This Week’s Good Reads

morning-paper2Each week I compile a list of interesting articles from around the web. Check out these selections:

1. “Even Detroit is Hatin’ on Freeways Now” by Heather Smith

New urbanism is fascinating to me. In this piece Smith looks at some positive and still frustrating trends around my city as they relate to city revitalization. Detroiters check this one out.

2. “A Reformed Approach to Racial Reconciliation” by Warren Cole Smith

Smith interviews Dr. Anthony Bradley on racial reconciliation with the Reformed, primarily Presbyterian tradition. This is a good read and worthy of your time. It is important to listen to voices like Dr. Bradley’s as churches continue to wrestle with this subject. We have much to learn.

3. “Common Confusion About Arabs and Muslims” by Zane Pratt

Speaking of issues related to racism: Christians in the West have lots of ignorance regarding our Muslim neighbors. To help combat those failures on our part Zane Pratt has written a really helpful and insightful piece at TGC distinguishing between Arabs and Muslims. It is well worth your time, friends.

4. “Books to Help You Pursue Racial Reconciliation” by Matt Chandler

Chandler list six books that he says helped up his “Ethnic IQ”. My book list would look somewhat different, but I appreciate his inclusion of Trillia Newbell’s fantastic work on this list. In the end if you really want to “up your Ethnic IQ” I think the best thing you can do is become friends with people whose ethnicity is different from your own. Reading is helpful, but building relationships is far more helpful.

5. “Why a Local Flood?” by Gavin Ortlund

Ortlund makes a very compelling argument not simply for a local flood but for open theological conversation within Evangelicalism. His argument is not built off of personal speculation or pressure to conform to scientific standards. He deals at length with the actual grammar and language of the text of Genesis. Ortlund’s piece will not convince everyone, but he makes a good case for dialogue and for the viability of alternate interpretations based on the actual text. The view should not so easily be dismissed even if it’s not convincing to everyone, it is still within the scope of Evangelicalism.

6. “Get More Rings in Your Tree” by The Gospel Coalition

D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Tim Keller discuss the men, books, and theologians that have most influenced them over the years. I especially appreciate the fact that Keller insists listening to and learning from multiple divergent influences. This is a great video for all pastors, especially, however, for young pastors.

7. “The New ‘New Orthodoxy’” by Wesley Hill

A great piece that offers three reasons a return to the doctrine of divine impassibility can benefit the church. This is a great read for theology nerds engaged in modern trends in theology proper. “Only the impassible God can help,” says Hill in this insightful piece.

8. “When Two Lesbians Walk Into a Church Seeking Trouble” by John Burke

There are, obviously, other stories with different beginnings and endings. What’s interesting about Burke’s piece is that he emphasizes the role the church can play in healing sexual wounds by imitating Jesus, particularly in the ways in which he is not shocked by people. Often our shock is really more about our personal offense, and if we can get over that to love those who are different from us we never know what the Lord might do.

9. “A Medieval Perspective on Modern Identity Politics” by Carl Trueman

Trueman has an impeccable talent for bringing the past to bear on the present. In this short piece he discusses briefly the transition to a foundationless definition of self in the modern philosophical climate. It is an entirely solipsistic view, devoid of any notion of shared humanity. Truman explains how this has roots in the Medieval era and how the criticism that social Conservatives are clinging to the Dark Ages seems to cut both ways.

10. “What Would An Ideal Polity Look Like From A Christian Perspective?” by Jonathan Leeman

Here’s some political musing I can stomach. Jonathan exposes the hubris and idolatry behind the American view of absolutist democracy. I love democracy, and so does Jonathan, but it is not God’s absolute model of governance and we ought to acknowledge that. He talks frankly, then, about what God’s ideal form of government does look like according to the Bible. A good and humbling piece.

11. “Music Inclines the Heart to Encounter God” by Bethany Jenkins

A great interview with the husband/wife musical duo The Gray Havens. I really enjoy their music and this is a sweet interview that lifts the curtain into the people behind the music.

12. “Is the Old Testament Still a Source for Theology and Spirituality for Christians?” by Derek Rishmawy

Derek summarizes the arguments of the 17th Century Reformed theologian Francis Turretin on the continued relevance and authority of the Old Testament for Christians. A good summary and helpful for thinking through this perennial question.

13. “The Ascetic Appeal of Tiny Living” by Karen Swallow Prior

Karen pulled back the covers on the tiny-living trend and revealed a possible rotten core. She is not overly critical but she wonders if the trend, which serves as a backlash against the equally lopsided consumerism of our culture, might actually rob us in the long run. Moderation in all things is the goal, she reminds us. I want to be less consumeristic this year, I really do. But I also appreciate so very much the comments Karen makes in this piece, the resonate with my heart for community, legacy, and memory. On a side note: Karen continues to be one of my favorite writers and I am always so delighted to read her stuff.

14. “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This” by Mandy Len Carton

The author describes how a Scientific study can cultivate feelings of love amongst complete strangers, even demonstrating its possibility through her own narrative. The most interesting part of the article, however, is its affirmation of a very important truth that we as Christians hold too: love is an action. We don’t “fall in love” so much as we chose to love. It’s a choice you can make every day too.

15. “Which Promises Are for Me?” by Jen Wilkin

Jen has a great overview of thinking about and applying the promises of God in Scripture. We tend to abuse these promises, or misrepresent them often, so her list of common pitfalls and ways to avoid them is welcomed. Check it out.

16. “WWJT?” by  Bob Kelleman

Dr. Kelleman has a good reminder that the WWJD question is really only possible if we start with the WWJT question. Thinking like Christ requires us to evaluate ourselves with some probing questions listed here on Dr. Kelleman’s site.

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