Flotsam and jetsam (10/7)

baptism

Good Reads

  • Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy: Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling. (Scientific American)
  • The Conference Shaking Up America’s Evangelicals: On Wednesday evening, 30 of America’s most influential evangelicals met on the patio of Marlow’s Tavern outside Atlanta for a private dinner….They met to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and brainstorm possible future endeavors together. (Time)
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online: When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith. I don’t wonder anymore. (CNN)
  • Stop Slandering Christ’s Bride: the surest sign that thousands of Christian in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it. (Gospel Coalition)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The never-ending epic struggle continues: Geeks vs. Nerds.

A Prayer for Sunday (Teresa of Avila)

teresa of avila (250x360)Living in 16th century Spain, Teresa of Avila was a famous Carmelite nun, a key figure in the Catholic Counter Reformation, and one of the most prominent mystical theologians of the medieval church. Along with John of the Cross, she was a key figure in establishing Spanish mysticism as a formative influence in Catholic theology and a prominent feature of the Spanish renaissance.  For her writings and ministry she was named a Doctor of the Church, albeit not until 1970.

Teresa of Avila died on October 4, 1582. In honor of her life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from her.

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25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books

book hangoverIf you’ve ever found yourself yelling at a book in public, buying books you don’t need (and may not ever read), or getting your “old book fix” by walking into a used book store and breathing deeply, then it’s entirely possible that you’re an addict. You should seek help if there’s any possibility that the piles of books in your house might tip over and crush someone or if you have gone more than three days without speaking to a living human (besides yourself).

If you’re still not sure whether you’re a book addict, you may want to consult this illustrated guide: 25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books. Or, if you’d rather have all the images in one place, someone has now put the whole guide together in a handy infographic. Be aware, though, that some of the images contain some rather “colorful”  language.

According to the guide, I may need help, since I score high on quite a few criteria:

  • When reading a good book, I sometimes forget to eat or sleep.
  • I occasionally yell at books.
  • I often like rainy days better than sunny days because of the excellent reading opportunity.
  • dream homeThe picture on the right is definitely what I think of when I picture my dream home (though it needs a big, comfy sofa)
  • Whenever I start a new project, of course the first step is always to read a book about it. Are there other ways to learn?
  • Of course the book is always better.
  • And yes, I’ve experienced both “book hangover” (inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last book’s world) and “book insomnia” (staying up all night to finish a book).

Fortunately, I’ve outgrown at least one problem. Instead of going on a trip and packing my suitcase so full of books that I barely have room for clothes, I now just take my iPad. But that probably doesn’t mean I’m less addicted, just more efficient at feeding my addiction.

book suitcase

Flotsam and jetsam (10/3)

dreams

Good Reads

  • 6 Reasons to Dig into Calvin’s Commentaries:  Calvin fans, old and new, don’t always appreciate that the Institutes form a relatively small portion of his corpus. A brilliant systematician and teacher, he was first and foremost a biblical commentator who produced nearly verse-by-verse commentaries on the majority of the books of the Bible. (The Gospel Coalition)
  • Why Philosophy Matters: People talk about philosophy in terms of “or.” Philosophy or faith. Philosophy or literature. Philosophy or science, as if the mind were incapable of doing both and reaching its own conclusions. But that position is ahistorical—great thinkers have long worked across disciplines—and counterproductive: you can glean profound insights from philosophy without emptying it of artistic value, without betraying scientific principles, without sacrificing your faith. (Logos)
  • How Daydreaming Can Actually Make You Smarter: Daydreaming gets a pretty bad rap. It’s often equated with laziness, and we tend to write off people with wandering minds as being absent-minded “space cadets” who can’t get their heads out of the clouds. (HuffPo)

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3 Things We Can’t Live Without (infographic)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Nonetheless, apparently these are the three things that modern people think they just can’t live without. (Click to embiggen.)

What-We-Cant-Live-Without-Modern-Must-Haves (575x2652)

HT Scot McKnight

Flotsam and jetsam (10/1)

clever comma usage

Good Reads

  • Enjoy the Blessings of Informal Mentoring: As we consider mentoring, it is important to realize that Christians have the power to greatly influence others simply by living faithful lives wherever God calls them.  In fact, a large percentage of mentoring happens incidentally as we go about our days. (Melissa Kruger)
  • The State of the Church in America: Hint, It’s Not Dying: Yes, the church in the West– the United States included– is in transition right now. But transitioning is not the same as dying, particuarly if you hold the belief that Christianity is represented by people who live for Christ, not check “Christian” on a survey form. (Ed Stetzer)
  • We’re Back! After a lengthy hiatus, Western Seminary’s Transformed blog has returned to action. Check it out. (Transformed)

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When Is My Child Old Enough to Get Baptized?

My daughter has never known a time when she did not believe in Jesus, she loves going to church, and she isn’t shy about telling people that she loves God. As far as she can tell, she’s always been a Christian.

But she hasn’t been baptized.

baptism, baptize, baptized, water, footprints, feet

Our Journey

My wife and I have had many conversations about when we should encourage her to get baptized. Those of you who are from traditions that baptize infants may not appreciate the significance of this issue. But those of us who believe that baptism is for those who have made a personal confession of faith, it gets a little tricky.

What is faith?

What makes it personal?

How do you know?

Questions like these defy easy answers.

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Top Posts for September

Wheaton’s Next Theology Conference Is Getting Spirit-ual

Wheaton Theology Conference 2014

Every spring, Wheaton hosts one of the best theology conferences around. And this year should not disappoint: “The Spirit of God: Christian Renewal in the Community of Faith” (April 3-4, 2014). Registration is now open, so make sure you check it out.

“New developments in global Christianity, including the spread of the Pentecostal movement, challenge Christians to renewed attention to the Spirit of God. The 2014 Wheaton Theology Conference examines the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community and in the world. The conference explores various ways that God’s Spirit searches, teaches, leads, and empowers the community of faith. With special attention to biblical and historical perspectives, the conference develops theological insights to support, educate, challenge, and encourage pastors, teachers, and informed laity.”

As usual, the conference will be bringing together a pretty amazing group of speakers, including people like Timothy George, Geoffrey Wainwright, Oliver Crisp, Michael Welker, and Kevin Vanhoozer, as well as Wheaton’s own Jeffrey Barbeau and Gregory Lee. Check out the entire list of speakers to see who else will be there.

So, if you can free up a couple days in April and want to come join us, please do! It should be a great time.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/30)

Birds-on-a-Road-Trip

Good Reads

  • A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent: Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening. (The Daily Beast)
  • How to write a theological sentence: I have the sense…that few of us have thought about the conditions necessary to write a theological sentence that has the potential to make a reader stop and rethink what they thought they think. (Stanley Hauerwas)
  • Born in the Wrong Body: This is an interesting summary of the growing transexual movement, the reasons behind it, and some of the concerns with it. It’s brief, so don’t expect compelling analysis. But as an overview, it’s useful. (The Week)

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