This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperHere’s this week’s list of interesting articles from around the web. Check it out; there’s bound to be something here that interests you.

1. “The Simpsons and Us, Together Forever” by S.D. Kelly

In light of the 25th anniversary celebration FXX is running a marathon, all 552 episodes in 12 days. In this piece Kelly joins the celebration reminding us of what makes this such a remarkable sitcom (the longest running one in history too). The Simpsons stands out, Kelly writes, because it exposes the lunacy of our cultural habits while at the same time applauding our human spirit.

25 years of The Simpsons. 25 years of satirizing Americans in our earnestness and excesses. It turns out that, in celebrating its silver anniversary, the show is really celebrating us. Which makes sense, because The Simpsons is our show, for better or for worse.

I have long loved this show, and I enjoyed reading this piece.

2. “Chemical Imbalances & Depression: A Theory Falls Victim to New Research” by Charles Hodges

Dr. Hodges shares some thoughts on new research done at Wayne State University School of Medicine regarding depression. In particular he observes that this research has some startling reveals: new research would indicate that the chemical serotonin may have little or nothing to do with depression at all. That’s a dramatic discovery that undoes a major theory of causation in the popular level conversation about depression. It will be interesting to see how this impacts further discussions of depression moving forward.

3. “4 Things God Says to Singles” by Vaughan Roberts

Roberts is a brilliant theologians and a gifted pastor who has experienced life-long singleness. So what he writes here comes from a place of Biblical study, sensitivity, and experience. It’s good for all of us to read, not just singles, because the church needs to continue to grow in its ministry to singles in our congregations.

4. “Communion” by Alan Noble

This is a beautiful mediation on what communion teaches us about our inability to deal with our sin. The guilt we feel from our sin, from our inability to deal with all our sins is met by God’s grace in the very act of partaking communion. I can’t make myself prepared enough to partake, but I partake to remind myself that Christ has made me ready to partake.

5. “Getting Married Is Not Enough to Fight Sexual Temptation” by Hannah Anderson

In light of the recent conversation Pastor Johnny Norbeck and I had this is a great follow-up article by my friend Hannah Anderson. Hannah writes here about the illusion Christians have that marriage will solve their sexual temptation struggles. She points out that promoting early marriage may end up doing more harm than good. She sets this point within a cultural context that has altered the sexual and relation landscape and suggests that the church is merely co-opting the sexual ethic of the culture around it, not leading in promoting a Biblical ethic. Her insights are well worthy of your time if this subject interests you. Hannah expanded more on this article at her own blog with this post on 5 reasons not to get married.

6. “Why So Many Christians Won’t Back Down On Gay Marriage” by  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Speaking of marriage, here is a good piece from a French writer on the history of Christianity’s sexual ethic. It is this long-standing sexual ethic, and its relation to Christian belief about the character of God, that makes attempts to bully Christians into social conformity rather ignorant.

7. “Marriage and Mating Rites” by Karen Swallow Prior

A thoughtful piece from Karen on the importance of “rituals and community” for cultivating healthy marriages. She examines some recent research and then imparts some insightful commentary to help us think through the relationship practices we embrace as a culture and particularly as individuals. She connects this study with the work of James K.A. Smith on cultural liturgies and the formative power of practice. It’s really a wonderful piece.

8. “Theological Impatience” by Andrew Wilson

Wilson offers some insightful commentary on a trend among theological thinking in the internet age. He cites several examples of this impatience, and urges us to be more patient in reading and writing. A good word.

9. “Stop Reading Your Bible in a Year: The Romans Challenge” by Derrick Dickens

I love this challenge from my friend Derrick. Here he points out one of the weaknesses of the read-the-Bible-in-a-year approach: readers don’t dig very deep in the text. I have enjoyed reading through the whole Bible, but I learned years ago that I do better when I focus on one book and dig deep into. Since college, then, I have picked one book of the Bible to study for a year at a time. Here Derrick challenges readers to join him in studying through Romans for an extended season. Check it out.

10. “Framing John Frame, Part 1” by Steve Childers

I am an avid fan of John Frame’s work. No other single theologian, outside of my own mentor, has had as significant an impact on me as has Frame. Here Childers introduces readers to Frame and his writings in anticipation of the release of the new collection of Frame’s Shorter Writings.

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