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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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Flotsam and jetsam (3/29)

buy book flowchart

Good Reads

  • Nicodemus, the mystery man of Holy Week: He came to Jesus at night, sneaking off to meet the man behind the miracles. He was a powerful Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. He wasn’t supposed to mix with the motley lot that followed Jesus. But Nicodemus had to know: Was the charismatic Galilean for real?
  • Big Theology for Little Kids: Thanks to catechism, my young ones can tell you a thing or two about justification, salvation, and repentance.
  • You’re Probably More Like Judas Than You Think: We don’t generally spend a lot of time talking about Judas, because he committed an unfathomable act of treachery. However, if we can step back for a second look, we may find a character who makes us squirm because he’s just a bit too familiar. Before Judas betrayed Jesus, he was looking for a Messiah who would let him follow his own plans.

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/27)

Good Reads

  • Why Christians Should Read Fiction: I’ve found that most people who tell me that fiction is a waste of time are folks who seem to hold to a kind of sola cerebra vision of the Christian life that just doesn’t square with the Bible. The Bible doesn’t simply address man as a cognitive process but as a complex image-bearer who recognizes truth not only through categorizing syllogisms but through imagination, beauty, wonder, awe. Fiction helps to shape and hone what Russell Kirk called the moral imagination.
  • Relationships are the new religion for many:  Religion gives people a basis for morality, for hope and a greater purpose. Millennials form their friendship groups around similar interests. They reinforce and encourage each other.
  • Generation Naive: Why Young People Can’t Help Falling for Strangers Online: My generation grew up with the Internet, spending formative years connecting with others online….A few years ago, our parents might have been worried that this fluency in digital communication would leave us somehow stunted, hiding behind the veil of an online persona. But the opposite appears to be true—millennials are only too eager to share their lives with people they don’t even know. Have we become too naive for our own good?

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/25)

Good Reads

  • Give Working Families a Rest: We live in an era of heightened materialism, where getting and spending crowds out the social and the spiritual. That’s the way most of us order our lives and it’s the way governments order our society. They worry about the economy above all else.
  • A Liberal Arts Foundation: There are no guarantees for young people now when it comes to using college to prepare for a job. The world is changing too quickly to make reliable predictions. Assume that you will have many careers, and that you will need to find ways to adapt your talents to the world’s needs. I believe the best place to do that is a liberal arts college.
  • Your Phone vs. Your Heart: Most of us are well aware of the convenience that instant electronic access provides. Less has been said about the costs. Research that my colleagues and I have just completed, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, suggests that one measurable toll may be on our biological capacity to connect with other people.

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