Showing posts from July, 2014

Limited Sovereignty? Peter J. Leithart

God’s sovereignty is properly protected only if it encompasses and includes human will, freedom, and action, only if it underwrites and enables all creaturely powers.  read more

In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness

Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.

In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:  (read more

Cal Newport on how you can be an expert and why you should *not* follow your passion


Cal Newport holds a PhD from MIT and is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.

He runs the popular blog Study Hacks (which I highly recommend) and is the author of four books including, most recently, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

Cal and I talked about the secrets to becoming an expert, how deliberate practice works and why following your passion can be a *bad* idea.
My conversation with Cal was over 45 minutes, so for brevity’s sake I’m only going to post edited highlights here. If you want the extended interview I’ll be sending it out with my weekly newsletter on Sunday. Join here.  ——————————————— Don’t Follow Your Passion Cal:
I set out to research a simple question:…

George Will stuns Fox panel: ‘Preposterous’ that U.S. can’t shelter child refugees from violence

By David Edwards
Sunday, July 27, 2014 11:12 EDT

Fox News contributor George Will shocked his fellow panelists on Sunday by asserting that the United States should not deport child refugees who were fleeing violence in Central America.

“We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school, and get a job, and become American,’” Will suggested. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county.”

“They idea that we can’t assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous,” he added.
At that point, Fox News host Chris Wallace interrupted: “You got to know, we’re going to get tons of email saying, ‘This guy doesn’t understand the border. Why should we be dealing with Central America’s problem? We can’t import the problem, they’ve got to deal with it there, and our …

Church Decline and Karl Marx

Image July 27, 2014 in Anglican Social Teaching, Christopher Lasch, Common Good, Ecclesiology

From Patrick Deneen’s How Red (State) is Marx?, in The American Conservative:
Here’s what Marx got right—profoundly, overwhelmingly, admirably right: capitalism is unforgiving to “conservatives,” those who care about neighborhood, Church, family, loyalty, tradition. As Marx and Engels eloquently described in The Communist Manifesto,
The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimen…

No Time to Think KATE MURPHYJULY 25, 2014 ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter. And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device. So it’s worth noting a study published last month in the journal Science, which shows how far people will go to avoid introspection. “We had noted how wedded to our devices we all seem to be and that people seem to find any exc…

An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality nyt2014_sharetools_mkt_opinion_47K78 -- 249335, creative: nyt2014_sharetools_mktg_opinion_47K78 -- 375123, page:, targetedPage:, position: MiddleLeft We may now have a new “most unread best seller of all time.” Data from Amazon Kindles suggests that that honor may go to Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which reached No. 1 on the best-seller list this year. Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Piketty’s book seems to eclipse its rivals in losing readers: All five of the passages that readers on Kindle have highlighted most are in the first 26 pages of a tome that runs 685 pages. The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Amer…

7 examples of lazy leadership practices

Image Ron Edmondson Posted on July 22nd, 2014 Laziness is a sin.

“Whoever is lazy regarding his work is also a brother to the master of destruction.” (Proverbs 18:9)
It’s also annoying. And ineffective in leadership.

The fact is, however, that many of us have some lazy tendencies when it comes to leadership. I do at times. This is as much an inward reflecting post as an outward teaching.

Please understand, I’m not calling a leader lazy who defaults to any of these leadership practices listed. The leader may be extremely hard working, but the practice itself — I’m contending — is lazy leadership.

Here are a seven examples of lazy leadership practices. See if any of them apply to your leadership.

Assuming the answer without asking hard questions. Or, not asking enough questions. It’s easier just to move forward sometimes — and sometimes it’s even necessary to move quickly — but many times we just didn’t put…

The Munus Triplex as a Paradigm for Preaching

John Calvin made much theologically of the three offices of Christ – prophet, priest, and king (the three main offices in the Israel of the Old Testament).I want to float another use of this Calvinistic distinctive in this post – as a paradigm for preaching.
A lingering question for preaching, at least for me, is how it proclaims the gospel it is authorized to declare.I guess I’m really pushing toward a biblical rhetoric for preaching.Part of the issue is the overall theological perspective one brings to preaching.By this I mean the fundamental distinction Paul makes in 1 Corinthians between a “theology of glory” and a “theology of the cross.”We must, I think, side with Paul and work out of the “theology of the cross” he develops and practices throughout his ministry.
Within that overall perspective, the munus triplex may offer a helpful way to move toward a rhetoric of preaching.It might look something like this:
Munus Triplex Prophet Priest King Aim of Preaching Helps people to engage, embr…

What the Surveys Don’t (And Can’t) Say About the Rise of the “Spiritual But Not Religious” Timothy K. Snyder It all begins with “survey says….”
The pollsters now regularly tell us that religion is on the decline and commentators can’t say enough about the so called, “Spiritual, but not Religious” (or SBNR)—the now common moniker for many (but not all) of the religiously unaffiliated.

But analysts often misunderstand what the surveys actually tell us. Some overplay their hand and try to predict the future. Others fail to acknowledge that different surveys measure slightly different categories: “no preference,” “nothing in particular” and “spiritual but not religious” can’t easily be lumped together.

And yet others actually underplay the research. For instance, this past Friday, the NY Times‘ Mark Oppenheimer wrote about four new books on the SBNR. His final takeaway?
At the very least, we might conclude that “spiritual but not religious”isn’t necessarily vague …

The Cost of Apostleship

Image — July 16, 2014— 1 Comment
inShare 4 Email Print “I don’t know how you just talk to people like that, Chris.”

This subtly offensive statement was one I have heard a lot. For a little while, I hosted a weekly dinner where I invited some non-Christian friends from a nearby Starbucks to eat with a few from my church.

It didn’t go very smoothly. For these church friends, talking to people outside our church community was pretty hard. Some saw it as a challenge to grow. Others saw it as an unattainable “gift” I had.

“I just can’t imagine taking the risk of starting something.”

This one I hear all the time from pastors and teachers, searching through an ever shrinking pool for the perfect church job. These statements depict the reality of today’s church for so many. We are constituents and employees of the institution.

Many churches seem to have forgotten the two most basic impulses of an organism: reproduce and adapt.

Or t…

Luke’s Great Narrative on Mission


July 22, 2014 | By: 0 Comments
“One thing is clear to me: The temptation of power is greatest when intimacy is a threat.
“Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead. Many Christian empire-builders have been people unable to give and receive love.”
– Henri Nouwen, “In the Name of Jesus”+ Luke 10 has become paradigmatic in the missional shift: the disciples sent out before Jesus, sent empty-handed and vulnerable, sent into villages and towns two by two. The great commandment follows: we are to love God with all that we are, and our neighbours as ourselves. Then follows the story of the good Samaritan. Hmm. That shakes us out of our presuppositions that God is with the righteous few and not with the other. So much for a colonial style mission: We go as learners.+ Then follows the Mary-Martha story. Th…

Was the Gospel Based on Pagan Myths?

It’s an accusation that’s been around a long time.

Even in ancient times, critics of Christianity noticed some parallels between Christian beliefs and pre-Christian myths. In the late second century, a pagan philosopher named Celsus charged, “The Christians have used the myths of Danae and the Melanippe, of the Auge and Antiope in fabricating this story of virgin birth!” In more recent times, skeptical scholars such as Marvin Meyer and Robert Price have claimed close connections between the resurrection of Jesus and the myths of dying and rising deities that marked many pagan mystery religions.

In the simplest possible terms, here’s what these critics contend: The most marvelous claims in the Gospels—a miraculous birth, for example, as well as the idea of a deity who dies and rises again—are paralleled in pagan religions that predate Christianity; therefore, early Christians must have fabricated these miracles based on their knowledge of pre-Christian religions.

To be sure, there are