- The Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: An Interview with Charles Marsh: And anyway, they’re drinking their beers and smoking their cigars, and they’re singing, “Go Down, Moses.” The discovery that many of the same songs and spirituals that inundated and energized the black freedom struggle in the South 20-something years later were in the 1930s at the heart of the German church resistance movement that Bonhoeffer led was just wonderful. (Religion & Politics)
- When Bullying Becomes Spiritual Warfare: If Christian parents are to better serve as advocates for their children, they may consider bullying as both a psychological event and a form of spiritual warfare. (Hermeneutics)
- The Loss of Pastoral Credibility in the Age of the Internet: While the dramatic collapses of trust in the institutional authority of the Church following the exposure and scrutiny of cases of abuse may receive the most attention, there are other ways—albeit slower and more gradual—in which this trust is being eroded. Perhaps the most significant of these in my experience has been our greater exposure to Church leaders and their thinking. (Alastair Roberts)
- There Is Nothing Modern about Euthanasia: But in the 100 years that euthanasia has been a matter for public policy debate, technology has driven the conversation much less than people assume. Euthanasia advocacy has waxed and waned according to changes in politics and culture, not medicine. (The Centre for Independent Studies)
- Bibliotheca: What’s the Point of Making the Bible More Beautiful? All of that time, money, and effort could be put towards something more practical and necessary, like translating the Bible into a language that doesn’t have it yet or printing thousands of cheap copies to hand out for free. Such statements may contain wisdom, but they also gloss over the ministry that aesthetics and beauty can have, i.e., creating transcendental experiences that shake us from this world’s mundanity and point towards God. (Christ and Pop Culture)
- The Next Chapter for Christian Publishing: Working with my family’s Christian literary agency and law firm, Yates & Yates, I’ve witnessed some of the obstacles and opportunities in today’s ever-changing book market. While the industry looks different in the 21st century, many authors who have adapted to the new era find Christian publishing remains alive and well. (Hermeneutics)
- Moving in and Moving On: Cohabitation is fundamentally ambiguous In fact, that is part—but just part—of why I believe it has become so popular. Sure, there are many cohabiting couples for whom living together was understood as a step-up in commitment, but, on average, research shows it is not associated with an increase in dedication to one’s partner. (Family Studies)
- I Lie about My Teaching: Any honest discussion between teachers must begin with the understanding that each of us mingles the good with the bad. One student may experience the epiphany of a lifetime, while her neighbor drifts quietly off to sleep. In the classroom, it’s never pure gold or pure tin; we’re all muddled alloys. (The Atlantic)
- Why Pastors Should Preach About Body Image: I can only speculate about why church leaders are largely silent about body image. Perhaps it’s seen as a “women’s issue,” whereas the majority of pastors are men. Perhaps the topic is just too sensitive. Perhaps it speaks to a theology more concerned with the spirit than the body. Or perhaps it is an idol so entwined in Christian culture that we hardly even notice it. (Hermeneutics)
- You Might Want to Fact-Check Your Pastor’s Sermon: Preachers love to drop statistics and historical tidbits into their sermons. Too bad so many of their facts are untrue. (On Faith)
- What the Media Misses about Iraqi Christian Persecution: This doesn’t mean that the persecution is justified. They shouldn’t be subject to genocide. They shouldn’t lose their homes. But Western Christians want to view these issues only through Christian evangelism, while overlooking Christian nationalism, Christian politics, and Christian violence abroad—all of which are real things. (Religion News)
- The Virtue of Unread Books: the array of books in our home is intended for ongoing, well-rounded usefulness. They’re there to show us what’s possible, not venerate what’s already been. Even the history books, which are expressly about what has already been, are there to light an inquisitive fuse and point us forward into new exploits. (StoryWarren)
Few people manage to have a lasting impact on the church with only a single book. Thomas à Kempis is one of them. His Imitation of Christ is widely considered to be the most influential devotional work of the Middle Ages and one of the most widely read Christian books of all time. (I’ve even heard it claimed that the Imitation of Christ has been translated into more languages than any book besides the Bible, a claim I have not even tried to confirm.) The Imitation of Christ had an undoubted impact on Catholic spirituality, but also impacted many Protestant thinkers (e.g. John Wesley). And it received a renewed boost in contemporary spirituality through the writings of people like Thomas Merton.
Although Thomas à Kempis’ book has received significant criticism over the years–especially for an apparent overemphasis on the “inner” life of the Christian at the expense of a more “active” spirituality–his work has played an unquestionable role in the spiritual lives our countless Christians. So in honor of the life and ministry of Thomas à Kempis, who died on July 25, 1471, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.
Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according
…..to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment
…..between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of thy will.