This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperHere are some interesting articles from around the web to read over your Holiday weekend, enjoy:

1. The Duck Dynasty controversy blew up my internet this week. I have never seen this show, nor do I care really at all about it, but I read some of the details, the interview, and a handful of reflective pieces on it. Here’s my simple take: A&E did a ludicrous thing in attempting to silence Mr. Robertson. It’s not only hypocritical and unnecessary, but it seems to violate at least the spirit of the First Amendment. Furthermore, Mr. Robertson did communicate the truth of Scripture regarding homosexuality. Nonetheless I was less than comfortable with some of the ways he said things. The words he chose were more than just crude, they were insensitive and did not take into consideration the humanity of those he spoke about. I liked this piece from Christ and Pop Culture reflecting on it, and this piece from Wesley Hill is excellent.

That’s not to say that Phil was completely wrong in what he said, and that A&E did the right thing by silencing him. Russ Moore has written a helpful, clarifying piece on their failure, particularly as it relates to restricting intelligent conversation in a free society. But Jared Wilson is right, I believe, when he questions jumping on the “I Support Phil” bandwagon. He gives American Evangelicals a much-needed reality check. In conclusion, I might say this: I think Phil Robertson had the right intent but chose his words poorly. And for a people whose very God calls himself “the Word” we ought to be more careful with the ones we use. Christian celebrity culture urges us to hold up this man as our hero, but I think we ought to be extremely careful about such a thing.

2. It was a week of controversies in the Evangelical community. This week the Mark Driscoll plagiarism fiasco finally saw a resolution. It was a less than satisfying one as Tyndale Publishing and Driscoll’s own response seemed more non-committal than anything else. “Mistakes were made” is the least responsible way to say something happened. Jared Wilson surprised many of us with this response. It’s spot on.

3. “Gregory Thornbury: Top Ten Albums of 2013” by Steve McCoy

President of the King’s College in New York shares his favorite albums of the year. Some real winners on this list.

4. “Scientists Invent the Perfect Coffee Mug” by Robert T. Gonzalez

I don’t care what you put it in, just let me drink the coffee!

5. “Don’t Hate On Rural Ministry” by Matt Smethurst

This is a great reminder. We served for five years in rural Southern Ohio before moving to the Detroit metro, and I greatly appreciate the plea from Colin Hansen and Jared Wilson not to ignore the value of rural ministry. Not only are rural areas plagued by the same kinds of problems as larger cities (economic failure, drug abuse, homelessness, etc.), though on an obviously smaller scale, but also because they are so small and less densely populated they have fewer resources available to address such problems. In addition, as Hansen notes in the interview, they are increasingly becoming less religious. Don’t hate on rural ministry.

6. “Ways to Grow Your Group (Part 1): Five Ways to Connect with Disconnected People” by Ed Stetzer

Get those disconnected people in your fellowship plugged in! Stetzer has some good tips that are effective not simply for getting people plugged into a small group, but for getting them engaged in the life of your church beyond Sunday morning.

7. “The Problem with the Daniel Diet” by Ryan Hoselton

Hoselton asks a series of important questions about this “trend” among Evangelicals. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with this trend and attempting to think critically about it.

8. “You Can Be Hospitable Even With Little” by Trillia Newbell

“Hospitality is a matter of the heart, not square footage or neatness” says Newbell. This is a good reminder.

9. “The Thought Leader” by David Brooks

This is a strange if humorous piece from Brooks. I think it aims at exposing the unsatisfying pursuit of recognition and fame. Honestly, however, it does so in a very strange way. It’s most condescending and snarky, but it may have some value to it if you can read between the lines.

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