This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperEvery week I compile an annotated list of the most interesting articles I’ve read that week from around the web. Here is this week’s list, there’s bound to be something of interest to you on it:

1. “5 Moves to Integrate Theology Into Your Ministry” by Hershael York

Dr. York gives some real helpful, practical, tips on how to be overtly theological in your pastoral ministry. If some of these points seem obvious, they sadly probably aren’t obvious to everyone.

2. “Holy Relics: The Church Pew” by Martyn Jones

You’ll never love the church pew more than in this beautiful writing. “What is a pew, then? A bench seat in a shuttle between eternities.”

3. “These Minimalist Images Show Iconic Band Names” by Matt Crane

I love minimalist art, and music. So this is just fun. See if you can guess the names of the bands represented in the images.

4. “‘I Used to be a Christian, but…’ and the Importance of Questions in Evangelism” by Derek Rishmawy

My friend Derek has written a really great piece about interacting with those who profess to have once been Christians, or who profess to already understand what Christianity is all about. He notes that the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are not always accurate and so we ought to be willing to dig into someone’s story and help them see where they might actually not be accurate. It’s not, he argues, that we should assume their lying, confused, or wrong, but neither should we assume that because they went to Christian school they actually understand Christianity. His recommendation of asking questions can go a long way in opening the door to real gospel conversations. This is a good piece.

5. “Incognito Racist: The ‘Sterling’ in Our Pews” by Philip Holmes

I have never heard more about sports news in a single week than I have about Don Sterling. I had to ask a friend who he was because I’d never heard of him, but the story is a familiar one. Silent racist finally lets his real views slip out, and they cost him a lot. In this piece from Christ and Pop Culture Holmes discusses the reality that Don Sterlings exist everywhere, even in our pews. He reminds us that the gracious and right thing for us to do is to challenge them, to rebuke them, to love them. He urges pastors not to let their “Sterling” die a racist. He writes:

Habitual racism may reveal that one’s ultimate allegiance is not to the household of faith and the kingdom of God, but to culture and heritage. The consequences are frightening. Failure to confront him or her could lead to their eternal torment, since this may not be simply a single area of struggle for that individual, but at the heart of their understanding of the gospel.

This is such a good piece!

6. “Peter Leithart’s ‘Church of the Future’” by Brett McCracken

A very interesting event took place this week at Biola University titled “The Future of  Protestantism.” Brett McCracken summarizes the event here with a few simple notes. The whole conversation is worth following. I enjoyed Carl Trueman’s immediate thoughts too. As this conversation continues to unfold is worthy of our time. The reality of a divided church is, I believe, an issue of sin. John Frame’s discussion of an Evangelical reunion several years ago guides my thinking on this present discussion, meaning that I think a reunion within Evangelicalism must occur long before any discussion of cross tradition ecumenism can occur. See more from Frame here.

7. “The Twitter Disconnect: Why Christians are More Loving in Real Life” by Ryan Hamm

“He’s actually really nice,” but his Facebook feed may not necessarily reveal that. Ryan unpacks the reality that often Christians can use their social media outlets to unthinkingly and unceasingly be critical, confrontational, and angry. This is a great reminder that real-life social etiquette should translate into similar online social etiquette.

8. “What I Wish I’d Known about Church, Asking for Help, and Laughter” by Matt Chandler

In this article Chandler addresses a handful of different subjects in brief detail, but he the comments are insightful. I appreciated his comments about maturity in the church, because I know that I could have used that lesson in the past. I also appreciate his comments on laughter and friendship, I am finding that lesson to be true again at this stage of life.

9. “A More Holistic View of Worship in Counseling” by Winston Smith

Dr. Smith does a great job in this book of helping us to see how a more full picture of Biblical worship can be useful in the counseling process. The piece reminds us as counselors well that we have to engage the imagination and heart of our counselees, not merely their brains (see my piece on Biblical Counseling and Imagination).

10. “Clapham Spirituality: A Model for Contemporary Evangelicals” by Nathan Finn

Dr. Finn writes a fascinating piece here about the interconnectedness of our spiritual formation and our cultural engagement. He states, “Spirituality and cultural engagement should be intimately related as our public activism flows from our personal faith and localized faith communities.” He goes on to use one particular group from church history, known as the Clapham Sect, to demonstrate this interconnected approach to Christian living. This is a good read.

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