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Flotsam and jetsam (1/10)

textbooks

Good Reads

  • 14 Hopes for 2014: I commit to shut down murmuring and cynicism and gossip and slander and all forms of passive aggression (even on the blogosphere!) – and to exorcise the demons of negativity.  St. Benedict said that speaking negatively about people (even with well-warranted reasons) is “poison”, and it rots away the foundation of community.  In its place I hope to practice honest confrontation when hurt or offended and encourage others to do the same. (Shane Clairborne)
  • A Splash of Sanctity: It is one of the most eye-catching and resonant moments in the calendar of the Christian east. On January 6th (or January 19th if you are observing the old calendar) the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river is ritually commemorated when a priest or bishop casts a cross into the nearest available stretch of water. (The Economist)
  • What’s Ahead for Education in 2014: The last several years in education have been filled with turmoil: cheating scandals, debates and protests over curriculum and testing, big changes in the way students are taught. The new year offers brings more changes—but also an opportunity to find solutions to old problems and reach common ground on the divisions of the past. (The Atlantic)
  • Hollywood Declares 2014 the Year of the Bible: Russell Crowe is Noah. Christian Bale is Moses. Brad Pitt is Pontius Pilate. With pages of action and a faithful fanbase, Hollywood is mining the good book for blockbuster stories. (Daily Beast)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/8)

cartoon paradox

Good Reads

  • The Absurdity of Christian “Obsession” with Abortion and Single-Issue Voting: Let me put it this way: nobody today would say that MLK Jr. was wrong for fixating on race and equality issues. Nor would anybody today complain about abolitionists’ single-minded obsession with slavery. I shudder to think what future generations will think when they look at Christians today and their lack of horror at the tragedy of abortion in America. (Reformedish)
  • 3 biggest reasons why Bible reading is down: Apparently, Bible reading is way down in churches, and Biblica has dug into finding out why. Here’s what I learned at the conference I attended last week sponsored by Biblica. (Peter Enns)
  • The Confidence of Jerry Coyne: One of the problems with belonging to a faction that’s convinced it’s on the winning side of intellectual history is that it becomes easy to persuade oneself that one’s own worldview has no weak points whatsoever, no internal contradictions or ragged edges, no cracks through which a critic’s wedge could end up driven. (Ross Douthat)
  • Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin? Although many Christians consider the answer to the question to be rather straightforward, it can be helpful to examine the reasoning process that allows us to determine how biblical principles can be applied to this issue. (Gospel Coalition)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/6)

churchill

Good Reads

  • Evangelicals Find Themselves in the Midst of a Calvinist Revival: Increasing numbers of preachers and professors teach the views of the 16th-century French reformer. Mark Driscoll, John Piper and Tim Keller — megachurch preachers and important evangelical authors — are all Calvinist. Attendance at Calvin-influenced worship conferences and churches is up, particularly among worshipers in their 20s and 30s. (NYT)
  • Evangelicals and Hollywood Muck: I never subscribed to the fundamentalist vision that saw holiness in terms of cultural retreat or worldliness as anything that smacked of cultural engagement. I don’t subscribe to that position today. But sometimes I wonder if evangelicals have swung the pendulum too far to the other side, to the point where all sorts of entertainment choices are validated in the name of cultural engagement. (Trevin Wax)

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Flotsam and jetsam (1/3)

wishing you 2014

Good Reads

  • Where is God When the Economy Collapses? Rethinking Economic Theodicy:  How we think about economic suffering matters for our actions, both individually and through policy processes. Is poverty natural and hence inevitable? Is it an inevitable consequence of modern market arrangements? Where is individual responsibility for economic choices? Our answers to these sorts of questions determine how much effort we put into alleviating economic suffering and how this effort is directed. (ABC)
  • What I Wish I’d Known: Reflections on Nearly 40 Years of Pastoral Ministry: I wish I’d known that people who disagree with me on doctrines I hold dearly can often love God and pursue his glory with as much, and in some cases more, fervency than I do. The sort of intellectual pride that fuels such delusions can be devastating to ministry and will invariably undermine any efforts at broader Christian unity across denominational lines. (Sam Storms)
  • 4 Early Church Writings Every Christian Should Read: C.S. Lewis writes “It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in-between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.” New books are great, but they are untested—we don’t know which ones will stand the test of time. But old books have been sifted by time. It’s always good for us to look at the context of the people that came before us and see how the world looked from their time and place. (Relevant)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/30)

but mom

Good Reads

  • When Demons Are Real: To be in Africa is to encounter a God different from that of a charismatic church in the United States. People say that the boundary between the supernatural and the natural is thinner there. (NYT)
  • 5 Ways You Can Bomb a Sermon to Young People: Finding your own voice, style, and rhythm as a communicator of God’s Word is a journey that takes a lifetime. However, you can get a head start by learning to avoid these common mistakes preachers make. (Resurgence)
  • Ten Most Amazing Archaeological Discoveries of 2013: This year has seen some incredible discoveries in the field of archaeology – from ancient myths proven true, to evidence of ancient technology, and findings that have solved enduring mysteries, such as the death of Tutankhamun. Here we present what we believe are the top ten archaeological discoveries of 2013, excluding those relating to human origins which will be announced tomorrow. (Before It’s News)
  • Seven Reasons Teachers Burn Out: When I began the teaching profession, I believed that there were things that might ruin me as a teacher. On the top of my list was “working too hard,” followed by “not taking care of myself,” and then “a really horrible year with a tough class.” In other words, I thought that if the job became too hard or I was having to give too much of myself, I’d lose all passion and give up. I was wrong. (Education ReThink)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/27)

dead soon

Good Reads

  • The Most Incredible Historical Discoveries of 2013:  From 1.8-million-year-old hominid skulls to rewriting the Buddha’s birthday to sunken Nazi subs, 2013 was another incredible year for archaeologists and historians. Here’s the best the year had to offer. (io9)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/23)

grumpy reindeer

Good Reads

  • Christmas Is for Worship: It’s time to worry a lot less about getting Christ back into Christmas (he can’t be blasted out of Christmas, no matter how hard anyone tries). What needs to get back into Christmas is worship(HuffPo)
  • Angels We Ignore on High: My ambivalence about angels was not due to reason; it was a failure of my imagination. (Hermeneutics)
  • Ideas from a Manger:  Pause for a moment, in the last leg of your holiday shopping, to glance at one of the manger scenes you pass along the way. Cast your eyes across the shepherds and animals, the infant and the kings. Then try to see the scene this way: not just as a pious set-piece, but as a complete world picture — intimate, miniature and comprehensive.(NYT)
  • Fourteen Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Pastor: The list is meant to be both humorous and serious. And I bet almost every pastor has heard all of these in the course of a ministry. Enjoy. But do not repeat (at least to your pastor). (Thom Rainer)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/20)

beard facts

Good Reads

  • My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013: The only thing I know about your reaction to this list of top 10 theology stories is that you won’t agree. Maybe partially, but not entirely. And that’s okay. None of us sees the full picture from God’s perspective. In five years we may not be talking about any of these events and trends….Actually, you’ve probably already forgotten a number of entries on this year’s list! (The Gospel Coalition)
  • Art as Therapy: It comes naturally to most of us to think of music as therapeutic. Almost all of us are, without training, DJs of our own souls, deft at selecting pieces of music that will enhance or alter our current moods for the better. We know to go for something sonorous or vulnerable to dignify a downward spirit or to regain hope with a fast, generous rhythm. Yet few of us would think of turning to the visual arts for this kind of help. (Alain de Botton)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/18)

Gift-Not-Included

Good Reads

  • Religion in America’s states and counties, in 6 maps: With what is arguably the most widely observed holiday of the nation’s most popular religion right around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to look at the state of religion in America’s states and counties. (Washington Post)
  • The Five Ingredients of an Effective Apology: Apologies are important in any society and children are taught to say “I’m sorry” pretty much as soon as they are capable of constructing a full sentence. Unfortunately, our skill level does not improve very much from there. More often than not apologies made by adults are just as insincere and unconvincing as those made by children. (Psychology Today)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/16)

huntng

Good Reads

  • The Gift of Being Evangelical: There is power in a good story. And with that in mind, a few months ago I began to write my own story of growing up in an evangelical home. Unlike the tales of Christian kids that attract the most attention in blog posts and books these days, mine has a happy ending. (Christianity Today)
  • Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History and Bad Theology: The myth of a white Jesus is one with deep roots throughout Christian history. As early as the Middle Ages and particularly during the Renaissance, popular Western artists depicted Jesus as a white man, often with blue eyes and blondish hair. Perhaps fueled by some Biblical verses correlating lightness with purity and righteousness and darkness with sin and evil, these images sought to craft a sterile Son of God. The only problem was that the representations were historically inaccurate. (The Atlantic)
  • Christmas, Christology, Preaching and a Reading Plan: There are some pastors who find the Christmas season one of the more frustrating and challenging times of their annual preaching. Over time, for these pastors, this season (and probably Easter as well, though less so than Christmas) has become one of the least desired times of the year . . . since they have to preach on the birth of Jesus . . . again. (Greg Strand)

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