Stuff I’m Reading – February 2016

This is the second month that I have created a list of articles that I have really enjoyed this month.


My favorite article: Alone in the New America

by David and amber Lapp at First Things

This fascinating article looks at the disenfranchisement of the small town/rural working class as they struggle to find meaningful work and relationships in twenty-first century America.

On the margins in America are working-class young adults like Anthony, wandering into old Methodist-turned-charismatic churches, drifting but searching. The only way to reverse the cycle of family fragmentation and mistrust, the only way to overcome the alienating sense of the purposelessness of a great deal of menial work, is to acknowledge and enter into each other’s sufferings. Being close to a loving marriage and people with a joyful commitment to work will help young adults like Anthony regain confidence in marriage and a sense of the dignity of labor.


Here are some more articles that I really enjoyed reading this month.

Loneliness Grows from Individual Ache to Public Health Hazard

by Amy Ellis Nutt at The Washington Post

“In public health, we talk all the time about obesity and smoking and have all these interventions, but not about people who are lonely and socially isolated,” said Kerstin Gerst Emerson, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Gerontology. “There are really tangible, terrible outcomes. Lonely people are dying, thkey’re less healthy, and they are costing our society more.”

A Plea to the Mission Minded

by Jen Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition

Behold suburbia, the mission field for whom our hearts do not break. We hold them in contempt as those who have heard and spurned the gospel. Their failing marriages, rebellious children, and quiet addictions stir in us weariness and wariness: This is their own doing. This is the fruit of their commonplace lives of capitulation and mediocrity. Suffering and loss may visit them, but they still drive to hospitals and gravesites in late-model SUVs. Why should we pour out our lives on the rocky soil of suburban America when, for the price of a plane ticket, we can till the fertile fields of Africa, Asia, South America?

Social Justice: According to Whom? Which Kind?

by Scot McKnight at Patheos

Scot McKnight attempts to flesh out what the terms “social justice” means.

America the Exceptional?

by Trevin Was at The Gospel Coalition

As an evangelical, I think it’s best to dig a little deeper, to go beyond the surface claims of politicians and analyze the meaning of American exceptionalism from the framework of a Christian worldview. If someone were to ask me if America is exceptional, my answer would not be an immediate “yes” or “no” but – what do you mean by exceptional?

Love on the spectrum: How autism brought one couple together

by Lisa Bonos at The Washington Post

Like many couples who have been together for a while, Hamrick and Lindsey Nebeker have, over the years, figured out how to best communicate with each other and coexist in the same space. They’ve had to work at it, as they both have autism spectrum disorder, a neurological condition that can make communication, and social and emotional interaction more complicated and difficult.

Whys So Many white American Men Dying?

by Robert Rayne Nelson at Newsweek

Prescription opioid use has been on the rise in the U.S. since the late 1990s, and heroin has not been far behind. From 2001 to 2014, the rate of heroin-related fatal overdoses has increased sixfold. A recent CDC report found that more people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014 than in any other year on record—and over 60 percent of those deaths came from opioids. And as the media coverage, town hall meetings and local legislative hand-wringing over the past 18 months have shown, things are only getting worse. A new heroin scourge has risen out of the ruins of the 2000s opioid craze, and, unlike previous incarnations in the late 1960s and ’70s, it’s no longer confined to the seedy alleyways of the nation’s big cities. This time it’s sweeping through working- and middle-class America. “It’s the guy standing behind you in Starbucks,” Donna Shackett says. “It’s your kid’s teacher. It’s your next-door neighbor.”

Carly Fiorina Suspends Her Campaign, blasts “Feminists” in Farewell Statement

at The Federalist

“To young girls and women across the country, I say: do not let others define you. Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you’re a woman. That is not feminism. Feminism doesn’t shut down conversations or threaten women. It is not about ideology. It is not a weapon to wield against your political opponent. A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses and uses all her God-given gifts. And always remember that a leader is not born, but made. Choose leadership.”

LIvin’ Bernie Sanders Danish Dream

by David Brooks at The New York Times

Denmark is cool, but if I wanted to live in Denmark, I would move to Denmark.

20 Qualities of Good Listeners

bt Gavin Ortlund at Soliloquium

I have been reflecting lately on how important – and how difficult – it is to listen. I am coming to understand how much conflict and misunderstanding is related to a failure to listen well, and I want to become a better listener.

Our Pro-Woman, Complementarian Jesus

by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition

We often hear that those who don’t affirm modern feminism are “anti-woman.” Christians are no exception. We sometimes get tagged with this epithet, and once the label sticks we’re either total sellouts (the women) or knuckle-dragging Neanderthals (the men).

In light of this claim, it’s remarkable to consider how the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ, interacted with women in his own day. I don’t exaggerate when I say that Jesus’s approach to women was nothing less than revolutionary. Affirming true God-designed complementarity has almost always challenged the status quo.

Quarterbacks, past and present on safety, future of football

at KARE 11 Minneapolis, MN

“I don’t think I would do anything differently. I wish they had these concussion protocols back in the day. I think if you have a concussion you’re not going back in the game. You have to pass the protocol during the week. Guys are missing games. (Carolina linebacker Luke) Kuechly missed three games. They sit them out, whether you’re the top player or 43rd guy on the team. They’re going to sit you out. I wish this protocol happened back then. The helmets are better. Back in the day, when we wore helmets, they weren’t very good at all. But the helmets are getting better; the protocols is getting better. The NFL and pro football is not going to go away, so they have to find ways to make it better.”

Does God need Anger Management?

by Zack Eswine at Preaching Barefoot

Two dear friends of mine reject the God of the Bible because of passages like this one. It don’t blame them. Over the years I too have grown fatigued with callous doctrinal academics or simplistic Christian clichés. I feel like a child trying to describe mysteries, like an adult grappling with God amid the beauties and true horrors in the world.

The Character of the Christian: Gentle

by Tim Challies at Challies

To be gentle is to be tender, humble, and fair, to know what posture and response is fitting for any occasion. It indicates a graciousness, a desire to extend mercy to others, and a desire to yield to both the will of God and the preferences of other people. Such gentleness will be expressed first in the home and only subsequently in the church. It is a rare trait, but one we know and love when we see it.

To Your Daughter, Speak the Truth

by Jen Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition

When she tells you she’s fat, tell her she’s beautiful.

When she tells you she’s plain, tell her she’s beautiful.

When she tells you she’s too X or not Y enough, tell her she’s beautiful.

When she tells you no one will ever want to date her, tell her she’s beautiful.

When she says nothing at all, tell her she’s beautiful.

When the Least are Heroes

by Barnabas Piper at The Gospel Coalition

Every year around this time a handful of sports stories pop up across the country, and they are among the best we hear all year long. Two such instances occurred recently with the remarkable displays put on by Zach Slone and Robert Lewis at their respective high school basketball games. Slone and Lewis are both special needs students who are managers for their teams—one in Marion, Ohio, and the other in Franklin, Tenn.— that were given a chance to play on senior night for the first time. Each scored in the game’s final moments and was hailed and honored by teammates, coaches, and classmates. These stories never fail to make us smile and warm our hearts.

Love – In other Words

by Harper Lee at Pages Bookshop

This article was originally published in the April 15, 1961 issue of Vogue. It is the very first published article of Harper Lee, who went on to become the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee passed away this month at the age of 89.

OCD IS Not a Quirk

by Fatima Tipu at The Atlantic

Using the term “OCD” correctly, only in reference to the disorder itself, and understanding the diversity of the disorder, would help people begin to acknowledge its seriousness and complexity. After all, casual use of other mental-illness terms has become increasingly frowned upon, Alison points out.

Don;t Laugh at Delonte West

by Juliet Spies-Gans at The Huffington Post

But for the sake of this player, who has had his most intimate, personal trials strung out in the glaring public light for all to see and judge, for the sake of this man who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder eight years ago and, crucially, for the sake of all those other men and women suffering from disorders like West’s, this incident serves as a necessary, timely reminder that there is nothing funny about mental illness or those who are afflicted by it.

What I Wish I Could Say to Every Rhonda Rousey

by Ed Uszynski at Athletes in Action

Isn’t her testimony exactly what we should expect against the backdrop of a sport culture that puts four-year-olds in competitive environments and teaches them not only that winning matters most, but also that identity and acceptance are tightly bound to performance?

No honey, you can’t be anything you want to be. And that’s okay.

by Erica Reischer at The Washington Post

Telling kids that they can do anything—whether fueled by imagination or hard work—obscures the critical role of chance in success. Not every child who wants to be a surgeon or sports star can become one, even if they work hard at it. At the same time, in every success story there is the grace of good fortune.

Here is the Most Hated College Football Team in all 50 States

by Andrew Doughty at Campus Rush

I thought this map was really cool. Shout out to North Dakota for hating *ichigan.

My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me

by Karl Tazo Greenfield at The Atlantic

But are these many hours of homework the only way to achieve this metamorphosis of child into virtuous citizen? According to my daughter’s teachers, principals, and administrators, the answer is an emphatic yes. Certainly, they have told me, all the homework does no harm. As I watch my daughter struggle through school days on too little sleep and feel almost guilty if she wants to watch an hour of television instead of advancing a few yards in the trench warfare of her weekly homework routine, I have my doubts. When would she ever have time to, say, read a book for pleasure? Or write a story or paint a picture or play the guitar?

Why this election makes me hate the word “evangelical”

by Russell Moore at The Washington Post

 We have been too willing to look the other way when the word “evangelical” has been co-opted by heretics and lunatics. This sort could deny creedal Christianity and gospel clarity with impunity, as long as they were on the right side of the culture war.

What Evangelicals Want in the 2016 Election

by Jeremy Hobson at Here & Now

“I think this campaign gives me reason to think someone has released LSD into the water system in this country, and every single day one looks at the news and cannot even fathom that it’s happening. Yet, every day there is something totally surprising, sometimes shocking and often horrifying.”


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