I spent most of July packing, driving, and getting set up in our new home and my new office. So things were a little quiet around here. But here were the most popular posts of the month anyway. Enjoy!
Although John Wesley is well known to many Christians, his mother Susanna Wesley has received less attention. That is unfortunate given that many think that her influence on her sons John and Charles made an indelible mark on their ministries and the subsequent history of the religious tradition they founded.
Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742. In honor of her amazing life and ministry, this morning’s prayer comes from her.
Help me, Lord, to remember that religion
…..is not to be confined to the church, or closet,
nor exercised only in prayer and meditation,
but that everywhere I am in thy presence.
So may my every word and action have a moral content.
May all the happenings of my life prove useful to me.
May all things instruct me and afford me an opportunity
…..of exercising some virtue
…..and daily learning and growing toward thy likeness.
The blogging has been lighter than normal around here as we spent most of June finalizing details on our move to Wheaton. But I did manage to post a few things. So here are the top five posts from the last month.
- Why I Don’t Hate the Word ‘Inerrancy’: I hate a number of things. Some of them are rather silly: soap operas, egg mayonnaise, cats. Some of them are deadly serious: sex slavery, adultery, cancer, human trafficking, abortion, racism. In a handful of cases, I even hate words: “moist,” “ogle,” and “pamphlet” are among the most odious. But I don’t hate the word “inerrancy.” In fact, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
- How Much Time Do Pastors Spend Preparing a Sermon? Most pastors have workweeks much longer than we realize because of the invisible nature of sermon preparation. As for me, the results of this poll have caused me to pray even more fervently for my pastor. His work is long. His work is never-ending. But the work he does is vitally important.
- America’s Epidemic of Psychiatric Over-Diagnosis: The next time you’re in a crowded room, look around. A scary percentage of the people in the room with you are suffering from a mental disorder.
- Five Dangers of Unaligned Small Groups: Over the years I have been surprised to find out how many church leaders have a laissez faire attitude about what is being taught in small groups and Sunday school classes. Allow me to share five dangers of this “anything goes” approach.
- Five Myths about Reading & How to Put Them to Death: If you think you can’t learn anything from fiction, then you’re reading the wrong fiction.
- Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity: When a Christian foundation interviewed college nonbelievers about how and why they left religion, surprising themes emerged.
- Was I Actually ‘Addicted’ to Internet Pornography? There’s not a consensus on the science of how porn affects the brain, but there is a lot of information on the topic. So much that it can be difficult to sift through.
- When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.
Saint Columba was an Irish monk and missionary best known for founding monasteries all over Ireland and the spread of Christianity in Scotland. He founded an influential abbey on the island of Iona, which served as one of the centers of Christianity in the British isles for many centuries.
Although the date of Columba’s death cannot be known for certain, the traditional date is June 9, 597. So, in honor of his amazing life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from him.
Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today – tonight – and forever.
- Evangelicals and the Growing Gender Debate: Both sides make compelling Biblical and theological cases for their point of views, but according to the most current data on the culture and the church, egalitarian evangelicals seem to have momentum. Those Christians who hold to traditional views on gender must either catch up with the broader culture or learn to communicate their beliefs in ways that feel less outdated and disconnected from modern realities.
- You Won’t Finish This Article: I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone. You “bounced” in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time “engaging” with this page at all.
- Origen and the Problem of Writing: Augustine writes to make progress; he writes to seek God. Prudentius writes to transcend the world of the flesh; he writes to be saved. Writing has become something quite different here, something Origen could never have imagined. It has become part of the apparatus of spiritual life, a means of purgation and transformation. Writing has become a vocation and a spiritual discipline.
- The Quiet Shame of the Half-Book Reader: But reading is not about the chore of finishing a book, it’s about pleasure, regardless of the type of pleasure we expect from reading (some want a challenge, some want a good story, some want to look smart). Even so, sometimes it’s difficult to let ourselves go and just read for fun, and maybe it’s more difficult to actively cut the cord, step away, admit that it’s not going so well and your best bet is to move on.
May was more about selling our house and finding a new house in Wheaton than it was about blogging. But we still managed to get at least a few posts out there. And these are the ones that you liked the most. Enjoy.