A little of what I've caught from around the web this past week, in the realms of culture, church, theology, and life.
And Slew the Little Children. Douglas Wilson offers us a meditation on the tragedy in Newtown.
Whenever you have to deal with something like the Connecticut shooting, something that simply crushes the heart, it is important to think carefully before speaking or writing. This is not the time to be debating gun control, drone attacks in the Middle East, and it is certainly not the time to be drawing ham-fisted comparisons to the abortion carnage. Read More >>
A Robust Christmas Liturgy. Pastor Joe Thorn (and a great friend of mine!) describes important aspects of our worship at Advent-time.
Most churches emphasize the birth of Jesus Christ during the season of Advent. Some are well organized in graphics, themes, or campaigns. Others are more casual in their approach. But for all of those who are pointing to the birth of Christ this season it is critical that we are working a theologically robust Christmas liturgy. Read More >>
Don't Undersell Your Commute. Before I lived twenty yards from my workplace (yes, we live just about 20 yards across the yard from the church where I'm a pastor), I had a commute that lasted at least 30 minutes. It was a great time for reading, meditating, memorizing Scripture, and decompressing. Jonathan Parnell argues for what I've experienced. Namely, take advantage of the time.
Packer had me at “horseback.”
In his new introduction to John Flavel's Keeping the Heart, J. I. Packer tells a story from Flavel’s devotional life. Now I remembered hearing of a spiritual experience Edwards had on horseback, and of another from Moody. Then there it was again in Flavel:
It is recorded of him that he spent much time in meditation, self-examination, and prayer, and on one occasion at least he had an extraordinary experience of God. Meditating on horseback, “his thoughts began to swell and rise higher and higher like the waters of Ezekiel’s vision till at last they became an overflowing flood. Such was the intention of his mind, such the ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such the full assurance of his interest therein, that he utterly lost a sight and sense of this world and all the concerns thereof...“ (10)
Learning From Lincoln's Flawed Marriage. With the release of the excellent film by Spielberg, Lincoln, Abe is much in the news. And the folks over at DG have taken the opportunity to apply lessons learned in his marriage to our contemporary culture.
Abraham Lincoln’s marriage was a mess, and accepting the pain brought deep strength in the long run.
I write this not because it is wrong to seek refuge from physical abuse, but because, short of that, millions of marriages end over the agony of heartbreaking disappointments and frustrations. They do not need to. There is much to gain in embracing the pain for Christ and his kingdom. Read More >>
The Power of Deep Rest. Tim Keller writes of "the work beneath the work" and the Gospel rest we all long for.
But the relationship between work and rest operates at a deeper level as well. All of us are haunted by the work under the work---that need to prove and save ourselves, to gain a sense of worth and identity. But if we can experience gospel-rest in our hearts, if we can be free from the need to earn our salvation through our work, we will have a deep reservoir of refreshment that continually rejuvenates us, restores our perspective, and renews our passion. Read More >>