ScribblePreach Awards 03.04.17

From the Pub: The Limitations of Science

If a man were to say that science stands for barbarism and religion for civilization, he would in these days be accused of a mere trick of topsy-turveydom. Yet there is one sense, at least, in which this is unquestionably true. The generalizations which science makes true or false are of necessity limitations of human hope. The laws which science deduces, fairly or unfairly, are necessarily, like all laws, a restraint of liberty. The nearer a man is to an ordered and classified being, the nearer he is to an automaton. The nearer he is to an automaton, the nearer he is to a beast. The lowest part of man is that which he does in accordance with law, such as eating, drinking, growing a beard, or falling over a precipice. The highest part of him is that which is most lawless: spiritual movements, passionate attachment, art. – GK CHESTERTON,

Kindle Deal of the Week: Tales from the Perilous Realms

Four of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novellas, including his charming “Leaf by Niggle”, and one epic poem, collected together – this is highly rated on Amazon by Tolkenians, so I dove in.

Preaching: The Persuasive Power of an Analogy

I’ve been trying to craft my teaching more in terms of pictures than systematic categories as of late. Last Tuesday I spoke at the campus of UNC Charlotte and used 30 powerpoint slides (all pictures but two, which were quotes), and had only one single point I presented at the beginning. I was surprised by the great response. I covered some deep philosophy, and the students were right there with me. This is a great article about why analogies are so successful, citing the Governator himself.

Apologetics: You Either See This One or You Don’t. 

Here’s a pithy quote to set you on a longer path, on the aesthetic argument for God’s existence.

Theology: The Scriptures Made Strange

The Bible is not the same thing as the scriptures. This is a very helpful distinction when we’re talking the charge of Bibliolatry.

A Glimpse of Truth: Betsy Devos’s Misunderstood Alma Mater

I thought it was really great the way The Atlantic gave a fair hearing to Calvin College, with some wonderfully insightful quotes to boot.

Books and Lit: Exhume the Ordinary

If you haven’t seen Viola Davis’s shockingly non-political, God-honoring, beautifully crafted speech on the arts as she received her academy award…go do so now.

Writing: Who is More Clever? 

“Style is a relation between form and content. Where the content is less than the form, where the author pretends to emotion which he does not feel, the language will seem flamboyant. The more ignorant a writer feels, the more artificial becomes his style. A writer who thinks himself cleverer than his readers writes simply, one who is afraid they are cleverer than he, will make use of mystification: good style is arrived at when the chosen represents what the author requires of it without mystification.” – CYRIL CONNOLLY

Christians and Culture: A Reader Response to the Benedict Option.

This is a striking, thoughtful, incisive and well crafted response to the Atlantic’s piece on Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. A very clear indictment of evangelicals on this side of the pond, as well as their critics.

Micro Book Review: Total Church

This was a good survey of several aspects of the missional church movement. It’s a little too far on the anti-institutional side of the coin for me (although not as far as it’s blamed to be). Keep in mind the authors are trying to stretch our paradigms, and you’ll be fine.

The chapter on apologetics rocked me to the core, so much so that I went back and revised all my upcoming talks in light of it.

The primary usefulness of this book is in its approachability. Chester is a giftedly simple voice, and I’ve read every book he’s published. This book is a good introduction to the missional church movement if you’re looking for one. It has of course been surpassed by Keller’s “Center Church”, but Keller’s work will be far too complex and drudgerous for most lay elders.

3 out of 5 stars.

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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.