Worth Reading - 2/19

Just as Scripture points us to heaven as our goal, so it fully instructs us in the right use of earthly blessings, and this ought not to be overlooked in a discussion of the rules of life.

[A]s we run the danger of falling into two opposite errors, let us try to proceed on safe ground, so that we may avoid both extremes. For there have been some people, otherwise good and holy, who saw that intemperance and luxury time and again drive man to throw off all restraints unless he is curbed by the utmost severity. And in their desire to correct such a pernicious evil, they have adopted the only method that they saw fit, namely to permit earthly blessings only insofar as they were an absolute necessity. This advice showed the best of intentions but was far too rigid. For they committed the dangerous error of imposing on the conscience of others stricter rules than those laid down in the Word by the Lord.

2. Learned deafness, or muffling the sounds around us, may be encouraging noise pollution to increase and creating processing problems:

Unsurprisingly, urban areas are the noisiest, while those questing for quiet can find it on pre-European colonization levels in large swaths of the west.

But one scientist is now warning that all that sound and our efforts to avoid it might actually be allowing noise pollution to get worse—and could cause a phenomenon he’s calling “learned deafness.” To control the sounds in our own personal worlds, we might resort, for instance, to wearing headphones that blare our favorite music in our ears. (It can make the day nicer, not having to listen to that bus chug by or the cabbie screaming out his window.) Or we might just close our ears off and ignore the auditory stimuli of the world around us.

Kurt Fristrup, a senior scientist at the U.S. National Park Service, spoke this week to a group of scientists about the country’s rising level of background noise and the resulting tune-out of natural sounds, the Guardian reports. “This learned deafness is a real issue. We are conditioning ourselves to ignore the information coming into our ears,” he said.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-learned-deafness-might-be-letting-noise-pollution-win-180954343/#hXODQ18ZoBD1tTQR.99
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3. Last year, Micah Fries considered whether families should recognize Lent. This is a helpful read in light of the ongoing internet drama:

If your observance of Lent is a momentary spiritual exercise, and it doesn’t spur you to intimacy with Christ all year, you should reconsider your observance of Lent. For too many, Lent, along with many other practices, may be an attempt to assuage their souls by engaging in a momentary Christian exercise. This is abundantly dangerous. Your faith is intended to be a daily faith; a faith that’s experienced moment-by-moment, day-by-day. When Lent is a time that encourages and strengthens that daily faithfulness, that’s fantastic. However, if it’s a means of applying a spiritual bandage to your soul, beware. It may actually serve to push you away from the experience of committed faith.

So should you observe Lent? Ultimately, Lent isn’t the issue. Lent isn’t inherently valuable, nor does it personally add spiritual value to you. It’s little more than a tool — an observance — to point you toward Jesus or away from Him.

4. From Joe Carter at Acton, an argument that manual labor deserves a place in our discussion of work:

For far too long, we’ve downplayed or dismissed manual labor because it is toilsome. Toilsome labor—work that is often associated with the hands rather than the head—is work that is incessant, extremely hard, and exhausting. Yet as Scripture says, we can find satisfaction in toilsome labor (Ecclesiastes 5:18).

We must ensure there’s a place for manual work and toilsome labor in the faith and work conversation. We’re failing in our efforts if we aren’t showing people how through such labor they are participating in God’s own work.

5. A humorous but informative talk by Mike Rowe on work: