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Flotsam and jetsam (4/28)

what to do with my life

Good Reads

  • How Paperbacks Transforms the Way Americans Read:  Here’s a little perspective: In 1939, gas cost 10 cents a gallon at the pump. A movie ticket set you back 20 cents. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the year’s bestselling hardcover book, was $2.75. For a nation suffering 20 percent unemployment, books were an impossible expense. But in just one day, Robert de Graff changed that. (Mental Floss)
  • New New Atheism:  Has New Atheism had its heyday? Is there a new New Atheism? Joseph Adams argues that there is and that it is good news for believers and non-believers alike. (On Religion)
  • So You Want to Be a Professor? Why?  Students need to better understand their prospects. When students ask me for advice, I tell them that they probably shouldn’t consider graduate school in the humanities or academically-oriented social sciences unless they can answer “yes” to all of the following questions. (Minding the Campus)
  • Should Christian Parents Ban Books? Rather than banning non-Christian books, certain parents might even seek them out, looking for gems of thought-provoking and stimulating philosophy. In order to truly bolster a young person’s mind, parent and child can read and seek together. Parents can serve as partners in a truth-seeking mission, not as prison sentinels “keeping watch” over a potentially dangerous inmate. (Gospel Coalition)

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Saturday Morning Fun…If You Wouldn’t Say It About a Boob Job….

I have heard from many adoptive parents about the obnoxious questions people ask about their adopted children. Finally we have some clear guidelines about how to know whether a question about adoptive children is inappropriate. Feel free to share this with anyone who might be inclined to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Flotsam and jetsam (4/25)


Good Reads

  • Bonfire of the Humanities: Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections of ancient manuscripts. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West Africa’s most mythic locale. (Outside)
  • If the Internet Isn’t Killing Religion, What Is? Is anything killing religion?  Not directly or deliberately. Cultures change; people’s lives, needs and expectations change. Therefore, institutions must change. Religious institutions were slow to recognize fundamental changes in their contexts and constituencies. Many fought change, in fact, as if change were unholy. By now, many religious institutions have adapted, and they are doing fine. Others refused to adapt, and they are closing their doors at a rapid clip. (Religion News Service)

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/23)

written language

Good Reads

  • What the Bible Belt Stereotypes Don’t Tell You: It was easy to avoid my questions about God and faith, because in my community and in my circles, spiritual conversations simply didn’t take place. Relocating to Nebraska, however, brought my struggles with faith to the forefront and forced me to face my deep doubt head-on for the first time in 20 years. (Hermeneutics)
  • What Hollywood gets wrong about heaven:  In Scripture, when mortals catch a premature glimpse of God’s glory, they react in remarkably similar ways. They tremble. They cower. They go mute. The ones who can manage speech express despair (or “woe” to use the King James English) and become convinced they are about to die. Fainters abound. (CNN Belief)
  • Why You Need to Stop Bragging about How Busy You Are:  Schulte had bought into a “culture of busy.” That is, a work environment where logging in long hours and complaining about not having any time in the day is considered a status symbol and a sign of success. (Fast Company)

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Book giveaway: Theology Questions Everyone Asks

Theology-Questions-Ev-4044If you’re looking for an excellent resource for dealing with some of the most common questions in theology, I have a book for you. Actually, I have three of them. One for each of three lucky winners. So read on or scroll to the bottom of the post to sign up.

In Theology Questions Everyone Asks (IVP, 2014), the theology faculty at Wheaton College worked together to address the questions they encounter most frequently in the classroom. And they do so clearly, engagingly, and thoughtfully. (Observant readers will notice that I’m not in the book. That could be interpreted as yet another attempt to keep the new guy down. Or it could be because they wrote the book before I got here. I’ll let you decide.) Here’s the endorsement from Tom McCall (Trinity) to whet your appetite.

Some of the most penetrating and intriguing theological questions are the ones asked not by professional theologians but by sincere students and laypersons. Helpful answers to such questions are not, alas, as common as we might think. Thankfully, in Theology Questions Everyone Asks, we get some real-truth answers to go with real-life questions.

And here’s a short video trailer for the book.

Like I said, I have three copies of the book to give away. If you’re interested, just enter below. (I won’t use the email addresses for anything other than this giveaway.) And be a good servant of the kingdom and pass news about the giveaway to anyone you think might be interested.

Sign Me Up!

Sorry, the giveaway is now closed.

Flotsam and jetsam (4/21)

toilet paper

Good Reads

  • Fundamentalist Arguments against Fundamentalism:  Biblical fundamentalism, Ehrman contends, is simply wrong. Therefore, he reasons, the Bible really can’t be trusted. There is just one problem with this conclusion — it is flawed at its very core. (Craig Evans)
  • If a Student Says Homosexuality Is a Sin in School, Is It Bullying? Anger has been building up on both sides,” said Haynes. “On the conservative Christian side, they see this as being used to inappropriately hush up kids. But the reality is that this speech does trigger a lot of emotion, and for some people on [the other] side, we’ve come to a place where kids talking about homosexuality being sinful [is considered] unacceptable in public schools. (The Atlantic)
  • 12 Things I Want To Hear My Students Say:  The magic of learning isn’t in its finite and concrete inputs and outputs, but rather its abstractions–the confrontation between a thinker and the stimulus around them. This suggests that we look for something other than correct answers–little light bulbs coming on–to soothe us as educators. (TeachThought)
  • Why We Need Monks: Because consecrated religious stand in opposition to so many of the modern world’s common conceits, their existence is almost utterly inconceivable to us. This unintelligibility is, in part, a tragic effect of the major loss of religious life over the past half-century. And this countercultural witness is precisely why we need a renewed monasticism today. (Fare Forward)

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A Prayer for Sunday (St. Anselm)

anselmOne of the great minds of the medieval church,  St. Anselm of Canterbury served as a monk in northern France for more than thirty years before becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury. Best known for his treatise on the doctrine of the atonement (Cur Deus Homo), Anselm was also a key figure in the Investiture Controversy, an important clash between church and state that helped define medieval Europe.

Anselm died on April 21, 1109. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.

Teach me to seek you,
and reveal yourself to me as I seek:
For unless you instruct me
I cannot seek you,
and unless you reveal yourself
I cannot find you.
Let me seek you in desiring you:
let me desire you in seeking you.
Let me find you in loving you:
let me love you in finding you.

Saturday Morning Fun…Best Flight Attendant Ever

If you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen this yet, check out what has to be the funniest pre-flight announcement ever.

Flotsam and jetsam (4/18)

no dogs

Good Reads

  • No, All Christian Content Shouldn’t Be Free:  I understand the desire to get resources into the hands of those who can’t afford them. The impulse to break down financial barriers so  people can hear the gospel and so God’s people can grow is good. I’m thankful for all of the free content, readily available online and elsewhere. But there point we must understand is that good content always has a cost. (Daniel Darling)
  • Top 10 tips for atheists this Easter: I doubt there are any strong scientific, philosophical or historical arguments against Christianity. Most of those in current circulation are nowhere near as persuasive as New Atheism imagines. Contemporary sceptics would do well to drop them. Paradoxically, I do think Christianity is vulnerable at precisely the points of its own emphases. (The Drum)

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Flotsam and jetsam (4/15)


Good Reads

  • The Power of Story: Captivated by the Gospel:  Stories help us make sense of where we find ourselves, what has gone wrong with things, and what can be done about it. Stories shape and narrate how we view ourselves. These narratives speak to a deep longing in our hearts, opening the doors of possibility to things that could be. However, most of the narratives that captivate the imaginations of children are nothing more than fanciful myths. (Facts & Trends)
  • What Gethsemane Teaches Us about Suffering:  Who among us hasn’t found ourselves in a situation where the inevitable seems impossible? Where the unavoidable seems unimaginable? Who hasn’t said to God, in so many words, “Remove this cup”? (Religion News Service)
  • Forgiving the Unforgiveable in Rwanda: I knew that to really minister to Rwanda’s needs meant working toward reconciliation in the prisons, in the churches, and in the cities and villages throughout the country….It meant feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, caring for the young, but it also meant healing the wounded and forgiving the unforgivable. (CNN Religion)
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