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Flotsam and jetsam (2/12)

universe carton

Good Reads

  • Is Philosophy inherently evil? Colossians 2:8 is often misunderstood to say that all philosophy is bad and Christians should not engage in the discipline. It is a little thing in translation, but one word can carry a lot of meaning. (Bill Mounce)
  • Evangelicals, Pop Culture, and Mass Culture: The issue of populism in the Evangelical ethos raises a concern for the need to differentiate between pop culture as folk culture and pop culture as mass culture. At its best, Evangelicalism seeks to preserve and foster folk culture and the critics of Evangelical piety need to recognize this strength, because it is through the ongoing propagation of folk culture that the disenchanting effects of modernity will be overcome ultimately. I say this knowing full well that the strong temptation within Evangelicalism is to traffic in the forms of mass culture, and it has succumbed to that temptation on more than one occasion. (First Things)
  • The Anabaptists: The rise of Anabaptist thinking in contemporary evangelicalism — like David Fitch and Greg Boyd and others — needs to be set into context of Anabaptism itself. (Scot McKnight)
  • I Love a Church That Sings Badly: But one reason they sing so well is that there are very few among them who are new to the faith….They sing so well because they evangelize so poorly. (Tim Challies)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/10)

valentine

Good Reads

  • Teaching religion: my students are trying to run my course: Academic rigour, research-inspired teaching and independent, critical thinking are the hallmarks of today’s university culture. And yet many of us have found ourselves diluting or softening the topics of our modules, and the intellectual and critical content of our lectures, for fear of poor student feedback (which is carefully monitored by the university). And to take account of the personal preferences of our evangelical students. (The Guardian)
  • But There Is a Problem….: In scripture, there is a richness of response to evil and suffering, of which the assertion of divine sovereignty is simply one part. (Carl Trueman)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/7)

dragon slaying

Good Reads

  • 10 Reasons to Know a Little Bit of Church History: Who was Athanasius? In what century did the Protestant Reformation occur? Why was Jonathan Edwards important? What was the Second Great Awakening? In most churches, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could answer these questions. Indeed, the study of church history has fallen on hard times. But here are 10 reasons why the average believer’s walk with Christ would be enriched by learning a bit of church history. (BibleMesh)
  • Toxic Leaders in Our Ranks: Ten years ago, the United States Army decided to explore a previously forbidden subject: toxic leadership. What they learned could have far-reaching ramifications for their organization, but also for others, including the church. (Hermeneutics)
  • Where Is Biblical Counseling’s Ken Ham? If our worldview is so sure and strong, why can’t we more frequently recognize, praise, and use findings, advances, practices, and even meds that secular scientists and psychologists have discovered and have used to help others? (David Murray)
  • Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline: Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape. (New York Times)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/5)

cold

Good Reads

  • Sneering Calvinists: In a sense, I’m a reluctant Calvinist; I still prefer words like “Reformedish” to describe myself, yes, because of my identification with the broader tradition, but also because of how slowly I’ve been drawn in. That being the case, I still remember what it’s like to find Calvinism and Calvinists thoroughly off-putting. (Derek Rishmawy)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/3)

sci fi grab bag

Good Reads

  • Siding with Jesus on the Cross: We tell a story in which we side with Jesus against the world and against the sinners and against the perpetrators of injustice. We thereby become guiltless and just. The opposite of what the cross’s message teaches. (Scot McKnight)
  • God Hears Your Super Bowl Prayers, an interview with William Lane Craig: Ultimately, one is submitting oneself to God’s providence, but I see nothing the matter with praying for the outcome of these things. They’re not a matter of indifference to God. God cares about these little things, so it’s appropriate. (Christianity Today)
  • A new bivocationalism: If it is one option for congregations willing to take the long look at their future and shape another kind of identity realistically and creatively, then bivocationalism may provoke renewal rather than resentment. (ABP News)
  • 5 Things to Remember When It Comes to Church Size: My experience with wise church leaders is that they reluctantly embrace growth when it comes, but they do not chase it, they do not fixate on it, and they do not use it as an indicator of anything in any short-term way.  They do look at long-term trends to help identify obstacles to effective ministry, and they certainly celebrate the stories of people who experience gospel-centered transformation. (Transformed)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/28)

out of touch

Good Reads

  • A Golden Age in Christian Publishing: when I stop and consider the state of Christian publishing, I can’t help but think that we are in a golden age. A strange age, to be sure, but a golden one nonetheless. Christians today are extraordinarily blessed by a vast number of excellent, Christ-centered, God-glorifying books. (Tim Challies)
  • Is Monergism Necessarily Fatalistic? Strictly speaking, monergists are not fatalists. Fate, at least as traditionally understood, is purposeless and arbitrary. A sense of hopelessness and inevitability characterizes the one who is the victim of fate. No matter what you do, your choices are meaningless. You are captive to forces beyond your control and comprehension that have no personal interest in your wellbeing. (Nathan Finn)
  • Noah’s Ark discovery raises flood of questions: That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story. (CNN Religion)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/27)

roof-jump

Good Reads

  • Has ‘Authenticity’ Trumped Holiness? Evangelicalism—both on the individual and institutional level—is trying hard to purge itself of a polished veneer that smacked of hypocrisy. But by focusing on brokenness as proof of our “realness” and “authenticity,” have evangelicals turned “being screwed up” into a badge of honor, its own sort of works righteousness? Has authenticity become a higher calling than, say, holiness? (Brett McCracken)
  • Back to (Divinity) School:  Students under 30 still make up the largest age cohort in seminaries, according to the Association of Theological Schools. But older students are growing in representation….The percentage of students over 50 enrolled in a seminary rose to about 21% in 2011 from 12% in 1995. (Wall Street Journal)
  • What Drives Success? A seemingly un-American fact about America today is that for some groups, much more than others, upward mobility and the American dream are alive and well. It may be taboo to say it, but certain ethnic, religious and national-origin groups are doing strikingly better than Americans overall. (New York Times)
  • How to Jesus Juke a Justin Bieber Story: pop star Justin Bieber was charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license….Upon hearing the news, web and social media savvy Christians across America began thinking, “How can I Jesus juke this Justin Bieber story” to maximize the number of pageviews/retweets/likes I can get while bringing glory to Jesus? (Joe Carter)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/24)

meme quotes

Good Reads

  • The Art of PresenceDo be there. Some people think that those who experience trauma need space to sort things through. Assume the opposite. Most people need presence. (New York Times)
  • Eleven Reasons Pastors Are Trusted Less Today: Why are pastors no longer held in high esteem? What is behind the precipitous drop in favorable ratings almost every year? Allow me to offer eleven possible reasons. As you will see, they are not mutually exclusive. (Thom Rainer)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/22)

human update

Good Reads

  • Three Myths on the World’s Poor: By almost any measure, the world is better off now than it has ever been before. Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, child mortality is plunging, and many countries that had long relied on foreign aid are now self-sufficient. So why do so many people seem to think things are getting worse? (Wall Street Journal)
  • How race and religion have polarized American voters: The rise of polarized politics in Washington is a direct result of profound changes that have taken place in American society and culture over several decades. These changes include a dramatic increase in racial and ethnic diversity and a deepening divide over religion and moral values. (WaPo)
  • Brothers, we are not Amateurs: A Plea for Ministry Preparation: A ministerial amateur is not one who lacks formal training or advanced degrees from reputable institutions. An amateur is one who lacks the knowledge base, skill set, and experience for a particular task, in this case Christian ministry. This is to say, one can still be an amateur though holding an earned degree, and one can be a faithful minister though lacking one. (Jason K. Allen)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/20)

nerd problems

Good Reads

  • Why Millennials Long for Liturgy: The millennial generation is seeking a holistic, honest, yet mysterious truth that their current churches cannot provide. Where they search will have large implications for the future of Christianity. Protestant churches that want to preserve their youth membership may have to develop a greater openness toward the treasures of the past. One thing seems certain: this “sacramental yearning” will not go away. (American Conservative) (BTW – You may also want to check out Are Millennials Joining High Church Traditions?)
  • The New Age of Christian Martyrdom: Lions have been replaced by firing squads and concentration camps as record numbers of Jesus’ worshipers are persecuted from Syria to North Korea. (The Daily Beast)
  • Why Am I Not Poor?: I met men and women who were remarkably hard working, determined, and focused. I spent time with women who cared for their families and also worked at other jobs from before sun up until dark. I encountered people who were intelligent, entrepreneurial, and absolutely ingenious at overcoming obstacles. And despite all of these attributes, they were still numbingly poor. (Christianity Today)

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