Weekend Java Awards 02.27.16

(New!) Kindle Deal of the Week: Grab Russell Moore’s book “Onward” for $2.99, Christianity Today’s Book of the Year.

Apologetics Award: 50 Latin Phrases You Should Know – No, not to make you sound smart (though there’s that too), but because these phrases represent age-old wisdom, and hold with them logical force. Though, admittedly, some are just hifalutin and pretentious 😉

Preaching Award: Preaching Prep is Whole Person Prep – This article by David Prince is one of the most unique and helpful posts on preaching I’ve read on the web.

Spiritual Life Award: 5 Ideas for Enjoying Church Prayer Meetings – These are so very helpful. Do read.

Theology Award: Was Jesus Neither a Republican Nor a Democrat? Michael Kruger explains why this truism needs to be shaken out and examined. Though, he did overlook one option that comes to mind for me: maybe it means that we ought to vote in Christians of good standing in orthodox churches, no matter which party? I’m finding in this current election season more than ever a gravitation (in myself) toward voting for character over my preferred economic policy. I think of Calvin’s words that a king who does not submit himself to scripture is nothing but a thieving despot. Different time and place, but more applicable, perhaps, than we sometimes allow.

Fun Award: 8 Secrets Behind Disney’s Locked Doors – These are quite creepy. And some will only leave you insatiably curious. But read on nevertheless.

A Glimpse of Truth Award: Don’t Turn Away from the Art of Life – This article in the NY Times is about folding the humanities back into curriculum. However, it’s ultimately a critique of the materialistic worldview underpinning these decisions, and the tragedy of a world without purpose (aka, religion): “A new technology like GPS provides us with the most efficient and direct route to a destination, but it presupposes we know where we are going. Finding an address is one thing; finding one’s way in life is another. Even our smartest computers or most brilliant statisticians are at a loss when it comes to mapping our psychic landscapes.”

Writing Award: Know Where You’re Going, Then Put the Water On – This post speaks to the sheer drudgery of the task. Still, it will encourage your mental fortitude.

Books and Lit Award: Umberto Eco Explains the Enduring Power of Peanuts – Who knew there was so much depth to the Peanuts comics (I doubt Schulz did, though I think we need to give him credit for knowing what he was doing – more than we typically give – on the whole).

Christians and Culture Award: The Rise and Fall of Secularization Theory – Peter Berger explains in under 5 minutes why he stopped calling the world “Secularized”. I fear that what the video left out is also crucial, however – our world IS secularized, not in the sense that it’s irreligious, but in the sense that our high-tech, globalized systems are not philosophically rooted in religion, and therefore religion can’t pervade every area of life as it once used to do. That means not everything we do necessarily flows from our worldview – we just do it because it’s there, and it’s the way it is, without stopping to consider how our worldview (which, also due to technology, increasingly looks like a pile of mismatched jigsaw puzzle pieces rather than a rationally thought-out web of ideas) interacts with our behavior.

Church Leadership Award: Rosaria Butterfield’s Pastor on Evangelism/Discipleship – If you don’t know Rosaria Butterfield’s story of conversion from lesbian literary scholar to homeschooling Christian mother…well, you should. This is an article from her pastor about a principle which he believes is core to this kind of outreach – the “with him” principle. So, so good – a must read for every church elder/pastor.

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Nicholas McDonald is a blogger, pastor, and author of the book "Faker: How to Be Real When You're Tempted to Fake it." He studied creative writing and communication at Oxford University and Olivet Nazerene University, and received his M.Div from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Lexington, NC, with his wife and two boys, Caleb and Owen.


  1. But contra:Berger … Charles Taylor. Are we to say that the growth of movements that are largely at least heterodox, if not heretical (oneness and health and wealth Pentecostalism, for example, which account for the largest share) are really counter evidence to Taylor? More likely, are the increase of these sorts of movements actually proof of Taylor’s (and, for another reason, David Wells’) analysis?

    • I’m sure you know more about the debate than I do…I didn’t even know they were in disagreement!

      • No, I’m not sure that I do, but I have been reading Taylor and commentary on them. They may be speaking obliquely but their views do contradict. But, I thought I heard Tim Keller talk about Taylor on the same site . . .

  2. I loved the Latin link – it had a couple phrases I’d never even heard of, and a few more that i needed a refresher on meaning.

    On the Disney trivia, a friend of mine has been in Club 33. I haven’t gotten a report back, though. Maybe he was sworn to secrecy.

    The Eco piece on Peanuts was interesting too. He gave good insights on what can happen when a writer takes a seemingly simple premise and explores its characters in myriad situations. Jane Austen was noted for doing the same thing. And I’ll recommend you find The Gospel According to Peanuts. It’s a short but interesting study of how gospel truths permeate Peanuts stories.

    • Well, I’m sure you did better on the latin phrases than i did. I was unfamiliar with most of them.

      Wow…Club 33 – you have friends in high places!

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