Stuff I’m Reading -March 2016

I could not chose a favorite article for this month. I chose four. They are all incredibly good and worthwhile reads.

The Importance of the Little Things

by Nicholas Batzig at Ligonier

“You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully hanging the church sign every Friday night and taking it down every Sunday. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully coordinating with others to ensure that there will be enough food at church gatherings. You probably wouldn’t see them doing so, but they’re faithfully arriving early on Sunday morning to set up the hospitality table, the book table, and the sound equipment and to make coffee—making sure that everything is in place for the worship services. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully cleaning her home hours before she opens it for a church small group. You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully making hymn schedules and arrangements for the music for the worship services. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully lining up volunteers for the nursery, training others, and making sure that all the nursery needs are met. You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully keeping track of giving records for the members who themselves faithfully give to the work of the gospel ministry.”

Hobbies to the Glory of God

by Tim Challies at Challies

“I believe God is pleased when we pursue hobbies. I also believe that we can confidently pursue them and do them for the glory of God even if there is no obviously redeeming value in them. Computer games do not have value only if I play them with my son; coloring books do not have value only if they have a Christian theme; reading does not have value only if I read Christian books. Hobbies are good in and of themselves.”

Stop Slandering Public School Teachers

by Tim Challies at Challies

“However, if we were to begin again today, I am quite sure we would not enroll our children in public schools. What concerns me is that our decision would not be based on conviction but fear, fear generated by statements we have heard from others about public schools and, in particular, about public school teachers. Over the years we have encountered hundreds of statements about the dangers of such teachers. We have been assured that public schools are the breeding ground for every kind of social evil, that they are the lair of predatory teachers, that they are full of tenured and unionized employees who care nothing for children. We have heard that public school teachers care only for ideology, that they will allow no leeway for Christian beliefs, that they will do their utmost to undermine the hard training of parents who attempt to raise their children with biblical ideals. In many Christian circles, public school teachers are made out to be the enemies of the faith.”

Ambushed by Beauty and Chicken Nuggets

by Steven Williams at Human Pursuits

“The thought hits me again, but with a far different force than before. It is humbling to work here, but not in the way that implies shame. Who am I to so readily dismiss a job where I witness the entire spectrum of human emotion during the course of a single shift? Who am I to think ill of this chance to observe – over and over again – the miracle of childhood and the poignancy of prayer? Who am I to think that the transcendent things that happen every night in a southern Virginia fast food joint are in any way of lesser importance than those that happen elsewhere?”

Party Theology

by Alex Early at Al_xegesis

“God is not hiring. God is adopting”

“Americanitus”: The Disease of Living Too Fast

by Julie Beck at The Atlantic

“In this case, the accepted reason for Americans’ suffering was just how awesome they were. This widespread depletion of nervous energy was thought to be a side effect of progress: The U.S. had evolved beyond the rest of the world, and the demands on its citizens just proved to be too much sometimes.”

How Christianity Explains Trump

by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week

“It’s easy to see how the heresy of Christian nationalism could power the rise of Trump. If you’re a Christian who believes so deeply in American exceptionalism that you forget that, actually, God judges all nations, and that all fall short of the glory of God, you might see in Trump’s overt nationalism a quite natural thing, and be ready to brush off his other departures from what is usually considered good Christian conduct, such as his bigotry, his cruelty, or his misogyny.”

How Kasich’s Religion is Hurting Him with Conservative’s

by Laura Turner at Politico

“There is no easy way to measure how deeply a person believes, of course, or to what degree a politician is driven by faith. But the Ohio governor has gone to Bible study with the same group of men every other week for the past 20 years. He has attended an Anglican church in Ohio for decades because, as he wrote in his book, Every Other Monday: Twenty Years of Life, Lunch, Faith, and Friendship, he likes receiving Communion every week, a practice uncommon in other Christian denominations. When Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau died last year after a battle with brain cancer, Kasich quickly expressed sympathy, offering a prayer on Meet the Press: “I’m going to pray for [Joe] because he’s had a lifetime of tears. God bless you, Joe.” (Cruz, in contrast, trotted out an old joke about the vice president just days after Beau’s death.)”

Get Back Up

by Colt McCoy at The Players Tribune

“All those countless hours running sprints in the West Texas heat — that was for this moment. All those early mornings I’d spent training and chugging protein shakes in front of our strength coach — about to pay off. And that decision I’d made, the one that had been scrutinized by so many people, to put off going to the NFL so I could stay in school for my senior year — well, it was about to be validated.”

Intrusive Thoughts: How an Entrepreneur Takes on the Pain and Stigma of Mental Illness

by Aaron Harvey at Fast Company

“I’m a college graduate, an entrepreneur, and a partner at a successful digital agency, working with leading brands in fashion, finance, and entertainment. I’m also one of 40 million U.S. Americans suffering from anxiety disorders, of which 7.7 million suffer from PTSD, 6.8 million from generalized anxiety disorder, and 2.2 million from OCD. And it is widely believed that the number of people suffering from OCD is substantially underreported due to misconceptions perpetuated by the media, as well as the shame and stigma associated with the disorder.”

Economy of Wisdom: Four Questions of Christian Education

by Anthony Bradley at Oikinomia

“In light this fact, if any student graduates from a Christian school, at either the secondary or the university level, and cannot answer the following questions I argue that the school is failing. These four questions wed the goal of the Christian life — namely, to glorify God — with our day-to-day lives in a way that expands the scope of how we think about vocation.”

What Bernie Sanders Would Do to America

by Steven Pearlstein at The Washington Post

“Government-provided health insurance. Free college tuition. A $15 minimum wage. Stronger unions. High gas taxes. Guaranteed parental leave. It sounds as though Bernie Sanders wants to turn America into Denmark or Sweden.”

Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out

by Kelly Clay at Fast Company

“We are in unprecedented times in terms of the global, always-on organization. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline not to check email at night or first thing in the morning, and not all office cultures (or managers) endorse or demonstrate that restraint themselves. Work comes in at all hours, and it can be hard to create boundaries that keep it contained and allow for proper rest and renewal.

For younger women in particular, it can be hard to say no, especially in competitive jobs or industries where there would be a (perceived) line out the door for their replacement.”

Trump is Comparable With Many Evangelicals’ Leadership Style

by Katelyn Beaty at The New York Times

“But there are evangelical leaders with whom Trump would feel quite at home. Like him, they are middle-aged men who refuse to submit to basic checks on their power and ego. Like him, the leaders of many ‘megachurches’ are not known for the classic virtues of leadership — wisdom, patience, and humility. Like him, they are often lone charismatic figures who ‘get things done’— build new structures, attract more followers (and money) and establish a ‘brand.'”

My Toughest Out

by C. C. Sabathia at The Players Tribune

“Well, it’s not even the words, really. Words are easy to say, particularly when you don’t believe them. I was fine saying that I needed help well before I actually believed it. When my wife and close friends started telling me they thought I had a problem, I’d always have the right response. I’d say what I thought they wanted to hear so that they could feel better in that moment. But it was never actually coming from my heart. I never actually wanted to stop drinking. And I didn’t think I needed to. I thought I had everything under control.”

God in the Laundry

by Emma Scrivener at A New Name

“Today God has used me.  And today, He’s using you. It might not look impressive to the world.  But in His eyes, every sock counts.”

I had miscarriage and it forced me to rethink everything I believed about abortion

by Julia Pelly at Vox

While I certainly do not agree with the conclusions of this article, it provides some good perspective on the issue. It is well thought out and the tension in this pro-choice advocates beliefs are explored.

The Opposite of Hoarding

by Leslie Garrett at The Atlantic

“Unlike hoarding, which was officially reclassified as a disorder in 2013, compulsive decluttering doesn’t appear as its own entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM); instead, it’s typically considered a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder. ‘I see it all the time. People rarely come into my office because they have a problem with being too efficient or wanting to declutter,’ Diller says, but the problem usually makes itself known in other ways: ‘They’re not sleeping at night and they’re feeling jittery and irritable … they’ll sit in my office and straighten my pillows. They’re not comfortable until everything is in order.'”

Make Friends, Not Just Converts

by Darrin Patrick at For The Church

“Jesus was intentional about the relationships he formed. Yes, there were occasions when he taught large crowds in big fields or the Temple courtyard, but often he based his ministry out of someone’s home. God came to be with people.”

The Battle for the Bible and a “Literal” Hermeneutic

by Jake Meador at Mere Orthodoxy

“That said, for all its virtues, literalism is still something of a perversion, or perhaps more gently, a jarring over-simplification, of historic Christian reflection on scripture. In the first place, it arose primarily to justify an historically aberrant theological approach and to serve a polemical purpose against certain critics of the faith. A hermeneutic that comes to prominence for those reasons is bound to have problems.”

Seven Things to Do After You Look at Pornography

by Paul Maxwell at Desiring God

“It is often in the moment after the closed door, the darkness, the screen-light, the hidden act — after pornography indulgence — that Satan spins his most eloquent web: menacing patterns of thinking; bargaining with a disapproving and distant God; twisting us in on ourselves in self-hatred. It is in the moment after pornography indulgence that Satan does his finest work. It is in this moment that we need God to do his finest saving. Here are some specific ways to search for grace the moment after the dark act of pornography indulgence.”

Jeremy Lin on Chris Rock Joke: ‘Tired of it being “cool” and “okay” to bash Asians’

by Chuck Schilken at The Los Angeles Times

“I just feel like sometimes the way people perceive Asians or Asian Americans today can be disappointing in the way they view them. Even Asian American masculinity or whatever you want to talk about, just a lot of the ways that Asians are perceived I don’t always agree with.”

Trump is No Pro-lifer

by Robert P. George at First Things

“Mr. Trump evidently wants to show us how genuine his conversion is by depicting himself as severely pro-life. But pro-lifers are compassionate, seeking the good of unborn children and their mothers, never pitting them or their interests against each other. We are interested in saving babies, not punishing mothers. And we know that we don’t need to punish mothers to save babies.”

Letter to My Daughter

by Annika Sorenstam at The Players Tribune

“Keep painting and playing the piano. Keep swimming. Keep playing basketball and T-Ball and riding horses, which we know how much you love. Golf will always be there, if you want it. Just be ready for whatever you want to do.”

A Plea to Our Fellow Catholics

by Robert P. George and George Weigel at National Review

“We understand that many good people, including Catholics, have been attracted to the Trump campaign because the candidate speaks to issues of legitimate and genuine concern: wage stagnation, grossly incompetent governance, profligate governmental spending, the breakdown of immigration law, inept foreign policy, stifling “political correctness” — for starters. There are indeed many reasons to be concerned about the future of our country, and to be angry at political leaders and other elites. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to consider, however, that there are candidates for the Republican nomination who are far more likely than Mr. Trump to address these concerns, and who do not exhibit his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and — we do not hesitate to use the word — demagoguery.”

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