Stephen McAlpine

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.       Avengers' Infinity War and the Gospel: Aaron Wilson with a thoughtful reflection on Marvel's newest addition: "Thanos is an inverted version of Christ—a villain willing to save the world, but only through the sacrifice of others... Thanos tells another character it cost him everything to save the world. However, unlike Christ who emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, Thanos’ “sacrifice” has him seeking ultimate power by assuming the form of a God."

2.       What Every Passenger on Southwest Flight 1380 Forgot: Stephen McAlpine makes a connection between our inability to remember lifesaving practices with the gospel in our life, “In other words we prove that, despite our casualness when the flight is on the ground, despite our “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know that!” before turning to look at the dinner menu, we don’t have what we call “unconscious competence” when it comes to such a vital, life saving practice.”

3.       Reasons Not To Go To Church: Tara Beth Leach chastens, "Don't attend church if you're looking for a place to always and only be filled up, and never pour out. If you're coming to only consume, you're going to be sorely disappointed."

4.       9 Facts About John Calvin You Probably Don't Know: This is fun. Among the facts: "Calvin wrote the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion at age 25. He was converted at age 24."

5.       What Parts of the Country Are Religiously Engaged and Disengaged? It is surprising to see this visually. The West, Southwest, and Northeast are particularly disengaged. Arizona's disengagement might surprise some, but it doesn't surprise me, both from the numbers I've seen and anecdotally.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

Happy Easter, friends! 

This week's list is Holy-week-centric with a few other fun nuggets. Enjoy!

1.       How Much is Your Vocation Trusted? Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra reports on the recent Gallup report. Pastors, in particular, took a big hit: "Less  than half of the country—just two out of every five Americans—believe clergy are honest and have high ethical standards... That level of trust has dropped steadily since 2009, down from a high of 67 percent in 1985, the pollster reported." Unsurprisingly lobbyists, car salesman, and members of congress filled out the bottom of the polls with nurses, military, and teachers on top. Did where you vocation land surprise you?

2.      What was Crucifixion Like? Got Questions answers, "Crucifixion was invented and used by other people groups, but it was “perfected” by the Romans as the ultimate execution by torture... Crucifixion was meant to inflict the maximum amount of shame and torture upon the victim."

3.      Why the Donkey was the Supporting Actor for the Triumphal Entry: My childhood pastor, Roger Barrier, with a wonderful reflection on how “God never miss[es] an opportunity to use powerful symbols throughout scripture. Jesus’ famous ride on this lowly animal reveals much about Christ’s character and purpose.”

4.       Modern Parenting and the Winter Olympics: Exit "helicopter parenting," enter "curling parenting." I love this clever little reflection by Stephen McAlpine, "Helicopters hover serenely over the landscape, seeing all with a birds-eye view that takes the frantic out of it.  It’s big picture stuff. Curling on the other hand? It’s all micro-management and frantic scrubbing of anything that might cause just that one little bump in order to arrive at the goal."

5.       How Early Christian Worship Managed to Offend Everyone: Starting with the Romans, Michael Kruger explains why this was the case, "A fundamental aspect of early Christian worship was its exclusivity. Only Jesus was to be worshiped. Whatever other religious loyalties one possessed before coming to Christ, they had to be abandoned and full devotion given to Jesus the King. One might think the Roman state wouldn’t care about such things. Wasn’t religion a private matter? Not at all. To be a good citizen, your duty was to pay homage to the Roman gods who kept the empire prosperous and flourishing." 

6.       10 Levels of Light Pollution: Cool two and a half minute video that shows that different levels of light pollution across the globe.