This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperEvery week I compile a list of some of the more fascinating, interesting, and/or helpful pieces I’ve read from around the web. Here’s this week’s list:

1. “These 20 U.S. Cities Are Allowed To Complain About The Cold” by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Detroit makes the list at #12. Whine away friends.

2. “I am Pajama Boy” by Richard Clark

My good friend Rich wrote this piece over at The Gospel Coalition which challenges us to be careful about our assumptions, criticisms, and prejudices. He challenges us more pointedly to humbly love those who are different from us. He uses the responses many have had to pajama boy as a spring-board to this discussion. It’s worth a read.

3. A Counterpoint Series on The Miraculous Spiritual Gifts at TGC

The Gospel Coalition did a counterpoint series on miraculous gifts this week. Tom Schreiner explains why he does not believe in the continuation of the miraculous spiritual gifts for the church today, and Sam Storms responds by defending their continuance. People tend to get very hung up on this discussion (i.e. John MacArthur and his Strange Fire conference), but Vern Poythress has written what I think is the most helpful discussion of the subject at hand (summarized here by Justin Taylor). Furthermore, it is worth our time to consider more the role of the spiritual gifts as a means of service and not simply focus on the miraculous aspect.

4. “Cold” by xkcd

Okay, so whether you agree with global warming or not you should at least understand it before you criticize it. Every year around this time, like clockwork, I hear jokes about how the cold temperatures disprove global warming. This has been particularly true this year with the extreme temperatures. But here is a comical reminder that cold temperatures do not necessarily disprove global warming. Let’s kill this annoying joke, people.

5. “The Lie of Uniqueness” by Josh Blount

“If you’re unique, you’re alone,” writes Blount. There is a degree, of course, to which we are all unique and our experiences are unique, he adds, but there’s more to our story than this statement. We have to recognize what we have in common with others too, particularly as it relates to our struggles. This is an important reminder and reflection on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

6. “Workplace Evangelism” by Greg Gilbert

My former pastor and friend Greg has written a helpful and insightful piece on how to share the gospel with your co-workers. He begins by dismissing the notion that you can just live a godly life before them and that such a life will garner their interest enough to ask about it. “There’s an old saying often attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi:  “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words.”  That sounds nice, but it’s nonsense,” he writes. Though many are fearful about sharing the gospel at work, and some others are just awkward about sharing the gospel at work, Gilbert outlines a few helpful suggestions to help our workplace evangelism seem more natural and confident. It’s a simple list, but don’t let its simplicity be confused with naiveté.

7. “Pornography, Radical Measures, and the Gospel” by Heath Lambert

The Biblical Counseling Coalition has another series on pornography developing over at their blog. We can’t say too much about this plague, so I don’t fault them for the recycling of topics. This article is part of their series, but it can stand on its own. Here Lambert helps us see the value of works in the Christian life. While the don’t save us, radical measures taken against lust give us room to grow and help us develop fruit of repentance. This is a good read, particularly as it helps us balance works and gospel in the Christian life.

8. “Finding Sexual Freedom in Augustine’s Confessions” by Chuck Colson

Speaking of struggling with lust, here’s an interesting take on the subject over at The Gospel Coalition. In this particular article the author demonstrates from Augustine’s own story how the gospel shifts us from seeing sex as god, to loving the one true God. This is more of a big picture piece than the Lambert one above, but both the big picture and the nitty-gritty details are helpful.

9. “The Gospel for a Gay Friend” by Garrett Kell

The Gospel Coalition had a few pieces on sexuality this week, this one approaching the subject of homosexuality. At one level the piece isn’t nearly as focused on sharing the gospel with your gay neighbor as it might seem, but that’s kind of the value of this piece. It reminds us that our Gay and Lesbian neighbors are actually just normal people struggle with sins. Like all of us they need Jesus and so Kell outlines very simply how we can share the gospel with them, which is the same way we’d share it with anyone.

10. “No Racial Reconciliation without Intersectionality and Privilege” by Anthony Bradley

Dr. Bradley continually writes some of the most provocative stuff on Evangelicalism and race. I have benefited often from his insights, and here he offers us some further thoughts on the importance of acknowledging the ways in which we benefit from the intersections of a host of features we did not earn or choose (like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). He says that there can be no real progress on race in the Evangelical community until we are honest about this and take responsibility for helping those different from us.

11. The New Issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine

This new issue is out and it is an interesting one, examining particularly the impact and value of childhood entertainment. Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, President of the King’s College, wrote a piece on The Monkees, and Alan Noble on the gospel-less morality of McGee and Me. The whole issue is worth reading as a reflection no childhood and the importance of gospel education for our kids.

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