet).

Now it’s my best friend, the gadget I hold dear this season of festive meals and potlucks. The crock pot has become a great sidekick in serving good-tasting and low-maintenance meals for my family, and that to me is a great way to save the day.

I just discovered I’m not alone in my affection for the kitchen wonder. Check out the Crock Pot Love Letter from Stuff Christians Like.

(Image via Stuff Christians Like)

I’m Glad Somebody Gets It

How_to_talk_to_girls The relationship advice from an up-and-coming author includes this sage suggestion: "Don't think girls are gross." Still, what are the odds that his work contains more wisdom than 95 percent of dating books on the market?

(Image © HarperCollins)