News That Caught My Attention, September 11-18

News That Caught My Attention, September 11-18

Here are a few articles that I read, found interesting, noted and filed this week – which could be worth your own interest. When Having Black, Rotting Teeth Was Cool: 10 Bizarre Status Symbols from the Past These are great little tidbits of old indulgences. Rotting teeth – and sixteenth century follies. You’re life won’t change by reading about them – but they are interesting (and probably sermon illustration-worthy) in the future. White House Women Want to Be in the Room Where It Happens While the article traces how women are becoming more essential in how the White House functions, it also shows the inevitable world-view clash between the value motherhood and pursuing a career. Scripture is not silent on all of this and trying to be politically powerful and domestically influential will clash every time. Where Are the Happiest Europeans? Not in big cities, survey says. Major European cities, often cited for the joy of their progressive ways, are the cities with the least satisfied people. Go to the smaller provincial cities to find people satisfied with life. Perhaps a noted gospel opportunity. The gospel can flourish where society is significantly broken. The Uses of Patriotism David Brooks directs his appeal to high school football players, appealing to them to see the value of honoring their country during the the playing of the national anthem, even if and when they are struggling with its moral compass. While I can’t see a lot of high school football players interacting with Brooks’ NYT’s opinion piece, it’s worth the read in this present debate. What San Francisco Says About America The utopia...
News That Caught My Attention This Week (September 4-9, 2016)

News That Caught My Attention This Week (September 4-9, 2016)

Each morning I read through a few articles from a few newspapers and online sources. Here are a few articles of note that caught my attention this week: “We’re the Only Plane in the Sky” – Politico publishes a long, but fascinating blow-by-blow account of what 9/11 was like from the perspective of those who surrounded and served President George W. Bush. The story of those remarkable hours—and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard—isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told. This oral history, based on more than 40 hours of original interviews with more than two dozen of the passengers, crew, and press aboard—including many who have never spoken publicly about what they witnessed that day—traces the story of how an untested president, a sidearm-carrying general, top aides, the Secret Service and the Cipro-wielding White House physician, as well as five reporters, four radio operators, three pilots, two congressmen and a stenographer responded to 9/11. Pastor David Prince gives helpful comment on Andy Stanley’s comments this week about Christianity’s unnecessary dependence upon the Bible. I was at the recent ERLC Onward Conference listening when Russell Moore was having a conversation about ministry and preaching with Andy Stanley. I was startled when Stanley said he preaches some sermons without ever quoting the Bible. He views these sermons as extended introductions. Stanley also said we do not believe Christianity because of the Bible, but because of the resurrection and eyewitness testimonies. A couple of years ago, Stanley said that preachers should stop saying, “The Bible says,” a...
Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

On my shelf and unread for many years is David Wells’ third book in his four-book series on theology and culture, Losing Our Virtue. It is now on the side arm of my reading chair and I am beginning my way through it. Even though it was written in 1998, his analysis of the contemporary Christian culture remains spot-on and vitally important for our consideration. The ills he outlines in the book not only remain nearly twenty years after he composed them, but are more more advanced in their expression and negative impact on the church. Even the contemporary reactions of a new generation to the former generation’s narcissism, remain narcissistic (perhaps I will address how I see that in a future post). Here are a few quotes from his first chapter, “A Tale of Two Spiritualities.” Wells begins to outline a few similarities between the culture of Martin Luther some 500 years ago and our contemporary era (though 20 years removed from today). Technology also reduces all of life to the productive order, to measurable benefits, to the calculus of cost an profit, and what is most efficient rapidly becomes what is ethically permissible or right. In a technologically dominated world, what is real is what is found along the flat plane of human management, where effects can be strictly controlled by our own causes. The use of technology greatly enlarges the sense of autonomy, of being at the center of one’s own world and of pulling the strings of its circumstances, through it is probably also the case that different generations look on technology in slightly different...
Calvin on the Book of Psalms

Calvin on the Book of Psalms

John Calvin, the sixteenth century pastor-theologian in Geneva, known most often for his theological treatise, The Institutes for the Christian Religion, should equally be remembered for his commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. As I finish an overview of the book of Psalms at my church, consider how Calvin introduced his commentary on this penetrating part of Scripture: The wearied and resplendid riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded.   I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.   The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to...
Cap-Quotes: Desiring God Chapter 2

Cap-Quotes: Desiring God Chapter 2

Each Wednesday evening through the summer months, a group of adults are reading through and discussing the implications of John Piper’s book, Desiring God. If you have opportunity, come join us each Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. at Summit Woods Baptist Church.  Here are a few highlights from chapter two. God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in Him are one and the same pursuit. God’s quest to be glorified and our quest to be satisfied reach their goal in this one experience: our delight in God, which overflows in praise.   …no one is a Christian who does not embrace Jesus gladly as his most valued treasure, and then pursue the fullness of that joy in Christ that honors Him.   The best explanation of Romans 3:23 is Romans 1:23. It says that those who did not glorify or thank God became fools “and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.” This is the way we “fall short” of the glory of God: We exchange it for something of lesser value. All sin comes from not putting supreme value on the glory of God—this is the very essence of sin.   The wickedness of sin is owing to the implicit disdain for God.   Quoting Jonathan Edwards: Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority.… But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty.… So sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment.… The eternity of the punishment of...
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