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Flotsam and jetsam (6/3)

Good Reads

  • Eager to Adopt, Evangelicals Find Perils Abroad: But the movement has also revived debate about ethical practices in international adoptions, with fears that some parents and churches, in their zeal, have naïvely entered terrain long filled with pitfalls, especially in countries susceptible to corruption.
  • It’s Not The Bible’s Fault. You Might Just Be A Bad Dad: as long as the narrative continues which articulates that men lack what it takes to nurture and raise children; as long as some argue that the cultivation of children is the domain of women only, we will continue to produce dads who believe they risk their “man-card” by trying.
  • Christians & Masturbation: Seven Perspectives: I wanted to get a diversity of perspectives in response to this question, so I contacted several folks whose opinion on matters related to sexuality I respect, and asked them this question: Is masturbation an acceptable component to healthy sexuality for Christians?

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/31)

Good Reads

  • 7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity: Creativity can seem innate, but like many things, it is actually a delicate balance of nature and nurture. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and isn’t necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability.
  • John Piper Got Rob Belled: Tribalism, from the progressive side. The side that talks against America’s Jesus and against tribalism. And there it is, lurking just under the surface. It reminds me of the book Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. All of the obvious Jesus’ stand out. The trendy Jesus, the churchy Jesus, the American Jesus. But just when you think you’ve found the right one, the genuine one, it is discovered that yours is imaginary too.
  • I’m Gay, but I’m Not Switching to a Church That Supports Gay Marriage: Moreover, celibate gay Christians can offer proof that friendship can be real love, and deserves the same honor as any other form of lovingkindness, caretaking and devotion….The cultural changes which would better nourish celibate gay Christians, then, would be good for everyone else as well.
  • Doubting Thomas: a patron saint for scientists? Dawkins is right that we are not supposed to admire Thomas’s refusal to believe, but he is wrong about the reason. Thomas’s behaviour really is a little irrational. What better basis for belief could he have had than the testimony of his most trusted friends? We all have to rely on testimony rather than first-hand experience for the vast majority of our knowledge.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/29)

Good Reads

  • Why Rituals Work: Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • How Happiness Changes with Age: Happiness becomes less the high-energy, totally-psyched experience of a teenager partying while his parents are out of town, and more the peaceful, relaxing experience of an overworked mom who’s been dreaming of that hot bath all day. The latter isn’t less “happy” than the former — it’s a different way of understanding what happiness is.
  • Flipping the 40-Minute Sermon: When we hear a lecture we receive information into our short-term memory, but to learn, we also need to assimilate the information we’ve received; meaning, we need to engage and apply the information.
  • How Residential Mobility Patterns Perpetuate Segregation: Much research shows that when people change neighborhoods, they tend to move to a new one that closely mirrors the racial makeup of the neighborhood left behind. In this way, children grow up to live in segregated communities like the ones they grew up in. And segregation itself persists from one generation to the next.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/27)

Good Reads

  • Twelve Ways Pastors Went from Burnout to Vision: I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout, or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout; and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/22)

coffee caffeine

Good Reads

  • All the Lonely People: The hard question facing 21st-century America is whether this retreat from community can reverse itself, or whether an aging society dealing with structural unemployment and declining birth and marriage rates is simply destined to leave more people disconnected, anxious and alone.
  • How Religions Change Their Minds: Once upon a time, animal sacrifice was an important part of Hindu life, Catholic priests weren’t celibate and visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad were part of Islamic art. And soon some churches in the UK may be marrying gay couples. How do religions manage to change their mind?
  • What Is Flourishing? This idea of flourishing should be important to Christians today. But what is flourishing? Is it biblical? And how do we get it?

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/20)

Good Reads

  • What Day Changed the Course of Christian History? For the inaugural article in our new series “Big Questions,” The Gospel Coalition asked four Christian historians, “After AD 70, what day most changed the course of Christian history?”
  • Girls on Film: The real problem with the Disney Princess brand: The evolution of Disney’s princesses was stymied by the arrival of the Disney Princess line in the late 1990s. The Disney Princess franchise doesn’t celebrate the increasingly diverse world of princesses; instead, it pulls back the progress the company had made, pushing the more forward-thinking female characters back into the reductive feminine stereotypes of the past.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/15)

Good Reads

  • Tragic Worship: The problem with much Christian worship in the contemporary world, Catholic and Protestant alike, is not that it is too entertaining but that it is not entertaining enough.
  • From Dante to Dan Brown: 10 things about Hell: Very few of these ideas are from the Bible. The Bible does refer to Hell and its fires, but more of the details in Dante are drawn from Greek and Roman myths, and the vast majority are the creation of medieval Western imagination.
  • Jesus Is the Worst Superhero Ever: Jesus, according to Paul (in a totally anti-climatic origin story), gave up his cool powers and humbled himself to the position of a slave. Not even a cool “Django Unchained” slave. A plain old slave with nothing. No place to sleep. No power. All Jesus had was complete dependence upon God the Father. And dependence is a terrible super power.
  • The heart of Christianity: A theological defence of apologetics: The practice of “apologetics” has fallen into disrepute. This is due in part to the associations that cling to the word itself, which suggests, at worse, that one must apologise for something, and, at best, that one must defend a doubtful or compromised position.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/13)

Good Reads

  • Does Abba Mean ‘Daddy’? This intimacy and love between the divine Father and his Son is as true as the existence of God himself, for it is his very nature. But it is simply not true that Jesus’ use of the word abba means something a small child would utter in reference to his father. It does not mean “daddy” or “papa”.
  • Love They Stranger As Thyself: Evangelicals’ growing support for immigration reform suggests an important shift in how conservative Protestants — who policed the boundaries of our national identity for almost four centuries — think about what it means to be American. It may also point to the beginnings of real change in how evangelicals understand the problem of justice in a fallen world, and the challenge that Latino and other minority Christians pose to the assumptions of the culture wars.
  • The roots of benevolence: Christian ideals and social benefit: It is an uncomfortable truth that many charitable endeavours simply wouldn’t have started without the Christian faith to drive them. This is by no means to suggest that non-Christian people or societies are lacking in benevolence and charity; rather, it is an acknowledgement of the peculiar power of the Christian worldview to establish and sustain the kind of philanthropy that has become popular in the Western world.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/10)

mothers

Good Reads

  • Searching for Gospel-Centered Theology Before the Reformation: At the heart of my generation is a profound emptiness—a sense of isolation and disconnectedness and consequent malaise. We’re aching for the ancient and the august, for transcendence and tradition, for that which has stability and solidity and substance. And it’s driving many of us out of evangelicalism.
  • Small Enough to Do and Big Enough to Matter: How does one start from scratch to encourage and strengthen Christian institutional leaders or the health of congregations? How does one know what to do at any given moment so those tasks add up in a way that results in progress over the long term?
  • Where Have All the Women Leaders Gone? For the last half-century, women, especially Christian women, have chaffed between competing, anemic ideologies about how we should spend our lives. In part, that’s why today’s women aren’t as interested in ambitious careers and high-level positions. We have yet to receive a robust, comprehensive vision of what is possible in a single human life.
  • 12 Things to Do After Graduating: All of a sudden, they’re supposed to be adults. Yet all they’ve ever been is students. What do you do when there’s no class schedule? What do you do when you have to cook for yourself, clean for yourself? What do you do when, suddenly, you go from being the golden child to just another kid trying to get a job at Starbucks?

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/8)

Good Reads

  • Is That God Talking? I still remember how startled I was when a young woman I was interviewing told me God had spoken to her, audibly.
  • Lack of sleep blights pupils’ education: Sleep deprivation is a significant hidden factor in lowering the achievement of school pupils, according to researchers carrying out international education tests.
  • Is Bad Doctrine Sin? I suppose that I want bad doctrine to always be sin. That way, it is easy for me to explain why people don’t agree with me. If we are not on the same page theologically, the answer is simple: they are in sinful rebellion to the truth.

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