Fortunately, I’ve never received an email like this from one of my students. But I’ve heard quite a few of my faculty friends lamenting the existence of such emails, so they must happen with some frequency. If you’re in the midst of writing an email like this, please stop. If you’ve already sent one, find some way of making amends.
- “Act Like Men”: What Does Paul Mean? later translators have clarified that Paul is not suggesting some sort of transgender goal for women—that all women become perfect men. Rather, he has in mind full human maturity. (Engage)
- The Upside of Pessimism: The theory of defensive pessimism suggests that imagining—and planning for—worst-case scenarios can be more effective than trying to think positively. (The Atlantic)
- The Illusion of Neutrality: My point here is that for certain questions, neutrality is an illusion. The nakedly secular state is not a neutral thing. It is something utterly different from, and irreconcilable with, every human polity that has existed until a few anthropological minutes ago. It is itself a set of choices which, like all such, forecloses others; a way of living that makes other ways of living unlikely, practically impossible, or inconceivable. (Public Discourse)
- #WhyIStayed: How some churches support spousal abuse: Many churches have created a distorted understanding of physical abuse that occurs within homes. It is defined as a “relationship” matter that should be addressed within the “church family”, instead of a criminal matter that should be handled by the authorities. (Boz Tchividjian)
- Does Art Need Religion? Is it possible that such Old Masters as Michelangelo were great because they lived in more religious times? Is the connection between great art and religious influence a correlation or just coincidence? (Big Think)
- Generations Are an Invention—Here’s How They Came to Be: Societal generations are a relatively modern idea, hit upon by 19th century European intellectuals and refined in the beginning of the 20th century. (The Atlantic)
- The New Evangelization and its Assumptions: There is an underlying assumption shared by both religious conservatives and their progressive antagonists (they just differ on what to do about it): that modernity means a decline of religion and its concomitant morality. That’s not exactly right, however. (The American Interest)
- Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent: Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends. (New York Times)
- The Church and Violence against Women: Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesical justice as well. (Russell Moore)
- The future of the church isn’t youth: Youth enjoys no special privilege in the church-community. (Faith & Leadership)
- 5 Ways America Changed God: The majority of America’s churches teach that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But considering our country’s near-400-year history, can we honestly say that our concepts and perceptions about God haven’t evolved? (Matthew Paul Turner)
- Why ‘Nano-Degrees’ Can Never Replace Liberal Arts Colleges: In a market where jobs are constantly shifting and disappearing, the kind of ultra-specialized training offered by companies like Udacity won’t go very far. (The Atlantic)
- Fredkin’s Paradox Explains Why You Waste Time On Meaningless Decisions: That’s Fredkin’s Paradox — the natural consequence of two options being pretty much the same means that we will spend longer and longer periods of time carefully considering the choices that will make less and less difference in our lives. (io9)
- Issues: What on earth has happened to the word “issues,” that lowly, dutiful, and colorless bureaucrat of a noun? How did such a businesslike and antiseptically neutral word, the semantic equivalent of the man in the grey flannel suit, become transformed into one of our era’s most favored and most versatile euphemisms—a politely opaque nugget of soothing and pseudo-insightful psychobabble, liberally used by talk-show hosts and social-services types, a word whose reticent and clinically rational demeanor artfully conceals the ungenerous and often highly judgmental spirit in which it is so often offered? (The Hedgehog Review)
- Not for the Love of God: The myth that religion is essentially and uniquely generative of division and violence passes for common sense among celebrity atheists and militant secularists. It undergirds their insistence that public space be purged of it, that bishops be expelled from the House of Lords, and that faith schools be closed down. Once the peace is no longer disturbed by warring claims to be the One True Faith, they suppose, secularist society can settle down to enjoy the fruits of modern rational tolerance. (Standpoint)
- InterVarsity “Derecognized” at California State University’s 23 Campuses: Some Analysis and Reflections: It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted. Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. (Ed Stetzer)
I prefer to think that coffee just ensmartens me. But apparently it does much more. For all of us who like to imbibe the black nectar every morning, here’s a quick look at how coffee actually affects your brain.
- The Rise of Biblical Counseling: It has been confronted with mounting external criticisms and widening internal divisions, and the result, among its practitioners, is a looming crisis of principle. How Christians address this crisis will shape the mental health choices of millions of Americans. (Pacific Standard)
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common: Research shows that the number one predictor of a child’s emotional well-being was whether they knew their family history. (The Week)
- No Offense Taken: There are two views of marriage vying for supremacy, viz., the traditional or conjugal view and the revisionist or romantic view. According to the former, marriage is the comprehensive union of a man and a woman that is by nature (though not always in fact) oriented to procreation and child-rearing. According to the latter, marriage is an emotional union, enhanced by sexual activity according to preference, taking the form of a publicly recognized domestic partnership. (Touchstone)
- U.S. evangelicals headed for showdown over gender roles: In recent decades, parts of American religion have been transformed by feminism, from women serving as rabbis to Catholic girls becoming altar servers. Now the heart of U.S. evangelicalism may be heading for a gender showdown. (Washington Post)
- Westminster books is have a massive ebook sale.
Just for Fun
- 40 College Traditions
If you’re interested in spiritual formation, you’ll want to check this out. Thanks to Logos, we’re giving away a copy of the NavPress Spiritual Formation Collection, which features 15 books on spiritual formation from people like Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, and Donald Whitney. Here’s a bit from the publisher’s description:
Are you spiritually healthy? Or spiritually busy? The NavPress Spiritual Formation Collection challenges you to evaluate your spiritual life. In 15 volumes, you’ll rethink what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discover how you can pursue God in his moments of absence through lament. Learn how to be transformed into Christlikeness by meditating on Scripture. Observe Jesus’ life and character in the Gospel narratives and experience what true love and faith look like.
If you’re interested, just check out the giveaway below.
- Religious Language and Everyday Discourse: My list of seven troublesome words and brief explanations is below, with suggested alternatives. Feel free to consider them for yourself and wonder about the continuing usefulness of these terms that most non-Christians have no idea what we’re talking about. Many Christians are foggy on the meaning as well. This is an appeal for clarity in our communication. (The Good Book Blog)
- Give Us This Day Our Daily Brew: My husband has been working in specialty coffee shops since his teens, and the Chicago location he now manages is our second home. Watching him and other Christian friends work their way quietly through the coffee scene, I’ve observed the theology behind their work, and I’ve seen how coffee can be a uniquely-suited vocation for Christians to live out the image of God. (Hermeneutics)
- What’s Wrong With Checking Out Stolen Nude Photos of Celebrities: Because, look: When people seek out stolen images like the ones just released of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities, those people are violating these women in much the same way that the person who stole the pictures did. (Atlantic)
- Liberalism’s Parochialism: What I find remarkable is that liberals aren’t even willing to entertain the possibility that I’m right. I’m a heretic—a menace to society—not someone who cares about people, worries about the common good, reads surveys, observes society, and has a capacity to reason and analyze. (First Things)
It’s always interesting when the most popular post of the last month is something that I just posted a few days ago. But that’s the case with the post about Phil Ryken’s commencement speech and his reflections on depression. That has generated a lot of interest, so check it out if you haven’t already.
And although the “Top Posts” lists each month usually focus only on posts that were actually written during that month, I’m breaking that rule here by including 6 Reasons You Should “Waste” Your Time Reading Fiction. Apparently, quite a few English teachers use that one with their middle school and high school classes, so it’s always a top post around the beginning of the school year. I thought I’d include it this time in case it’s one you haven’t seen yet.