Author Interview with Rondi Lauterbach

We have an author interview this week with new P&R author, Rondi Lauterbach. She is the author of our upcoming title, Hungry: Learning to Feed Your Soul with Christ.

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How can readers discover more about you and your work?

   –   Website: www.feastingonchrist.com

   –   Twitter: @feastonchrist

   –   Facebook Page: Feasting On Christ

Rondi

Lauterbach

Hungr

  • Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.Print

I was born and raised in Memphis, “raised right,” as my mother would say. Besides learning to say “yes, ma’am,” I learned to dance in my living room by watching my parents swing dance. I prayed for a husband who would know Jesus and have a good sense of rhythm. My husband Mark filled the bill on both counts, which helped make our years of pastoral ministry more fun. I’ve always loved language, too, and use it to write silly picture books for my grandchildren. Mark and I have three married children and four grandchildren, which isn’t nearly enough. When I’m not writing, I love to cook, too. In fact, when I started my blog “Feasting on Christ,” I thought I would post some recipes, too, which came to be tagged with the name “the Crazy Cook.”

  • Question #2—Which writers inspire you?

I love writers who open my eyes to the unseen world of God’s eternal kingdom—Charles Williams has given me those glimpses. Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle was another eye opener. I love GK Chesterton’s boisterous writing and the way he loves to turn a phrase on his head. Anne Lamott’s book on writing made me laugh out loud and diffused my writer’s panic when I first got the contract with P&R. N.D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl captured my imagination and made me gasp. I’ll never get over Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country.

  • Question #3—Have you always enjoyed writing

Yes, ever since my mother made me write those thank you notes. I have always considered writing to be a stewardship and a ministry, from notes of encouragement to blog posts to 140 character tweets. I take words very seriously.

  • Question #4—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic? 

I sort of backed into writing the book Hungry. I wanted to encourage the women of our church in Christ-centered personal Bible study because I had just been seized by the beauty of seeing Christ in the Scriptures for myself. As I prepared a weekend seminar called “Feeding on Christ,” I realized that you need to bring a good appetite to the table. The first session was about our spiritual appetite. That single session proved to be a rich topic for me personally and ended up expanding to be the first half of the book. I find it incredibly relevant to identify my own longings before the Lord as I meet with him. He helps me label my moods and then speaks to them through his Word, challenging, clarifying, transforming, and satisfying them.

  • Question #5—How do you deal with writer’s block?

Anne Lamott taught me that writer’s block simply means you don’t have anything to say right now. It’s a time to back off, take a break, read, listen, learn, and fill up. Eventually you’re ready to write again.

  • Question #6—Favorite food?

Cake, all kinds but especially lemon or carrot or red velvet or chocolate or . . .

  • Question #7—Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Coffee ice cream or whatever kind goes with my cake.

  • Question #8—Favorite animal?

Dogs, especially labra-doodles, because Sasha, our labradoodle makes the entire neighborhood laugh out loud when her tail wags in circles as she scampers down the sidewalk. She’s also very good at hide and seek.


How can readers discover more about you and your work?


 

NEW RELEASE—How Should We Treat Detainees? by J. Porter Harlow

How Should We Treat Detainees?: An Examination of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” under the Light of Scripture and the Just War Tradition by J. Porter Harlow

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184 pages | List Price: $39.99 | PaperbackReformed Academic Dissertations series

About

During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American government authorized “enhanced interrogation techniques” to obtain answers for potentially life-threatening situations from those in custody of U.S. forces. Harlow argues that this policy was contrary to Scripture and the just war tradition established by Augustine, Calvin, Murray, and Ramsey. Here Harlow:

– explains the background of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on detainees.

– details how historical prohibitions against torture, violence, and sexual and religious humiliation during interrogations were violated.

– demonstrates how those prohibitions are consistent with Scripture and the just war tradition.

– shows how the support of these interrogation techniques by prominent theologians conflicts with the just war tradition.

– encourages Christians to use the same criteria for decisions about national security policy that they use for other moral issues.

Endorsements

“Brings a sharp and analytical legal and theological perspective to a difficult and contested topic. Offering a biblical critique of enhanced interrogation techniques and working within the centuries-old framework of the just war tradition, Harlow shows that hard questions can be answered and that, in a world of gray, black and white does exist.”

—Timothy J. Demy, Professor of Military Ethics, U.S. Naval War College

“Porter Harlow has written a richly informed, morally compelling treatise on one of the signal ethical issues of our day. The treatment of the weak and the outcast is a sure test of a nation’s character—and who has less status than a prisoner of war?”

—Daniel M. Doriani, Vice President of Strategic Academic Initiatives and Professor of Theology, Covenant Theological Seminary

About the Author

J. Porter Harlow (J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law; LL.M., U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School; M.A.R., Reformed Theological Seminary) recently retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as an operational law attorney—including serving as an associate professor of international and operational law at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Excerpt taken from Galatians (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Philip Graham Ryken

Here is an excerpt taken from Galatians (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Philip Graham Ryken.

*Excerpt taken from the end of Chapter 19 – How to Grow Good Spiritual Fruit. Galatians 5:19-26.

Keep in Step with the Spirit

There are two sides to sanctification in the Christian Life. One is mortification, the putting to death of the sinful nature. The other is vivification, the coming to life of the regenerate nature. At the same time that we are putting our flesh to death, we are being revived by the Holy Spirit. These two aspects of sanctification—mortification and vivification—go together. As Calvin put it, “The death of the flesh is the life of the Spirit.”*15

This brings us to the second thing that the Christian must do to remain fruitful, which is to walk with the Spirit: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). The New English Bible offers a helpful paraphrase: “If the Spirit is the source of our life, let the Spirit also direct our course.”

In this verse, as he so often does, the apostle Paul follows an indicative with an imperative; he tells us to become what we are. It is a fact: Those who belong to Jesus live in the Spirit. At regeneration, the Holy Spirit enters the heart of every Christian. Yet we must keep on living in the Spirit, which is precisely what the Galatians were failing to do. Paul had already asked them, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).

By starting and then stopping in this way, the Galatians had fallen out of step with God’s Spirit. The way the New International Version translates this verse accurately captures the metaphor: “let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). When the apostle speaks of “keeping in step,” he is really talking about following orders. The Greek term for “keeping in step” (stoichomen) comes from the military. It means to stay in formation. First, soldiers would line up in ranks and files. Then, in order to maintain good military discipline, they would stay in line as they marched.

Soldiers not only march in formation, but also run in formation. When they do, there is only one thing they have to worry about, which is keeping in step. They do not need to worry about where they are going, or how they will get there. They do not need to guess how much farther they have to go. Their commanding officer will give them their orders as necessary. The only thing soldiers need to know how to do is step in time.*16 It is the same way in the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is God’s drill sergeant. It is his job to keep us in line. As he barks out the cadence, all we have to do is keep our place in the formation, running in step with his commands.

This analogy shows us where we ought to be in relation to other Christians. We do not run alone. Our brothers and sisters are right beside us. Ideally, we are matching them stride for stride. As long as we maintain good discipline, there will not be any pushing and shoving in the ranks, the kind of “provoking” and “envying” that Paul warns about in Galatians 5:26. Instead, by staying in formation, we will maintain our unity in the Spirit. A good unit never lets one of its men fall behind. If a soldier stops running because of injury, discouragement, or fatigue, his buddies will circle around and gather him back into his unit. So also in the church we are called to maintain unity by going back to help those who have fallen.

Keeping in step takes discipline, and so does spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit rarely works in extraordinary ways. Instead, he uses the ordinary means of grace to bring spiritual growth: the reading and preaching of God’s Word, the sacraments of baptism and communion, and the life of prayer. Contrary to what so many Christians seem to believe, true spiritual growth does not come from some special experience of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it comes from walking with the Spirit every day until, finally, keeping in step with him becomes a holy habit.

J. I. Packer’s explanation of how the Spirit works is worth quoting at length:

The Spirit works through means—through the objective means of grace, namely, biblical truth, prayer, fellowship, worship, and the Lord’s Supper, and with them through the subjective means of grace whereby we open ourselves to change, namely, thinking, listening, questioning oneself, examining oneself, admonishing oneself, sharing what is in one’s heart with others, and weighing any response they make. The Spirit shows his power in us, not by constantly interrupting our use of these means with visions, impressions, or prophecies . . . (such communications come only rarely, and to some believers not at all), but rather by making these regular means effective to change us for the better and for the wiser as we go along. . . . . Habit forming is the Spirit’s ordinary way of leading us on in holiness. . . . Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control are all of them habitual . . . ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.*17

Packer goes on to stress that “Holiness by habit forming is not self-sanctification by self-effort, but is simply a matter of understanding the Spirit’s method and then keeping in step with him.”*18 This is how God grows good spiritual fruit. The more we keep in step with the Holy Spirit through the Word, sacraments, and prayer, the more fruitful we become.


*15. John Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. T. H. L. Parker, ed. David W. and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 106.

*16. I am indebted for this observation to the Reverend Richard D. Phillips of First Presbyterian Church in Margate, Florida, and formerly a tank commander in the United States Army and a faculty member at the United States Military Academy (West Point).

*17. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, 109.

*18. Ibid., 110.


Excerpt taken from pages 239-241, Galatians (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Philip Graham Ryken, copyright 2005, P&R Publishing.

Excerpt taken from Resolving Conflict by Lou Priolo

The following is an excerpt taken from Resolving Conflict: How to Make, Disturb, and Keep Peace by Lou Priolo.

PREREQUISITE TWO: GENTLENESS

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with . . . gentleness. (Eph. 4:1–2)

THERE IS NO EXACT English translation for the Greek word for gentleness (or meekness). It is related to the character trait that we looked at in the first chapter—humility—because you cannot truly be meek without being humble.

A NECESSARY RESPONSIBILITY

From time to time, all Christians find themselves in a position where they will have to implement Galatians 6:1. “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Granted, obeying this passage correctly might result in a conflict. But not following it properly (to the letter) will all but ensure one.

When someone we know who professes Christ has fallen into a pattern of sin from which he is not able to extricate himself, we are told to restore him—in a spirit of gentleness.

It is sometimes easier to illustrate something by its antithesis. So try to imagine how effective it would be to restore someone like this:

“What a boneheaded move that was! How could you do something so unbiblical? I never would have done such a thing! I’m really disappointed in you! You had better listen to me carefully because I really don’t want to have to rescue you again.” This is not the way to restore someone with meekness.

Gentleness does not present itself as “holier than thou” but rather communicates an awareness of its own shortcomings. “The things I’m telling you today, I had to tell myself just last week” is the attitude it conveys, or “I’m just one beggar showing another beggar where to find the bread.” I occasionally explain to my counselees, “Today, I’m giving you advice. Next week, you may be on this side of the desk giving me counsel because I’m every bit as much a sinner as you are (and maybe more of one).”

The second element in gentleness has to do with controlling one’s temper (restraining one’s anger). Anger is given lots of print in the Bible. It is mentioned, in one form or another, over 500 times in the Bible (far more than fear, which appears in various forms over 350 times).

Biblical counselors have to deal with the sin of anger more than almost any other sin. Apart from the sin of selfishness, sinful anger is probably the most prevalent sin in all of life.

In this chapter, we will look at seven perspectives or working definitions of gentleness—seven slices of the pie, if you please. These descriptions relate to the second element of meekness (controlling one’s temper).

1. Gentleness is the ability to distinguish between righteous anger and sinful anger.

2. Gentleness is refusing to allow any desire to become so deep-rooted that it produces anger (either in an attempt to obtain it or as a result of not being able to obtain it).

3. Gentleness is knowing how to harness righteous anger so that it may be used to destroy only those things that God would approve being destroyed.

***Much of the material in this section (and in section 5 later) has been adapted from chapter 2 of my book Keeping Your Cool: A Teen’s Survival Guide (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014).

4. Gentleness involves knowing how to think during times of provocation.

5. Gentleness is knowing how to command not only your thoughts, but also your tongue, countenance, and body language during times of provocation.

6. Gentleness is remaining quiet when angry in order to ponder an appropriate response.

7. Gentleness is forgiving your offender quickly, thus not allowing yourself to meditate on and muse over the provocation.


Excerpt taken from Chapter Two of Resolving Conflict: How to Make, Disturb, and Keep Peace by Lou Priolo, copyright 2016, P&R Publishing.

AUTHOR HIGHLIGHT — D. G. Hart

D. G. Hart studied American history at the Johns Hopkins University and has served as Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College and Academic Dean and Professor of Church History at Westminster Seminary in California. He is currently Visiting Professor of History at Hillsdale College.

    

1. With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship (coauthored with John R. Muether)

208 pages | List Price: $14.99 | Paperback

Summary—A biblical take on how to approach the worship of our Lord. With Reverence and Awe answers many questions that will bring us back to the true spirit of worship.

2. Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America

240 pages | List Price: $18.99 | Paperback

Summary—A study of Machen’s thought and career that says much about the issues that unsettled mainstream Protestantism’s hold on American intellectual and cultural life.

3. Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America

286 pages | List Price: $16.99 | Paperback

Summary—A guide to one of the most significant streams of American Protestant Christianity. Over 375 entries cover the ideas, events, people, movements, and denominations that have made up this tradition.

4. John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist

272 pages | List Price: $22.99 | Hardcover American Reformed Biographies series

Summary—Hart recovers a nearly forgotten 19th-century theologian and demonstrates his ongoing relevance. Hart gives readers insights into Nevin’s critique of the revivalist tradition and shows how it applies today.

5. Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism (coauthored with John R. Muether)

304 pages | List Price: $24.99 | Hardcover

Summary—A survey of American Presbyterianism from its founding in 1706, showing how Presbyterians came to form one of the largest denominations in the US and what led to their decline.