This Week’s Good Reads

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

1. “A Three-Pronged Team Approach When Caring for People with Eating Disorders” by Hayley Satrom

This piece discusses well the importance of linking arms with other professionals when major health risks are a part of a particular counseling situation. In this case, discussing a counselee’s holistic care requires the aid of a physician and nutritionist. I appreciate Satrom’s approach so much and am thankful this piece is sensitive to the major concerns involved in counseling those with eating disorders.

2. “In Bondage to Pornography” by Carl Trueman

This is a brilliant and disturbing piece. Trueman discusses the plasticity of the brain and the impact of long-term exposure to pornography on the brain. He describes the ways in which pornography’s altering of our brain undermines the social ethic of consent as the foundation for all sexual morality. Trueman writes:

Consent is always complicated by specific context. Furthermore, the principle of consent assumes at a minimum that individuals have sovereign rights over the range of purposes and uses to which their own bodies can be put. Yet the evidence of the impact of pornography on the brain indicates that the individual is not consciously in control of determining the nature of that range. Pornography alters the sexual desires and transforms the understanding of the body’s purpose not by ethical or even aesthetic persuasion. Rather it does so by altering the physiology of the brain itself, a process beyond the conscious control of the consumer of pornography, and which thus subverts the assumptions of the principle of consent.

Once again Trueman reveals an important nuance to an important conversation.

3. “Augustine, Friends Who Are Enemies, and Hope in the Middle of History” by Derek Rishmawy

I loved this piece from my friend Derek. Reflecting on a line from Augustine’s City of God Derek reminds us of the possibility that in God’s grace and in the unfolding of history some who are our enemies may yet become our dearest friends. As such we must never lose hope for those who hate us, mock us, and blow up our Facebook and Twitter feeds with scorn. He writes:

In other words, it is a betrayal of the gospel to lose hope for our enemies, our communities, or even a culture that seems dead-set to gut whatever is left of its philosophical underpinnings inherited from the gospel.

A good words from Augustine, through Derek.

4. “Same-Sex Attraction and the Life-Giving Freedom of the Gospel” by Mark Mellinger

The TGC Podcast interviews Matt Trexler, a seminarian struggling with SSA, and “boldly refusing to let it define him.” His story is worth a listen, friends.

5. “What Pastors Don’t Want You to Know” by Derek Archer

One pastor dared to let the cat out of the bag, to divulge that ministry secret: most pastors are very lonely. He writes about the isolation that those in ministry can feel and maps out a few ideas to encourage churches and especially pastors to think through this tragic problem.

6. “Lighten Your Load” by Melissa Kruger

A great piece addressing the kinds of weights that drag us down and keep us from running the Christian life in freedom. Kruger identifies three specific, common, weights that we cling to, she calls them unbelief: Unbelief about Pasto Sins, Present Temptation, and Future Joy. Worth reading, friends.

7. “15 Ways to Give Hope in Biblical Counseling” by Andrew Rogers

The title of the article speaks for itself. It’s more than a list, though. The author does a great job of reminding us how vital hope is to Biblical counseling, and then even offers us some helpful advice on unique situations. A good read for counselors, and all those engaged in regular discipleship.

8. “Then I Slept Into a Terror World” by Christian Wiman

A poem calling for much reflection. I love Wiman’s work and this piece for First Things is just a small sampling.

9. “Why the Reality of the Resurrection Means You Don’t Need a Bucket List” by Randy Alcorn

A great meditation on the new earth. Here Alcorn reminds us that heaven will be dwelling with God on earth, and enjoying all that God has made and remade. He speaks about a post-bucket list and all the dreams of joy in heaven that he looks forward to. I enjoyed this piece, may it expand your thoughts of heaven and excitement for it.

10. “Dolce & Gabbana: ‘The only family is the traditional one‘ ” by Matthew Schmitz

I’ve never been able to afford a single piece from D&G, but as a fashion guy I’ve always admired their designs. In this piece from First Things, the author picks up on an interview the two gay men did elsewhere discussing how, despite their orientation, they do not affirm gay marriage, gay surrogacy, or alternate family models. Elsewhere they have also implied that while they are practicing homosexuals they know it does not align with their faith – both men are Roman Catholic – and they church should not changed to satisfy them. These are merely interesting facts about two very high-profile gay men. As both a fan of fashion and a believer in the traditional Christian sexual ethic I found this unfolding story interesting.

11. “Counsel for a Complimentarian Pastor” by Jen Wilkin

I was actually quite shocked to see this piece in the 9 Marks Journal. It’s a great piece from one of my favorite authors. She writes as a complimentarian but offers here some insights for pastors and church leaders to help them promote healthy models of care, support, and even empowerment for women in the local church. I love this. I didn’t agree with all the contributions to this 9 Mark’s Journal, I thought Jonathan Leeman’s piece was far too restrictive on women’s teaching roles in the church, but this contribution is phenomenal and I am pleased to share it.

12. “Choose Your Own Sexual Ethics Adventure” by Ginna Dalfonzo

My friend Gina has a wonderful and helpful review of Diana Anderson’s newest book Damage Goods. In it she does a fantastic job of exposing the theological holes in Anderson’s work, and articulating them with grace and truth. No doubt Anderson’s book with find audience with the post-Evangelical, progressive crowd, but Gina does a great job of explaining why its presentation is less than Christian.

13. “Poor Whites Need Jesus and Justice Too” by Anthony Bradley

Bradley has written brilliant, and scathing, piece on the absence of poor whites from the missional, social justice, conversation within Evangelicalism. When we lived in Southern Ohio we saw the realities of white poverty well, but to Bradley points out that just by sheer numbers whites make up the largest class of people below the poverty line in America, yet Evangelicalism maintains a focus on poor minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics. He offers some suggestions as to why, and they are not pretty. This is an important read.

14. “What’s Their Problem?: Sharing Our Pews with Sexual Abuse Victims and Survivors” by Maureen Farrell Garcia

This is a fantastic piece, full of practical suggestions for demonstrating care, empathy, and protection for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse in our congregations. We need to prioritize victims over recovering abusers in our churches and this article from Christ and Pop Culture explains not only why we should do that, but how we can do that.

15. “Batgirl, Internet Hate and the Importance of Inclusivity” by Danielle Ryan

This is an interesting read from Paste Magazine on the alternate cover of Batgirl #41, which stirred up some controversy. Using this mini-controversy Ryan explores the ways comics have often treated women uniquely as victims, and proposes instead that the new Batgirl offers a door to inclusivism.

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