In Case You Missed It

Jon Bloom posted at Desiring God earlier this week asking the question: Is your world too small?

In recent centuries, our collective knowledge of the cosmos along with everything else has increased astronomically. Now we know that in size comparison, our solar system is to the universe what an atom is to our solar system. One result of this knowledge is that we have a tendency to view everything through what I’ll call a telescopic perspective: We live, as they say at Walt Disney, in “a small, small world”…We live in a small world at high speed. And the problem is that this way of living tends to produce spiritual barrenness rather than richness.

Bruce Ashford published an article at Canon and Culture titled: “The Great Barrier Rieff: Stemming the Tide of Destruction in American Culture and Public Life.” Dr. Ashford writes:

Outside of sociological circles, not many people these days have heard of Philip Rieff. But Rieff stands as one of the twentieth century’s keenest minds, and remains one of the greatest gifts—even if a complicated and challenging gift—to Western society…The progression of his thought over the course of his life sheds light on Rieff’s enduring significance, as well as offering us some vital wisdom for evaluating American culture today.

Dr. David Allen published a helpful article addressing five keys to reaching the “selfie” generation.

We all learned a new word in 2012: “selfie.”

For those of you who may still be in the cultural dark on this one, a “selfie” is a self-portrait photograph typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone held at arm’s length and then shared on social networking sites. Time magazine considered “selfie” one of the top 10 buzzwords for 2012. By 2013, the word was listed as “word of the year” and had become commonplace enough for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Apparently, selfies make up 30 percent of the photos taken by people ages 18-24. Amazing. …

In one sense, we are all “selfies.” Self-assertion; self-centeredness; self-conceit; self-defensive; self-indulgent; self-pleasing; self-seeking; self-sensitive; and the list goes on. Christians are supposed to be people who have denied self and who have died to self, according to Jesus.

So how do we reach the selfie generation?

Bekah Stoneking reviewed Barnabas Piper’s new book Help my Unbelief at the Southeastern Women’s Life blog.

The last 10 or so months of my life have been a real struggle in many ways. I also hit a place spiritually where I was so deep in a wilderness-like pit that even I, a disciple of more than two decades and with one-and-a-half seminary degrees under my belt, didn’t know how to claw my way out. I’m beyond grateful to my pastor, Josh, who has been a vigilant shepherd, who has interceded on my behalf, and who carried the Light by my feet when I didn’t have the strength to. I am also grateful for writers like Trillia Newbell and Barnabas Piper who have shared their gifts and wisdom with the Church. I reviewed Newbell’s most recent (and super helpful!) book, Fear and Faithhere and after I finished reading it, I began Piper’s book, Help My Unbelief.

Finally, Barnabas Piper posted this article at his personal blog this week: The One Key Component to Good Writing (It’s Not What You Think).

Has there ever been a great writer who wasn’t a great reader? That’s like asking if there has ever been a great baseball player who has never watched baseball. It’s almost a nonsense question.

But, unlike baseball, there are numerous people who seek to compose works without having read deeply and widely. Not everyone watches or plays baseball, but language is common to everyone. We all communicate via the spoken and written word, therefore people feel they can write. And in the most basic sense of writing (group of words makes up a sentence, group of sentences make up a paragraph, top to bottom, left to right) that’s true.

But good writing is a product of good thinking. Good thinking is a product of good reading. Good writing is a product of good craftsmanship. And order to write well OR think well one must read well.


What Hath Nature to do with Grace? An Exploration of the Bible’s Place in Higher Education.

Dr. Bruce Ashford (Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture at SEBTS) recently delivered this outstanding lecture in chapel at Southeastern. Dr. Ashford begins by surveying five views of the relationship between nature and grace, and concludes by giving a Kuyperian vision of the role of Christians in the world. You will want to take 30 minutes and watch this.


In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article at Desiring God discussing a renewing support for God-glorifying rap. Dr. Ashford writes:

Many people have recognized the corrosive and subversive nature of gangsta rap. Unfortunately, many also have neglected to recognize rap as a legitimate art form. But it is a legitimate form of artistic expression. Perhaps the best way to describe rap is to say, as Adam Bradley has, that it is poetic meter rendered audible. It is both music and literary verse, both word and song.

It is not merely speech or precisely song, but a mixture of both. “Simply put,” Bradley writes, “a rap verse is the product of one type of rhythm (that of language) being fitted to another (that of music)” (Poetics of American Song Lyrics, 37). The rapper’s toolbox includes rhythm, rhyme, and wordplay, and is often characterized by an emphasis on the rapper’s unique life story. So rap is an art form with potential to glorify Christ and serve humanity.

Dr. Joe McKeever is a retired pastor from New Orleans and was on the front lines during the destruction of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. In this recent article published on the Louisiana Baptist Message, he discusses how the recent Ashley Madison information leak is “a different kind of Katrina.” Dr. McKeever writes:

I got caught up in the Ashley Madison scandal and did something really horrendous for which I need to confess and apologize:
I became prideful because my name is not on that notorious list.
Those who have been ‘outed’ are worse sinners than me, I thought. My prayers became disturbingly similar to the boastful confession of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 – “God, I thank you that I am not as other men…”
And I was wrong. So embarrassingly wrong.

Ed Stetzer recently sat down with Thabiti Anyabwile to discuss leading the diverse body of Christ. Ed writes the following about Thabiti:

In case you don’t know Thabiti, he is one of the pastors for Anacostia River Church in Washington DC, he served as an elder and pastor in churches in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and the Cayman Islands, and he is the author of several books.

Earlier this week, Art Rainer posted this article on his personal blog on the importance of goals. Art writes:

Goals are powerful, but often overlooked, tools. Imagine you piled your family into your car for a weeklong vacation. Your spouse is excited. Your kids are excited. And about two minutes into the trip, your spouse asks, “So where are we going?”

You respond, “I don’t know. I had not thought about it.” I imagine what follows is not pretty.

There is no way you would embark on a weeklong vacation without knowing the destination. You would not waste your vacation driving aimlessly. And yet, we do this all the time with other areas of our lives. We embark on journeys without identified destinations, without goals.

In a recent post on the Christianity Today Her-menutics blog, Liuan Huska reminds us that Moses and Jesus didn’t have their dream jobs by 30, either, and that calling may look more like a wandering journey than a singular career path. Liuan writes:

People start asking the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” when kids are in preschool. I’ve had many responses along the way—a stock broker, a doctor, a journalist, to name a few. When I graduated high school ten years ago, I assumed that by now I would finally be living the answer to that question. Instead, I’ve given up on finding one.