Weekly Must-Reads {2.12.14} | Creation, Masturbation, & Communism


Well, it’s been a good long while since I’ve posted a Reading List for you all to enjoy–too long, in fact. These were some of my favorite things I read this week. What were some of yours?


In defense of creationists | The Week
Michael Brendan Dougherty

I referenced this at the end of my post yesterday, but this is a stunningly beautiful piece that wrestles with humanizing those that frustrate us the most in the Christian family. A must-read for sure.

Escaping the Prison of the Self: C.S. Lewis on Masturbation | First Things
Wesley Hill

Don’t overlook this piece too quickly. It is an incredibly powerful piece that speaks to how all of us–married, single, gay, straight–engage our sexuality in this world. It showed me how having celibate unmarried people in the world is necessary for healthy marriages, as well as how masturbation ruins even good friendships.

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The best, most entertaining resources on the NSA leaks

When it comes to the political news this week, I’ve felt a large range of emotions. I’ve felt just a little bit of “I told you so” vindication, joy over the attention the media is giving to it, anger at the government, pride in some brave politicians, and frustration over the fact that no one else in my life seems to be paying attention to this or even care.

I’ve also felt a certain futility in grasping all off this and being able to distill it in a concise, communicable way. I’m going to do my best next week on this blog, but in the end, I don’t think I could do better than these three shows in doing so.

First, nothing helps ease the shock of learning that your government is storing your entire digital life than a little laughter. And to that end, there’s no place better for that than The Daily Show. Jon Stewart is gone for the summer, but he is being ably covered by John Oliver. This clip below is Oliver’s first night hosting:

Full episode: [Daily Show] [Hulu]

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Read Austin Ricketts’ Short Story “The Quiche”

schrott-austin-birdsOccasional contributor to the site (and full-time stud), Austin Ricketts, has a new short story that he has published in the online literary magazine, The Momongahela Review. This is the first fiction piece of his I’ve read in a long time, and… wow, it’s really good (especially the last half).

And I don’t say that lightly. Really. Especially after my own recent forays into fiction, part of my pride doesn’t like when I admire so highly a work in a similar field in which I create, done by someone I know.

It’s a story about time, relationships, memory, and how those things change us; it’s beautiful, sensual, and intellectual. It starts on page 70 of the journal (and the pdf). At least peruse the other pieces of the journal, as there are also some beautiful pieces of poetry and other prose pieces (that admittedly, I haven’t read yet).

You can download the pdf at the site, or read the full issue on Issu. All for free.

Did you catch that? Free. Good. Writing. You have absolutely nothing to lose by at least downloading and looking around.

Check it out: http://monreview.com
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2 amazing hours on the Christian end of the world

A few people have asked about my blogging absence (I have felt honored that they have noticed!) Anyway, I’ve been sick, first with a stomach flu, and now with an upper-respiratory thing. I lost my voice last week and am only now recovering it. It’s weird; I hardly ever get sick.

Anyway, this has kept me from blogging, but it’s given me the chance to watch and read some amazing things (about which I’m sure I’ll write more in the weeks to come). One of the highlights of my time was this video, An Evening of Eschatology, hosted by Bethlehem Baptist Church and moderated by John Piper (here’s some background to this talk):

This is an amazing discussion, and very insightful for those of us Christians that either have passionate views on the end of the world or don’t think about it much (as a friend used to say, “I’m a ‘pan-millennialist': I believe in the end it’ll all just pan out.”).
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PSA: BibleGateway.com now has the NRSV Bible for free

For those that care, the website BibleGateway.com now offers the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) [Wikipedia] as one of their many English translation options.

If you’re looking for a Bible verse or passage, or if you do lots of web writing about the Bible and need a good online Bible with lots of options, I’ve found BibleGatweay.com to be the best, especially for copying-and-pasting elsewhere.

This is also the most widely-used Bible site that now has access to this translation of the Bible. Before this, I couldn’t find it anywhere free online except at a weird, obscure site or two.

So why have I been eager for this translation (and why should you be)? The NRSV is the most ecumenically-used translation in the English-speaking world. It’s the standard translation used by Catholics, Anglicans, many Eastern Orthodox, and my own church. It’s also the standard translation used in academic Bible study.

And so, even though I still have a soft spot for the ESV, I like feeling like I’m swimming in the same stream as my church leadership (and academia, but that’s not as big a deal). And so, I prefer the ESV or the NRSV for in-depth Bible study, while I’m a lot more flexible in my more casual Bible reading.

So compare some versions and see if you like the NRSV yourself. Hopefully this new availability of this resource makes your continued engagement with the Bible all the more fruitful and exciting.

And so

Weekly Must-Reads {3.7.12} | abortion & Obama’s abuses

In light of the recent birth control controversy, there’s been a revived discussion about abortion and the “personhood” of babies, especially after a paper justifying the aborting of newborns was published in a major journal. Also, in response to rising criticisms for how the Obama administration has abused their seizure of Executive power to pretty scary levels, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a speech [transcript] at Northwestern University on Monday defending the administration’s actions. Today’s articles deal with these issues.

Grab some coffee, and let’s go.




The New Scar on My Soul | American Thinker

If you read nothing else from this post, please let it be this. I found myself crying in the middle of the coffee-shop I was in as I read this. Please, anyone, help give me a reasonable framework from which to respond to this. I need something beyond empty rhetoric, powerless outrage and sadness, and unrealistic policy aspirations. And also, please, if you find yourself on the pro-choice side of this, I would love your thoughts on this topic after reading this post. I’m really struggling here.

The Obama Administration and Targeted Killings: “Trust Us” | Council on Foreign Relations

Such a good article giving a brief–yet substantive–analysis of Holder’s speech and how it holds up to legal, moral, and common-sensical scrutiny. Please read this. Also, for a very comprehensive (yet fairly brief and easy-to-read) summary of the history and background of this all-important topic and its relevance today, CFR put together this Backgrounder.

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Weekend Must-Reads {09.09.11} | church leadership retreat edition

This weekend I find myself with the honor, joy, and privilege of heading to a two-day long leadership retreat for my amazing church, liberti church: center city. In honor of this, I wanted to post articles by myself and others focusing on Church philosophy, community, and such. Some of them are a bit longer than usual, so feel free to grab a cup coffee before digging in. I hope you find these helpful and encouraging no matter where you find yourself in relation to the Christian Church. Have a great weekend. And be sure to stop by next week; I’m pretty excited for the stuff I’ve got planned for the blog then.

And Thus It Begins: liberti home meetings & my heart | the long way home

liberti: center city’s home meetings start next week. I wrote this blog post last year the day before I began leading a brand new group in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s wonderful to look back over the past year with these people and see that God has answered every prayer I had in this post. I’m still serving these amazing people as their leader, and I can’t wait to see them on Tuesday.

On the State of Contemporary Theology | Fors Clavigera – James K.A. Smith

Here, the author of one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, Desiring the Kingdom, offers his thoughts on the current state of theology, denominations, and theological education. A quick must-read for all.

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