This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Don't Let the Sexular Culture Leave Women as Also-Rans: Stephen McAlpine tells the story of a woman who was not awarded a prize in an Australian race despite being the first female finisher because of the organizer's attempt to be gender-blind. McAlpine reflects, " If it’s not bad enough that women are constantly the victims of testosterone-laden men off the sporting field, women are now becoming victims on the sporting field of testosterone laden men self-identifying as women.  There’s real anger, but it has to be muted by women, lest the culture warriors who promulgate the Sexular narrative hunt them down."

2.       Five Ways the Bible and Economic Principles are Connected: Shawn Ritenour makes the argument for why and how the Bible influences are understanding of economics.

3.      Why Are Calvinists So Mean?: As a Calvinist myself (although I typically prefer to describe myself with different language because of this very reality), I appreciate Jared Wilson's diagnosis. He concludes, " And if we are frequently charged with treating others in uncharitable ways, the humility necessary to the doctrine ought to produce a humility in its doctrinaires to ask if our lives actually contradict the doctrine we preach with our mouths."

4.      How You Have Been Training Artificial Intelligence for Free: Amazon and Google are two companies who have brilliantly (and perhaps mischievously) been using all sorts of ways to harness what we are already doing for their benefit.

5.      The Weird World of Recycling: Oh man, I've read a handful of articles recently on the realities of recycling that make me so disappointed. Here's to hoping someone can figure out a solution to this issue. 

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       A Visual Journey of How Amazon Became the World's Biggest Retailer: This is an interesting as it is visually compelling.

2.       My Son's Down Syndrome Showed Me the Real Imago DeiThis is a well written and important article. Corey Latta reflects, "The longer I looked along the beam of my experience with Down syndrome, the more I realized that my propensity for sin was enhanced by an intellect, cunning, and premeditation wonderfully absent in my brothers and sisters who have it. People with Down syndrome neither understand nor practice malice, greed, jealousy, or deception the way others do. They speak out of an unmasked honesty. They love without the pretentious and self-protective impairments that taint our relationships."

3.       Why God Still Works Through Fools Like Sampson: Fred Smith minces no words on what he thinks of Sampson and what that tells us about God, "The writer of Judges doesn’t hide any of that or even attempt to justify or condemn his behavior. It is not a tale with a moral. It is not a warning. It is simply a puzzling illustration of how God’s ways are not ours. But if there is hope for Samson, there is hope for us when we have misused our strengths, wasted our gifts, not lived up to God’s calling, and even harmed our friends and family. God can redeem and he does."

4.       Evangelism is Changing: Reflecting on Sam Chan's new book, Jeremy Bouma shares 12 ways that evangelism is changing today. He shares this about the news of salvation, "Various evangelism methods have emphasized differing benefits from salvation: deliverance from hell, forgiveness of sins, the gift of heaven. 'But Graham Cole,' Chan observes, 'believes that the umbrella metaphor for all of these salvation metaphors is peace or shalom' (84). Peace, connecting with the ultimate existential cry of every heart."

5.       The Bizarre Physics of Fire Ants: How is it possible that ants can act like liquid? Unreal. 

The Angel's Christmas Song

The Angel's Christmas Song

One of the ways, it seems, that God gets particular satisfaction is pouring out his breathtaking beauty in the unlikeliest of places. Consider the absurd beauty of the Aurora Borealis, which only a tiny fraction of the world’s population has ever beheld. Consider places of remote and stunning beauty that only a few humans have ever witnessed: caves, Antarctica, the Amazon rainforest, the depths of the ocean. Or things that no human has ever seen in person, such as the Sombrero galaxy or interstellar clouds that can be seen from the edge of the Milky Way. God delights in putting his glory on display for small audiences.

There was an audience who beheld the glory of God in a way we can scarcely imagine the night of Jesus’s birth.

Picture it: you’re a first century Jewish shepherd. Like a modern day trucker or an early American cowboy, yours is a life of solitude. Your companionship is with your fellow shepherds, conversation shared over meals and tea. And like you, they have been shaped by quiet. The rocky and hilly Judean desert is laid out in front of you. Silence blankets the familiar landscape, interrupted only by the soft bleating of the slumbering herd behind you.

And then, suddenly, the heavens pull back like the curtain of a stage and a fearsome angelic warrior of the Lord appears. You gasp in fear. Your heart stops.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Why Leaders Need to be Vulnerable: Patrick Lencioni with a great story of how to poorly ask for feedback and the benefits of real vulnerability. 

2.      Netflix’s Real Competitor: Tim Challies shares the haunting quote from the Netflix CEO that Amazon and HBO aren't their competition -- sleep is. “When you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. You really — we’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”

3.      A Word of Encouragement About Your Labor: Michael Kruger takes on an often misunderstood verse and explains that, then empowered by the Spirit, our good works are not "filthy rags."

4.      Don’t Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity: David Prince on how some churches explain away their lack of excellence: "To put it another way, one who says that their commitment to the primacy of preaching, leads them to have little regard for the music, parking, greeting, signage, aesthetics, friendliness, hands-on ministry, evangelism, outreach, care-giving, announcements, and so on, is simply theologizing their laziness and apathy." 

5.      Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too: Long but thought-provoking article by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, which weaves anecdotes of prodigiously productive workers with scientific studies on productivity and concludes that schedules that include shorter, focused hours with time of rest make the most productive schedules.