Archive by Author

The Personalities of Punctuation Marks

Apparently it’s National Punctuation Day. So, in honor of this prestigious holiday, here’s a helpful chart for understanding the various personalities of your favorite punctuation marks. And, as a bonus, you can use it to psychoanalyze yourself and the people around you.

I’m definitely a comma. I like to pretend it’s because my brain routinely comes up with amazing new thoughts while I’m speaking, and I have to pause to process them. In reality, I’m just easily distracted.


On Preaching “To the Men”

I want you to imagine something with me. Pretend that I have a son and a daughter. They’re very different people, but they’re both amazing. And they both need to hear something important.

son and daughter (550x367)

So every year I sit down with them for a family chat. I know they’ve heard this before, but it’s a big deal. So I emphasize the need to listen, and then I plow right in.

Son, men are important. They matter. They have an important role to play in church, family, and society because God has called them to be godly leaders in the world. So you need to find men who will encourage you toward greater godliness. You have a tremendous responsibility.

And honey, you need to pray for your brother because of the challenges he faces.

I’m sure you see the contrast. You may agree with everything that I said, but you’re still wondering: Why would I take time out to emphasize that my son is important and that God has called him to godliness without saying anything similar to my daughter? What kind of father would do something like that year after year?

I don’t know. But I see it in churches all the time. And it needs to stop.

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Union with Christ vs. Imputation: A Smackdown with Con Campbell

paul and union with christOkay, so this video isn’t really a smackdown. And union with Christ vs. imputation probably doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a cage match. But many people do think that if we emphasize our union with Christ as the central aspect of our salvation, we will end up downplaying imputation — that is, the “great exchange” between us and Jesus where we receive his righteousness and he takes on our sin.

According to Con Campbell, though, this is a false dichotomy. Rather than seeing the two in opposition to one another, we need to understand imputation as flowing out of our union with Christ. I’ll be reviewing Campbell’s book Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study later this week. Until then, here’s a short video of Campbell explaining how he understands the relationship between these two important concepts.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/23)

cuddling on the bus

Good Reads

  • The Evangelical Orphan Boom: However well intended, this enthusiasm has exacerbated what has become a boom-and-bust market for children that leaps from country to country. In many cases, the influx of money has created incentives to establish or expand orphanages — and identify children to fill them. (New York Times)
  • The Female Holocaust: Indian parents killed an estimated 6 million girls in the last decade, but U.S. lawmakers can’t agree on what to do about it. (World)
  • Adults Are More Anxious Than Ever, but Teens Are Upbeat: This comprehensive look at attitudes about the state of childhood in America conveys a widespread sense that families today face complex and interconnected challenges rooted in an economy that typically requires earnings from two parents — and leaves them too little time to shape their children’s values, especially against the tug of an inescapable media and online culture. (The Atlantic)
  • Don’t Cancel That Short-Term Mission Trip: I’m an advocate for wise stewardship and for doing away with our old colonial approach to missionary efforts. But I’m also concerned youth are getting left out of opportunities to be involved in the global church. Isn’t there a place for students in this new paradigm of sustainability? (Gospel Coalition)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • In case you were wondering, don’t ever get in a neck-wrestling contest with a giraffe!

A Prayer for Sunday (Hildegard of Bingen)

hildegard of bingenA renaissance woman. That would be an apt description of Hildegard of Bingen if it wasn’t for the fact that she lived well before the beginning of the European renaissance. Nonetheless, she was one of those amazing polymaths of the middle ages, people who developed high levels of expertise across a broad range of disciplines. And in Hildegard’s case, that meant she was a writer, composer, poet, theologian, philosopher, abbess, artist, scientist, and a partridge in a pair tree. Okay, maybe not that last, but you get the point.

Hildegard of Bingen died on September 17, 1179. In honor of her amazing life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from her.

O Great Father we are in great need;
Now therefore we implore, we implore you
Through your Word, by which you have
Filled us with [those things] we need;
Now it may please you Father for it befits you
To consider us with your help,
So that we might not fail and lest your name
Might be blackened in us
And through your name, deign to help us.

Saturday Morning Fun…10 Bets You’ll Always Win

Not that I encourage betting, mind you. But if you were going to bet when you shouldn’t, you should make sure that you win the bet you shouldn’t have made. So should you choose to make the bet you shouldn’t, here are some bets you should win every time.

They’re also good if you should have some kids you’re looking to entertain. And a bunch of matches laying around.

That Crazy Little Thing Called Church: A Review of Sojourners and Strangers

sojourners and strangersThere is no shortage of books on the market about the church. The shelves are lined with books about preaching, worship, social justice, leadership, and, of course, being missional. Every one of them focused on one or more tasks of the church.

But Gregg Allison argues that the conversation is missing something very important. Before we spend so much time talking about what the church should be doing, maybe we should reflect more on what the church is. And that’s precisely what he sets out to do in Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012), an outstanding contribution to Crossway’s Foundations of Evangelical Theology series. If you’re looking for a good resource for understanding the nature of the church and its role in the world, this is one to check out.


Allison begins by identifying himself and his church background, well aware that these necessarily shape how he understands ecclesiology. And since Allison teaches theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that his approach to ecclesiology is largely conservative (though his take on spiritual gifts and multisite churches might surprise some), Baptist, and what many would call “low church” (congregational and less sacramental). This necessarily shapes the way that Allison presents his view of the church and makes it exceptionally useful for understanding a Baptist ecclesiology. At the same time, though, Allison’s largely charitable summaries of other perspectives allows the book to be useful for a broader audience as well.

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/20)

google second page

Good Reads

  • Professors’ Pet Peeves: I reached out to my network and collected some things that really get on instructors’ nerves.  Here are the results. (The Society Pages)
  • The Case Against High-School Sports: The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings? (The Atlantic)
  • The myth of lucrative college majors: If college is simply about maximizing future income, then I suppose it makes good sense to take stock of what careers are likely to pay after graduation when deciding on a major. Yet Christians should keep in mind that the calculus of the kingdom of God is distinct from that of the kingdom of this world. (Think Christian)

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A New Way to Keep Track of My Pictures and Infographics

pinterestUp to now, I have basically stayed away from Pinterest. But someone recently pointed out that I share a lot of pictures and infographics on this blog, and that Pinterest would actually be a great way of gathering all those images in one place so they can be more easily retrieved later.

So I gave it a shot and set up my new Pinterest account. I’ll be using this site both for images I’ve already shared on the blog and for pictures/infographics that I thought were interesting or funny (often both) but that just didn’t make it onto the blog. So the Pinterest account will have some new images along with the ones already posted here.

To begin, I’ve set my Pinterest account up with four boards:

  • Humor
  • Bible & Theology
  • Culture & Society
  • Life & Ministry

I went back and added some of the images I’ve used over the last year, though I didn’t even try to be comprehensive.  And I’ll continue adding new images as we go.

You don’t need a Pinterest account to access my new site. But if you are a Pinterest member, feel free to follow me there. And let me know so I can follow along with your pins as well.

Philosophy Is More Fun with Pictures

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I happen to think they’re wrong, but I still think good illustrations are valuable for understanding difficult concepts. And philosophy is full of those.

So here are a couple of resources I ran across recently for learning (or teaching) philosophy. The first is the beautifully drawn An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. You can read the whole book online, but here are a couple of examples.

Confusing Correlation with Causation

correlation and causation Continue Reading…