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Flotsam and jetsam (3/18)

Good Reads

  • DIY Superpowers for the Cyborg on a Budget: So what kind of sixth sense could you acquire today if you were in the market? Anything from infrared vision to an internal compass to a sort of “spidey sense” that alerts you when something is approaching from behind. And the cost can run from the tens of thousands of dollars to as little as a few bucks, as long as you have a scalpel and a hearty tolerance for risk and pain.
  • How Movements Recover: [Augustine] wanted the church to go on offense and swallow the world. This would involve swallowing impurities as well as purities. It would mean putting to use those who are imperfect. This was the price to be paid if you wanted an active church coexisting with sinners, disciplining and rebuking them.
  • 10 Ideas That Make a Difference: They can be as huge as a new constitution or as tiny as a medical microchip. In this special report, TIME explores innovations that are changing the way we work, live, pray and play.
  • Why Should Protestants Care about the Pope? In many ways, for better and/or worse, Christianity still goes through Rome. And there is no more visible representative of worldwide Christianity than the bishop of Rome. That may make a great many Christians (and non-Christians) squeamish, but it is what it is.

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/15)

Good Reads

  •  Multisite Church: Come-and-Get or Come-and-Give? What about multisite churches? Let me say that I know some really bad ones… they fit all the stereotypes. But, I know some good ones, too. I’ve preached at several that were on mission, raising up leaders, and doing great ministry.

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/13)

Good Reads

  • The Next Bible: The long term implications of the app—if we can see what we hope we can see—are a generation of the most biblically literate people in history. We don’t just want to stop the decline in Biblical literacy; we want to reverse it.
  • Quitting Time: The Pope Retired. Should Your Pastor? Most pastors aren’t dreaming of retirement. A 2009 study of Church of Christ pastors, for example, found that only 1 of 4 had plans for full retirement; more than that said they didn’t plan to retire at all.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/25)

I hate this.

Good Reads

  • Is Smart Making Us Dumb? A revolution in technology is allowing previously inanimate objects—from cars to trash cans to teapots—to talk back to us and even guide our behavior. But how much control are we willing to give up?
  • Why the Afterlife Bores Us: We’re glad we’re not going to hell or to oblivion. But most of our songs and sermon mentions are about that first few moments in heaven: when we see Jesus, when we’re reunited with our loved ones, and so on. It’s like the happy ending of the story. And that’s the problem.
  • Debunking Megachurch Myths: Especially the One about Sheep Swapping: Some megachurches are not healthy environments….I think some are quite terrible and fulfill every stereotype out there. Yet, there are also some great ones, and for that I am thankful. I want to understand them more and, when possible, to encourage them on their journey.
  • Why Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads: Very, very, very (did I say “very”) few pastors are called to engage in the highest levels of scholarship at the same time as pastoring a congregation. It’s just not possible, at least not for very long. But most pastors should still make it a point to jump into the deep end of the pool and get in over their heads once in awhile.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/22)

Good Reads

  • God Didn’t Make Our Bodies Only for Sex: When I look back on my most exciting adventures as a single woman, I won’t remember wishing I’d been having sex instead. I didn’t. Yes, I am trying to obey God through chastity during this season, but closing myself off to sex has hardly closed me off to my body as well.

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