This Week’s Good Reads

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

1. “Psychiatry’s Identity Crisis” by Richard Friedman

The New York Times ran this piece which echoes many concerns that those of us in the Biblical Counseling community have about psychotropic medication. In particular this author, an advocate of psychiatry, realizes the limits of medication and the need for therapy. This is yet another important reminder that Biblical counsel can make a real difference in the lives of those who suffer from mental disorders.

2. “I Don’t Know Caitlyn Jenner” by Jonathan Holmes

A great piece from my friend Jonathan, over at The Biblical Counseling Coalition Blog, on counseling and caring for those who suffer gender dysphoria. Jonathan walks us through some of the major themes he discussed with one particular individual he counseled. He helps us think through what not to focus on, and how to approach the individual. I appreciate his sensitivity in particular. This is a great read, friends, and an approach that is important for Biblical Counselors to consider.

3. “Why Every Christian Should Care About Nuclear Disarmament” by Karen Swallow Prior

This is a subject that has been on my mind since I read Tyler Wigg-Stevenson’s book The World is Not Yours to Save. In that book he talks about the fight against nuclear weapons and I had to confess to myself, “I’ve never really even thought about it.” In this piece from Think Christian, Karen discusses a similar moment of revelation. She also helps us think through why we should care and where to turn to for more insight and participation.

4. “Advice for Christian Leaders Seeking to Influence Today’s Culture for Christ” by Greg Ayers

This is a peak inside the recent issue of Outcomes Magazine and its interview with Gregory Alan Thornbury. Dr. Thornbury suggests a three-pronged approach in this snippet and it’s worth reading.

5. “A Ministry of the Mundane” by Daniel Darling

This is an article I can relate to, though the reverse experience has been true for me. Going from a small, highly active, and dramatic ministry and coming to a large church where my ministry days have been filled with more routine has been a tough adjustment at times. Not a better or worse one, and I am seeing amazing things and growing in profound ways. Yet, the truth of this article hits me well – ministry is often full of more mundane events, but events which are nonetheless powerfully used by God. I appreciated this line:

The daily, obscure work that fills ministry life matters too. Painting a nursery wall, stuffing bulletins, conversations with neighbors, cleaning up after a potluck—this too is Kingdom work.

I needed to read this and other pastors may need to as well.

6. “Theological Heroes and Villains” by Tim Challies

A short reflection on the inconsistency of all men and our need to be humble, honest, and attuned to both the failures of our heroes and the virtues of our villains. Challies writes:

If we demand utter consistency we will eventually abandon all our heroes and miss the virtues of our villains. We will end up on a lonely little island all alone, convinced that we are the only consistent people left. We will follow our consistency to isolation and despair.

7. “Charles Spurgeon’s Love Letters to Susannah Thompson” by Ray Rhodes

It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of the man behind the legend and in this case to see particularly his intentionality in letter writing and his deep affection for his wife. Rhodes reflects on and shares quotes from Spurgeon’s letters to Susannah, who at the time was his fiance. These are beautiful and worth reading.

8. “The Missing Ingredient for Sexual Purity” by Luke Gilkerson

Gilkerson points to the “Gratitude Displacement Strategy” as the missing ingredient. Discontentment keeps people stuck in porn. This is one of the chief reasons that regular counseling for sex addicts is to find a joyful and productive hobby. Dwelling on discontentment leads to further cycles of sin. This is also why ultimately we want to direct people towards thankfulness to God for His many blessings. Heath Lambert addresses this well in his book Finally Free, but Gilkerson’s article is excellent and I commend it to you.

9. “The Humanity of Jesus: A Response to Brandon Ambrosino” by Gary Yates

A fantastic piece responding to the very simplistic and speculative article Brandon wrote in the Pacific Standard this week. In short Yates, argues that Ambrosino has a reductionist understanding of both Christology and Innerancy and he takes his time to work very graciously through that argument. This is a great piece for those who have read Ambrosino’s popular piece.

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