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The Rise of “Emerging Adulthood”

Emerging adulthood is now viewed by many as a distinct stage of life in America, one that covers the period between high school and “real” adulthood. And according to Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, it’s a stage of life that is powerfully shaping the way people in their 20s view the world, how they understand the church, and how they approach their own formation.

Adorable Kids in Over Sized Suits

At a faculty workshop at Wheaton College earlier this semester, Smith gave a fascinating summary of recent research on emerging adulthood and its significance for understanding and ministering to young adults today. Here are some of the highlights. (Keep in mind that these are all sweeping generalizations. Smith was quite clear that none of this will apply across the board to any particular young adult or even to distinct sub-groups of young adults. But these are pretty clear characteristics of the life stage as a whole.)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/17)

does it move

Good Reads

  • The Theology Behind Obama’s Speech on ISIS:  President Obama gave a speech last week on what to do about it. It was a sane and sensible speech, and one that may have drawn some inspiration from a Protestant minister who was a profound political thinker and one of America’s great public intellectuals of the mid-20th century. (Time)
  • The New Abortion Abolitionists:  If the abortion-rights agenda is to succeed, then, abortion must be de-stigmatized. And nothing will remove the stigma from abortion faster than making it common and celebrated. (Trevin Wax)
  • Why Can’t Men Be Friends?  Our modern routines and nuclear living arrangements hinder our finding and keeping close friends. A friend recently told me, “In college, there was a recognized script for finding friends. Now that I’m in my 30s, everyone seems to have their friend groups settled, and I don’t know the script anymore.” (Christianity Today)

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Don’t Send This Email to Your Professor

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.

Flotsam and jetsam (15)

need money

Good Reads

  • “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)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/12)


Good Reads

  • 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)
  • 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)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/10)


Good Reads

  • 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)
  • 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)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/8)


Good Reads

  • 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)

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Your Brain on Coffee

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.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/5)

cookie thief

Good Reads

  • 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)
  • 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)

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Just for Fun

  • 40 College Traditions

Book Giveaway: 15 Books on Spiritual Formation

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.

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