1. “Former Mars Hill Elder Apologizes” by Warren Cole Smith
Sutton Turner, one of the former elders at Mars Hill, and one who was targeted along with Mark Driscoll for all kinds of cruelty and deception has come out to apologize for his part in the failures of MH. He has not only been meeting with individuals he has wrong to seek reconciliation, but he also wants his apology to be public both to warn other leaders and to open up opportunities for more reconciliation with those that MH has hurt. This is a wonderful sign from the fallout at the church. One only hopes that Driscoll will respond with similar repentance.
2. “Preach to the Congregation You Have” by Dave Dunham
A new piece for The Southern Ohio Pastors Coalition seeks to encourage pastors to preach with the specific needs of the congregation in mind, not simply to preach “red meat” sermons. It’s a lesson that I am having to learn myself.
3. “Could Facebook Be Helping to Reduce Abortions” by Joe Carter
Carter picks up the news story on the decline of abortions across the U.S. and speculates that Facebook is helping to promote, inadvertently, the pro-life cause.
4. “Calvin and Hobbes Embodied the Voice of the Lonely Child” by Libby Hill
Hill speculates on the real meaning behind Calvin & Hobbes, suggesting that the classic comic centers around a boy who never quite felt at home in the world. It is for this reason, she suggests, that so many resonated with the strip. He spoke to their experiences and gave them a taste of the joy and hope they wanted in their own worlds. It’s an interesting idea, one that I think I can echo. I love C&H and whatever it’s deeper meaning, I enjoy reading analysis of the strip in any form.
5. “Too Proud To Say So” by Frank Tallerico
My mentor has started blogging! So excited about this. Frank is completing his second doctorate and his topic will be of keen interest to both pastors and congregations as he studies pastoral burnout. You can read his first post here where he discusses his own struggles and then check out the research questions that are guiding his study.
6. “The Loving-Kindness of Covenant Membership” by Aaron Menikoff
One of my former pastors from seminary has written a good piece on the importance of membership in the local church, including church discipline. It’s full of examples and demonstrates what the title says: that covenant membership is a loving-kindness.
This is a good reminder for my friends in ministry: you need friends! More to the point, you need a group of professional colleagues that you can look to for insight, support, and encouragement. You need guys you can bounce ideas off of, share struggles with, and enjoy fellowship with. Likewise, congregations needs to support their pastor’s relationships because it directly affects his output. Thankful that our senior pastor has such a group of guys, not only with the Elders, but with some fellow pastors in the area.
8. “Can Batman vs. Superman Match the Success of Batman Begins?” by David Sims
In short the answer, according to Sims, is “no.” The reasons are many, not the least of which is it’s not directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan is, in my opinion, one of the best filmmakers of his time. But the other, more pressing reason, that Sims suggests it won’t be as successful is that Batman Begins focused on singular narrative development, not on franchise building. In an effort to compete with Marvel, Warner Bros. is going to launch their own DC inspired cinematic universe. But such a focus, no doubt, will impact filmmaking.
9. “Spurgeon Almost Quit” by Christian George
This is a familiar story about Spurgeon’s preaching at Surrey Garden Music Hall, and the depression that settled on him after the events of that day. Yet, George, the Curator of the Spurgeon Library, has written on it to both promote the knowledge of the sovereignty of God and to remind us all that we are but clay pots in the hands of a perfect potter. I needed to read this story this week.
10. “Why Did it Take 50 Years for Calvinists to Care About Race?” by Anthony Bradley
Another great piece by Dr. Bradley pressing on conservatives to be honest about the past and active in the present regarding race relations. His book Aliens in the Promised Land continues to push its way to the top of my reading list, this article is just one more nudge to read it. Ultimately, Bradley’s answer to this question is that liberal scholars were willing to tell a story that had been lost to Calvinists, particularly Presbyterians (as that is Bradley’s focus). He mentions Southern Baptists like Russ Moore and Calvinistic Baptists in general, but his primary focus is the PCA. Yet, even if you’re not a Presby, this is a good piece to read.