The Burkhart Blog

Thoughts on seminary, books, and the Christian life.

When the Lions Roar

When the Lions Roar is a massive book. But for good reason—it covers a massive subject! Thomas Maier’s new book follows the deeply intertwined lives of two families: the Kennedys and the Churchills, honing in primarily on the patriarchs, Joseph Kennedy Sr., and Winston Churchill.

As Maier guides the reader through several decades of the early-mid 20th 51khvoP1maL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_century, many will be surprised by the keen attention to detail in When the Lions Roar. I learned quite a lot about both families that before was all but a mystery to me: the struggles of Joseph Jr. and his wife, Rose, with the mental issues of daughter Rosemary; or the confusing, damaged relationship that Winston had with his son, Randolph. Both families fought fervently to make a name for themselves in history, often at the expense of family ties, sleepless nights, and sometimes their morals—all of which Maier masterfully captures in this novel-like tome.

Practically speaking, When the Lions Roar is very helpfully formatted with the reader in mind. I was delighted to note a “Cast of Characters” page in the beginning of the book, along with an immensely useful section in the back, featuring “Notes”, a “Selected Bibliography”, and an “Index”. Any reader who has spent time digging through historical bibliographies knows the constant mental strain in attempting to juggle names, places, and dates in his head while keeping the timeline straight. When the Lions Roar helps alleviate some of the headache!

Overall, I was pleased to find such an accessible book that covers so expansive a subject. Readers will be delighted with the intrigue and suspense of Maier’s excellent work, and will sit on the edge of their seats as the saga of the Kennedys and Churchills reaches it’s dramatic, yet hopeful climax.


Note: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher; I was not required to write a positive review.


The parables of Jesus. So often quoted, yet so rarely understood.

Parables by John MacArthur

This is the subject of John MacArthur’s latest work, Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told. MacArthur describes a parable as “not merely a simple analogy. It’s an elongated simile or metaphor with a distinctly spiritual lesson contained in the analogy.” More simply put, “A parable is an ingeniously simple word picture illuminating a profound spiritual lesson.” MacArthur walks the reader through several of Jesus’ parables, showing how each story had a single, objective spiritual truth to be understood about the kingdom of God.

Continue reading “Parables”

We Cannot Be Silent

“Twenty years ago, not one nation on earth endorsed legal same-sex marriage. Now, access to same-sex marriage is increasingly seen as a basic human right, one enshrined in law by the Supreme Court of the United States. In less than a single generation, Western cultures have experienced a moral revolution.”

We Cannot Be Silent Cover
We Cannot Be Silent by Al Mohler

We are living in a brave new world. This year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Over a dozen undercover videos were released documenting Planned Parenthood’s systematic slaughtering of babies and selling of body parts. Truly, this sexual, moral revolution that we are witnessing in America today has come upon us with breathtaking speed and force. For many Christians, there seem to only be two options: either forego historical Christian teaching and embrace this revolution completely, or shut up–keeping your convictions to yourself while maintaining a safe distance from the rest of the culture at large. Continue reading “We Cannot Be Silent”

Is it More Than a Cup?

There has been a lot of drama revolving around cups this week. Joshua Feuerstein, self proclaimed “American evangelist, internet and social media personality”, posted a video to Facebook arguing that Starbuck’s plain red cup for the 2015 Christmas season is actually ”anti-Christian“ and is yet another ploy by secular America to undermine Christianity and ”take Christ out of Christmas.” Continue reading “Is it More Than a Cup?”

Come One, Come All

I am a weak person. I have trouble concentrating in class. I sometimes slur my words. My back aches from hunching over a desk all day. I grind my teeth at night. My throat gets sore constantly, even after short conversations. I sometimes lose my temper with my wife. I’m selfish with my time and picky about whom I spend it with. I don’t read my Bible as often as I should. I often choose sleep over prayer.

I don’t say these things to garner sympathy, or to make this my “confessional.” I say these things because I am reminded constantly of my inability to live in a way that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). Being at seminary, I see men and women called by God, with exhaustive knowledge of scripture, fluent in Greek and Hebrew, many married with kids, pursuing PhDs while still serving faithfully in their local church. Meanwhile, I can hardly hold a conversation and do the dishes at the same time. Continue reading “Come One, Come All”

Hamlet’s Blackberry

Book cover
Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers

tap, tap tap…

This “tapping” is the what most of us experience every day according to William Powers, author of Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.

“Imagine you’re in a gigantic room, a room so spacious it can comfortably hold more than a billion people…Despite its size, the room is ingeniously designed so everyone is in a close proximity to everyone else. Thus any person in the room can easily walk over to any other person and tap him or her on the shoulder.”

Someone taps you to show you pictures from their latest vacation. Another tap turns you around to find your old buddy from high-school trying to get you to ‘share’ his latest rap video–again.

Tap, tap tap. Continue reading “Hamlet’s Blackberry”

I’m Addicted to Noise

I’m addicted to noise.

And if I had to guess, I think you might be too.

I found myself laughing with a friend a few days ago as he shared how he struggles to do the more menial tasks at home, like dishes or laundry, without having some kind of music or audio in the background. And as I thought about it, I do the exact same thing. Continue reading “I’m Addicted to Noise”

Crazy Busy

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
Crazy Busy
by Kevin DeYoung

Kevin Deyoung’s Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem is about as timely (in more ways than one) a book as I’ve read in a very long time. Continue reading “Crazy Busy”

Just Be Yourself?

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve likely been bombarded with this message, perhaps written in a myriad of ways: “Just be yourself,” or, “Only you can tell you who to be”. We live in a day where “self-actualization” is the highest virtue. The greatest purpose in our existence is to discover our true selves, and to bless the world with our self-discovery. Continue reading “Just Be Yourself?”

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