Worth Reading - 1/13

1. Tim Challies discusses being an ordinary Christian. This is a timely topic with the release of Merida's latest book, etc.:

I’ve got a feeling that the people who do the most for God are those who are most content to be ordinary. Some of them remain unknown and unnoticed through their entire lives. Others are elevated and admired. But I suspect that the ones we love the most are the ones who can be satisifed with either a profile or invisibility, with either much or little—whatever God gives. There is beauty in that. I want that.

2. Here is my review of Tony Merida's book, published last week on my blog:

Don’t read this book unless you are prepared to have your practice of faith challenged. When he titled this book Ordinary, Merida wasn’t describing what your ordinary life is, he was describing what your ordinary life ought to be.

It turns out that the biblical definition of ordinary is a lot different than how most of us normally life. According to Merida,

“Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. I want to push back against sensationalism and ‘rock star Christianity,’ and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.”

3. I picked up much the same topic as Challies in my post last week at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics:

Sometimes we imagine that changing the world requires stupendous feats, monumental courage, or superhuman endurance. We cheer heroes that devote their lives to particular issues and wish to ourselves that we could make a difference like they do.
So Tony wrote Ordinary in order to “identify some ‘ordinary things’ that ordinary people like us can do, and if we do them with gospel intentionality (speaking and showing the gospel), then we can make an extraordinary impact.” (p. 9) The introduction addresses the Bible’s testimony on the gospel-social justice nexus and the tendency we evangelical Christians have to sensationalize everything we do in the name of Jesus. The book then unfolds in five concise, easy-to-read chapters that address the key topics of ordinary living as a Christian: neighbor love, hospitality, orphan care, advocacy for the voiceless, and humility. In the conclusion, Tony exhorts us to take up this way of life, which is consistent with God’s character and plan for history.

Saturday Links - 11/29/2014

1. Given C. S. Lewis' popularity, it is easy to forget some of the places his ideas were out of step with contemporary evangelicalism.

2. Are political progressives mistaken in believing the mid-term elections were not really about their policies?

3. Dan Darling from the ERLC comments on making gratitude our first language.

4. Nathan Finn reviews a new book by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Stroble, Beloved Dust, which emphasizes spiritual disciples. Worth a look.

5. In honor of your weekend Christmas decorating efforts, here is Clark Griswold lighting his Christmas lights.

Worth Reading - 11/24/14

1. My review of Daniel Heimbach's Book, Why Not Same-Sex Marrriage over at The Gospel Coalition.

2. Time assets and debts. This is a new way of looking at tasks and projects in your life. H/T Trevin Wax.

3. The story of a French atheist becoming a theologian from Christianity today.

4. Time magazine recently published a short article on William Jennings Bryan, who was famous for his role in the Scopes trial. They note that he was largely opposing the logical outworkings of Darwinian evolution, particularly social Darwinism. In the end they don't give him enough credit, but it is a more balanced treatment than he usually gets and it is worth a read.

5. A Saturday Night Live skit on an Executive Order, a play off of the School House Rocks short animated film that covers the life of a Bill.