Stuff I’m Reading – May 2016

The following is the best article that I read this month.

Academia is Not a Waste of Time: Loving God With All  Our Minds

by Anna Plantinga at The Well

“I am convinced that the academic life is right and fitting for Christians. Much of what we do in academia is a pursuit of learning, which for us is a pursuit of both truth and beauty. Augustine says something along the lines of “all truth is God’s truth,” and King David in the psalms admires God’s beauty reflected in the world. Any time we are seeking truth and beauty in a way that uses our gifts to their fullest extent, we are glorifying and seeking God.”

Here are some other good articles I read this month

Andy Mineo Talks Rapper’s Activism, LGBT Community, and Prince

by Dominique Zonyee at The Boom Box

“On your song “Uncomfortable” you say: “I apologize for Christians with pickets sayin’ ‘God hates f-gs.’ I promise Jesus wouldn’t act like that.” That’s a powerful line. Why was it important for you show your support for equality?

I desired to honor them [LGBT community] as people in the image of God. Nobody–regardless of how they feel or behave–deserves to be on the other end of receiving hatred and discrimination. I don’t care who you are. There’s a bigger conversation there about honoring and respecting people who are different from you. One of the trickiest things [that] people can’t wrap their mind around is how you can honor and respect someone and still not agree with them. How do you look at Donald Trump or someone who is a polarizing figure and say ‘I respect you?'”

Evangelicalism After the Moral Bankruptcy of the GOP

by Matthew Lee Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy

“But what will ‘the evangelicals’ do, those institutions and individuals who have made party politics the vehicle of their moral vision? Here is, perhaps, the only silver lining I can find to this sad affair. The rise of Trump is the death blow to any pretenses, any illusions about where the convictions of those conservative Christians involved in politics at our highest levels lie. We face the prospect of a great untethering of the evangelical witness from the Republican party, a prospect that every Christian—including, and especially, those like me who have claimed the Republican name—should meet with joy and gladness.”

Encouragement for the Weary, Working Believer

by Chris-Anne Manning Forde at Reformed African American Network

“For the past few years, I observed the evils of subtle comparison impact the devotional lives of many Christians. Often, ineffective time management combined with a demanding work environment can lead to a lack of devotional time with the Lord and discouragement. Moreover, for some, a feeling of inferiority to those in ministry or ministry-related jobs may develop and lead to regret, even resentment regarding their present vocations.”

What The Spirit Is Doing Or What We Are Saying? Distinguishing Reformed And Pentecostal Piety

by R. Scott Clark at The Heidelblog

“Brothers and sisters, the Reformed are not charismatics or neo-Pentecostals. We have a different paradigm. We should learn to be content with Scripture and with our own paradigm instead of seeking to plunder the Pentecostals. We do not believe that God occasionally drops into history to do the spectacular but rather we believe that he is constantly with us. We believe that he accomplishes extraordinary things through the ordained and regular ministry (Rom 10). Which takes more faith? To believe that the Spirit is knocking people over, inspiring them to make incorrect prophecies, or to believe that God uses the foolishness of the preached Gospel (1 Cor 1–2) to raise spiritually dead (Eph 2) sinners to new life and to grant them faith and through it union with the risen Christ?”

 

What can we learn from ‘Black Lives Matter’?

by John Piper at Desiring God

“So there is a double point here for my learning and I hope for all of us who are listening to grow in. First, we need ongoing, regular conversations in the context of friendship across ethnic lines, because otherwise we will see things in a certain way, say things in a certain way that may be naïve at best and hurtful at worst. The best way to be discerning in regards to the complexities of racial matters is to be in regular, normal — not exceptional — normal conversations across ethnic lines so that we see through other eyes.”

Hard Truths About Race on c Campus

Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim at The Wall Street Journal

“We are social psychologists who study the psychology of morality (Haidt) and the causes and consequences of prejudice and stereotypes (Jussim). As far as we can tell, the existing research literature suggests that such reforms will fail to achieve their stated aims of reducing discrimination and inequality. In fact, we think that they are likely to damage race relations and to make campus life more uncomfortable for everyone, particularly black students.”

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance 

by Nicholas Kristoff at The New York Times 

What’s Killing white, middle-aged American Women?

at BBC News

“[These people] are often not working, not in relationships, just not connected to any kind of social organisations. In this coal region there used to be a church on every corner and people would join together and socialise and exchange information, but now, most of those churches have closed down.”

 

The grotesque criminalization of poverty in America

by Ryan Cooper at THE WEEK

“As a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative demonstrates, over one-third of people who go through the booking process end up staying in jail simply because they can’t raise enough cash to post bail. For millions of Americans in 2016, poverty is effectively a crime.”

The Mind of Donald Trump

by Dan P. McAdams at The Atlantic

“Across his lifetime, Donald Trump has exhibited a trait profile that you would not expect of a U.S. president: sky-high extroversion combined with off-the-chart low agreeableness. This is my own judgment, of course, but I believe that a great majority of people who observe Trump would agree. There is nothing especially subtle about trait attributions. We are not talking here about deep, unconscious processes or clinical diagnoses. As social actors, our performances are out there for everyone to see.”

J. K. Rowling blasts Donald Trump – and his critics

by M. J. Franklin at Mashable

“If my offended feelings can constitute a travel ban on Donald Trump, I have no moral grounds on which to argue that those offended by feminism or the right for transgender rights or universal suffrage should not oppress campaigners for those causes. If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”

A Transgendered Thought Experiment

by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition 

(Note: this is not a perfect 1 to 1 comparison of anorexia and gender dysphoria, but it does show the tragedy of the transgender revolution.)

“As Rebecca walks out the door, your first reaction is to feel a deep sense of satisfaction. She left your office feeling better than when she came. That’s what you like to see. It’s always gratifying to have helped a hurting student. And yet, there’s another thought you can’t quite shake. When you think about her rail thin body, and how desperately she needs food, and how everything must change to conform to her reality, you can’t help but wonder: was this really love?”

The Logic of Luther

by Ribh Lusk at Theopolis

“Luther’s writing on true Christian liberty captures this: Having been set free by God, we are now slaves of our neighbors. Freedom and slavery go hand in hand. The vertical issue having been settled, we can focus on the horizontal. Since our relationship with God has been restored by Christ through faith, we can get to work restoring relationships with our neighbors through love. In this way, Luther’s rediscovery of the gospel unleashed human energies and potentialities not seen since the generation of the apostles. When man no longer has to futilely expend energy climbing a ladder into the heavens, he can get to work transforming the earth.”

Pushing Down

by at First Things

“At the heart of the autumn 2015 brouhaha over Miller v. Davis was that yawning class gap between the plaintiffs with their advanced degrees, university connections, and comfortable salaries, and the non-college-educated Davis, with her pioneer-woman skirts, trailer-trash backstory, and practice of throwing her arms up in public prayer in an enthusiastic fashion that would be deemed mortifying by most of today’s suburbanized and hypo-expressive mainline Protestants and Catholics. The media alternated between scoffing at Davis as a “bigot” and “homophobe” and explaining in condescending detail the tenets of her Apostolic Pentecostal denomination, with its immersion baptism and its requirement that members exhibit external signs of “holiness”—hence the long dresses and uncut hair for women. Clair Jones, a writer for the HuffingtonPost who had grown up in Morehead and attended Morehead State, hastened to reassure her readers that she and her friends were nothing like that “small-town court clerk” Kim Davis: “Morehead is also home to a thriving theatre community, amazing bluegrass musicians, talented local artists, and tons of absolutely brilliant, kind people who live there not for religious reasons, but for their profound connection to the land and Appalachian culture.” Although not, apparently, their connection to the aspect of “Appalachian culture” that has made Evangelical Christianity Rowan County’s predominant faith.”

Children of Heroine Crisis Find Refuge in Grandparents’ Arms 

by Katherine Q. Seelye at The New York Times

“Unlike the crack epidemic, which hit black residents in urban areas particularly hard, this most recent wave of heroin addiction has taken hold largely among whites in the suburbs and rural areas; the death rate from drug overdoses across the country has soared among whites while it has leveled off among blacks and Hispanics.

“Even in more racially diverse areas, like Long Island and New Jersey, this epidemic is very white,” said Andrew Kolodny, a senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and chief medical officer for Phoenix House Foundation, a nonprofit that treats substance abuse in 11 states.”

Thu World is Not on Your Shoulders

by James Clark at The Institute of Faith, Work and Economics

“Suppose you set aside $500 each month for charitable donations. It’s hard to imagine what fifty organizations could do with $10 each, but not so hard to see that $100 each for five organizations has a much better chance of making a difference. Likewise, nominal involvement with a multiplicity of nonprofits will probably not make much of an impact, whereas deeper commitment at a smaller number of organizations will likely lead to work of greater significance.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Says Yes to Christianity and Modern Science

by Wyatt Houtz at BioLogos

“The day … is not the rotation of the earth around the sun—which can be understood physically—­or the calculable change of light and darkness; the day is … what is called a mythological quantity. The gods of day and night who, according to pagan belief, inspire and animate the world rule are here totally dethroned … When the Bible speaks of six days of creation it may well have been thinking of the day of morning and evening, but in any case it does not mean this day in a computable sense; … The physical problem … in which the “day” is being considered … does not disparage biblical thought, whether the creation occurred in rhythms of millions of years or single days, and we have no occasion to protest the latter or to doubt the former. But the question as such does not concern us. To the extent that his word is the word of man the biblical author was limited by his time and his knowledge, and we dispute this as little as the fact that through this word only God himself is speaking to us of his creation. The days God created are the rhythms in which the creation rests.[10] “

How Overachieving Parents Can Avoid Ruining Their Kids’ Lives 

by Elizabeth Segran at Fast Company

“It is important to communicate to our children that there isn’t just one way to be successful. “We tend to immediately create a duality between what achievement looks like and what it doesn’t,” she says. “We endorse certain qualities as good, such as being fast-paced, climbing up a ladder, being ahead of the curve. If a child has different qualities—they are introverts, they’re slower, they’re dreamy, they’re not motivated in the way we think they should be, or they march to a different drum—then that is labeled as bad. They begin to feel like who they are isn’t good enough.””

 

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