Archive by Author

Flotsam and jetsam (3/12)

An honest book dedication

Good Reads

  • Why We Need a Slower Internet: It’s the out of control Web. The oh my god there’s so much stuff and I can’t possibly keep up Web. It’s the spend two dozen times a day checking Web. The in one end out the other Web. The Web designed to appeal to the basest of our intellectual palettes, the salt, sugar and fat of online content Web. It’s the scale hard and fast Web. The create a destination for billions of people Web. The you have two hundred twenty six new updates Web. Keep up or be lost. Click me. Like me. Tweet me. Share me. The Fast Web demands that you do things and do them now. The Fast Web is a cruel wonderland of shiny shiny things.
  • Quo Vadis? Reflections on the Shape of the Church to Come: In his act of resignation, Pope Benedict reminded us that the true head of the church is Christ. This is not a pious formula but a profound act of faith. In difficult times it can be tempting for the church to become enthralled to anxiety about its success or survival. When it does this, it shows itself no different from other human institutions.
  • Where Are the Honest Atheists? That godlessness might be both true and terrible is something that the new atheists refuse to entertain, no doubt in part because they want to sell books — and greeting cards do a brisk business.
  • Is the “modesty movement” harmful to women? Many Christians are less positive about the modesty movement, and some have even asserted that the movement isn’t theologically mature and may even be harmful to women. Modern modesty advocates, they claim, end up doing the very thing they want to prevent: objectifying women and their bodies.

Continue Reading…

Flotsam and jetsam (3/8)

Good Reads

  • Enough Feisty Princesses: Disney Needs an Introverted Heroine: Movies like Brave imply that to be strong and independent, a girl must be outgoing and have a fiery personality. To be brave, she must wield a sword and dive into battle. This kind of extrovert is admirable, but can she be relatable to girls who are naturally more reserved and thoughtful, yet brave in their own way?
  • Is the Future of Church Planting Bi-Vocational? So yes, we absolutely need to develop bi-vocational strategies to reach our cities. Our church is beginning to discuss the implications of this for us. For too long, we’ve relied on one strategy. However, the answer is not to replace one “one-size-fits all” strategy for another, but to expand it.

Continue Reading…

10 Steps for Choosing a Seminary…The Right Way

academics school teaching learning seminary graduate graduationSince this is the season when many begin looking at seminaries and trying to decide which one to attend next year, I thought it would be fitting to repost my advice on how to go about choosing a seminary. This is a difficult and important decision. Unless someone tells you that you have to go to seminary X or they will shoot your dog, you have to sift through a surprisingly large number of schools, weighing things like cost, location, theology, personal fit, and mascot quality. That’s a lot of work.

So I’d like to help. I’ve been in the seminary world for a while now, and I’ve helped students wrestle through this process many times. Some will try to make it far more complicated than it needs to be. Using the right method and a few carefully thought-out steps, here’s how to make this life-changing decision more manageable.

Continue Reading…

Flotsam and jetsam (3/6)

Good Reads

  • Solidly Reformed, Strikingly Small: I know Reformed churches in Brazil that are dynamic, growing, evangelistic, missions-minded, and relatively large. But they are exceptions. By “small churches” I’m referring not only to size but also to vision and involvement in evangelism and missions.
  • New Atheism Is Dead: For while he still has his fans and admirers, Prof Dawkins has been preaching to the choir for some time, and the choir shrinks as embarrassed followers slink away from the scene. New Atheism has finally had its day.
  • The Future of  Today’s Christianity: Christianity Today stands squarely in the evangelical tradition of the faith. We believe this is worth reaffirming precisely because of the way the word evangelical has become debased in our time.

Continue Reading…

Why Would God Need to Be Anointed?

spirit baptism Jesus Standing in the Jordan river, water still streaming down his body from his recent baptism, the heavens opened over Jesus and the Spirit of God descended upon him.

Wait, what? Wasn’t Jesus already fully divine? As the eternal second person of the Trinity, didn’t he already experience full and intimate communion with the Spirit, unhindered by the taint of sin? Why would Jesus need to receive the Spirit?
.
This is one of the questions that Steve Guthrie tackles in Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human. And he addresses this one by showing how Athanasius responded to this very question when his opponents used the anointing of the Spirit to suggest that Jesus was somehow less than fully God. And Guthrie points out that in actuality Jesus’ anointing has to do with his being fully human; or, even more, it’s about him living the spirit-empowered human life for which we were all created so that we can be restored to our own full humanity.

Why did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit at his baptism? He did it for us.

Continue Reading…

February’s Top Posts

The big news in February was about our upcoming move to Wheaton, and both of the posts announcing that transition hit the top five for the month. But that wasn’t the only thing going on around here last month, including a couple of popular infographics and a TED Talks video about movies and gender.

Without further ado, here are the top five from the last month:

Flotsam and jetsam (3/4)

Good Reads

  • The Inerrancy of Scripture: Kevin Vanhoozer offers a nice overview of what “inerrancy” means, what it doesn’t, and why it matters.
  • Drowning in Leviticus: Whether reading through the Bible chronologically or otherwise, when February and March hit, enthusiasm can fade, tedium can bulge, and stall out can loom.
  • It’s Okay to Talk Like a Christian: I’d like to put in a word for talking like a Christian, for using substantive, Biblical words in ordinary conversation, whether or not non-Christians are listening. What we say defines the world as we understand it, and God requires us to use our words to share our beliefs.
  • Your Brian Is Hooked on Being Right: When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.

Continue Reading…

A Prayer for Sunday (John Wesley)

methodism, john wesley, methodistEighteenth century England faced a number of significant challenges: rapid industrialization, an increasingly polarized society, growing economic inequities, and a church that seemed to many to be stale, lifeless, and and uninterested in engaging these pressing issues. This was the context in which John Wesley, along with his brother Charles, began their ministry, sparking a movement that would eventually impact almost every Christian church in the west.

John Wesley died on March 2, 1791, fifty-three years after the famous Aldersgate experience that shaped his approach to Christian life and ministry. In honor of his amazing life and impact, today’s prayer comes from him.

Continue Reading…

Is Justice Worth It?

Here’s an interesting video from the recently completed Justice Conference. It wrestles with the question of whether working for justice is worth all the effort when it seems like it’s impossible to make any real progress in this torn and broken world. The answer, according to the video, is obvious once you begin to identify with those in need, ending with the powerful, “You never stop fighting for your own.”

Check it out and let us know what you think.

http://vimeo.com/60349898

Flotsam and jetsam (2/27)

Good Reads

  • Venting and vetting: The brutal side of papal politics: If the process is far less expensive and not quite as mind-numbing as the slog of a U.S. presidential campaign, the condensed papal version is not much gentler, or necessarily more effective. Instead it can be nasty, brutish and short.
  • 200 Preaching Resources: Over the past few years I’ve been bookmarking blog articles on subjects that interest me. When preparing a lecture on electronic resources for my Preaching Class students, I was surprised to discover that I had accumulated 200+ of these on the subject of preaching. So here you go, a Homiletics Course in one blog post!
  • Overcoming Four Church Myths: Like mad scientists piecing together a monster from countless incompatible pieces without a clear pattern or guiding principle, too many Christians today have re-created the church after their own imaginations, according to their own likes and dislikes.
  • The Enduring Myth of the ‘Free’ Internet: The mantra of a “free” Internet has shaped the prevailing view of how we access information and entertainment in the digital age. This enduring myth is actually a misnomer. It continues to obscure a serious problem faced by significant sectors of society unable to take full advantage of the Internet or meet the high price of cable and cellular phone systems that are at the core of today’s personal technology.

Continue Reading…