Worth Reading - 1/21

I have plenty of hesitations about heeding various calls to “work-life balance,” mostly because they tend to dismiss or downplay the reality that “work” is often a lot less work than “life.”

Parents of young children have a keen sense of all this, of course. Indeed, it’s the reason so many of us would prefer to retreat to the “workplace” when the dirty diapers and toddler tantrums begin to beckon.

2. At Desiring God, Kim Ranslaben discusses the reason parents are more significant impediment to getting graduates on mission than other barriers:

My husband and I sat with a couple dozen college students one night to listen to a missions’ mobilizer answer their questions about going overseas after college. The first question was one we’ve heard many times: How do you go about raising money when you’re just about to graduate from college? I know the young man probably got a little confused when his question was met with a smile and a shaking head. The mobilizer told them that money wouldn’t be their problem, and instead he asked the students to guess the primary barrier to them going to the mission field after college.

Answers like student loans, lack of training, and fear were all met by another shaking head. As the room grew silent, the mobilizer’s eyes met mine. I smiled because I knew the answer very well: it’s me.

The number one barrier these young men and women face in trying to take the gospel overseas is often parents just like me.

3. Turns out the "Boy who came back from heaven" didn't. What does this mean for the Christian publishing industry?

Last week, Tyndale House Publishers stopped production of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven after Alex Malarkey, the boy in question, announced that he had made up the tale. Cheeky jokes about the family’s surname aside, this is a serious matter that shouldn’t go gently away, but rather stand as a reminder of what it means to speak for and about God, the Christian life and the kingdom at hand.

Years ago, when author James Frey was taken to task for his composites of characters and situations in his jarring book A Million Little Pieces, the publishing world - both Christian and mainstream - erupted in a debate about truth: what it means to tell it, and how it should be told. Sadly, this was not a lesson to which those behind The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven paid attention. Eager to offer a vision of the afterlife that was well suited to the commercial evangelical machine, Tyndale allowed a 6-year-old and his father (mostly his father, Kevin Malarkey) to speak about ecclesiology with flippant idealism and day-dreamy cliché, dangerously undergirded with a misinterpretation of Christ’s saying about praise from “the mouths of babes.”

4. What should we do with the news about the discovery of an ancient fragment of the gospel of Mark? Craig Evans urges us to wait and be patient for more information.

In 2012 Daniel Wallace, a New Testament scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary, mentioned in a public debate that researchers had found a fragment of the earliest copy of the Gospel of Mark. This weekend, another scholar, Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, reconfirmed the existence of the fragment.

This text was written on a sheet of papyrus that was later reused to create a mask that was worn by a mummy. Although the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs wore masks made of gold, notes LiveScience, ordinary people had to settle for masks made out of papyrus (or linen), paint, and glue. Given how expensive papyrus was, people often had to reuse sheets that already had writing on them.

5. A 12 minute video on a woman who was redeemed from modern slavery: