December 11, 2013

Guest Post from John Blase + Book Giveaway

Posted by with 24 Comments

I’m so very honored to be hosting John Blase on the blog today. John is a sage and a mystic, a man with clay feet and a psalmist’s heart. His words got me through writing the first draft of the book (and I’m in edits now, which is why the blog has been so quiet.) More than anything, I love the way John loves, and the way he abides in God. Ever since the release of his newest book, Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood, I’ve wanted to introduce it (and him) to you, to give it away like candy. And because of his publisher’s generosity, I get to do just that. So, enough of my words, and more of John’s. (And you can scroll to the bottom if you want to know how to win a copy of his book, but to miss the soul spilled out in between would be a poverty.)


The Message of Christmas

They were a team, two speakers taking turns at commentary. They were squeezed in- between the sounds of the season as performed by a university choir and orchestra. The man used the phrase love demands, not once but several times in the courses of his brief homilies. The woman spoke variations on that theme, like Christ will not return as a baby but as a man. After all, how could a baby demand everything?

I am a man who pays attention to words. And at least in my mind the man and woman seemed to have determined beforehand with a handshake and a wink to focus on the word demand, and to weave it in the evening as many times as they could. To me they definitely seemed in cahoots. As their commentary continued I kept thinking does love demand? Is that the message of Christmas? I am also a man who pays attention to the audience. And the audience nodded and a few even moaned yes, yes at the spoken passages of demand. But just because a crowd does something is not any indication of its goodness or rightness, even at a Christmas concert. So I kept thinking does love demand? Is that what Christmas is all about?

On my better days I am even a man who pays attention to the weather. And as I drove home after the concert it began to slowly snow. And the question I’d been thinking about became as clear as I could see in the cold night. No, I’m very sorry all you cahooters, but love does not demand.


The falling whiteness does not demand.
It simply falls, scattered.
If you choose to marvel at its beauty, fine.
But if you’re too busy, say on a phone call
with someone convinced of their importance,
well, that’s fine too.

Love, like snow, does not demand.
It simply descends, offered.
If you choose to be amazed at its falling, fine.
But if you don’t, you’re not the first.
It will melt away until it comes giving
again in a future season.




John Blase is the author of Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood (Abingdon 2013). He is also a poet who practices the craft at He lives with his wife and three children in  colorful Colorado.




Book Giveaway

So, the rules are simple. I have six copies of the book to giveaway. (And if you’ve already read it, you know what a great Christmas gift it will make.) Comment on this blog post, and you’ll be entered to win. You can just say hi, or you could share a little about what these words meant to you, or what the meaning of Christmas really is, or whether or not you’re going to make your grandma’s pudding for Christmas day this year. Anything you like. Just share your words, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll be drawing six random winners on Sunday, December 15 (Gaudete Sunday, good for joy and winning), and I’ll post their names here. I’ll also comment on your post to let you know that you’ve won, and you can send me your address via email. I’ll pop these beauties in the mail right away.

So, have at it.

Winners Announced!

Our giveaway winners are:

Josh Freeman
Billie Spiers
Jenny Wells

Please email me your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get these books to you by Christmas!

  • Abby Norman

    Total John Blase fan girl here. Thank you for this. I need the reminder that if it is demanding me, then it isn’t love.

  • Susan Engholm

    Hi! Advent Blessings and a Merry Christmas!

  • docks7

    Love the simplicity of grace for every season! Thanks for the words!

  • Linda__M

    Beautiful! The Anam Cara FB page has been a blessing to me. Thank you!

    • Tara M. Owens

      Linda, you’ve won a book! Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

  • Jamie

    This reminds me of my dad always changing the word “demands” to “shall have” in “love so amazing so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.” I always knew he was onto something.
    I’m constantly being amazed by the beauty of falling snow; I just struggle to appreciate or interact with it once it settles. Thanks for sharing your poem. It is an unexpected, welcome gift, as all your poems have been come to think of it. Blessed holidays to you. :)

    • Tara M. Owens

      Jamie, you’ve won a book! Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

  • Josh Freeman

    I really enjoy John’s writing. I wonder, though, if love offered doesn’t demand, at least, a choice: will you embrace and receive, or pass on?

    • Eric

      Like the expectant exercise of our free-will!

    • Tara M. Owens

      Josh, you’ve won a book. Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

  • John D Blase

    Thanks so much, Tara. And thank you for pointing out my feet of clay…such reality is often lost in our online myths.

    • Tara M. Owens

      We’re all muddy, after all, aren’t we, friend? (Myths be damned.)

  • Joel C.A.

    Thanks, Tara, for sharing this. And thanks John. I’ve enjoyed reading your Facebook posts on the Anam Cara page.

    True. Love does not demand. Dallas Willard used to say that God puts the gun in your hand to shoot him with. And says, “Are you going to shoot me?”

  • Billie Spiers

    John I always like your writing but am posting to win your book!

    • Tara M. Owens

      Billie, you’ve won a book! Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

  • Eric

    “…Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
    -Isaac Watts (When I Survey the Wonderous Cross)

    Perhaps it’s my focus on the common use of the word rather than the
    rarer uses of “demand” (inquire, ask), but “[Invites] my soul, my life, my all.” seems

    • Tara M. Owens

      Eric, you’ve won a book! Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

      • Eric

        Thanks, Tara.

  • Tanya Marlow

    Love doesn’t demand… I was thinking, what does that remind me of? Oh, I know – the Bible! 1 Cor 13:5 comes pretty close to saying just exactly this, in the ESV translation especially ‘does not insist on its own way.”

    Love just is. Perhaps love invites, rather than demands.

    Thanks, John, and Tara.

  • Candyce Loescher

    What a beautiful response. Thank you John and Tara. I wasn’t familiar with John’s poetry, but will be looking him up. There’s a You Tube video going around that seems to go along with this theme. It’s from St. Paul’s Auckland, NZ “They Won’t be Expecting That”

  • Jenny Wells

    Thanks for introducing me to John. I have this niggling I’ve come across him somewhere before. And I would love to give the book to my husband for Christmas!

    • Tara M. Owens

      Jenny, you’ve won a book! Please email me at with your name and mailing address!

      • Jenny Wells


  • pastordt

    Put me high up there on the fan list, okay? Thanks for this lovely post/poem and thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book.