Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend reading (6/17)

Weekend Reading

The Easy “Wisdom” of Cynicism

Derek Rishmawy:

“Seeing through” the stated reasons and motives of others is a particularly prized form of insight in our context. (We’re all Nietzscheans, squinting to get at what’s really going on.)

And so if I’m in a dispute with someone, it’s pretty easy for me to come up with a fairly plausible rationale for why someone believes, says, or does something other than the one they’ve stated.

Britain Fears a Culture War. But Evangelicals Aren’t Going to Fight.

Andrea Hatcher:

Amid this frothy speculation, Tim Farron, an avowed evangelical and leader of the Liberal Democrats, resigned. In his speech, he described the tension between his public service and his sincerely held religious beliefs. This contrast was presented in stark relief by a recent radio interview in which Farron refused to answer questions about whether or not he believes homosexuality is a sin. Despite reciting his party’s stance on LGBT rights, Farron was repeatedly pushed to publicly confess his own personal religious beliefs.

At the center of both events lies the media’s fascination with evangelicals.

Adoption: The good and hard lessons

Micah and Tracy Fries:

Counting the cost in terms of adoption requires the disciple of Christ to recognize that children without families are not perfect children who simply need a home. They arrive with baggage. Ugly stuff. You will not be starting with a clean slate at Ground Zero. You will be climbing up to Ground Zero for a really long time . . . the bonding alone can be as taxing as building a 12-ft tower with toothpicks and a glue stick. It’s an all-embracing venture. It will be challenging emotionally, physically and spiritually.

What Kind of a Book is Revelation?

Brandon Smith:

In his fantastic little theological commentary on Revelation, Richard Bauckham notes that “Misconceptions of Revelation often begin by misconceiving the kind of book it is” (1). No doubt Bauckham is right: many—perhaps most—people think Revelation is a doomsday account of the last days of our planet. Revelation’s confusing symbols, strange characters, and rash of plagues leads people to stay away from it. This is understandable.

However, we should actually read Revelation as a hopeful book—one that centers on the triune God’s redemption of all things. Revelation 21-22 are some of the most encouraging and inspiring chapters in the Bible, because they tell us that one day God will make all things new, eradicating sin and death once and for all.

The Routine Absurdity of Leaders Growing Large

Dave Harvey:

God loves us so much that he will push us off the altar of our accomplishments. He will act decisively to lay low anything in our life that competes for his supremacy. It looks different for everyone: The airtight business plan goes belly-up, the guaranteed investment tanks, the church splits, a kid goes AWOL. In the world of leadership, there are certain kinds of entrenched pride that only a big failure can dislodge. As an act of fatherly protection, God lets us tumble.

What I’m Taking Away from SBC 2017

JD Greear:

The Southern Baptist Convention’s 2017 Annual Meeting is in the books. I am leaving Phoenix encouraged by the ways that we, as Southern Baptists, are holding true to a united mission and making much-needed statements about the implications of the gospel. The unity I’ve seen has largely been the result of leadership within the SBC, for which I’m incredibly grateful.

God’s plans are good (even when we don’t like them)

A favorite from the archives:

It’s a wonderful encouragement, isn’t it? We look at it and say, “Wow—God has a plan for me!” That plan, of course, is one we assume to be free from any sort of difficultly, strife or conflict. But to paraphrase the oft-quoted line—this verse you keep using; I do not think it means what you think it means.

When we read this verse, we typically do so through the lens of the western desire for prosperity, safety and security. That God’s plan obviously includes a full bank account, a big house and kids who remember to wash their hands after using the toilet. But as much fun as those things might be—especially the last one for the germaphobes out there—this isn’t really what’s promised by God to the Israelites. And make no mistake: this verse offers a promise to them, first and foremost.

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