This Week’s Good Reads

morning-paper2Every week I compile a list of interesting articles from around the web. Here is this week’s list, check it out:

1. “The (Outrageous, Excessive) Body of Christ” by Martyn Jones

My friend Martyn has written a beautiful reflection on loving the body of Christ, even/especially when it is difficult to do so. Absolutely wonderful writing, friends.

2. “The Problem with Saying All Lives Matter” by Tyler Huckabee

In this well worded article Huckabee points to the ways in which the “All Lives Matter” phrase actually undermines the contextual point of the “Black Lives Matter” crisis. He urges us to stop using it, and more importantly, to consider the crisis from which the movement itself has spawned and why it warrants a sensitive hearing. I appreciate this piece and commend it to you.

3. “Habits and Confrontation within the Church” by Dave Dunham

The ways that we confront one another are important. If we are not careful we are likely to do more damage than help. So, in order to provide some helpful guidelines for us all I wrote this piece for Servants of Grace.

4. “Habits of Mind in an Age of Distraction” by Alan Jacobs

This is a wonderful example of how to do devotional reflections beautifully. Here Jacobs contemplates how the age of distraction has made us less able to know that we are sinners, and as a result, less able to connect with God. An important through, connecting lots of cultural dots.

5. “Ministry that Helps” by Wesley Hill

This is a beautiful list from Dr. Hill. Here he describes ten characteristics of people and ministries that meant a lot to him as a young man struggling with a same-sex attraction. This is a big help to those churches, schools, and individuals who want to care well for those among them struggling in this way. Here is Part 1 and then Part 2

6. “How A Danish Town Helped Young Muslims Turn Away from ISIS” by Hanna Rosin

I love this story. I am firmly convinced that the best means of fighting terrorism is more assimilation of Muslim men, not more policing. Discrimination, isolation, and oppression only breed more anger, hatred, and disconnect with your society. That is prime soil for ISIS to plan their ideology in. Love, acceptance, and grace – what the researchers in this NPR piece call noncomplementary behavior – are the means to helping push back the tide of terrorism. A beautiful story.

7. “What You Don’t Need to Forgive” by Brad Hambrick

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. There are some who use “forgiveness” as a passive-aggressive tool in their marriages. Brad explains how that might happen (somewhat indirectly) but demonstrating how forgiving things other that moral offenses can harm our relationships. He lists three categories that do not require our forgiveness and explains why. A great piece!

8. “12 Poor Band-Aid Solutions to Church Problems” by Chuck Lawless

Fixing issues within the church requires intentional and often long-term planning. These simple or quick fix solutions don’t accomplish what we often think they will.

9. “The Nation’s Opioid Crisis Garners Attention at Party Conventions” by Katie Zezima

Our national Opioid addiction problem is serious and it brings me great joy to see our country’s leaders finally discussing it with some detail. We need more resources and help at the local levels to make changes. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are in agreement with this and that is huge. Perhaps this will be an area of rebuilding trust between the two sides? Who knows, but the importance of addressing this issue nationally cannot be understated.

10. “Do Racial Issues Really ‘Disappear’ Because of the Gospel?: A Response to John MacArthur” by Nana Dolce

I was rather shocked to hear MacArthur say prioritize the gospel in a way that makes social and racial issues “non-issues.” The emphasis on the gospel is, of course, important. It is a priority above all other things. Yet, to suggest that problems “disappear” or are turned into simply “spiritual issues” after the gospel is to actually diminish the truth of Scripture. Not only is this is not true in our world – many Christians still experience the realities of social injustices, both around the world and here – but it is not true in the Scriptures either – hence Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. In this piece from Christ and Pop Culture a good response is developed and articulates the disappointment I have with MacArthur’s initial response.

11. “Why We Speak of Addiction as Sin” by Dave Dunham

This piece I wrote for Servants of Grace explains why we use the theological language of sin in our recovery program. It is also a peek at some of the work I am doing for my current book project.

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