All five of the top posts in April had to do with the Wheaton Theology Conference. Since I didn’t want the list to completely dominated by one topic, though, I’m just including a link to the conference videos, which was the top post for the month and also includes links to the other posts. Then I skipped down to the most popular posts besides the conference. Enjoy!
Saint Catherine of Siena was a philosopher and theologian in the middle ages. She was actively involved in many of the political and theological issues of her day, but her most famous contribution was her involvement in convincing the pope to return the papacy to Rome after nearly seventy years of “captivity” in Avignon. She is now regarded as one of the two patron saints of Italy (along with Francis of Assisi) and one of the patron saints of Europe.
Catherine died on April 29, 1380. In honor of her life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from her.
Holy Spirit, come into my heart;
draw it to Thee by Thy power, O my God,
and grant me charity with filial fear.
Preserve me, O ineffable Love,
from every evil thought;
warm me, inflame me with Thy dear love,
and every pain will seem light to me.
My Father, my sweet Lord,
help me in all my actions.
Jesus, love, Jesus, love.
- Why We Argue Like Jerks: Diving headfirst into an endless vortex of insults and insinuations is incredibly tempting in the heat of the moment. I have felt the tug and I have regrettably given in many times to coarse tweets and ad hominems. Maybe considering the why behind our inability to argue well will help us move forward. (Christ and Pop Culture)
- St. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary: the factual accounts of Patrick, missionary to Ireland, are even more compelling than the folklore. Telling the true story of Patrick provides an inspiring lesson in God’s grace and mercy. (Gospel Coalition)
- Francis Has Changed American Catholics’ Attitudes, but Not Their Behavior, a Poll Finds: One year into the era of Pope Francis, a new poll has found that a broad majority of American Catholics say he represents a major change in direction for the church, and a change for the better. But his popularity has not inspired more Americans to attend Mass, go to confession or identify as Catholic — a finding that suggests that so far, the much-vaunted “Francis effect” is influencing attitudes, but not behavior. (New York Times)
- The Intellectual Snobbery of Conspicuous Atheism: vocal atheists reinforce this binary of Godly vs. godless, too—the argument is just not as obvious. Theirs is a subtle assertion: Believers aren’t educated or thoughtful enough to debunk God, and if they only knew more, rational evidence would surely offset faith. (The Atlantic)
- 3 Ways Expository Preaching Combats Biblical Illiteracy: Biblical illiteracy is a widespread problem that manifests itself in several ways. The basic nuts and bolts Bible knowledge of key stories, people, and concepts is much less common. People have little patience for the parts that are difficult to understand, let alone the parts that are clear and offensive. What are you going to do about this, Pastor? (Pastors Today)
- Protestant work ethic isn’t just Protestant anymore: America’s vaunted Protestant work ethic is getting a makeover: Now it might be more of an atheist work ethic. (Religion News Service)
- Heal Me—Body, Mind, and Soul: Why are we so attracted to yoga, acupuncture, and the like? As people of faith, we recognize that we are multidimensional beings. We know that we are more than just a body, but exist as bodies, minds, and spirits, and all parts of us need attention. (Hermeneutics)
- Paranoid Narcissism: What Dostoyevsky Knew about the Internet: Paranoid narcissism—the mixed desires and fears of being watched by unknown others—thus defines virtual society, giving rise to numerous related anxieties such as the sense of exposed insignificance and the fear of missing out. (The American Reader)
- An Open Apology to the Local Church: Here’s where I need to confess my true feelings about you, Church: The romance of our earlier days has faded. The longer I have known you, the more I weary of your quirks and trying character traits. Here’s one: You draw people to yourself whom I would never choose to spend time with. Every Sunday, it seems, you put me in contact with the older woman who thinks that angels and dead pets are everywhere around us. You insist on filling my coffee hour with idle talk of golf, the weather, and grandchildren. (Christianity Today)
- Millennials Deeply Confused About Their Politics, Finances, and Culture: Or at least deeply contradictory: They’re always connected but distrustful. They’re selfish yet accepting of minorities. They’re “independents” who mostly vote Democratic and love Obama while hating Obamacare. (The Atlantic)
- Encounters with Orthodoxy: I would never be the same Protestant I had been. I understood in a more tangible way than I could have imagined the significance of the “smells and bells” of worship, the careful attention to the worshipping body as well as the worshipping spirit, the sense that God didn’t exist “in my heart,” but also out there in a big, strange world that demanded to be perceived through my senses. (Books and Culture)
- How Can I Best Absorb Information While Reading: Impress yourself with powerful mental images, make associations with what you already know (and make sure you learn the basics to start), and repeat this exercise several times. Work to become better at remembering and you will become better at remembering everything you want. (Lifehacker)