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Flotsam and jetsam (4/24)

the perfect birthday card note

Good Reads

  • Wanted: An Adult Faith in a Youth Culture: I want a church where I know and feel that the adults are in charge, where wisdom trumps enthusiasm, where historical perspective is considered, where depth is valued as much as breadth, where stories have shaped us for generations.
  • There Are No Saints Online: Hate is a source of acknowledged pleasure. Hate-watching. Hate-listening. Hate-reading. These are all things that you, your friends, and your neighbors, not monsters, likely do. We deliberately expose ourselves to objects of contempt to stoke inner outrage in order to enjoy the release of fury.
  • The innovation of the early American church: Although it is commonplace today for Christians to create organizations that tackle social problems, that approach was an innovation in the American Protestant church, says one of the nation’s top church historians.
  • The Place of Blogs in Academic Writing: In this post I attempt to tackle a complex but increasingly important question: Should writers cite blog posts in formal academic writing (i.e. journal articles and books)? Unfortunately, rather than actually tackle this question, I find myself running sporadically around it. At best, I bump into the question a few times, but never come close to pinning down an answer.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/22)

Good Reads

  • The Lost Boys Give Back: The Lost Boys of Sudan are a group of thousands of young men from Sudan who fled the violence of their villages and lived in refugee camps for years before they were relocated to the United States, Australia, and other nations. After the cease-fire in 2005, many of them are looking homeward, and using the education and skills they’ve learned to help those who remain in Sudan.
  • Heaven Won’t Be Boring: If you lack a passion for heaven, I can almost guarantee it’s because you have a deficient and distorted theology of heaven (or you’re making choices that conflict with heaven’s agenda). An accurate and biblically energized view of heaven will bring a new spiritual passion to your life.
  • The Benefits of Church: One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.
  • The Mystery of Original Sin: We don’t know why God permitted the Fall, but we know all too well the evil and sin that still plague us.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/19)

Good Reads

  • Do e-readers inhibit reading comprehension?  evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension.
  • Why the Sermon Is Not Enough: even faithful attendees of weekly worship can overestimate what our attendance accomplishes, particularly if our weekly investment in learning Scripture begins and ends with listening to a sermon.
  •  A Final Wrap-Up: Doug Wilson and Thabiti Anyabwile finish up their discussion of race, theology and politics with a  nice summary of what they accomplished and where they still differ.
  • You’ll Probably Never Upload Your Mind into a Computer: Many futurists predict that one day we’ll upload our minds into computers, where we’ll romp around in virtual reality environments. That’s possible — but there are still a number of thorny issues to consider. Here are eight reasons why your brain may never be digitized.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/17)

Good Reads

  • Religious women press for change: Mormon women cannot be priests. Catholic women cannot be priests. Muslim women cannot lead prayers in mixed-gender congregations. Jewish women are restricted in praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But Mormons have the “Let Women Pray” campaign. Catholics have the “Women’s Ordination Conference.” Muslims have “Muslims for Progressive Values.” Jews have “Women of the Wall.” What is going on here?
  • The Real Value of a College Education: Christians might thoughtfully reconsider the utilitarian language used describing the value of education today. A college degree isn’t only to be equated with job preparation and salary potential, and the value of college is far greater than the sum of a student’s potential earnings.
  • A New Wave of Complementarianism: There’s a new wave of complementarianism stirring. It’s not made up of true egalitarians, though those in this new movement respect many egalitarian concerns.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/15)

Good Reads

  • For Evangelicals, a Shift in Views on Immigration: The shift among evangelical Christians could have a powerful effect on the fight in Washington, as Republican lawmakers, including many who have opposed any amnesty for illegal immigrants, look to see how much they can support measures to bring those immigrants into the legal system without alienating conservative voters.
  • The Sorry State of the Apology: Though the word apology, as we know it, does not exist in the New Testament, an absence of the specific word does not indicate an absence of the concept. Scripture provides lessons for how to do this well and demonstrates that there is more to making an apology than what a press conference can provide.
  • A Non-Calivinist, Relational View of God’s Sovereignty : My own view of God’s sovereignty is what I call “relational.” I believe in God’s “relational sovereignty.” What I want to do here, today, is explain what I mean by that and invite you to consider it as an alternative to the view of God’s sovereignty currently enjoying great popularity—the Augustinian-Calvinist view that I call, for lack of any more descriptive term, “divine determinism.”

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/12)

Good Reads

  • Change or Die: Church is being reinvented. So are technology and education. And all for the same reasons.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/8)

HT James McGrath

Good Reads

  • Quitting Religion, But Not the Practice of Prayer: As more and more people pull away from institutional religion, do public expressions of prayer have any real meaning in the wider world? Do they connect in any significant way to private, personal expressions of prayer? Does prayer matter at all? A majority of Americans still answer ‘yes’ to those questions.
  • The Rise of Evangélicos: Latino evangelicals are one of the fastest growing segments of America’s churchgoing millions. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, more than two-thirds of the 52-million-plus Latinos in the US are Catholic; by 2030, that percentage could be closer to half, and many are joining evangelical Protestant ranks.
  • Who Speaks for Complementarian Christians? As a complementarian….it’s a fair question to ask: Who am I taking my theological cues from? If the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood doesn’t speak for me, then who does?

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/5)

Good Reads

  • 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing: There’s never been a text written that didn’t need editing. By the time you’ve spent weeks, months, or years on a project, you can’t see the words any more. You can see the ideas — the concepts, arguments, plot, and characters — but not every word that’s on the page, or that isn’t, or where there are gaping holes in logic or jumps in style. An editor will. It’s what they’re paid to do.
  • 9 Great Things Many Group Members Hate about Small Groups: Many group members have a love hate relationship with the group they’re in. In most instances this has nothing to do with the leader of the group or the makeup of the group. It has everything to do with those expectations that are necessary for a group to be a transformational entity in the group member’s life.
  • The Atheist’s Dilemma: I don’t know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/3)

Good Reads

  • We Aren’t the World: The growing body of cross-cultural research…suggested that the mind’s capacity to mold itself to cultural and environmental settings was far greater than had been assumed. The most interesting thing about cultures may not be in the observable things they do—the rituals, eating preferences, codes of behavior, and the like—but in the way they mold our most fundamental conscious and unconscious thinking and perception.
  • Eight Diagnostic Questions for a Church’s Health: a church consultation is sometimes like a medical physical—we know we need it, but we don’t like being poked and prodded by an outsider. Nevertheless, a good consultation prods with some important questions. Perhaps these questions will help you analyze your own church.

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/1)

Good Reads

  • The joys and rigours of converting to another religion: The diversity of the city [Toronto] encourages inter-religious marriages and exposure to a variety of faiths, the two most common reasons for taking the plunge. And mass immigration from around the world — including officially secular countries such as China — has also given organized religion a whole new audience to preach to.

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