Category Archives: books, literature, arts

A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson

This post featuring Bible verses from the modern language version The Message was originally published over a year ago. I am reposting it today in honor of the author Eugene Peterson who passed away this week.

Proverbs 18 The Message (MSG)

Words Kill, Words Give Life

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
all they do is run off at the mouth.

Many words rush along like rivers in flood,

but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 

The words of a fool start fights;

do him a favor and gag him.

Fools are undone by their big mouths;
their souls are crushed by their words.

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?

13 Answering before listening

    is both stupid and rude.

15 Wise men and women are always learning,

    always listening for fresh insights.

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—

    until the cross-examination starts!

20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

21 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Better the poor whose walk is blameless than whose lips are perverse Proverbs 19:1 from YMI
a shareable image from YMI- Why Am I?, a platform for young people to ask questions about life and purpose; a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries

A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson- offered Words of Life

Eugene Peterson has completed his “long obedience in the same direction.”

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22 at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

About his death, Peterson said this,

“I have no idea how it’s going to work out. But I’m not afraid, I’ll tell you that.

I’ve been with a lot of people who are dying. I think those conversations are some of the best I’ve ever had. These are people who have lived a good life and who have embraced their faith. They’re not afraid.”

He was the author of more than 30 books, including the bestselling A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, where he explored discipleship and perseverance in the Christian life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Message was the second title in the history of NavPress to sell more than a million copies, and has gone on to sell 20 million.

Peterson’s influence among the church extended long after his nearly 30-year tenure as pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian in Bel Air, Maryland.

 

 

His popularity famously reached U2 frontman Bono, and the two appeared in a film about the Psalms in 2016.

“I discovered Eugene Peterson’s The Message through the Psalms,” Bono said. “In the dressing room before a show, we would read them as a band, then walk out into arenas and stadiums, the words igniting us, inspiring us.”

 

 

 

 

 

Peterson was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), taught at Regent College and held degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University.

Last year, CT published an excerpt from one of Peterson’s final works, As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy.

Joy at the beginning, joy at the end, joy everywhere in between.

Joy is God’s creation and gift. No authentic biblical faith is conceivable that is not permeated with it.”

His family saw Peterson live that divine joy through his final moments on earth.

“With full and overflowing hearts, we give thanks for the gift of his life,” they stated, “knowing that his joy is now complete.”

(from CT Christianity Today)

 

 

 

Please join me in extending sympathy and gratitude to the Peterson family, and prayers for their comfort and healing.

Dr. Aletha 

exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

 

 

 

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Kristin Chenoweth, still a little bit WICKED

I recently read and reviewed Kristin Chenoweth’s memoir  which chronicles her  successful career as a Broadway, television, and movie singer and actress. She is most  known as good witch Glinda in Wicked.

A few weeks after finishing her memoir I watched a stage production of Wicked now featuring another actress. But I will get to see Kristen Chenoweth along with Idina Menzel in their former roles in a television special October 29, 2018.

Here is a link giving you all the details. I’m going watch  and  I hope you will  too.

Kristin Chenoweth-Idina Menzel-WICKED concert

In the meantime here is my review of Kristen’s story in case you missed it the first time or just like to review.

A LITTLE BIT Wicked:Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

a memoir by Kristen Chenoweth

Like me, Kristin Chenoweth was born and raised in Oklahoma; unlike me, she is an award winning singer and stage, screen, and television actress.  She is loved and admired here in our home state, being an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

The Performing Arts Center in Broken Arrow

flies the flags of Oklahoma, the United States, and Broken Arrow.

I have been to the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma where she conducts an annual Broadway Bootcamp.  But I didn’t know much about her until I listened to the audiobook version of her memoir A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, read by her. Now I almost feel like we are best friends.

The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre sign
Sign in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center -the theatre bears her name

From the opening paragraph, Kristen is candid, no nonsense, transparent, and hilarious. She’s one of those “you never know what she’s going to say next” people and you don’t want to miss  any of it. She is just as up front sharing her failures as she is celebrating her successes.

This part of the country is referred to as the “Bible belt” and Kristen admits to reading and believing it. So don’t be surprised when she mentions and even occasionally quotes from the Bible in her memoir. Like when she talks about the circumstances of her birth.

Kristen’s faith and family

Kristen was adopted at birth by a couple who had one child but were unable to have more. She describes herself as the product of “forbidden love.” Her biological mother was an unmarried flight attendant who became pregnant. Instead of  abortion or  raising a child alone, she opted for adoption. Kristin joined the Chenoweth family soon after birth.

Her adoptive parents have loved her and supported her career and she is immensely grateful to them.

Rather than being angry or bitter, Kristen is grateful to this woman who she says was kind enough to “let me go”. To illustrate, she tells a Bible story from the Old Testament about the wise King Solomon. It goes like this.

One day two women (prostitutes in some Bible versions) came to King Solomon,  and one of them said:

“Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.

One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 

Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.

In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.”

 The other woman shouted.

“No! He was your son. My baby is alive!”

The first woman yelled.

“The dead baby is yours. Mine is alive!”

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon,  until finally he said,

“Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword.”

“Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

The baby’s mother screamed.

“Please don’t kill my son. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

The other woman shouted,

“Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

Solomon  pointed to the first woman saying,

“Don’t kill the baby. She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.

From 1 Kings 3

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

She compares her birth mother to the woman who loved her child so much she would rather lose her than see her die. She believes,  “The ultimate test of love is letting go.”

Kristin won’t try to find her birth mother, refusing to intrude  on her privacy. She hopes she is happy, has a family, and knows how blessed Kristen’s life has been.

Kristen’s personal life

Unlike many entertainment celebrities, Kristen doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in her closet; she has avoided problems with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships,  financial problems, or other scandals. 

Kristin makes living with  Meniere’s Disease sound like a sitcom. Meniere’s causes dysfunction of the inner ear, resulting in sudden, unpredictable, debilitating attacks of vertigo(dizziness),  nausea, and vomiting. Episodes resolves after a few hours or sometimes days.

There is no cure for Meniere’s except a radical ear surgery which might leave her with hearing loss. As a professional singer she doesn’t want to risk that, so she copes with the condition with humor and an unwillingness to let it stop her from fulfilling her work commitments.

Memorabilia from Kristin’s career on display at the theater in Broken Arrow

Kristin has her serious side, evident as she describes singing at her beloved grandfather’s funeral, and supporting her mother through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

She sometimes feels caught between  the Christian community which criticizes her liberal social views and her friends with unconventional lifestyles who are turned off by her uncompromising Christian witness. As she puts it, she wants to love and help everyone in the same way Jesus did; she doesn’t want to take sides or exclude people just because they are different. 

Kristen’s gown from her Broadway show is displayed in

the Performing Arts Center lobby

Kristen’s performing career

Kristen has and still does perform on the stage, movies, and television, and records albums. She won a Tony award as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

an evening gown on display next to a photo of Kristen Chenoweth
Kristen receiving her Tony Award, photo and her evening gown displayed in the theatre lobby

I hope you will read, or better yet listen to Kristen’s memoir.

She may be “A Little Bit Wicked”, but I think you will love her as much as we do here in Oklahoma.

A Little Bit Wicked

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Enjoy Kristin’s singing

Listen on Apple Music to COMING HOME

Buy on the iTunes Store THE ART OF ELEGANCE  album

And find it on Amazon

Thanks for joining me to meet Kristin Chenoweth and see a little bit of our home state.

If you have enjoyed this, please share and follow this blog. See you next time.

Dr. Aletha

WICKED- cover of a program from the musical

After hearing how wonderful it is, I finally saw the touring production of WICKED and it is every bit as “wicked” as everyone says.

Although Kristin no longer performs in it, other actresses bring Glinda and Elphaba to life with singing, non-stop action, and gorgeous costumes.

It may be based on a children’s story, but WICKED is a touching saga of love, friendship, betrayal, courage, and forgiveness. Don’t miss it if you have a chance to see it.

You can stream the WICKED album free with Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

Do you wonder why Kristin’s home town is named Broken Arrow? Find out here.

History of the name of Broken Arrow