This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperEvery week I compile a list of fascinating articles from around the web. Here’s this week’s list. It’s a pretty diverse list, so check it out, there’s bound to be something here that interests you.

1. “Beverly Kay Clark

Last week my wife and I celebrated the home going and life of a friend, Bev Clark. Here is a beautiful obituary written about her. It’s impossible to capture a life in a few paragraphs, but this gives some wonderful details regarding a wonderful woman.

2. “The Problem of Self Loathing at Evangelical Colleges” by Stephen Dilley

In this piece the author wonders aloud: Why do so many students at evangelical colleges look with disdain upon their own institution—and, in a sense, upon themselves? His answer points, impart, to professors who express a high level of criticism towards Evangelicalism and who increase the anxiety of those freshman. Dilley proposes that institutions ought to “incentivize qualified professors to teach a class (or unit) on the history and legacy of evangelicalism.” He points to the rich and complex history of Evangelicalism as worthy of discussion in the classroom. He is spot on when he concludes: Colleges that portray themselves—to students, parents, and donors—as having an ‘evangelical feel’ ought to take seriously their own message. It’s a matter of integrity.

3. “Living Life All the Way Up: Hemingway’s Moral Apologetic from Absence” by Corey Latta

Hemingway is one of the more fascinating of the early modernist novelists. I have an intellectual interest in the so-called “Lost Generation,” so I found this article fascinating. Here the author explores Hemingway’s work The Sun Also Rises as a particular “an apologetic from the absence of God.” Dr. Latta writes, “While ‘God’ has been convincingly displaced in the novel, leaving only the self and other selves to regulate morality, His unaccepted presence haunts the world of the text.” That is, the novel’s bleak presentation of human brokenness extended across a meaningless world argues for, if unintentionally, the need for the divine presence. Not only is this a fascinating read for literary buffs, but it is also some beautiful writing. Check it out.

4. “Walking with the Dead: The Illusion of Control” by Dave Dunham

My weekly column on The Walking Dead over at Christ and Pop Culture discusses the destruction we can cause when we force others to live in our own fictional world. As a commentary on episode 4 it focuses particularly on the world that Officer Dawn has created and is trying to control and the damage that does to other characters in the episode.

5. “The Zimzum of Love” by Jason Hood

This has got to be the most unusual book review I have ever read. Hood reviews Rob Bell’s new book on marriage, but does so through a fictional dialogue with a great deal of wit and sarcasm.

6. “Alex and Brett Harris Are Doing Hard Things” by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

Back in 2008 the Harris twins, younger brothers of Christian celebrity Joshua Harris, wrote a book encouraging teens to do hard things. At age 25 now they are continuing to live by this mantra. Faithfulness to Jesus, servanthood, and hard work continue to exemplify their lives. “Six years after publishing their first book together, the brothers are following Jesus’s example of “hard obedience” and tackling even bigger challenges.” These hard things include: editing for the prestigious Harvard Law Review and caring for a sick wife. This is a beautiful and challenging narrative and worthy of your read.

7. “Mental Disorders and Ecclesial Hospitality” by Dustin Messer

A beautiful piece of commentary on welcoming those with mental disorders into the fellowship of the local church. This blends so well with what I have previously written about being a Recovery Culture church. I love this and love the small ways that CBC is already attempting to live this out. We need to keep moving in this direction, so I commend Messer’s piece to you as a motivating tool.

8. “Is the Field of Psychology Biased Against Conservatives?” by Maria Konnikova

The simple answer is “yes.” It is highly biased against conservatives. But there is one psychologist who sees it and is trying to make changes. Jonathan Haidt is proactively trying to prove the confirmation bias that he sees and offer some strategies for fighting against it in the field. This is a fascinating and encouraging read from The New Yorker.

9. “Colonial America and How (Not) to Pray Against Cultural Decline” by Thomas Kidd

Kidd walks us through the Puritan shift in fighting moral decline with imperatives, to a plea for revival and the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. He urges us today to consider a shift of focus from man-centered reform to God-centered revival.

10. “Escape Claws: Why Wolverine Had to Die for the Sake of Marvel Comics” by Kriston Capps

An interesting look at the Marvel Comics icon, his death, and the future of Marvel.

11. “Kierkegaard on Our Greatest Source of Unhappiness” by Maria Popova

Popova explores the great existential philosopher’s work on “A Fragmented Life” and shares a few of his insights. Namely, Kierkegaard believed that trying to escape our own lives is the greatest source of unhappiness. Kierkegaard says:

The unhappy person is one who has his ideal, the content of his life, the fullness of his consciousness, the essence of his being, in some manner outside of himself. The unhappy man is always absent from himself, never present to himself. But one can be absent, obviously, either in the past or in the future. This adequately circumscribes the entire territory of the unhappy consciousness.

This is an interesting read and in some respects shares similar ideas with a piece I wrote earlier this year on the dangers nostalgia.

12. “Those Pesky Emotions!: Part 1 – Handling Emotions Maturely” by Sherry Allchin

A great piece aimed at helping us better deal with our emotional responses. Allchin’s guiding principle – We feel what we feel because we think what we think and do what we do! – can help us map out a plan to respond in God-honoring ways. She helps readers to see how our emotions are directly related to our thoughts, so to change the one we need to change the other.

13. “Is it Ever Responsible for People with Same-Sex Attraction to Get Married?” by Sean Doherty

I am so thankful for this message from Sean. There is great wisdom and counsel in his answer to this question. He speaks from a godly perspective and from personal experience when he writes.

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