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Taking a Break and Asking for Prayer

Jun 28, 2015 | Trevin Wax

Stay-open-minded-in-your-dissertation-writingFriends and readers,

I am nearing the end of my doctoral studies. That’s the fun way of saying that I am at the beginning of my dissertation writing.

Plate-Spinning

For more than three years now, I’ve attended multiple seminars, written dozens of research papers, read hundreds of books and thousands of pages, and sifted through articles and volumes that deal in some way with my dissertation topic. Now, with my comprehensive exams behind me, I simply must focus my attention and energy on writing if I am ever going to finish this degree and make my small contribution to the academy.

Earlier this year, I tried to incorporate “dissertation-writing” as one of the many plates that I am spinning. That didn’t work so well. This particular plate is simply too heavy to spin with all the others. So, as I considered my editorial responsibilities at LifeWay, the launch of The Gospel Project Chronological, frequent travel and speaking opportunities, family relationships, and daily blogging, I came to the realization that I needed to set aside the blog in order to make significant progress on this project.

Every year from 2007-13, I took the month of July off from blogging. This year, I’ve chosen to take a blog sabbatical again. It is the only way I know how to devote the necessary attention to finishing my Ph.D studies, or at least getting me down the track to where the finish line is in view.

Eschatological Discipleship

The topic of my dissertation is “eschatological discipleship.” Following Jesus means understanding our times in light of the biblical vision of history and having the wisdom to make the right choices when the path ahead seems unclear.

Many gospel-centered folks are right to point out that the New Testament’s moral imperatives are often grounded in Christ’s finished work for us in the past. What we sometimes overlook, however, is how many of those moral imperatives also look forward to Christ’s return in the future. We are called to be “children of the day” in a world that knows only darkness.

The question that propels me forward is this:

What kind of discipleship is necessary to fortify the faith of believers so that we understand what time it is, we rightly interpret our cultural moment, and see through the false and damaging views of history and the future that are in our world?

That is the question I posed in my workshop at TGC this year: Discipleship in the Age of Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and Amazon.com: Grounding Believers in the Scriptural Storyline that Counters Rival Eschatologies. (The audio from the talk is available here.)

To be alert to our times is a gospel requirement, says Oliver O’Donovan:

To see the marks of our time as the products of our past; to notice the danger civilisation poses to itself, not only the danger of barbarian reaction; to attend especially not to those features which strike our contemporaries as controversial, but to those which would have astonished an onlooker from the past but which seem to us too obvious to question. There is another reason, strictly theological. To be alert to the signs of the times is a Gospel requirement, laid upon us as upon Jesus’ first hearers.

Please Pray

Thanks for bearing with me as I take some time off to do more research and writing in this area.

If you don’t mind, whenever you would have normally opened up Kingdom People in your email or clicked on a Twitter or Facebook link to my blog, I’d appreciate it if you would pray for me as I work. Pray that I will have wisdom, clarity, and the stamina needed to persevere.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue this degree, grateful for all the professors who have made an impact on my life, and grateful for the great number of resources to which I have access. This overflowing gratitude only reinforces my desire to steward well the gifts I’ve been given and to strengthen God’s people for the journey ahead.

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4 Questions Christians Should Ask About Cultural Engagement

Jun 27, 2015 | Trevin Wax

9781493400683In their book, Restoring All Things, John Stonestreet and Warren Cole Smith offer four questions intended to connect our actions with what we know to be true about the world from the biblical story:

1. What is good in our culture that we can promote, protect, and celebrate?

Christians believe that how God created the world was, in His own words, “good.” Even after the fall, much of this goodness, such as beauty and truth and human dignity, remains.

2. What is missing in our culture that we can creatively contribute?

Christians believe that humans were created to be creative. When something good is missing in a particular time and place, we should find ways to offer it to the world. God is glorified and the world is helped by properly ordered human creativity.

3. What is evil in our culture that we can stop?

God hates evil, and so ought we. Throughout history, courageous Christians have worked to stop that which destroys and deceives. We must do no less. It’s a basic requirement of loving our neighbors.

4. What is broken in our culture that we can restore?

Ultimately, we reflect the gospel most clearly when what has been damaged by sin is restored to God’s intended purposes.

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Top 10 Quotes from the Dissenting Justices on Same-Sex Marriage

Jun 26, 2015 | Trevin Wax

supremecourtatangle_01. ”Just who do we think we are?”

The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment… The Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are? - Chief Justice John Roberts

2. The majority’s reasoning applies with equal force to plural marriage.

It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. If “[t]here is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices,” why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise “suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children? If not having the opportunity to marry “serves to disrespect and subordinate” gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same “imposition of this disability,” serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships? - Chief Justice John Roberts

3. “To blind yourself to history is both prideful and unwise.”

The Court today not only overlooks our country’s entire history and tradition but actively repudiates it, preferring to live only in the heady days of the here and now. I agree with the majority that the “nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times.” As petitioners put it, “times can blind.” But to blind yourself to history is both prideful and unwise. - Chief Justice John Roberts

4. “People of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses. Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples… Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today. - Chief Justice John Roberts

5. “The majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate.”

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate. The majority offers a cursory assurance that it does not intend to disparage people who, as a matter of conscience, cannot accept samesex marriage. That disclaimer is hard to square with the very next sentence, in which the majority explains that “the necessary consequence” of laws codifying the traditional definition of marriage is to “demea[n] or stigmatiz[e]” same-sex couples… - Chief Justice John Roberts

6. “Everyone who does not share the majority’s ‘better informed understanding’ as bigoted.”

“It is one thing for the majority to conclude that the Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage; it is something  else to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s ‘better informed understanding’ as bigoted.” - Chief Justice John Roberts

7. “What really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial putsch.”

But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since… These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution. - Justice Scalia

8. “Potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice… Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty. - Justice Thomas

9. “This decision will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.”

Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent. - Justice Alito

10. “The majority facilitates the marginalization of many Americans who have traditional ideas.”

I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools… By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas. Recalling the harsh treatment of gays and lesbians in the past, some may think that turnabout is fair play. But if that sentiment prevails, the Nation will experience bitter and lasting wounds. - Justice Alito

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A God Who Wants Us

Jun 25, 2015 | Trevin Wax

jesus-handsIf Billboard ranked church songs, “Jesus Loves Me” would probably be #1 on the preschool chart. From the time kids can put two sentences together, they’re singing about Jesus’ love for them — love we learn about in the Bible, love that overcomes our weakness, and love that welcomes the “little ones” who belong to His family.

When the renowned theologian, Karl Barth, was asked to summarize his whole theology in one sentence, he replied: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Profound truth expressed in simple words.

Unfortunately, we can sometimes get so familiar with just the statement of God’s love that we miss the bigger picture of how this love is expressed.

God has demonstrated His love in sending His Son to die for us. But it’s important to ask an additional question: Why did He send His Son to die?

The Scriptures are clear that God wanted to bring us back to Himself, to reconcile us. Or to put it more simply: God wanted to be with us. He washed away our sin so He could welcome us into His presence.

God expresses love through His sacrificial actions in order to be with His people. Too many Christians get the first part of that truth (“God loves us”) and even the second part (“through His sacrificial actions”), but then miss the purpose (“in order to be with His people”). The result is that we believe God loves us, but we don’t think He likes us all that much.

Just like you probably have relatives who you “love” but don’t necessarily like being around, you might think that God loves you like a distant father, someone who tolerates your imperfections and chastises you for your mistakes. He shows you grace in letting you live in his house, but he doesn’t care to spend much time with you. Many of us have adopted this distorted picture of a God who loves us in the abstract, but who isn’t very fond of us personally.

Contrast the distorted image of distant father with the God of the Bible, who from the beginning demonstrates a powerful desire to be with His people:

  • In the Garden of Eden, God walked with His people in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8).
  • After He saved the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, God manifested His presence by leading them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21).
  • God commanded Moses to construct a tabernacle, a place where He could pour out His presence in the midst of His people (Ex. 25:8-9).
  • The Israelites often referred to God by His Name – Yahweh Shammah, which means “The Lord Is There” (Ezek. 48:35).
  • Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?” (Jer. 23:23).
  • When the Messiah was promised, the angel said His name should be called “Immanuel,” which means God with us (Matt. 1:23).
  • Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, so that God would be as real and present with us as Jesus was with His disciples (John 14:16-18).

Jesus-Continued-219x300This is not a God who loves in the abstract. This is a God who loves up close and personal. A God who wants to be near us.

This is an excerpt from the eight-week Jesus, Continued Bible Study co-written by me and J. D. Greear. For more information on the books and video, click here.

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Worth a Look 6.25.15

Jun 25, 2015 | Trevin Wax

Worth a Look MagnifyingKindle Deal of the Day: Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life? by Mike Wittmer. $2.99.

Michael Wittmer explains how to bring your human and Christian lives together. When you grasp God’s story, you’ll understand that not only is it possible to serve Jesus and still enjoy your life, but it’s the only way you can.

Russ Moore’s “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew about Southern Baptists:”

We are a missionary people, who want to see everyone — including people who hate us — reconciled to God through the gospel. That’s why, when I have reason to write about the group, I usually do so with the Westboro Baptist (sic) Church (sic). If I lived in a place called “Westboro,” I would probably add a third sic.

This is hilarious. Peter Enns: “Listen to What the Spirit Says to My Blog Commenters”

I know your works, your enthusiasm, and your persistence. I know some of you simply can’t wait to post your next comment, and I have seen how you endure patiently as you wait for the Author to remember he has “moderate comments” turned on so he can let your comment pass. Your reward will be great.

But I have this against you.

Some of you do not realize “moderate comments” is turned on, and you send very nasty not-at-all nice emails to the Author asking him what the deal is, and why he is so afraid to let your comment pass, and what is he trying to hide, and has he stopped torturing small animals.

Chris Martin reflects on recent news, and he notes how social media has become a tool with which we build and bulldoze:

When millions of angry people get behind a single cause via social media, it’s like putting millions of people at the wheel of a bulldozer. The majority vote decides where it turns, and you can’t really do anything to stop it. Some things deserve to get bulldozed, others probably don’t; that is, unless the majority feels they do.

Good stuff from Doug Sikkema on being haunted by nature in our secular age:

As we continue to respond to the world around us, we see that the immanent frame—the disenchanted world that has severed the transcendent—is cracked here; it has no satisfactory way to explain for this. But perhaps it’s here where the light can shine in as to what this natural world might be. Could the natural world, if we trust Paul’s epistle to the Romans and John’s gospel account, actually be the expressed language of a Creator? Could it, even more, be a summons?

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Tim Cook on Values in the Workplace

Jun 24, 2015 | Trevin Wax

timcookgwuniversityThis post is part of a series on several of this year’s notable Commencement speeches.

Today, we’re hearing from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who gave an address to the graduates at George Washington University.

Pursuing the Truth, Discovering Your Values

Cook begins his speech by sharing his personal journey of discovery, how he came to adopt the values that guide him in life. He mentions people who changed the world in various ways, as they engaged in pursuits drawn from deep conviction: Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan.

Next, Cook describes the dissonance of seeing heroes like King and Kennedy juxtaposed with George Wallace, the segregationist who hailed from Cook’s home state of Alabama. Wallace’s popularity in his home state led Cook to something of an intellectual crisis. When Cook saw how the textbooks in school downplayed the role of slavery in the Civil War, he decided he must look elsewhere to educate himself. This launched him on a pursuit of truth.

“So I had to figure out for myself what was right and true. It was a search. It was a process.”

I appreciate the way Cook describes this journey. His words are different than Colbert’s (“decide for yourself what is right and wrong”) in that he seems to be referring to “righteousness” and “truth” as something outside that must be discerned. It is something he is seeking, not something he is creating.

Cook goes on to mention how this process included “the moral sense that I’d learned from my parents, and in church, and in my own heart, and led me on my own journey of discovery.” In this picture, Cook is not the lone pursuer of truth, but one who is willing to listen to the people he respects.

To sum up this journey with other words, I’d say Cook’s goal was to own his values. Not content with simply inheriting values from others, Cook wanted to test them and come to be convinced of them for himself.

On What Basis Can I Judge?

Up to this point, we’ve seen Cook advocating (1) the pursuit of truth (what is right and wrong) and (2) owning your values for yourself.

What’s interesting is that in his account of meeting both Jimmy Carter and George Wallace within the space of a week, Cook can’t draw on anything other than his own values to condemn Wallace’s actions. It’s clear that he thinks Carter is the better man — Carter was right and Wallace was wrong; Carter united the country, while Wallace divided it. But then Cook makes an interesting comment:

Each had made a journey that led them to the values that they lived by, but it wasn’t just about their experiences or their circumstances, it had to come from within.

It’s fascinating to me to see Cook “take a side” so to speak, and then immediately shrug off the work of Wallace by saying, “But he was just living the values he believed in. They came from within.”

Cook has no objective basis by which to judge Wallace. He can think Wallace as wrong, but if Wallace was following his own internal compass and his own values, then Cook can’t really say much more. It’s illuminating to see how Cook has the noble desire to make a judgment call, but no external basis beyond his own values from which to do it.

The Purpose of Life as Self-Discovery

From there, Cook begins to talk about the purpose of life. We’ve seen in other speeches how often the purpose of life is summed up in discovering who you are. Cook goes in the same direction:

For you graduates, the process of discovering yourself, of inventing yourself, of reinventing yourself is about to begin in earnest. It’s about finding your values and committing to live by them. You have to find your North Star. And that means choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.

Note how Cook describes the journey of life: figuring out who you are, making yourself who you want to be, or changing yourself if you decide it’s time to be someone different. You find your values and live by them. That’s the “North Star,” and your ability to do this well is what carries the story of your life forward.

The earlier section about pursuing truth might have led us to believe that Cook thinks there is such a thing as objective truth, right and wrong, to be discovered — a North Star that is the same for everyone. But here, it seems clear that the North Star for one person may differ from another’s.

This leads to an interesting question for society. How do people with vastly different values and North Stars coexist and thrive together? We are a country with a burgeoning immigrant population, with secularists living alongside Muslims, gay rights advocates doing business with evangelical Christians, and gentrified neighborhoods that go back and forth between peace and unrest. How can we have a common life together when our reference points for morality and values are so vastly different? That is the question that takes us beyond one’s individual North Star.

Integrating Values and Work

The most interesting part of Cook’s speech is the integration of one’s values and one’s work. Cook mentions Steve Jobs as someone who brought together the values of personal life with the values of work. No compartmentalization here. Your values in one area ought to be aligned with your values in another.

I knew who I was in my personal life, and I kept my eye on my North Star, my responsibility to do good for someone else, other than myself. But at work, well I always figured that work was work. Values had their place and, yes, there were things that I wanted to change about the world, but I thought I had to do that on my own time. Not in the office.

That dichotomy didn’t cut it for Jobs, and it’s not sufficient for Cook either. At the end of the speech, he once again encourages the graduates to live by their values and to make sure their work lines up with them:

Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it’s just a job, and life is too short for that. We need the best and brightest of your generation to lead in government and in business. In the science and in the arts. In journalism and in academia. There is honor in all of these pursuits. And there is opportunity to do work that is infused with moral purpose. You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well. It’s a false choice, today more than ever.

Cook may be rich, but the pursuit of riches is not the main element of his business. He sees his company as making the world a better place. What gets him up in the morning is not a job; it’s a calling.

This infusion of “moral purpose” into the workplace is something that Christians have been encouraging for a long time. It’s not just a job; it’s a living out of one’s values by what you do.

But again, the question for the future is: what happens when these values collide? When the moral purpose is expressed through a boycott? When one business owner’s values lead to supporting causes that another business owner finds morally repugnant?

These are the questions that this generation will encounter in business. And Christians will need to be filled with wisdom in how we answer the questions of a pluralist society.

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Worth a Look 6.24.15

Jun 24, 2015 | Trevin Wax

Worth5Kindle Deal of the Day: The Associate Pastor: Second Chair, Not Second Best$0.99.

Like the second-chair position in an orchestra, a well-prepared associate pastor complements and harmonizes with the senior pastor’s ministry to create an exquisite symphony.

The Gospel Project Chronological will launch this fall in small groups and Sunday School classes across the country and around the world. Here are 8 things to know about the free preview you can access:

Starting in the fall of 2015, more than 750 thousand people will study God’s story throughThe Gospel Project Chronological each week in churches and communities around the world. Right now, you can get a free sneak peak of this resource but before you do, here are 8 things you should know about the preview.

I’ve written about the Swedish experiment to move beyond gender. Now, The Washington Post reports on how other countries in Europe are following a similar trajectory:

Advocates in Europe are taking increasingly aggressive action regarding “gender mainstreaming,” or the erasing of lines between the sexes. They are pressing for policies and laws ensuring that everything from bathrooms to boardrooms to street signs are gender neutral.

I appreciated these thoughts from Dan McConchie on the only path to societal renewal:

The church, having turned in to itself in so many places, no longer provides the moral yardstick by which people measure cultural norms. While we must continue to stand for truth and religious freedom, it is not enough to get us back to a path of societal renewal. We must also return to the basics of personal holiness and care for the physically, morally, and spiritually destitute.

Josh Hedger on building relationships with internationals:

The church I am planting is located in a community that is rich with international students and culture. The university that is just a few blocks from our building has over 800 international students from over 120 countries on campus. There are thousands of Iraqis, Saudis, Africans, and Indians living in our community as well. One of our desires as a church is to be used by God to share the gospel with the international community in our own backyard.

Here are 4 tips to help you build relationships with internationals.

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Book Notes: The Silencing / A Soldier of the Great War / Boys on a Boat

Jun 23, 2015 | Trevin Wax

The-Silencing-Powers-CVR-v10-PERSTHE SILENCING
How the Left is Killing Free Speech
by Kirsten Powers

Fox News contributor, Kirsten Powers, who considers herself a liberal is concerned about the rise of the “illiberal left” — people who silence opposing viewpoints by delegitimizing others and making them examples for the rest of the society. Powers calls this “repressive tolerance” that sees the curbing of freedom of expression as a necessary strategy in pursuit of ideological goals.

This is a fascinating book that documents the illiberal left’s “campaign of coercion and intimidation.” Powers makes her case by grouping these offenses under different headings: “delegitimizing dissent,” “intimidation,” intolerance on university campuses, and “illiberal feminist thought police.” The chapter on Fox News seemed superfluous to me, as if Powers wanted to defend her employer. But overall, I hope conservatives and liberals alike read this book, and that more true liberals like Powers will speak out against the illiberal left.

515grzUKT0LA SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR
by Mark Helprin

This was the novel I took with me on vacation this year, after seeing Andy Crouch speak of it highly. It is a beautifully written book that takes you on a journey from the villas of Rome to the trench warfare of World War I. Helprin crafts the story in such a way as to offer us a view into the various aspects of that awful war: from the fate of deserters, to the trials of prison camp, and the bureaucracy of government officials.

The novel assumes the later idea that WWI was an unnecessary war and that soldiers did their duty without really believing in their cause. This is surely inaccurate, as recent research by Philip Jenkins has pointed out. But the novel itself is breathtaking in its scope, vivid in its imagery, and satisfying as an account of one man’s obsession with beauty in a harsh and ugly war.

911Dwy1ho0L._SL1500_THE BOYS IN THE BOAT
9 Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown

Another vacation read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the difficult childhood of Joe Rantz and his grit and determination to make it to the 1936 Olympics with eight other men on a rowing team. Brown adds drama to the account by switching back and forth between the Americans’ journey to Berlin and Germany’s strategy for using the Olympics as cover for their increasingly violent measures of silencing dissent.

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Worth a Look 6.23.15

Jun 23, 2015 | Trevin Wax

Worth6Kindle Deal of the Day: Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing by Andrew Walker & Eric Teetsel. $2.99.

It is time to restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love. It is time to recognize the time for defending the institution of marriage has passed. Sadly, for far too many, the marriages they know are not worth defending. Instead, Christians must take up the mission to renew and rebuild a culture that values marriage and family.

Good counsel from Wesley Parker on why a pastor’s exemplary life should include confession of weakness:

In 1 Peter 3:1-3 the apostle Paul exhorts fellow under-shepherds to be “examples to the flock.”  The question that needs to be asked at the end of the day is, “examples of what?” Are we to be examples of moral conquest and overcoming of sin alone? Or are we – much more so – to be examples of the reality of an imperfect life lived out before a holy righteous God who has qualified us, by His grace alone, to be a part of His family?

As a dad, I can relate to these — 6 Leadership Lessons from Being a Father:

Though I have an immense amount of growing to do as a leader, the Lord has used the experience of parenting to develop me. Here are 6 leadership lessons from being a father.

Kate Shellnutt reports on Sunday services at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church:

This included Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the site of last Wednesday’s massacre, where Gillison welcomed members, guests, and media, saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Tucked away in the back row of the balcony, part of me wondered, “Rejoice? Right now? On this day?” I was overruled by the 500-plus crowd below, who shouted along with him.

H. B. Charles lists 5 questions to ask of the biblical text:

It is time to study the word of God. You pray for illumination (Psalm 119:18). You select a passage of scripture to study. You then… This is where many people get stumped. Every time. They come to the text with good intentions. But they do not have a clear process for properly understanding the text.

To get the right answers in your study of scripture, you must ask the right questions. This is called inductive Bible study. Here are five fundamental questions to ask as you study a passage of Scripture.

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