Saturday, July 30, 2011

Museum Turns the Pages of the King James Bible's 400 Years of History

Makoto Fujimura's Luke: Prodigal God
I recently took in the "On Eagles' Wings: The King Kames Bible Turns 400" exhibit at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City. Though smaller in scope than I had expected (there are after 400 years of history here), the exhibit including various editions of the bible (inclusing a couple of 16th century volumes) is very interesting and is enhanced by some art by Makoto Fujimura, including his beautiful "The Four Holy Gospels" work,

Equally interesting (and for book lovers like myself, perhaps even more so) is an exhibit on the process of making and retsoring ancient books. There are some of the tools and materials used as well as a very informative video. The museum also offers guided audio tours. It's certainly a worthwhile trip if you are in the Lincoln Center area near where the museum is housed on the second floor of the American Bible society on Broadway.
Following is a release from the museaum with information about the exhibit.
--Lauren Yarger

The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) presents On Eagles’ Wings: The King James Bible Turns 400, an exhibition exploring the tumultuous origins and dramatic impact of a literary masterpiece widely considered one of the most celebrated books in the English-speaking world. On view until Oct. 16, 2011, On Eagles’ Wings features more than 130 objects, including more than 50 editions from 1440 through 1999.

These are seldom-seen treasures from one of the largest and finest collections of printed scriptures in the Western hemisphere, the Rare Bible Collection at MOBIA, on long-term loan from the American Bible Society. An influence upon countless authors throughout history, the King James Bible is linked to the writings of such prominent Americans as Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and Cormac McCarthy (b.1933). MOBIA will also feature five major new works by noted contemporary artist Makoto Fujimura (b. 1960) created to commemorate the anniversary of the King James bible.

On Eagles’ Wings invokes an era when translating the Bible was deadly dangerous. Several of the bibles on display faced destruction, while translators were executed, exiled and excommunicated. During the 16th century – amid the turbulence and conflict of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation – scholars risked their lives to translate the Bible into English. To produce the King James Bible, more than 50 scholars drew upon these early translations. Published in 1611, after seven years, this legendary translation shaped the modern English language, which is peppered with hundreds of phrases from this iconic volume.

―We are excited to participate in this international celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible,‖ said Dr. Ena Heller, Executive Director of the Museum of Biblical Art. ―The impact of the King James Bible on our culture is incalculable. Visitors to MOBIA can learn about it from every angle – theological, historical, artistic and literary.‖

Exhibition Highlights:

Manuscript on vellum c. 1440 

 Wycliffe is credited with producing the first English translation of the entire Bible in the 1380s. Manuscript copies of the Wycliffite Bibles, produced by his followers, were often destroyed. About 250 of these still survive.

Bible with Apocrypha, 1568
This was the official Bible of Queen Elizabeth, revised by a dozen of her most prominent bishops. King James did not suppress or discredit the Bible of his predecessor, but recommended his own team of translators to follow its wording whenever possible.

Bible with Apocrypha, 1611 (left)
The first edition of the King James Bible. In the title page, the Sacred Name in Hebrew characters, the Dove of the Holy Spirit and the Lamb of God represent the Trinity. Right in the middle of the Twelve Apostles, Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, James’ original kingdom, is hugging his X-shaped cross.
Pennyroyal Caxton Press Bible, 1999
 Published in Massachusetts and New York to coincide with the new millennium, this two-volume edition on handmade paper has earned a privileged place among the most beautifully printed editions of the King James text. It was both designed and illustrated by Barry Moser (b. 1940), the first major artist to create a complete set of Bible illustrations for a folio volume since Gustave DorĂ© in the 1860s.

Makoto Fujimura
Also on view are five new, large-scale paintings and more than 80 small works by Makoto Fujimura. This original artwork will appear in The Four Holy Gospels, a limited-edition volume commissioned by Crossway Publishing, to be published in January 2012 in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Makoto continues the legacy of the illuminated Bible while incorporating images drawn from his abstract contemporary paintings.

An additional component of the exhibition goes behind the scenes to explore the tools, techniques and secrets of conservation. In this tribute to typographers, illustrators, printers, binders, and conservators, visitors will learn the process of binding and rebinding a book; how a letterpress works; and innovative ways printers reused typeset to make attractive yet economical volumes.

Major support for MOBIA’s exhibitions and programs has been provided by the American Bible Society and by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York’s 62 counties.

About the American Bible Society:

Headquartered in Manhattan, the 195-year-old American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation’s oldest nonprofit organizations, American Bible Society began collecting Scriptures in 1817, only one year after its founding. Through gifts and acquisitions its collection quickly grew. Today, it includes more than 45,000 volumes making it one of the world's largest collections of printed Bibles. Visit for more information.
About the Museum of Biblical Art:
Located near Lincoln Center at 1865 Broadway at 61st Street, the Museum of Biblical Art presents critically acclaimed art exhibitions while offering high quality, affordable arts enrichment programs to visitors of all ages. MOBIA celebrates and interprets art related to the Bible and its cultural legacy in Jewish and Christian traditions through exhibitions, education and scholarship. Past exhibitions have ranged from masters of the Italian Renaissance to the art of Marc Chagall. Admission to MOBIA's exhibitions is free for members and children under 12 and pay-what-you-wish for adults, with a suggested admission of $7; Sundays are free. Museum hours are: Tuesday., Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm; Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm. Monday: Closed. Visit for more information on current exhibits and public programs.

For more information about Fujimura and his work visit

Fujimura's Matthew: Consider the Lilies

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

Cover design Ryan Holligsworth
The Earth Stood Still Too When I Read This One
By Lauren Yarger
Another "hip" pastor (this one even younger looking than most) from a trendy mega church trying to become even more famous by penning his first book. At least that is what I thought when I picked up "Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible" (Multnomah Books, 2010) by Steven Furtick, founder and lead pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.

I'd heard of Furtick. He has an interesting blog and has been making the rounds at a lot of Christian conferences, so I put aside my growing ennui with books lining the shelves in the Christian section of bookstores from from youthful, good-looking pastors with wishy-washy messages and requested a copy of "Sun Stand Still" for review to see what he had to say. I was blown away. I began reading on a train trip into the city. When I looked up, I realized we had pulled into the station and that an hour and a half had passed unnoticed so engrossed was I in this book. It was almost like the earth stood still as I heard God speaking directly to my heart.

The pastor's goal is to "incite a riot in your mind." "To trip your breakers and turn out the lights in your favorite hiding places of insecurity and fear. Then flip the switch back on so that God's truth can illuminate the divine destiny that may have been lying down inside you for years." And for me, he did just that.

He challenges the reader to ask God for the impossible and to believe that He will deliver. Furtick gives examples from his own life (and it's an amazingly anointed one) about how he entered the ministry, how the Charlotte church was planted and grew against the odds -- even how he reached his college football team for Christ. He combines humor, scripture and wisdom beyond his years to convince you that anything is possible. Most of the lessons focus on the answered prayer in Joshua 10 when God makes the sun stand still.

Furtick has real skill as a preacher. He uses examples from his own life and biblical stories to make his point -- much in the storytelling manner Jesus used himself. We're left with truths, practical application and instruction that stay with us long after the "sermon" has ended. Some part of my faith was awakened by reading this book and I did something that I almost never do -- I sat down and read it again. It then became the focus of my personal study time with the Lord. Furtick includes guidelines for a "Sun Stand Still" prayer and gets you up out of your slumber of faith into proactively seeking the Lord and expecting Him to act.

Furtick also taught me a lot about not judging a book by its cover -- whether it's the book itself or a hip pastor who looks like he's 12.

You can buy the book here. There is information about the Sun Stands Still Movement at or visit the author's page at

A review copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Book Note: The Lord's Prayer for Little Ones by Allia Zobel Nolan; Illustrations by Janet Samuel

Illustrator Janet Samuel uses soft, soothing colors to create a diverse group of children in familiar settings like the beach, the playground,the park and school while author Allia Zobel Nolan presents the Lord's prayer in language a little one can understand in any circumstance in "The Lord's Prayer for Little Ones" (Harvest House, 2011). It's a neat hardcover edition that will also appeal to adults wanting to open up conversations about faith on a level children can understand.

The Lord's prayer is provided, then paraphrased over a two-page illustration. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," for example, is accompanied by the text "Until we get to heaven, we pray that everyone gets along. That means no one makes fun of anyone else. We share toys. And there are no wars. That's the way it is in heaven. we pray that on earth, we will act the same way."

In addition, there are some additional resources, much like those in "The Ten Commandments for Little Ones," on which the author and illustrator also partnered. "Digging Deeper" provides a list of questions and answers about what has been learned, "The Lord's Prayer in Dance" provides another way to enjoy the prayer and "words and Their Meanings" offer some terms key to understanding what the Lord's prayer means.

Nolan's skillfully crafted text allows children to feel as though they are an important part of the story, rather than the targets of a lesson. Samuel's illustrations evoke a feeling of happiness and tell stories themselves with many objects for little readers to discover and question.

You can purchase the book here.
-- Lauren Yarger

Note: Allia also is a Connecticut resident and I know her through the CT Press Club. A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Book Review: In the Company of Others by Jan Karon

Jacket photo illustration Shasti O'Leary Soudant; image Michael Trevillion/Trevillion Images
Father Tim Series Continues with a Trip to Ireland, the Past
By Lauren Yarger
Father Tim Kavanagh and his wife Cynthia take a long-anticipated trip to the land of Tim’s ancestors in Ireland, but hopes of spending a relaxing vacation reading poetry and scripture while catching up with relatives soon are dashed by an injury, an art theft and discoveries in an old journal in Jan Karon’s latest, “In the Company of Others" (Penguin Group, 2010).

Readers of Karon’s Mitford series books won’t be surprised that Tim finds himself immersed in the lives of the people at the quaint lodge where they stay. There’s an ancient rivalry, a love that can’t be and a bunch of folks who need help reaching out to each other – all right up the alley of the retired Episcopal priest. When Cynthia sprains an ankle and is confined to her bed, Tim has even more time to befriend the townsfolks and help solve the art theft.

This second in the “Father Tim” series following the successful Mitford series (so-called for the quaint North Carolina town and its inhabitants who come alive in 10 books) has a high calling: to somehow link Father Tim’s Mitford past with his new phase of life. The first Father Tim book was excellent, taking the priest, on his own thanks to Cynthia’s convenient wayward ankle (it’s a break in this one), to his boyhood home in Mississippi where a lot of questions that persisted about Tim and his childhood are answered. It is completely satisfying. 

“In the Company of Others” is the first book with Father Tim out on his own, coming to grips with retirement, and the people of County Sligo village become his new “parishioners.” We are introduced to all of the folks involved in the present events and intrigue in and near the lodge, discover the characters and intrigue that used to be around the lodge through long passages from the doctor’s old journal and keeep up to date with Mitford through phone calls from son Dooley and emails from Tim’s former secretary, Esther. It’s a lot of people and situations to absorb, so this book probably isn’t a good place to jump in to Tim’s life. Start in Mitford.

The lives of the present and past Irish folks is interesting, but they don’t hold a candle to what Tim experiences. I suspect Mitford fans would have been happy to sit with the Kavanaughs in their room gazing out on the countryside while Cynthia painted and Tim read from one of his favorite books of poetry because reading Karon’s insights into people, life and God is like spending quality time with an old and trusted friend. Sans a mystery and other people, there wouldn’t have been much of a novel for other readers, though..

Probably the most satisfying subplot involves Tim’s reaching out to a lonely, bitter old woman who, spurned by love, makes everyone around her miserable. In typical fashion, we walk along with Tim as he refuses to give in to her moods, won't be discouraged by the defensive wall she has built around herself and consistently offers her friendship to tell her that God and forgiveness are the only way to let go of the past and restore joy in her life.

Readers had a three-year wait inbetween “Home to Holly Springs” and “In the Company of Others.” Here's hoping we'll be treated to the next installment soon.

Findout more about the author and the Mitford series here

Note: a review copy was provided by the publisher.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Notes: You Can Make a Difference -- Praying the News

(The Christian Arts Blog welcomes guest writer Nico Bougas on our friend Craig von Buseck's newest book .....)
By Nico Bougas
Special to ASSIST News Service

ATLANTA, GA (ANS) -- I met up with Craig von Buseck, Director of Ministries for, during the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta this week. (The last time I attended this event it was known as Christian Booksellers Association Convention). Craig is passionate about the need for Christians to do more than just Google the news - he is urging believers to “pray the news.” He and co-author, Wendy Griffith of CBN News (, have produced a book that they hope will stir people out of complacency and into prayer.
Watching the news these days can stir up various emotions - anger, fear, anxiety depression and a sense of despondency. The world seems to be on a downward spiral and heading out of control. And many believers have a feeling of hopelessness and despair. It seems more comfortable for them to cut themselves off from the world and enter into their own little cocoon of religious isolationism.
But Craig argues that we cannot afford to be overwhelmed by the very bleak state of affairs in our world. He is the author of the new book, “Praying the News” (Regal Publishers) which is scheduled to be released on September 11th this year, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

He points out in this book that we have an obligation to get involved. We are called to be “salt of the earth” and a “city set upon a hill that cannot be hid.” (Matt 5. 14 & 16). In times past there were men of God who felt that in order to preserve and develop their personal holiness that they should take drastic action. This would require them to step out of the world and live a life of isolation and asceticism in caves or monasteries. But the Word of God makes it plain that we are called to be ambassadors for Christ, and change agents in our society. We are His representatives and must work in cooperation with Him to make a difference.

The apostle Paul declares that our role is to be an ambassador. As ambassadors we have the full weight and authority of God to represent Him in a foreign land where we are strangers and pilgrims. We are to convey the message that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. We have to understand that we have been given authority to act on His behalf.

Cover of the book
There are many people who feel insignificant and unable to make any difference in this wide world with its overwhelming problems. But von Buseck points to the passage in the New Testament where James assures us that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5.16). Prayer does make a difference. The history of the Christian church is filled with examples of men and woman who turned the tide of their times and the tide of their nations by their prayers.
Craig’s co-author, Wendy Griffith, who anchors CBN Newswatch, shares the story of what happened in the city of Manchester, KY where the town was in a desperate state with gangsters and drug lords dominating the landscape. The local pastors got together and organized a march of victory to claim their town back for God.

Over a thousand people turned out for the march. Within months the city was rejuvenated and the gangs and drug lords withdrew as they saw their influence and sales dramatically diminish. As a result, the town has adopted a new moniker, “City of Hope”. Craig and Wendy go on to cite many other incidents in this challenging book.

The May 2004 Manchester March
Instead of being intimidated by the news we should be asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to pray and show us what to pray. For Jesus promised “My sheep hear my voice.” Satan's task is to divert us from praying and he tries to bring us under condemnation. He is “the accuser of the brethren” and tries to tell us we are not worthy to pray and that our prayers are just empty words. But God removes all condemnation and takes our feeble words and makes them mighty weapons of change.
There is no necessity for us to become fearful at the news. Satan seems to be getting an upper hand in the world. But this is a game of two halves and we know who wins in the end. God has not given us the spirit of fear - but of power and of love and of a sound and disciplined mind. (2 Tim 1.7). So let's come boldly to the throne of grace and bring the needs of this sick old world to the Savior. He is able to save the vilest of sinners; He is able to solve the most complicated of problems; He is able to calm the fiercest storms and He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. And your prayers can make a difference.
“Praying the News - Your Prayers are More Powerful than You Know” - is a challenging new book by Craig von Buseck and Wendy Griffith. Published by Regal Books, it is due to be released on September 11, 2011.
(article used with permission)

Nico Bougas is the International Coordinator of Hellenic Ministries ( He has a master's degree in communication from Wheaton Graduate School and M. Div and D. Min degrees from Trinity Theological Seminary. He is the author or co-author of four books. He previously worked for Youth for Christ in South Africa and was Editor of In Magazine and Christian Living TODAY and now serves as Consulting Editor to JOY Magazine. For further, information contact: can preorder the book from Amazon here:

Rock, Pop Highlight Live Concert at the Stoop

A night of indie rock and pop highlights this Saturday's Stoop Series' concert starting at 8 pm. 
The show, at  417 West 57th St., between 9th & 10th avenues in New York City, will feature  singer/songwriting Caleb Hawley and his band headlining along with songstress Monica Allison who opens.

Hawley was most recently nationally recognized on Season 10 of American Idol and has toured all over the country. He has won several honors in such contests such as New York Songwriters Circle and The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. 

The event will be emceed by Chris MacIntosh (aka “Grandfather Rock”) of WCWP Radio. Doors open at 7:30 pm., and showtime is at 8 pm. While the concert is free, The Stoop will be accepting suggested donations of $12. Receive a free gift with the full suggested cover. All drinks and concessions including beer and wine are priced under $4.

The Stoop venue and concert series is presented by Music Forum of Church For All Nations, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Church for All Nations is sponsoring the series in providing the landmark venue as a contribution to the cultural and spiritual life of Hell's Kitchen.
For more information, call 212-333-5583 or visit

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Socrates in the City Hosts NT Wright

Courtesy SITC
Conversations on the Examined Life

You are invited to an evening of entertaining and provocative discussion on "life, God, and other small topics" July 11 at the Union League, 38 East 37th St. at Park Avenue with host Eric Metaxas and special guest N. T. Wright, former bishop of Durham, UK.

Wright is the author of more than 30 books, including "Simply Christian," "Surprised By Hope" and "After You Believe." He will speak on "Surprised by Scripture: Translating, Understanding, and Obeying the Bible in King James's World and Ours."
Reception from 6:15 till 6:40 pm; Speaking will begin at 6:45 pm SHARP; Wright will sign copies of his books at 8:15 pm.

Club requires appropriate attire for all persons; coat and tie for gentlemen. For more information visit

Courtesy SITC

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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