Kindle Deal of the Week: Louisa May Alcott Collection for $0.49 – All of her works, including Little Women and Little Men.
Apologetics: Jesus an egomaniac? Here’s a transcript of John Piper’s talk to Google, answering the question: “Is God an egomaniac?”
Preaching: On Being Persuasive – Some persuasive points, here.
Spiritual Life: Am I a Controlling Person? Follow Dr. Murray’s new series, here. You’ll never be disappointed by his cultural savvy and deep biblical and pastoral wisdom.
Theology: 100 of the Best J.I. Packer Quotes – Don’t miss this, and don’t stop here!
Fun: Will Ferrell Is Little Debbie – My wife and I love Will Ferrell, and both of his clips from the Tonight Show had us in stitches.
A Glimpse of Truth: The Puzzle of Personality – This glimpse of truth is a whopper. Basically, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists has come to the same conclusion as St. Augustine 2,000 years ago: you’re not just a “type”. You are what you love. Hilarious and insightful talk.
Writing: Ted Hughes on How to Be a Writer – Hughes shares advice with his daughter which he first received from T.S. Eliot. It’s one of the few unique bits you’ll find on the web.
Books and Lit: The Book That Gets Inside Hitchcock’s Mind – If you like seeing ‘behind the tapestry’, this is filled with interesting little tidbits.
Christians and Culture: Francis Schaeffer and Christian Intellectualism – A well-researched little piece on how the powerhouse Christian intellectuals lost their stay in the 1950’s…and the situation we’re in now.
Leadership and Productivity: Good Leaders and Vulnerability – Alain de Botton with some insightful advice on what makes a communicator compelling. I can really see this in my favorite personalities.
Kindle Deal of the Week: “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18″ – $1.99. Heard good things, can’t wait to dig in!
Apologetics: An Essential Key to Understanding the NT Canon – Michael Kruger, balanced as ever, showing four extreme ways we might look at how the NT canon was formed, and how to counterbalance with specifics.
Preaching: John Piper’s Funeral Prayer – Sometimes (most times) the best way to learn to preach is to expose yourself to great preaching. Piper’s funeral prayer is heartfelt, bold, and theologically rich. Listen and learn.
Spiritual Life: Till We Have Faces – “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from – my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.”
Theology: Paul and the Gift – Douglas Moo gives a thorough and incredible review of a new book that proposes to settle many of the “old” and “new” perspectives on Paul…and Moo is very impressed. Worth reading this in depth piece.
Fun: Squirrel Steals Gopro – Ever wanted to see life from a squirrel’s perspective. This squirrel knows you have. And that’s why he did this.
A Glimpse of Truth: Jared Leto’s Joker and our Egocentrict Culture – I thought this a pretty bold article for the Atlantic, essentially sweeping away the Hollywood hoopla behind oscars and identifying their root: a love for egotistical showmanship. Bravo.
Writing: Diane Ackerman – “My own best advice to young writers is: follow your curiosity and passion. What fascinates you will probably fascinate others. But, even if it doesn’t, you will have devoted your life to what you love. An important corollary is that it’s no use trying to write like someone else. Discover what’s uniquely yours.” That’s my best advice too.
Books and Lit: The Puritan’s Way with Words – Douglas Wilson in rare form (I’ll say no more on that) in bringing us a cogent piece of research on the ways the Puritans’ theology enforced the imagination of the greats they produced.
Christians and Culture: The Cult of Transgender – I wish every parent of every high-school student I’ve ever ministered would read at least the first half of this article. So sadly true, and it applies to more than just the transgender issue.
Leadership and Productivity: From My Journal: There’s this kind of paralyzing obsession we have with authenticity. Authenticity is a gift, to be sure. But it is also an ideal – we can’t camp out until obedience is “authentic”. The path to authenticity is discipline, even external, if need be. One of my mentors hit me this week with a hard truth, and I admit my first instinct was to run away with: “Well, I’m not the kind of person that could ever do THAT.” But it was the defense – the mask, even – of authenticity. It was an excuse not to do what was obedient.
But here’s the good news. When we do something, over and again, eventually, it does become authentic. Speaking of method acting (above), just ask anyone in Hollywood. In a real way, they “become” the characters they embody.
So strive for authenticity, yes. But don’t ever be paralyzed by it.
First, I’d like to give a big thanks to David and Erin Frerichs, as well as Rika Clark for their generous sponsorship of the blog this last week! Your supports is so encouraging to me, thanks (PS, I’ve seen a preview of my new website, and it’s looking great!). Would you be so bold as to follow Rika and the Frerich’s lead by supporting me as I bring you the web’s best content each week? You can see what that looks like here.
Kindle Deal of the Week: The Brothers Karamazov Audiobook – Not a kindle deal, but a free audiobook from Christianaudio.com. Regular price: $152.98. That’s a 100% discount.
Apologetics: The Silver Chair – One of Lewis’s most brilliant apologetic moves, in response to relativism, coming from the character Puddleglum in the Witch’s underground lair:
“One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said.
But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one.
And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow.
That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland.
Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
Preaching: Trump, Pastoring, and Politics – I’d be curious to hear others’ thoughts on this one.
Spiritual Life: Stop Having Quiet Times – This article made me seriously stop and think about the way I pray.
Theology: A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’ – Piper with some very helpful articulations of what we mean when we talk about free will, how we can affirm it, and when we must deny it. Here’s a follow up article.
Fun: U2 and Jimmy Fallon on the Subway – Fun stuff. Though I’m pretty sure if Bono started singing to my face I’D PUT MY STUPID PHONE DOWN. Oh, sorry.
A Glimpse of Truth: Jane Austen’s Prayer – Pretty cool!
Writing: Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer – Skip the blather between the quotes. And let the quotes motivate you to read the book.
Books and Lit: How Reading Shapes the Human Experience – Neil Gaiman with lots of great thoughts here. I can’t affirm everything, but I found most of it insightful.
Christians and Culture: A Pastoral Response to Same-Sex Attraction – I rarely sit through long online videos. But I felt this would be important, especially considering Michael Bird’s endorsement: “They are probably the best presentations I’ve ever heard on the subject of a pastoral response to same-sex attraction. The talks are biblical, compassionate, and very compelling. Wes shares not only from the Bible but also from his own experience as a same-sex attracted Christian man.” In my opinion, everyone in the church needs to hear at least some of these. I’m very glad for having took the time.
Leadership and Productivity: The 8 Hours of Sleep Myth – This article links to a couple of sources showing why 8 hours of sleep is a myth, and the much better alternative.
Whether you are a Christian or no, I believe that God has put on each of our lives a particular calling. That’s not to say we’re each called to do something great, and grand, and world-changing (though let’s give a little weight to the world-changing nature of normalcy!). It simply means that you and I are wired for purpose.
We’re designed to do something.
Of course, in one sense, you are right now where you’re called. But in another, you’re pursuing your calling – you’re working daily toward some end, some vision that you feel God has placed in your life.
But I’ve found over the years that I hinder my own calling with excuses. Identifying them, however, helps me annihilate them. So let me do that for you, by sharing my top 25 lame excuses for not working out my calling:
1. I have poor motives. It’s a blessing that you recognize it. But if that was good reason not to do something, no Christian deed would be worthwhile. Don’t multiply your sin by making it an excuse!
2. I don’t have money. First, God doesn’t need your money to fulfill His calling for you. Second, I bet you can name just as many, if not more, successful people who came from poverty as from privilege. Third – to paraphrase George Lucas – limitations are the nursery walls where creativity thrives (see Star Wars Episodes 4,5 and 6 on a very small budget vs. 1, 2 and 3 on a huge budget).
3. I don’t have connections. Connections are important. But then again, you know Someone.
4. I don’t have education. Education is great. But you can get a free, and better, education than the guy with six degrees next to you by going to your local library.
5. I don’t deserve it. Of course, this is true. But thank God, the grace of our calling is not based on our merit, but Christ’s.
6. Things aren’t going according to plan. This is as silly as it sounds, but I’ve used it many times over the years: “Well, woke up 5 minutes too late. Guess I can’t write this morning.” People who only seek destinations on smooth waters won’t get anywhere worthwhile. Expect to be jarred – roll with the punches. Improvise.
7. People will criticize me. Yes, people will. So don’t do it as unto them, but as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23).
8. People will feel bad. Some sensitive folks are afraid their success will make the people around them feel bad. It may, yes. But for every ten who you sour over success, one might just be inspired, or “spurred on to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).
9. It’s taking longer than I thought. Michael Hyatt once wrote that the one difference between successful people and everyone else was perseverance. So many people, he said, give up just on the cusp of success. So stand apart: press on.
10. I failed. You will fail. Expect it. Then be wise, and get back up again (Prov. 24:16).
11. I have a disability. Good news for you: God loves to use the unlikely. Moses had a speech impediment. David was puny. Paul had a shady past. God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)
12. My family/friends/roommates/neighbor’s pets are holding me back. It may be that you need to tend to a family member’s needs in place of your vocational calling. But it may also be that you’re blaming them for your lack of discipline. Be discerning. Take responsibility.
13. I’m not like other people who’ve done it. That’s why you should do it. You bring something new to the table.
14. I’m too old/young/middle-aged. Believe it or not, there’s no “right” age to fulfill a call. Jane Austen was 21 when she wrote Pride and Prejudice. Tolkien began work on the Lord of the Rings at 45.
15. Pursuing my calling is worldly. There may be truth to the fact that your current pursuits are worldly. But it’s not true that your calling is worldly, because your calling “is where your deep gladness and the world’s great hunger meet.” It’s where you further God’s kingdom for His glory and others’ good.
16. I don’t have a calling. Well, you do. God has called you to be His, but he’s also called you to a certain kind of life (1 Cor. 7:17). This is true not just for pastors, but for all of God’s people.
17. I don’t have the time. Wait, now, just change one word of that: “I don’t make the time”. Ah, that’s better. Not quite as convincing, though.
18. It’s supposed to be easy. This sounds stupid enough put so bluntly, but I let this lie paralyze me for many years. Shouldn’t the thing I’m called to just, kind of, you know…float to me on a cloud? That wasn’t true for Jesus’ calling, nor Paul’s. It certainly won’t be for yours.
19. It requires skills I don’t have. Now I need to be careful not to encourage more “gifted” singers’ shrill church solos…but if you question your gifting, you’re likely not in that category. If by this you mean it requires some skills you don’t have, A. Learn them (see #4), and B. Surround yourself with people who do have those skills.
20. I’m not as talented as _____. You’re not called to be the best. You’re just called. Be humble, and be content to be a small part of something bigger (1 Cor. 12:21).
21. I’m too good for ________. Landing a dream job out of college is just that – a dream. I’ve become convinced over the years that, like Joseph, most of us are better off working from the bottom up. Start at the bottom, even if it’s not a perfect fit. You’ll be better at the top.
22. I’m just not the kind of person who could do it. Really? A son of God, a brother of Jesus, a renovated heart, a place God calls his holy temple, a new creation in Christ…not the kind of person who could do it? Not buying it. Re-identify.
23. No one in my family’s ever done it. See #22.
24. I don’t feel like it. My high-school guitar teacher once gave me sage advice: “Play until you hate it. Then play until you love it again.” Habits often lead to affections. So use accountability and external motivation to start off, and the feelings will follow.
25. I’ll do it when God wants me to. This is true. But it’s also a poor excuse not to work in the meantime, which would be a bit like Adam pointing his finger at God after the whole apple incident, wouldn’t it?
Apologetics: Nietzsche, an Honest Atheist – This article helpfully explains how Nietzsche did a better job of taking his atheism to its logical ends than the modern New Atheist movement.
Preaching: 5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After You Preach – Keller writes of the fruit he gleaned by doing this in NY. Also, scroll down for an article-length response by Keller to Mark Jones’ criticism of the article.
Spiritual Life: Do Racial Issues “Disappear” With the Gospel? I’ve written before about the dangers of dispensationalism, and it’s penchant for erasing ethics from the Christian life by over-spiritualizing everything. I was told in response by several that no such dangers exist. Well, let me show rather than tell…John MacArthur, golden child of the movement, articulates exactly what I’m talking about here. Dispensationalism undermines our theology of creation, and thus, of people, and thus, of ethics. Read on.
Theology: Kevin DeYoung’s Two-Person Mission – Leithart offers a valid critique of DeYoung and Gilbert’s “What is the Mission of the Church?” Namely, that it leaves out an entire Person of the Trinity.
Fun: 50 Insults That Need to Make a Comeback – Some of these made me laugh out loud. Next time I see a hole in your pants, I will most definitely be calling you a Heathen Philosopher. Find out why.
A Glimpse of Truth: The Failure of Secular Schools to Teach Ethics – This is a brutally honest look, from the Atlantic, at the way schools have dismally failed to teach the next generation any sense for ethics…thought the solution is nearly as bad, which is to let classrooms full of philosophically clueless students work together to solve ethical dilemmas. Hardly a foundation.
Writing: Don’t Be Pretentious – “‘Don’t be pretentious’ is my first advice to young writers. This is the big problem — just because you’re getting an MFA doesn’t mean you have to write for the Academy. Be true to your personality. Don’t temper your personality down with words. Don’t build defensive fortresses around yourself with words — words are your friends.” – GARY SHTEYNGART
Books and Lit: 7 Tips to Reading Faster With Comprehension – I still really wrestle with the “get what you want out of the book” concept. To me, reading isn’t just about information acquisition, but encountering another person. Part of knowing another person is seeing all the things you didn’t know you didn’t know. So…I still don’t believe in it. But the rest of the tips are pretty good.
Christians and Culture: Trump: Tribune of Poor White People – This is a follow up interview to Dreher’s article from last week. One of the most insightful online pieces I’ve read in a long, long time. Both compassionate and critical.
Leadership and Productivity: 11 Science Backed Ways to Build Habits – With some awesome little app links to boot.
I want to give a special thanks to my new patron, Andre Marias. Thanks so much, Andre! Your support is such a great encouragement to me. If you’ve been enjoying Scribblepreach.com’s weekly roundups for 3 months or more, would you consider following Andre’s lead and donating $5 a month today? It all goes back into my writing ministry, so I can bring you the best content possible. Thanks for reading!
Kindle Deal of the Week: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – A business classic for $4.99
Apologetics: Materialism: The False God of Modern Science – This is difficult reading, but if you can get through it, you’ll come away with some really profound insights into the limits of science and materialism from a philosophical vantage point.
Preaching: Should Colleges Really Eliminate the Lecture? This is about lecturing, but I found it applying directly to conversations I have regularly about the church. Is the age of preaching over? No – but the art needs to be revived.
Spiritual Life: Why We Don’t Punish Our Kids – This was really helpful.
Theology: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
Fun: Coldplay, Michael J. Fox, and Back to the Future – I can’t think of anything better than one of my favorite bands getting together with one of my favorite films.
A Glimpse of Truth: Hip Hop: Villain or Hero? – This was so helpful to me. Lecrae shows why the “villainous”, drug-glorifying hip-hop movement is what it is…and how it can teach us about the injustice surrounding white, suburban life.
Writing: Pool of Thought – Why swimming is good for your writing.
Books and Lit: 34 Riveting First Lines in Literature – A fun infographic.
Christians and Culture: The Coming Christian Collapse – Rod Dreher suggests Christianity in America has collapsed already…we’re just a little out of touch.
Leadership and Productivity: From My Journal: My bride has been preparing to homeschool my oldest son, Caleb, and studying the teaching methods of Charlotte Mason. One of the the things we’ve both found very fruitful is her discussion of habits, and the importance of instilling a few habits at a time, and keeping them on course for two months or so before moving on. Over the past few months, we’ve each found this to be really fruitful in our own lives. Rather than trying to fix everything about ourselves, or one another, all in one go, we’ve found focusing on one or two personal habits, as well as one for each other, has gotten us much further along. As the original F.H.E. Kris Kringle says: “Just put one foot in front of the other.” Turns out that’s better than trying to leap across the frozen pond.
I want to give a special thanks to my new patron, Jane Fischer. Thanks so much, Jane! Your support means the world to me. If you’ve been enjoying Scribblepreach.com’s weekly roundups for 3 months or more, would you consider following Jane’s lead and donating $5 a month today? It all goes back into my writing ministry, so I can bring you the best content possible. Thanks for reading!
Kindle Deal of the Week: Slaughterhouse Five – This is a brutal, brutal book. It’s hilarious, but will send most of us into a deep manic depressive mode for about a month. But it’s on my list of Top 150, and it’s $1.99.
Apologetics: Your Neighbors Aren’t Hostile to Your Faith – In fact, most of them are thinking about the questions it addresses.
Preaching: 10 Key Questions for Sermon Prep – Good, classic advice.
Spiritual Life: My Sons’ Black Lives Matter – This one really made me stop and think. Sadly, I don’t think I understand the weightiness and reality of racism as I should.
Theology: The Magician’s Nephew – Aslan on the Witch’s eating of forbidden fruit: “That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after….She has won her heart’s desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”
Fun: 30 Famous Quotes You Don’t Actually Know – This is one of those annoying, million-pop-up-click-through-ad sites. But it’s actually quite a good, and surprising, collection. Extra points for the Bible quote clarifications!
A Glimpse of Truth: Pokemon Go in a Fractured And Flattened World – Trevin Wax helps us get to the heart of the craze (and help some of us understand what the heck is going on).
Writing: From My Journal: I’ve been thinking this week about the idea – or the myth – of ‘voice’ in writing. I don’t use the same ‘voice’ with my four-year-old as I do with my bride. I don’t use the same voice with my bride that I do from the pulpit. I don’t use the same voice from the pulpit as I do in the classroom. Why should it be any different in writing? My voice depends on who I’m talking to. So my ‘voice’ is devoid of meaning. It’s a myth. Write who you mean to talk to – that’s your voice.
Books and Lit: The Six Main Archs in Storytelling, Identified by A.I. – I am a Nerd, and I Nerd out more on this than any other Nerd in Nerddom.
Christians and Culture: Hillbilly America – “If you want to understand America in 2016, Hillbilly Elegy is a must-read. I will be thinking about this book for a long, long time. Here are my impressions.” This one I chewed on all week.
Leadership and Productivity: What Great Listeners Actually Do – Well, there goes most of my communications degree.
Glad to be back from a short vacation. I also want to give a special shout out to my Patreon Patrons. You all inspire me to keep going. I’m going to be upgrading the site soon using your help, I can’t wait to unleash it!
Now, back to the best of weekly reading:
Kindle Deal of the Week: The Crucified King – for $3.99. After the reviews from some major names, I’ve been eyeing this one.
Apologetics: There is No Such Thing as the Scientific Method – I try to say this to materialistically inclined folks, but it’s even better to hear it from the secularists themselves: your scientific view of life isn’t scientific.
Preaching: 21 Thoughts on Preaching– A lot of this is familiar, but it’s nice to have it all in one place. The last one really struck me.
Spiritual Life: Daily Prayer App. This. This is everything I’ve ever been waiting for. I love it, just love it. It’s the book of common prayer in a simple, readable, all-in-one-place format. I’ve been using it at least twice a day. Each time I do, I think: “Why have I been making up my own prayers my whole life?” It’s largely a collection of Psalms and songs from scripture with responses, and it’s so, so rich. People were BURNED AT THE STAKE for this app, people! You can’t say that about Minecraft Mobile edition.
Theology: “Ask Jesus Into Your Heart”, A History of the Sinner’s Prayer – Really appreciated the historical insight and level-headedness in this post.
Fun: This meme cracked me up:
Though regrettably it’s actually an uncredited John Mulaney quote: “I always thought that quicksand was gonna be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. Because if you watch cartoons, quicksand is, like, the third biggest thing you have to worry about in adult life, behind sticks of dynamite and giant anvils falling on you from the sky. I used to sit around and think about what to do about quicksand. I never thought about how to handle REAL problems. I was never like, “Oh, what’s it going to be like when relatives ask to borrow money?”
A Glimpse of Truth: The Two Towers
“Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?”
“A man may do both,” said Aragorn. “For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!”
Writing: Famous Advice on Writing – You’ll never get through all these article, but I enjoyed just reading through the headline quotes.
Books and Lit: Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front – Glad to see a professor from King’s College featured in the NY Times. Even gladder to see he was talking about Tolkien.
Christians and Culture: Christians Who Feel Marginilized Should ‘Go Local’ – This post by Trevin Wax crystalized something I’ve been toying with for some time. Basically: you can’t change the world. But you CAN change a neighborhood.
Leadership and Productivity: From My Journal: I’ve been working the last few weeks at keeping my physical spaces organized. That includes our apartment. I’m normally too lost in my own world to notice whether our place is clean (sorry, dear), but I’ve noticed a great perk to having things tidy: we can be hospitable. People can drop in, and have a pleasant place to be. People can jump in my car, and have space to sit. This isn’t a minor thing, it’s a qualification for biblical leadership (1 Tim. 3:2). Not that things need to be perfect – but they need to be ready for visitors.
Kindle Deal of the Week: A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis – For $1.99
Apologetics: That Hideous Strength: “There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there is never more than one.” – C.S. Lewis. I thought this a brilliant response to relativism.
Preaching: From My Journal: As a follow up to my note about preaching more than one point. I do believe preaching one statement has value, only not one point. I’m critiquing the Andy Stanley method, not the Robinson method. Robinson allows for “Big Ideas” which can serve as platforms for multiple points: “Anxiety is unfruitful, unfulfilling, unbecoming and unobservant” is a big idea I used a couple of months ago. It’s perfectly fine in the Robinson method. The point for him is that all major sermon points cohere in a single statement. Robinson’s goal is not to keep things at one point, but to keep points from being unrelated.
Theology: 18 Theses on the Trinity – Some of you are aware of the hulabaloo over the trinity, some don’t care, either way, Dr. Sanders provides extremely helpful guidance (even if I can’t understand it all).
Fun: That Hideous Strength – This may be my new favorite C.S. Lewis quote of all time from one of his characters, Mrs. Dimble. I laughed about it once a day after I read it: “Husbands were made to be talked to. It helps them to concentrate their minds on what they’re reading—like the sound of a weir.”
A Glimpse of Truth: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life – This is a really well-written piece on how this happy atheist became a believer.
Writing: Bertrand Russell’s 20 Favorite Words – This post includes some fun rabbit trails of other authors who listed their favorite words, such as “terraqueous” and “inspissated”. Look them up and have fun.
Books and Lit: The End of Reflection: “Mr. Carr observed that, for decades, Rodin’s 1902 sculpture “The Thinker” epitomized the highest form of contemplation: a figure with an imposing physique staring abstractly downward, hunched over to block out distraction, frozen because it’s a statue, of course, but also because deep thinkers need time and don’t fidget. It’s hard to imagine a postmodern update called “The Tweeter” being quite so inspirational.”
Christians and Culture: Interview with Ross Douthat – This interview by TGC of Ross Douthat is really insightful. I only watched the clips and summary, but you can watch the whole thing here as well.
Leadership and Productivity: 8 Ground Rules for Great Meetings – The Harvard Business Review with lots of gold, here (lots more than 8 nuggets, anyway).
Kindle Deal of the Week: Name of the Rose, $2.99 – I haven’t read this, but I’ve read some Umberto Eco as a scholar of Aristotelian aesthetics. He’s a fascinating thinker.
Apologetics: Hitchens Not an Atheist? This article in the Atlantic gives an important perspective on the recent allegations that Hitchens was not really an ardent atheist. Maybe it’s one sided, but it should be engaged. Something to learn here about the way we do apologetics, I think.
Preaching: “Um” and “Like” and Being Heard – Some great wisdom on communication from Seth Godin.
Spiritual Life: How and Why to Hold a Weekly Marriage Meeting – I thought this was hugely helpful.
Theology: Christianese Phrase #1: The Christian Life is All About Being Vulnerable”. Loved the balanced look at the Christian trend of elevating vulnerability to the highest among virtues – it’s strengths and weaknesses. Pairs well with this article at the NY Times: Why Being Yourself is Terrible Advice.
Fun: How to Be a Thought Leader. Hilarious.
A Glimpse of Truth: I’m an Atheist. So Why Can’t I Shake God? Elizabeth King writes of her journey through “shaking God” intellectually…but still feeling His presence.
Writing: Period. Full Stop. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style – An interesting article about why the period is excessive
Books and Lit: From my journal: I doubted myself this week. I shouldn’t have. I thought I’d spent too much time reading. I looked around at everyone and thought, “Clearly, I’m wasting too much time here. I need to do important things.” So I set the books aside.
But then, I started prepping for this week’s sermon, and – a flood of articles, quotes, book excerpts and metaphors poured into my mind that I had read over the past several months. All of that reading was paying off. Not only was it enjoyable, but it actually saved me hours and hours of searching for sermon illustrations. They were all ready at hand.
Time to get reading again.
Christians and Culture: Can We Talk? – I think it’s unfair that disproportionate attention ISN’T going to our black brothers in the reformed fold over this year’s election. You may not agree, but as Thabiti notes: why can’t you just listen?
Leadership and Productivity: Summer Reads for Leaders. Some suggestions from Forbes.