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Flotsam and jetsam (4/8)

HT James McGrath

Good Reads

  • Quitting Religion, But Not the Practice of Prayer: As more and more people pull away from institutional religion, do public expressions of prayer have any real meaning in the wider world? Do they connect in any significant way to private, personal expressions of prayer? Does prayer matter at all? A majority of Americans still answer ‘yes’ to those questions.
  • The Rise of Evangélicos: Latino evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments of America’s churchgoing millions. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, more than two-thirds of the 52-million-plus Latinos in the US are Catholic; by 2030, that percentage could be closer to half, and many are joining evangelical Protestant ranks.
  • Who Speaks for Complementarian Christians? As a complementarian….it’s a fair question to ask: Who am I taking my theological cues from? If the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood doesn’t speak for me, then who does?

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A Prayer for Sunday (Isidore of Seville)

Saint Isidore of Seville was a Christian leader in Spain during the important transitional period between the classical era of the Roman empire and the early Middle Ages. He played a key role in converting the Visigoth rulers of Spain from Arianism to Nicene Christianity. But he is probably best known for his Etymologiae, an early attempt to compile an encyclopedia of Christian thought.

Isidore died on April 4, 636 after more than 30 years as the Archbishop of Seville. In honor of his ministry, today’s prayer comes from him.

Here we are before thee, O Holy Ghost.
We feel the burden of our infirmities,
but we are united all together in Thy name:
come to us, help us, enter into our hearts:
teach us what we should do,
the path to follow,
do for us what Thou askest us to do.
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Saturday Morning Fun…Why Cats Threaten Our Very Existence

Flotsam and jetsam (4/5)

Good Reads

  • 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing: There’s never been a text written that didn’t need editing. By the time you’ve spent weeks, months, or years on a project, you can’t see the words any more. You can see the ideas — the concepts, arguments, plot, and characters — but not every word that’s on the page, or that isn’t, or where there are gaping holes in logic or jumps in style. An editor will. It’s what they’re paid to do.
  • 9 Great Things Many Group Members Hate about Small Groups: Many group members have a love hate relationship with the group they’re in. In most instances this has nothing to do with the leader of the group or the makeup of the group. It has everything to do with those expectations that are necessary for a group to be a transformational entity in the group member’s life.
  • The Atheist’s Dilemma: I don’t know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party.

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Digging for Doctoral Students

reading studying learning school academicsI am in the market for theology doctoral students to supervise. As I announced a few weeks back, we’re moving to Wheaton this summer. And one of the things that excites me about this new position is the opportunity to work with doctoral-level theology students. Now I just need to find some!

So I thought I’d put the word out. I’m looking for people interested in starting the doctoral program at Wheaton in Fall 2014. Since you’d need to submit an application this fall, and since Wheaton encourages people to contact prospective supervisors early, now seemed like the right time to let people know that I’m looking for good doctoral students to supervise.

On the off chance that there might be a few people out there who would like to come work with me in an outstanding doctoral program that is fully funded, emphasizes integration across all the biblical-theological disciplines, stays intentionally small so that all students receive excellent supervision, and utilizes a pretty amazing faculty, I thought I’d explain what I’m looking for in prospective students.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/3)

Good Reads

  • We Aren’t the World: The growing body of cross-cultural research…suggested that the mind’s capacity to mold itself to cultural and environmental settings was far greater than had been assumed. The most interesting thing about cultures may not be in the observable things they do—the rituals, eating preferences, codes of behavior, and the like—but in the way they mold our most fundamental conscious and unconscious thinking and perception.
  • Eight Diagnostic Questions for a Church’s Health: a church consultation is sometimes like a medical physical—we know we need it, but we don’t like being poked and prodded by an outsider. Nevertheless, a good consultation prods with some important questions. Perhaps these questions will help you analyze your own church.

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The Big Bible Bash: WINNERS!

The end is here. We started this journey with sixty-four hopefuls, before narrowing it down to just two: John and Romans. So, in the last round, we voted to see which of these two books would be the last one standing in our Big Bible Bash.

I rather enjoyed watching this tournament unfold, even though many of my personal favorites dropped along the way. Ecclesiastes made a valiant run, even needing a tie-breaker along the way, before falling to Revelation. And 1 Peter never even made it out of the first round. Nonetheless, there were some close races that kept things interesting, and a few books that went further than I expected. (I should have guessed, though, that Revelation would have enough supporters to keep it in the running for a while.)

But we’ve now reached the end. And it’s time to announce the winners.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/1)

Good Reads

  • The joys and rigours of converting to another religion: The diversity of the city [Toronto] encourages inter-religious marriages and exposure to a variety of faiths, the two most common reasons for taking the plunge. And mass immigration from around the world — including officially secular countries such as China — has also given organized religion a whole new audience to preach to.

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March’s Top Posts

These were our top five posts for the month of March. I’ve decided to include only one post from The Big Bible Bash tournament. Otherwise, they would have comprised almost the whole list. Instead, we have an infograpic, the tournament announcement, and several posts related to seminary and/or the Th.M. program. All in all, it was an interesting month.

A Prayer for Easter Sunday

This isn’t really a prayer, but John Chrysostom’s Easter homily is so powerful that I thought it was worth using today. Have a blessed Easter!

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

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