This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperEvery week I compile a list of some of the most interesting articles from around the web. Here are the pieces I found interesting this week, maybe you’ll enjoy one of them too:

1. “Why Men Use Porn” by Tony Stone

Sex is never just about sex. All aspects of our life are driven by narrative, says Stone. In the indulgence of porn men are drawn to the narrative of covenant infidelity, to the narrative of anti-gospel. The solution is a deeper connection to the gospel narrative that drives out the desire for perversion, he says.

2. “Jefferson Versus the Historians, or Barton Versus the Historians? Thomas Kidd Responds to Arthur Sherr” by Thomas Kidd

The fact that people keep looking to David Barton as a credible historian is maddening! But it’s clear that Barton isn’t the only revisionist historian and here Kidd looks at ways in which Arthur Sherr does similar things to the life and writings of Thomas Jefferson. I appreciate Kidd’s work so much as it represents a much more balanced approach to the historical data which refuses to reduce real people in history to simple stereotypes.

3. “I Walk Between (Part 1)” by Aidyn Sevilla

This is such a brave and beautiful piece. Sevilla discusses frankly and humbly his experience as a “gay Christian” seeking to be faithful to Jesus in a straight marriage. He and his wife have a son, love Jesus, and are committed to obedience to the Scriptures, and yet he struggles with same-sex attraction. There is so much about this article to love, a few things that are a bit unsettling, but much to praise. I am particularly thrilled that the Evangelical church is increasingly becoming a safe place for people to discuss these struggles. It is hard to discuss and it is sad that so many have lived alone with their struggles in the church. I hope Aidyn’s piece will encourage more people to be honest and open about these struggles.

4. “Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon” by Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor

Christianity Today has featured a piece from two very Brilliant and gifted Biblical scholars regarding the Passion of our Lord. In this piece Kostenberger and Taylor discuss some common assertions Evangelicals make about the crucifixion and the resurrection that are simply not true or not likely. It’s worth a review as you head into Resurrection Sunday.

5. “Shame and the Reflex of Non-Recognition” by Wesley Hill

In light of the Sevilla piece, this one from Hill is also encouraging. Hill observes how keeping the secret of one’s own personal struggle with same-sex attraction can keep you from developing healthy relationships with others. Hill writes:

This is one of the main reasons that I encourage gay Christians, when they ask me for advice, to come out. It’s not just that the enormous effort it takes to hide your sexuality involves an unhealthy self-focus, a constant policing of speech and actions, which can be profoundly crippling to your spiritual life (if my experience is any indication). It’s also that staying in the closet can cause you to refuse to recognize your gay or lesbian neighbors, all in an effort to stay hidden yourself.

This is yet another reminder of the importance of the church being a safe place to discuss these issues and live out these struggles together in God-honoring ways.

6. “Counseling the Paranoid” by David Dunham

This is my latest piece for The Southern Ohio Pastors Coalition. In it I discuss a particular approach to counseling those who suffer from paranoia. It is based on a real life case and explores how helping my friend to be skeptical of his own deep skepticism has been beneficial to his improvement.

7. “Taking Tech for Granted” by Richard Clark

Richard Clark warns us not to take our technology for granted. In so doing we will miss its great many blessings. He writes:

Both boredom and loathing come from a lack of moderation in our use of technology. If we allow our technologies to use us rather than the other way around, it’s no wonder we begin to view them as a difficult taskmaster rather than a useful tool and a blessing from God. It’s no wonder we begin to take them for granted. But if we take an active and dogged approach to moderation, we’ll finally have the perspective we need to allow ourselves to be thankful for these blessings.

As usual Rich gives us lots to chew on.

8. “Has It Been A Year Already?” by Krista Dunham

My talented wife has written a beautiful reflection on our one year anniversary at Cornerstone Baptist Church. It has been a challenging and yet wonderful transition! We love CBC and I am so glad that God brought us here.

9. “Farewell Evangelicalism? Not So Fast” by Hannah Anderson

Post-Evangelicalism is not nearly as “post” as it thinks it is. “Post-evangelicals are still operating within evangelical paradigms,” writes Anderson. This is a great piece exposing some of the hubris and inconsistency of so-called post-evangelicalism.

10. “Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?” by Gina Dalfanzo

This is a great piece from Gina in which she observes that “Churches are so committed to the idea of a family-centered church that they’re just not sure how to handle rising rates of singleness.” She hits the nail on the head with this and encourages the church to think more carefully about singleness and singles.

11. “Was the Last Supper a Passover Meal?” by Andreas Kostenberger

In this essay gifted New Testament scholar Andreas Konstenberger argues that in fact the Last Supper was a Passover meal. For those who are interested in the intricacies of scholarly debate this is a good read. It doesn’t necessarily address all the questions but it’s a generally good defense.

12. “How To Do a Biblical Intervention” by Mark Shaw

Shaw is a leading addictions counselor, one whom I’ve benefited from greatly. In this two-part series he walks readers through how to do an intervention that is both healthy and Biblical. He gives some really practical and some big picture insight. Read part 1 and part 2.

13. “Tears for Fragile Emanations: A Lenten Reflection” by Makota Fujimura

This is a moving, if some what strange, reflection on beauty, pragmatism, and education. It takes the story of Jesus’ weeping in John 11 and broadens it to explore our world, our activity, and our pedagogy. Fujimura’s story of the little girl in an Iraqi war is particularly powerful. This is worthy of your time, friends.

14. “The Atonement and the Scapegoat: Leviticus 16” by Kenneth Matthews

Ed Stetzer is hosting a series of blogs at his website on the “Scarlet Thread that runs through the Bible,” exploring the ways in which the atonement theme is picked up and moved along across the cannon. This particular post has brilliant Old Testament scholar Ken Matthews examining and unpacking Leviticus 16.

15. “New Research on ADD: Are We Mice or Men?” by Charles Hodges

Some very interesting insights from the field of science on ADD/ADHD. Dr. Hodges, a medical physician and trained counselor points to some concerns in diagnosing and treating ADD in the contemporary setting, suggests that medication is over-prescribed for the issue, and offers some thoughts on research being done at present. Good stuff here for both parents and counselors.

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