1. “I am Poured Out Like Water” by Win Bassett
This beautiful and reflective poem in Image Journal touches on the themes of baptism without ever getting us right to the issue. It’s an intriguing celebration, it seems, of the spiritual within the ordinary. A wonderful poem.
2. “Can Science Justify A Vote for Trump?” by James Hoskins
Apparently James MacDonald, the mega church pastor from Chicago, recently used a scientific study to defend voting for Donald Trump. In this piece from Christ and Pop Culture James Hoskins demonstrates how ridiculous this assertion is. No only does MacDonald misapply the study, but, as Hoskins shows, the study would more readily demonstrate why you should not vote for Trump.
3. “Why Single Is Not The Same As Lonely” by Sam Allberry
Sam Allberry has written this wonderful reflection on friendship, and on making celibacy possible because intimacy is not the same as sex. He writes:
But the choice between marriage and celibacy is not the choice between intimacy and loneliness, or at least it shouldn’t be. We can manage without sex. We know this—Jesus himself lived as a celibate man. But we are not designed to live without intimacy. Marriage is not the sole answer to the observation “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).
This is a wonderful piece and one of the issues that the church desperately needs to revisit. Friendship is so important and we are generally so bad at it. Pieces like this are a breath of fresh air.
4. “Do You Assign Enough Reading? Or Too Much?” by Charlie Wesley
This is a great piece on an often debated subject. The issue, as Wesley spells it out, is not the amount of reading but whether or not the reading matters. That’s a much better gauge than quantity. I applaud this piece and commend it to my many higher ed friends. I am also especially thinking of my colleagues within the Free Seminary program. Let’s make our reading assignments matter.
5. On France and Terrorism
My Francophile heart broke for the people of Nice this week. There’s been much written on the attack that happened during Bastille Day this year. This piece from The Washington Times gives basic information, I am sure there’s more out there you can read to find out the facts. But several other pieces have attempted to explain the rise of terrorism in France, which has some of the highest rate of attacks within Europe. This piece from Ben Judah is probably one of the most significant pieces out there. Written by a Paris native and written on July 8th, he presents a case for failed assimilation. His piece rather compellingly argues that the heightened hostility towards Muslims within the country is part of the problem, not the solution. The more isolated and hated this group of people are the less they are assimilated into France and the higher risk there is of being recruited into extremism. In a similar vein, this piece by Pierre Manent says the same sort of thing, but he notes that apart from devotion to the old religion of France, and to the God of the Scriptures, there will be no means by which the people of France can welcome into their fold their Muslim neighbors. The church and the high value of the common good which the church gives to us, is the only lens through which we can make sense of pluralism. This is a compelling piece. I have my own thoughts, but its best to let others with more knowledge and personal investment speak. I highly recommend these two pieces.
6. “Alcohol Abuse, Perry Noble, and the Church’s Response – What Now?” by Ed Stetzer
I was very sad to hear of Pastor Perry Noble’s removal from church leadership owing to an alcohol dependence issue. I have written elsewhere about the reality of alcoholism among the pastorate. It is far more common than most Christians realize. I applaud Ed’s writing here to call the church to speak more openly about the presence of addictions among our people. There is a huge need for this conversation to become more common. This is, in part, why I am writing my book on Recovery Culture churches!