Worth Reading - 2/6

1. The importance of roughhousing with your kids, from the Art of Manliness:

Psychologist Anthony Pellegrini has found that the amount of roughhousing children engage in predicts their achievement in first grade better than their kindergarten test scores do. What is it about rough and tumble play that makes kids smarter? Well, a couple things.

First, as we discussed above, roughhousing makes your kid more resilient and resilience is a key in developing children’s intelligence. Resilient kids tend to see failure more as a challenge to overcome rather than an event that defines them. This sort of intellectual resilience helps ensure your children bounce back from bad grades and gives them the grit to keep trying until they’ve mastered a topic.

In addition to making students more resilient, roughhousing actually rewires the brain for learning. Neuroscientists studying animal and human brains have found that bouts of rough-and-tumble play increase the brain’s level of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF helps increase neuron growth in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, logic, and higher learning–skills necessary for academic success.

2. Russel Moore discusses his understanding of what evangelicals will be looking for in the 2016 election:

Jefferson won over the Baptists and evangelicals without pretending to be one of them. After all, he was derided as an infidel by his critics. Jefferson and the Baptists came to religious liberty from two very different starting points. He based it on an Enlightenment understanding of natural rights. They based it on a gospel in which consciences must be free if they are to stand in judgment on the Last Day. The Founding-era evangelicals, such as fiery Virginia Baptist revivalist John Leland, didn’t care about motives, but about who would work to secure freedom. That’s a good model for the next election.

In recent years candidates have assumed that they can win over evangelicals by learning Christian slogans, by masking political rallies as prayer meetings, and by basically producing a long-form new birth certificate to prove they’ve been born again. This sort of identity politics is a luxury of a past era when evangelicals were part of a silent majority in the U.S., with our First Amendment freedoms assumed and guaranteed. That is not the present situation.

3. From Desiring God: You can't serve God and Theology:

Jesus himself says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24; see also Hebrews 13:5). The God of Christianity and the god of money are irreconcilably opposed. They cannot room together in the human heart. If you find yourself serving money — consuming yourself with earning, gathering, and spending — by definition you are not serving God.

But is money more spiritually dangerous than theology? The answer may be trickier than we think, especially within the numbing comfort of a proudly affluent and educated American Church. Money is a tangible, countable, often visible god. Theology, on the other hand — if it is cut off from truly knowing and enjoying God himself — can be a soothing, subtle, superficially spiritual god. Both are deadly, but one lulls us into a proud, intellectual, and purely cosmetic confidence and rest before God. Theology will kill you if it does not kindle a deep and abiding love for the God of the Bible, and if it does not inspire a desire for his glory, and not ultimately our own.

4. An article with lots of pictures about some of the most beautiful and most visited castles in the world:

While castles, palaces and châteaux naturally pique such curiosity, not all have Neuschwanstein’s European fairy-tale looks. Some of the world’s most-visited castles, found across Asia, feature red exteriors, pagodas and gates.

Consider Bangkok’s gold-spired Grand Palace, where Thai kings lived for 150 years, and where 8 million annual visitors now traipse through ornate rooms, manicured gardens and temples, including one that houses a revered Buddha carved from a single block of jade.

5. You can't separate stewardship from economics, from Greg Forster at the Acton Institute:

As Forster indicates, for the bulk of human history, the type of collaboration, exchange, and reconciliation we see today was outright prohibited, leading not only to widespread material poverty, but significant social/spiritual division, isolation, and disconnect. Even now, as projects like PovertyCure seek to highlight, the world’s poorest suffer not for lack of initiative, creativity, or love for neighbor, but because they have been cut off from circles of entrepreneurial exchange and collaboration.

On this, Forster offers a simple but healthy reminder: economics matters, for orienting our hearts, hands, and imaginations, yes, but also for the cultivation and preservation of the broader political/social/economic order.

As we continue to refine our thinking about the shape and arc of Christian stewardship, let’s not forget or neglect the role of economics in unleashing it for “love, justice, and reconciliation” across society.