This Week’s Good Reads

morning paperEvery week I compile a list of interesting articles that I’ve collected from around the web. Check it out, there’s bound to be something here that interests you:

1. “Medicine, Biblical Counseling, and Depression: What’s New in Serotonin?” by Charles Hodges

A fantastic piece pointing to new research in medical treatment of depression. Of particular interest to Dr. Hodges, who is both a medical doctor and a Biblical counselor, is the increasing movement away from low serotonin levels as the explanation for depression. Hodges points out that this shift allows us to explore new avenues of explanation in etiology, as well as serving as a good reminder that Biblical counselors do not need to conform to the unscientific theories of the world simply because they are common. Hodges gives some good insight and good encouragement to counselors in this piece.

In a follow piece, Hodges discusses 3 non-medicinal treatments that are now being promoted by doctors for the cure of depression. Check it out here.

2. “The Evangelical Persecution Complex” by Alan Noble

My friend Alan has written a beautiful piece in The Atlantic arguing that Christians need to think carefully about the persecution narrative that has developed in America. He argues that while there are real cases of persecution, there is also a lot of sensationalized news stories that construct narratives of persecution where there aren’t any real evidences to suggest that. He gives good examples to support this claim. In particular he notes that some theologies of suffering end up producing these false stories, and that Christians need to think carefully about how they think about suffering. This is a good and much-needed piece for American Christians to read.

3. “How J.R.R. Tolkein C.S. Lewis Revived Modern Myth-Telling” by James Parker

I cannot think of a less fitting title than this, but still the article is a fantastic little look at a new book on The Inklings and their relationships to one another and to the world.

4. “The Hopeful Reality of Church Scandal” by Karen Swallow Prior

Karen is ever the gracious and insightful teacher. Here she helps us navigate the reality of our public humiliations. The countless pastors who in just the last two years have resigned due to scandal (sexual, behavioral, financial, etc.) is an embarrassment to the church. But there is always hope in the gospel. Karen writes:

For the church, the crisis of a scandal offers something even better than opportunity, and that’s refinement.

The church has much it needs refined. Our complacency in particular needs to be confronted, as does our blindness to our own sins. This is a beautiful, hopeful, and challenging piece and I highly commend it, friends.

5. “Why I Go to Church Even When I Don’t Feel Like It” by Trudy Smith

Here is a reality about our participation in the church that I think surprises many. Being part of the church is not just about me and my spiritual growth, it’s about other people. Trudy Smith captures that well in this piece for Relevant Magazine. She discusses here how she has wrestled with participation in the church over the years and why it’s important to regularly participate, even when we don’t feel like it. She writes:

Going to church can be about holding this space in which to experience the grace of God together, learn together, fail and forgive and stumble forward together.
Read this article before Sunday morning, friends, and then get up and go to church.
6. “The Peril of Hipster Economics” by Sarah Kendzior
Kendzior has written a good piece highlighting the failures of gentrification. In particular she notes that such an approach to economics and urban development is really just a way to ignore real poverty and real people.
7. “Simple Counsel; Complex Counseling” by Brad Hambrick
This is a good reminder that while much of the counsel we give is going to be, owing to the nature of change and progress, simple, the counseling we perform is not going to be simple. Understanding that difference is what makes a good counselor.

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