BE READY!

There are events in everyone’s life which make a deep impact.  One for me occurred while sitting in a Sunday School class.  I was a young Christian at the time just beginning my seminary studies.
The class was being taught by a likeable Dallas seminary graduate.  He had been a pastor for many years.  There were about seventy of us in the class.  Yes, I do recall well many of these details and you will soon know why!
Our teacher was speaking on that controversial issue of whether the full humanity of Jesus demands that He could have sinned.  Jesus obviously did not sin, but does real temptation carry with it the possibility to sin?
Our teacher asked if there were any questions and here is where I learned a big lesson.  A Cal Tech graduate who is a diligent student of Scripture (reminds me of my dear friend, Dr. David McCoy) raised his hand.  The Cal Tech scientist graciously, but meticulously started to show the flaws in the Dallas Seminary grad’s teaching.  It became painfully clear that the pastor had not prepared, not just for that particular lesson, but more broadly had not put preparation as a high goal upon leaving seminary. 
The atmosphere in the room was tense, even awkward.  The winsomeness of both teacher and inquisitor quelled the tension a bit, but only a bit! 
So if you are called to teach don’t become so enamored with the platform of influencing people that you fail to prepare!

CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-EVANGELICAL

“…I went to Evangelical churches fifty-two Sundays a year for the better part of 19 years, and I cannot for the life of me remember once when the name of a theologian was mentioned…
Instead of an intellectual tradition, it is a church built on emotion.  Every sermon is a revival stump speech about the evils of the world and the need for salvation.”
The rest of this short, but extremely important piece is here: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/ex-evangelical-pro-gay-millennial/

TRINITARIAN OR UNITARIAN?

The picture above is of Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord, Massachusetts. 
Last year, I was in the Boston area on two different occasions.  I spent some time in Concord with our youngest son, Chris.  These visits got me thinking about the whole split of the Unitarians from the Congregationalists.  There are many Unitarian and Congregational churches in Massachusetts, and several look similar from the outside. 
One Congregational church in Concord makes their theological allegiance clear by calling themselves Trinitarian Congregational Church.
Update: I looked at Trinitarian’s doctrinal statement and it is not so clear what they actually believe about the trinity!

HOW TO BE DEEP

“We’re not only obsessed with happiness. The New York Times columnist argues that we focus on accumulating power, material wealth, and professional achievements instead of cultivating the kinds of qualities that will be discussed at our funerals. As Brooks phrases it, we emphasize ‘resume virtues’ over ‘eulogy virtues.’”

Wise reflections:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/07/david-brooks-5-step-guide-to-being-deep/373699/

BOOKS(TORE): GOING THE WAY OF THE DODO BIRD?

“We still don’t know the long-term effects of reading e-books vs. traditional hard copy books. Some studies show that people read slower on dedicated e-readers, and those who use tablets or computers or iPhones have a different reading experience, being constantly distracted by text messages, emails, Facebook, and other interruptions. Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains explores the changes in brain function that may result. Hyperlinked, multi-tasking readers do not have the same “deep reading” experience, and are less likely to store what they read in long-term memory.

In short, we face a revolution in reading not unlike the one Gutenberg introduced almost 700 years ago. Nowadays authors are coached on “building your brand” more than on improving their writing. Publishers care more about website stats and Twitter followers than the quality of an author’s work.

Frankly, I’m glad I’m as old as I am. It’s been fun living through publishing’s golden age. I’ll happily stick with the “deep reading” experience. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than browsing through the books in my office. They’re my friends—marked up, dog-eared, highlighted, a kind of spiritual and intellectual journal—in a way that my Kindle reader will never be.”

Read the rest here: http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2014/july/farewell-to-golden-age.html?paging=off

MARRIAGE WISDOM

I am married to the woman in the picture above.  Doreen is wise in many ways.  In light of me counseling some married folks recently, Doreen shared her insight with me:

“Our jobs as wives is not to make our husbands who we want them to be.  Rather, it’s to encourage them to become who God has created them to be.”

Seems like pretty clear counsel, but how many of us follow it?  And by the way, this also applies to us husbands!