Five things Friday roundup: books, honesty and cooking with kids

— David Augsburger

1. Oppenheimer

We have no business critiquing a movie we have not and do not want to see, but we listen to our friends, read reviews and ask what it does for our national self image. Oppenheimer, the blockbuster about the creation of the atomic bomb is adapted from the book, American Prometheus (remember, Prometheus was the Greek god who stole fire from the Olympian gods and set it loose in the world). The film is an account of the genius at the head of the Manhattan Project and is said to elevate and idolize the creators of the atomic bomb, but ignores the victims. On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs, generating greater heat than the sun, instantly killing 100,000 and injuring far more.  I have stood numbly at ground center in Hiroshima, and I have had students whose families suffered. How can I sit for three hours and watch a renewal of the American myth of a great brilliance that does not recognize that this bomb was not a victorious triumph, but a violent tragedy?

2. Stuck Together

After six weeks of great discussions based on the book Stuck Together, we welcomed author J. Nelson Kraybill to our home-base church circle via Zoom. We each had our questions and conflicts on living in a polarized world, and Nelson, fresh back from a year in polarized Israel/Palestine, sharpened what he wrote a year ago. The book is edgy but excellent, gutsy and forthright, focused and faithful. Buy the book. Buy a dozen. Form a group. Talk to each other. Listen to those who would not be at home in such a study.

3. Roy Zimmerman

After the family threw a Mexican dinner for my birthday, we went to the Claremont Folk Music Center for a concert by this satirical singer-songwriter who is a friend of the truth. (Check him out on YouTube.) He awakens new levels of heart, humor and activism with his lyrics and powerful rendition of prophetic music. At the door I said in compliment, “You are in the prophetic tradition of Amos, Joel, Hosea and now Roy.” He quipped, “Do I get a book?”

4. Honesty

“You’re too honest,” the one-time President of the United States is reported saying to the Vice President, who refused to corrupt the election process. These three words were uttered days before the Jan. 6 insurrection by one who is called by the New Yorker “the font of falsehoods.” The irony of this sneer is how it is passed from one who demands falsehood from a man who has given him his total “Yes” for years of fabrication and now finally wants to be unequivocally “honest.”

Was Bishop Tutu’s call for Truth as the basis of reconciliation “too honest”?  What about MLK Jr. writing from a Birmingham jail? “Too honest”? For some, it evokes memories of One who came to bear witness to the truth, only to be scorned with, “What is truth?”

5. Cooking with kids

This summer, grandkids have been asking us to teach them how to make some of their favorite foods. Not only have we been crimping pie crusts, dropping delicate Danish dumplings into broth, turning leftover bread into bread pudding, but we have been telling stories, laughing at the mistakes and enjoying the successes. We say: Do some cooking with kids. None available in your family? Grab a neighbor, a child at church, or anyone’s child who could use some attention and practical lessons.



David and Leann Augsburger

David and Leann Augsburger are two semiretired people (CA school psychologist, Fuller Seminary professor) who co-lead a home-based church (Peace Read More

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