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Flotsam and jetsam (9/12)


Good Reads

  • Does Art Need Religion? Is it possible that such Old Masters as Michelangelo were great because they lived in more religious times? Is the connection between great art and religious influence a correlation or just coincidence? (Big Think)
  • The New Evangelization and its Assumptions: There is an underlying assumption shared by both religious conservatives and their progressive antagonists (they just differ on what to do about it): that modernity means a decline of religion and its concomitant morality. That’s not exactly right, however. (The American Interest)
  • Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent:  Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends. (New York Times)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/10)


Good Reads

  • The Church and Violence against Women:  Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesical justice as well. (Russell Moore)
  • 5 Ways America Changed God:  The majority of America’s churches teach that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But considering our country’s near-400-year history, can we honestly say that our concepts and perceptions about God haven’t evolved? (Matthew Paul Turner)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/8)


Good Reads

  • Issues:  What on earth has happened to the word “issues,” that lowly, dutiful, and colorless bureaucrat of a noun? How did such a businesslike and antiseptically neutral word, the semantic equivalent of the man in the grey flannel suit, become transformed into one of our era’s most favored and most versatile euphemisms—a politely opaque nugget of soothing and pseudo-insightful psychobabble, liberally used by talk-show hosts and social-services types, a word whose reticent and clinically rational demeanor artfully conceals the ungenerous and often highly judgmental spirit in which it is so often offered? (The Hedgehog Review)
  • Not for the Love of God: The myth that religion is essentially and uniquely generative of division and violence passes for common sense among celebrity atheists and militant secularists. It undergirds their insistence that public space be purged of it, that bishops be expelled from the House of Lords, and that faith schools be closed down. Once the peace is no longer disturbed by warring claims to be the One True Faith, they suppose, secularist society can settle down to enjoy the fruits of modern rational tolerance. (Standpoint)

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Your Brain on Coffee

I prefer to think that coffee just ensmartens me. But apparently it does much more. For all of us who like to imbibe the black nectar every morning, here’s a quick look at how coffee actually affects your brain.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/5)

cookie thief

Good Reads

  • The Rise of Biblical Counseling: It has been confronted with mounting external criticisms and widening internal divisions, and the result, among its practitioners, is a looming crisis of principle. How Christians address this crisis will shape the mental health choices of millions of Americans. (Pacific Standard)
  • No Offense Taken: There are two views of marriage vying for supremacy, viz., the traditional or conjugal view and the revisionist or romantic view. According to the former, marriage is the comprehensive union of a man and a woman that is by nature (though not always in fact) oriented to procreation and child-rearing. According to the latter, marriage is an emotional union, enhanced by sexual activity according to preference, taking the form of a publicly recognized domestic partnership. (Touchstone)
  • U.S. evangelicals headed for showdown over gender roles:  In recent decades, parts of American religion have been transformed by feminism, from women serving as rabbis to Catholic girls becoming altar servers. Now the heart of U.S. evangelicalism may be heading for a gender showdown. (Washington Post)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • 40 College Traditions

Book Giveaway: 15 Books on Spiritual Formation

If you’re interested in spiritual formation, you’ll want to check this out. Thanks to Logos, we’re giving away a copy of the NavPress Spiritual Formation Collection, which features 15 books on spiritual formation from people like Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, and Donald Whitney. Here’s a bit from the publisher’s description:

Are you spiritually healthy? Or spiritually busy? The NavPress Spiritual Formation Collection challenges you to evaluate your spiritual life. In 15 volumes, you’ll rethink what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discover how you can pursue God in his moments of absence through lament. Learn how to be transformed into Christlikeness by meditating on Scripture. Observe Jesus’ life and character in the Gospel narratives and experience what true love and faith look like.

If you’re interested, just check out the giveaway below.

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/3)

not a sith

Good Reads

  • Religious Language and Everyday Discourse: My list of seven troublesome words and brief explanations is below, with suggested alternatives. Feel free to consider them for yourself and wonder about the continuing usefulness of these terms that most non-Christians have no idea what we’re talking about. Many Christians are foggy on the meaning as well. This is an appeal for clarity in our communication. (The Good Book Blog)
  • Give Us This Day Our Daily Brew: My husband has been working in specialty coffee shops since his teens, and the Chicago location he now manages is our second home. Watching him and other Christian friends work their way quietly through the coffee scene, I’ve observed the theology behind their work, and I’ve seen how coffee can be a uniquely-suited vocation for Christians to live out the image of God. (Hermeneutics)
  • Liberalism’s Parochialism: What I find remarkable is that liberals aren’t even willing to entertain the possibility that I’m right. I’m a heretic—a menace to society—not someone who cares about people, worries about the common good, reads surveys, observes society, and has a capacity to reason and analyze. (First Things)

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August’s Top Posts

top fiveIt’s always interesting when the most popular post of the last month is something that I just posted a few days ago. But that’s the case with the post about Phil Ryken’s commencement speech and his reflections on depression. That has generated a lot of interest, so check it out if you haven’t already.

And although the “Top Posts” lists each month usually focus only on posts that were actually written during that month, I’m breaking that rule here by including 6 Reasons You Should “Waste” Your Time Reading Fiction. Apparently, quite a few English teachers use that one with their middle school and high school classes, so it’s always a top post around the beginning of the school year. I thought I’d include it this time in case it’s one you haven’t seen yet.

  1. Breaking the Silence: When Christian Leaders Speak Openly about Depression

  2. Become a Heretic for a While

  3. 6 Reasons You Should “Waste” Your Time Reading Fiction

  4. The Best Theology Books from the First Half of 2014

  5. Blaise Pascal (A Prayer for Sunday)

Flotsam and jetsam (8/29)

can't even

Good Reads

  • Going, going, gone: Books study exodus from religion:  he question of what is happening to organized religion in America remains unanswered, but one thing is clear: Larger and larger numbers of individuals are drifting away from traditional notions of church. (National Catholic Reporter)
  • Overall, Americans in the Suburbs Are Still the Happiest: City centers and downtowns across the United States may very well be in the midst of a comeback or a renaissance, be reaching a moment of triumph or successfully transforming themselves into magnets for millennials and retiring boomers. But according to the new Atlantic Media/Siemens State of the City Poll, when it comes to overall community satisfaction, the suburbs are still king. (CityLab)
  • Kindle + Evernote = ♥:  Books hold the information I want to know while Evernote holds the information I want to retain. When I put the two of them together, I get a powerful system to record and remember what I have read. Let me share a simple technique to quickly and easily get every one of your Kindle notes and highlights into Evernote. (Tim Challies)
  • Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months:  While the Christian exodus from Iraq is extreme and driven by the country’s bloodshed, it’s a trend that’s been underway for decades throughout the Middle East. In the mid-20th century, Christians were estimated to be about 20 percent of the Middle East’s population. Today, it’s 5 percent at most. (NPR)

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/27)

star wars

Good Reads

  • Can You See Too Much Jesus in the Bible? Throughout history, Christians have affirmed that Jesus is the focus of Scripture. But one Bible scholar is being forced to take early retirement by a conservative seminary for seeing too much Jesus in the Old Testament. (Christianity Today)
  • How Pastors Get Hired Today: Sure, candidates can just keep mailing unsolicited resumes to overwhelmed search committees of small churches and hoping for different results. But don’t be surprised if this approach is less likely to land you behind a pulpit than on the front page of USA Today. (Gospel Coalition)
  • How the Internet Could Protect Your Memory: The Internet is frequently blamed for messing with our minds, making us superficial, distracted and even deluded. But a new study suggests that for some people, using it could actually be healthy. (New York Times)
  • Multi-Ethnic Churches Lament America’s Racial Injustice:  The fact that 86.3% of local churches throughout this country fail to have at least 20% diversity in their attending membership is one reason the American Church has been rendered impotent in attempting to speak on what is, perhaps, the most critical issue of our time: lingering, systemic, racial injustice in a supposedly post-racial society. (Time)

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