This Week’s Good Reads

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

1. “Lost in Xanadu” by Carl Trueman

In challenging piece on the church’s adaptation to the cultural obsession with entertainment and the challenge we have to break that association.

2. “A Good Man Justifies a Wicked Deed: Grudem on Trump” by John Mark Reynolds

Recently Grudem wrote a piece endorsing Donald Trump for President, and more pointedly, commending voting for him as a moral choice. In this piece, Reynolds explains why Grudem’s logic and assumptions are deeply flawed. While his rhetoric can be a bit hyperbolic, the piece as a whole delineates my major concerns with the practices, character, and morality of Trump.

3. “But What About Black-on-Black Crime” by John Onwuchekwa, Jason Cook, and James Roberson

There is a regular argument against racial discussions that suggests there is silence on black-on-black crime, which is somehow a reason not to talk about systemic racism. The truth is there is lots of discussion about black-on-black crime, and here is a good example of three African-American brothers discussing the issue for the sake of the church.

4. “Why You Should Stop Being Yourself” by Alan Noble

This is a great, brilliant piece dismantling a common trope of American culture. There is no “true self” hidden deep inside us. In fact, often, the “true self” is really just what we want to be and want to be perceived as. So, Alan writes:

When we look inside, we can’t find a definite Self to be faithful to, so instead we craft one, and we spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that everyone around us sees who we are and knows and respects or even admires the real, true me. And if we manage to get enough affirmation, maybe we feel like our existence matters. But that feeling only lasts until the next doubt comes, as it will.

This is a great piece of writing, friends.

5. “Striking the Right Balance with the Past” by Dave Dunham

Here’s a blog I wrote for Servants of Grace that argues that Biblical counselors must know how to interact with the past as an influence without giving in to the idea that the past is determinative for our formation.

6. “France Church Attack: Muslims Attend Mass” by BBC Europe

After a priest was killed by two terrorists, France’s Muslim Council urged Muslims to attend Mass as a show of solidarity. France has been particularly hit by terrorism, but the CFCM has wanted to demonstrate that it is not Islam that is responsible, but rather terrorism. This is a really beautiful story.

7. “The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences” by Mark Howard

The church in Iran is the fastest growing in the world. Maybe you better read that sentence again, I know I had to. It’s remarkable, but it’s true! The gospel is blossoming in this country that has been exceedingly hostile to our faith. This and the previous story are good reminders that fear and hatred of the Muslim people is uncalled for. As Howard writes:

We’re living in a time when many Christians are suffering for their faith, particularly in Islamic contexts. People often react by preaching fear and hatred of the Muslim world. Yet the apostle Paul reminds us that we are to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). This is our call.

This is a great story and worthy of your time.

8. “The Smoking Gun Proving North Carolina Republicans Tried to Disenfranchise Black Voters” by Christopher Ingraham

If this story from the Washington Post reflects the truth behind the Voter-ID laws in NC it is an abundantly clear-cut case of systemic racism. The Judge who ruled on the case overturned the Voter-ID laws but his description of them suggests racially charged discrimination is the reason. His ruling states that the provisions in the law “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” This is a huge story and I will be interested to see how it develops.

9. “How Refugees Revived One White Iowa Church” by Kara Bettis

Zion Lutheran church was struggling with its purpose until they determined to reach out to the refugees in their community. Now their church hast turned into a massive community center for Des Moines. On Sundays you can hear a dozen different languages being spoken and peoples coming together for worship from all over the world. As Pastor Kline said in the interview:

“We worship in four [languages] and pray in twelve,” said Kline. “Probably more than that. . . . We have Arabs, Caucasians, African Americans, Congolese, Liberians, South Sudanese, Mizo. We’re comfortable with that because we believe that the gospel should be available to anybody.”

This is an amazing story of transformation and of gospel outreach!

10. “More than Marriage Tips” by Dave Dunham

This is my latest blog post for Servants of Grace. In it I give some guidance on marriage counseling, highlighting how couples need more than just tips on communication, or budget, or household chores, etc. They need the very gospel laid as the foundation for all those tips.

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