Every week I compile a list of some of the most interesting articles I’ve read for the week. I don’t always agree with the authors, but they were nonetheless interesting. Here’s this week’s good reads:
1. “Detroit Is Not Dead” by Kate Abbey-Lambertz
It is so easy for people to talk about Detroit in pure economic, social, or structural terms. But the people of the city are a part of that city too! And in that regard I greatly appreciate this collection of photos from the Huffington Post that reminds us these people are not dead, and therefore Detroit is not dead!
2. “United Methodists Wearing a Millennial Face” by Anthony Bradley
This week Rachel Held Evans wrote a blog suggesting that Millennials were leaving the church because they didn’t find Jesus inside of it. Many people have reacted strongly to her article, including a number of Millennials. Here, however, Anthony Bradley responds that what RHE claims Millennials want is to be found in the United Methodist Church and he wonders why they don’t just go join that denomination.
3. “Millennial Religion and the Sovereign Self” by David T. Koyzis
Another response to RHE, this one suggesting that what many millennials leaving the church want is not Jesus, nor a different kind of church, but rather complete religious autonomy. Koyzis picks up on Held Evans’ suggestion that many millennials are attracted to the ancient traditions and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. The author points out that these practices are deeply tied to concepts of submission, authority, and obedience. To embrace these practices is to embrace the culture that is associated with them, and ultimately, he says, that is not what millennials are interested in.
4. “Talking About My Generation: Millennials and the Church” by Alastair Roberts
And the winner for best, most thorough, and most compelling response to Rachel Held Evans is Roberts! It’s a bit long, but it’s worth the read.
5. “I Wouldn’t Trade Seminary For Anything” by Richard Clark
My dear friend Richard Clark has written this beautiful piece on the value of seminary. He confesses that seminary for him came with some real struggles, including divorce and disillusionment. He also did not end up going into pastoral ministry as he had originally planned. Yet, for all of that he says he would not trade his seminary experience for anything. Many young seminarians will find some great encouragement from this piece and its advice. Particularly useful is this piece of advice from Clark: Seminary tends to be a safe space to share your convictions with your seminary buddies without having to “walk on eggshells,” but after a while it’s easy to forget those eggshells are often the fragile hearts of hurting people. Discussing hot topics may be a fun intellectual exercise, but in the real world those hot topics are usually attached to genuine human pain. Abortion, gay marriage, welfare, drug use, and other polarizing subjects are more than just abstract philosophical-theological-political footballs. They’re tied to realities we may not be able to readily comprehend until we put in the work. So put in the work. Don’t merely seek out the opinions of those different than you; seek out their stories and their company. Listen carefully to the struggles of those whom Jesus came to seek and save, laboring to understand exactly what experiences have made them so adamant about their position.
6. “Bus Accident Memorial” by Colonial Hills Baptist Church
Today this church family will be mourning the loss of their youth pastor, his wife and unborn child, and one of their youth ministry volunteers. The details of their passing are very sad and this congregation needs your prayers.
7. “The Moral Dilemma of Cohabitation” by Trillia Newbell
Newbell spells out three related moral issues to the trend of cohabitation.
8. “Jonathan Edwards: Reformed Apologist” by Scott Oliphant
This piece from the Westminster Theological journal has proved very helpful on studying Jonathan Edwards’ theology on the noetic effects of sin. Oliphant’s goal is broader than that, though. He aims to demonstrate that Edwards is in fact right in line with presuppositional apologetics, even particularly the tradition of Van Til.