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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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Just for Fun

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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Flotsam and jetsam (5/6)

Good Reads

  • When Christians become a ‘hated minority’: We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.
  • When We Hate What We Love: Unplugging alone was not a remedy to relationship, to productivity, or to much of anything else.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/3)

don't mess with father and son day

Good Reads

  • You Can’t Pack Everything Into Your Sermon: Just like a Dad has to break it to his little girl that she cannot bring 7 stuffed animals and 4 dollies, so to the preacher needs to break it to himself that he can’t bring every good quote that Tim Keller has ever said about the gospel. For the sake of your family, you have to leave some stuff behind.
  • Why Isn’t Servant Leadership More Prevalent? With servant leadership, a leader’s primary role is to serve employees. Everyone from Lao-Tzu to Max De Pree thinks this a wonderful model. Why then, asks Professor Jim Heskett, is this style so rare among CEOs?
  • Are Christian Statistical Researchers Like Jesus, the Pharisees, or Oliver Stone? There’s nothing new about people’s claiming that they’re like Jesus while other people are not (see “Historical Jesus, Quest for the”), but a stroll through the annals of Christian History shows us that whenever these episodes arise, the most interesting thing to watch is how people wind up defining the person and work of Jesus. Invariably, the temptation when deciding who among us is the most like Christ is to stack the deck beforehand by defining Christ in ways that make Him most like me.
  • Why You Should Not Listen to Me: Influence. It’s a funny thing. It’s inescapable–someone will always be perceived to have it or not have it, to either use or misuse it.

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April’s Top Posts

In case you missed anything, here are our top posts from the last month. We had a great time exploring our personalities (introversion and extroversion), my upcoming transition to the doctoral program at Wheaton College, the nature of heresy, and the relationship between the mind and worship. All in all, it was a good month!

Flotsam and jetsam (4/26)

Good Reads

  • Isolated in America: I wonder if social isolation — not extremist religion or Chechen roots — explains the two brothers who set off bombs during the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 170.
  • Foster a Culture of Gratitude: Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals.

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