This Week’s Good Reads

morning-paper2Here’s this week’s collection of interesting articles from around the web. Check it out:

1. “A Living Sacrifice: The Beauty of a Body Broken for Others” by Amanda Wortham

This is a beautiful counter-cultural piece on the value of a worn-out and used up body. Fighting against the trend of eternal youth, bodily perfection, and thin Wortham looks to Scripture’s depiction of the worth of using our bodies in service to one another. She writes so poetically when she says:

As Paul writes, we are meant to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, beings that weaken and suffer and endlessly minister. Our bellies should swell with children and shared meals and laughter. Our eyes should smart with tears as we grieve with those who mourn. Our knees should ache as we kneel to serve, and our hands should twinge as they clasp the fingers of the dying. A preserved body is stagnant, atrophied; its value misunderstood, its substance misapplied. A sacrificed body is tired, rundown, redeemed, and truly beautiful.

Read this, folks! It’s wonderful.

2. “How to teach girls to be confident #LIKEAGIRL” by Kelly Wallace

Wallace writes an insightful piece here on the uphill climb that young women have to develop confidence. She looks at sociological and psychological research as well as surveys actual young girls. The need for parents to adjust the way they praise and encourage their little girls is evident. Wallace points to some specific alterations we can make. I am in need of this, as I think about how much I want to encourage my own daughter to be more confident, assertive, and at peace.

3. “J.D. Hall’s Gay Witch-Hunt” by Chris Bolt

So, my friend Karen Swallow Prior has been falsely and horrible accused of abandoning Biblical orthodoxy on the issue of homosexuality. Some fool over at Pulpit & Pen has written a long, unsubstantiated, and dishonest piece of drivel attacking her. Here is a good, reasoned, deservedly-snarky piece of writing setting the record straight. From all that I have ever read of Karen’s, and from my (admittedly limited) interactions with her I find her to be a model of godliness and sensitivity.

4. “Yes, Many Christian Communities are Toxic for My LGBT Friends. But There’s More.” by Wesley Hill

I was deeply saddened to read of Julie Rogers’ departure from the traditional Christian sexual ethic and, thus, her post at Wheaton College. Some Christians have taken this as an occasion to say, “see, I told you so.” But thank God for Wesley Hill. Writing in The Washington Post, Hill offers a perspective different from both the “I told you so crowd” and Julie herself. I loved this piece and think its this type of thinking that can so promote a healthy relationship between the church and those who struggle with SSA. Please, read this.

5. “An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News” by Ed Stetzer

I saw a number of articles shared over the last week that were clearly fake stories. Here Stetzer points to two: the pastor arrested for refusing to officiate a gay wedding, and the man who attempted to sue Zondervan for publishing the Bible. The first story is fake, the second is from 2008 and was quickly dismissed. Stetzer walks readers through how to spot fake news stories, and then how to deal with the realization that you’ve shared one that was fake. It is embarrassing when we share these false stories. Christians should love truth so much that we research the validity of these news stories before we share them.

6. “How We do Family Devotions” by Tim Challies

Chillies walks us through two stories: how he wanted to do family devotions, and what he actually does with his family. I appreciate so much this honest examination of the subject. It has tended to produce more guilt in my own life over the years, and in the lives of many families I know. I love what Challies writes; he says:

I think family devotions is like a lot of things in the Christian life: We have made it bigger than it needs to be, and therefore live with a sense of failure, a sense that we are not measuring up.

His solution is to make the benchmark a good bit lower. I appreciate that. Check it out, men, and be inspired and encouraged that you can do this.

7. “Empathy is Actually a Choice” by Daryl Cameron, Michael Inzlicht and William A. Cunningham

These authors, writing in the New York Times, discuss the limits of empathy. But the point out that it is not a limitation inherent in the emotion itself, but rather in our choices to express it. Likewise, the point out that we can stretch and expand our empathy with practice and intentional decision making. I thoroughly agree with this article and have found it true in my own life. In addition, though this isn’t discussed in the article, two things that I believe help stretch empathy are as follows: (1) reading fiction; (2) listening to people who are not like you.

8. “Randy Alcorn Opens Up About His Depression” by Justin Taylor

The popular pastor/author describes his own experience of depression and discuss how to live with it, and how to help those who suffer from it. A worthwhile and short video to check out, friends.

9. “False Stop” by Brad Williams

My friend Brad writes about his own experience in a “failed” ministry. The subtitle for his bio-story at Leadership Journal reads: Forced to resign I thought my ministry was over. God had other plans. I love Brad, and his commitment to the local church. Read more about him here.

10. “Are We Exiles” by Russell Moore

This. Is. Great. Moore is once again confronting cultural Christianity. In this piece he talks about two kinds of Christian “exile.” The first is an unbiblical exile from the so-called “Christian America.” The second is exile in every culture because we are citizens of a heavenly Kingdom. I’ll Moore make his case, but I find it both compelling and challenging.

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