This Week’s Good Reads

morning-paper2Every week I try to compile a list of interesting articles from around the web. Here’s this week’s list, there’s bound to be something here that interests you. Check it out.

1. “Why I’m Glad David Platt is the New IMB President” by Russell Moore

Moore here celebrates the announcement of Platt’s appointment, he also gives some reasons why Platt is the perfect man for this job in this time.

2. “Metro Detroit Muslim Leaders Denounce ISIS as ‘Crazy Criminals‘” by Niraj Warikoo

There was a meme floating around this week that showed an empty street and had the words “Muslims protesting ISIS” printed across it. The implication is obvious, there are no Muslims denouncing the heinous crimes of the ISIS terrorists. That meme is so incredibly ignorant it’s not worth much of a response. But here is a great reminder that not all Muslim people are evil terrorists bent on destroying America. While I firmly believe that they all need the gospel and that their religion is false, not all of them should be viewed and treated the same. This is such an important reminder to love and be gracious to our Muslim neighbors here in the metro. This article is a good reminder to be thankful for their voice in our community.

3. “Mark Driscoll to Step Down While Mars Hill Reviews Charges” by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

It was announced this week that Driscoll was taking at least a six-week leave to allow the church to investigate charges brought against him of abuse of power and misconduct. He made an apology to his church last weekend, and I so hope and pray that it is genuine. I want very much to see this brother restored and his ministry flourish, though I confess that removal from the pastorate for a prolonged season may be the right thing to do. Pray for Mars Hill as they work through these issues.

4. “Faith Hacking: A simple Method to Organize Your Prayers” by Tim Challies

Challies adopts John Piper’s method of praying in concentric circles and adapts it here in a simple and accessible blog post to show us how we can organize our own prayer lives. This is a helpful way to think about your prayers, friends. Check it out.

5. “Why The Simpsons went to church (and what they found there)” by Donna Bowman

If I don’t entirely agree with this author’s conclusions, I do appreciate her point that The Simpsons is one show where religion has had a rather regular mundane appearance on the show. Bowman writes:

The Simpsons didn’t just go to church on the occasional special episode; any week might find them in the pews listening to Reverend Lovejoy. And when they weren’t in church, they were interacting with their super-Christian neighbor Ned Flanders and his two angelic, Sunday school-educated boys, who enjoyed praying for all the little children who don’t pray for themselves (like Bart). Christianity is all around in Springfield – as much a part of the atmosphere as the airborne petrochemicals from the unquenchable tire fire.

The article as a whole reminded me of Jamey Heit’s book The Springfield Reformation, which explores religion and religious values across the entire series. There’s a lot to be said about the Christian and cultural ethos of The Simpsons that critics seem to completely overlook.

6.  “The Wrong Kind of Christian” by  Tish Harrison Warren

For those who are subscribers to CT this will be an excellent article to read. Its author details how she thought she was just progressive enough in her religious expressions to be acceptable to non-Christians. There comes a point, however, at which the only Christianity the world will accept is none. Her life lessons are of value to us as readers.

7. “Five Problems With Top-Down Vision-Casting – And a New Testament Alternative” by Karl Vaters

I am not inclined to adopt all that this author says, but I think there are some great ideas here that need to be cultivated. Ours is not one of the small types of churches he writes for, but some of the points he makes here are well worthy of our consideration at CBC.

8.  “An Impatience with Biblical Exegesis” by Wesley Hill

I love this piece by Hill. It’s a beautiful reminder of the importance of publicly addressing the real content of Scripture in our discourse on same-sex marriage. It is too easy to adopt the myth that we can’t change each others minds so let’s just swap stories and try to understand one another better. Hill is not suggesting that we shouldn’t do that, indeed we should, but he is arguing that we also need to help others think Biblically about these things, to see clearly what the Bible says. I love this piece!

9. “Made for More: Home + Work” by Hannah Anderson

Hannah’s book is so good and well worth your time, friends. If you need some encouragement to read it though, then you should read this article by her, adapted from the book. Here Hannah argues that the worth of a worker is not found in where they work, the job they have in the workforce, but rather in their being made in image of the one for whom the work. Though written specifically with women in mind, it is a good reminder to all of us.

10. “Study Theology, Even If You Don’t Believe in God” by Tara Isabella Burton

Theology was, long ago, called the “Queen of the Sciences.” This author here makes a case that it still is, even if she doesn’t actually believe its content. A good theologian, this piece states, “has to be a historian, a philosopher, a linguist, a skillful interpreter of texts both ancient and modern, and probably many other things besides.” Theology is a synthesis of all other liberal arts studies. Obviously here conclusions as a whole will not be agreeable to believers, but her general argument is compelling. As a theologian I can appreciate much of what she claims.

11. “4 Visions for the Biblical Counseling Movement” by Garrett Higbee

Man, I love this ministry and I am super excited about Dr. Higbee’s vision for BCC. In particular I am thrilled to see more diverse conversations happening that all might reap the benefits of learning from and listening to one another.

12. “Why It’s Wrong for Christians to Mistreat Creation” by Justin Holcomb

If this piece needs a bit more fleshing out and more clarification to be truly effective, it is nonetheless a good reminder. How we treat the created world should reflect our identity as God’s image bearers and the role he has given us as “exercising dominion,” which Holcomb defines here as having responsibility for creation.

13. “How Gaza Christians View the Hamas-Israeli Conflict” by Timothy C. Morgan and Deann Alford

A beautiful, moving interview with Gaza Baptist pastor Hanna Massad. He pleads for an end to the siege, gives us insight into the Christian community in Gaza, and pleads with westerners to love Palestinians too. He says,I hope my brothers and sisters in the West also have enough room in their hearts not just for Israel but also for the Palestinians.” This is a beautiful, and sad read; it is well worth your time, friends.

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