Blogging

Owl Post 4-20-2012

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society.

Piper, Ryken, Reynolds, and Nielson Commend the Classics:

This week The Gospel Coalition welcomes you to join us in an exciting new series called Commending the Classics. We’re thrilled to welcome Wheaton College professor Leland Ryken as a sort of literature scholar in residence to guide us as we read classic books together. Every week he’ll lend us his decades of learning to help us understand why these works have come to be regarded as timeless treasures. Have you ever thought, I’ve heard that book is great, but I’m intimidated to read it myself without any help? Then we’ve designed this series precisely with you in mind. You get the benefits of a reading community who will help you along and a gifted professor who will answer your questions.

The Kindle Index: What City Buys the Most E-Readers?

Recently, a new form of reading elitism has come about: judgement against people who haven’t yet switched from paper books to digital ones. Even I will confess to patronizingly acting surprised when encountering someone who still reads using the “dead tree format.”

Why ‘Blue Like Jazz’ Won’t Save Christian Cinema:

What happens when you water down the message? “Religious people rarely get a fair shake at the movies. Mainstream films usually seem bent on portraying faithful people as joyless hypocrites: Think of the shrill Hilary Faye in Saved or the stern principal/nun inDoubt. Movies produced by overtly Christian companies are no more nuanced. Films like Courageous andFireproof show firemen and police officers in straightforward moral dilemmas with straightforward Biblical solutions, while the pro-life subgenre is filled with stories that distort and oversimplify the way a woman decides whether or not to keep an unwanted baby.”

Chase a dream, not a number:

There’s a bed they sell that let’s you set a “sleep number.” You get to determine the stiffness or softness you want with a dial and then enjoy a restful night of customized comfort. I forget the name of the manufacturer, but if they want to sponsor my blog, I would Google that on the quick and write it in bold. (The kids need new shoes! Keens specifically, because wow, those things stink after a season of backyard romping.)

Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex:

If you think sex trafficking only happens in faraway places like Nepal or Thailand, then you should listen to an expert on American sex trafficking I interviewed the other day.

“Ifs” Kill!

One of the problems in the current conversation regarding the relationship between law and gospel is that the term “law” is not always used to mean the same thing. This is understandable since in the Bible “law” does not always mean the same thing.

Owl Post 4-6-2012

The Neglected Resurrection:

Too often in our churches the resurrection of Christ is a doctrine of secondary importance. It is neglected and forgotten until Easter comes around each year. The same disregard for the resurrection is seen in how we share the gospel. Christians tend to share the gospel as if Jesus died on the cross and that is the end of the story. We make a zip line from the crucifixion to “repent and believe,” contrary to the example Peter sets for us in Acts 2:22-24 and 4:26. The cross is central to our salvation, but what God accomplished there is incomplete unless the tomb is empty on Sunday morning. Therefore, the resurrection of Christ is vital “for us and our salvation” (to borrow from the Nicene Creed). But how exactly? Link

Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis:

If you go to the second floor of the National Museum of American History inWashington, D.C., you’ll find a small room containing an 18th-century Bible whose pages are full of holes. They are carefully razor-cut empty spaces, so this was not an act of vandalism. It was, rather, a project begun by Thomas Jefferson when he was 77 years old. Painstakingly removing those passages he thought reflected the actual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, Jefferson literally cut and pasted them into a slimmer, different New Testament, and left behind the remnants (all on display until July 15). What did he edit out? He told us: “We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus.” He removed what he felt were the “misconceptions” of Jesus’ followers, “expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves.” And it wasn’t hard for him. He described the difference between the real Jesus and the evangelists’ embellishments as “diamonds” in a “dunghill,” glittering as “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” Yes, he was calling vast parts of the Bible religious manure. Link 

Christianity in Crisis? A Response to Andrew Sullivan

Mariylnne Robinson on the Anthropology of Religion and the Intervention of Grace:

Man, I wish I could write like Marilynne Robinson. Such precision and clarity, so much soul and insight. She takes on subjects that can be so dull, and breathes such life into them. The following quotations come from the first essay in her much-recommended new collection, When I Was a Child I Read Booksalt, entitled “Freedom of Thought.” Link

Homosexuality, Christianity, and the Gospel:

The following are the videos from the Equip Forum for our leaders last Tuesday night. It was a pretty incredible time–we looked at the issue of same-sex-attraction from a biblical, pastoral, counseling, and personal perspective. We tried to get past the myths, the political talking points, and discover how the gospel challenges this issue and those of us on both sides of it. Link

The Cross and Christian Blogging:

We love the shrewdness and wit of Jesus. There’s a fist somewhere inside that pumps whenever we read the parts of the Gospels where the religious leaders are left unable “to answer him a word,” or when no one “dared to ask him any more questions.” Link

The Satanic Ideology of Photoshop:

A cover photo for Intelligent Life magazine caused a small stir recently because it dared the unthinkable: show a celebrity’s actual face. Cate Blanchett, 42, appears on the cover in little makeup, her smile lines and wrinkles un-retouched. She looks less like an Hollywood star and more like a dignified human being, like someone you might see drinking tea at a neighborhood Starbucks. Link