Welcome to the weekend and to another edition of Weekend Reading. It was a super busy and notable week! Here are the stories I enjoyed the most…
The big news of the week was two-fold – the papal visit, and the sudden retiring of Speaker John Boehner. I can certainly appreciate the historic nature of the papal visit – it was an amazing thing to read about the logistics, and to be in DC the day the pope arrived – I saw first hand the higher level of security, and how many people were talking about the visit. In fact, a good friend who is Catholic went to the joint session of Congress and said it was ‘surreal’. But I was struck by how political the visit seemed. There were masses scheduled throughout the visit, of course, but in his address to Congress the Pope never mentioned the name of Jesus, or the Gospel, or really any tenants of Christianity. For a man who is supposed to be the leader of the worldwide Christian faith, this struck me as really odd at best, at worst, it was professional malpractice, evidence of personal cowardice, or worse, a sign that he isn’t truly a follower of Christ. No matter what your opinion, I think it’s a fair critique to say that it was a missed opportunity of gigantic proportions. Putting myself in his shoes, with world leaders watching and all the media hanging on my every mispronounced syllable, I would not miss the opportunity to share about the only One who can truly mend all the social ills the pope addressed. Think of what Paul did when he was given his chance to address powerful men – he didn’t address Roman oppression of Jews, human trafficking, economic or environmental issues – he shared the truth of the Gospel to such a point that the King had to respond, the dialogue coming to a head in the following way:
Paul: King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
Agrippa: “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”
Paul: “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (Acts 26:27-29 ESV)
Even though there were other important things Paul could have addressed, he was still focused on those principle faith issues that form the bedrock of our worldviews and determine the eternal destination of our souls.
Along similar lines, a few things to check out:. 1. This book would be helpful for those wondering the difference between the historic Catholic and Protestant faiths, and 2. The White House took serious heat from the liberal Editorial Board at the Washington Post for being more afraid of offending the President of China than the Pope. Considering the guest list, I agree.
The second big thing that occurred this week was an announcement by Speaker Boehner that he’ll be resigning from Congress next month, and I found this story the most interesting.
There were a series of other things to check out, and I’ll just mention them briefly here:
There’s a new 360 degree Star Wars video out, very cool! (h/t Alex W.)
Best article I didn’t get to finish: Why Police and Firefighters Still Can’t Talk to Each Other.
Book FYI: Tony Reinke and DG released a free ebook called ‘The Joy Project’ this week.
Yogi Berra passed away, and the NY Post has some of his best quotes here.
Speaking of serious trouble, Volkswagen is deep in it: “Volkswagen shares plunged by nearly 20 percent on Monday after the German carmaker admitted it had rigged emissions tests of diesel-powered vehicles in the United States.”
The Syrian refugee crisis continues…a story here talks about American involvement. One of the things that’s been on my mind is how the church is going to respond to this. I hope we see the church – at least in America – coming around these people in aid and comfort.
There was another prosecution from the Auschwitz death camp. This time a 90+ year old lady was prosecuted for her complicity in the death of several hundred thousand persons.
TECH NEWS: Is anyone surprised that Apple is looking into building their own car? I am actually really curious to see how they do with this, and hope they don’t give us some design that looks like the papal Fiat (no offense to that suped-up golf cart manufacturer). What is most interesting is that they have such an aggressive time line for their project…
Presidential Campaign Trail: Scott Walker dropped out of the race, and Ben Carson took fire for comments about Muslims. Carson’s basic argument seems to be that the beliefs contained within the laws of Islam come into conflict with the Constitution of the United States, therefore he would not advocate for a Muslim to be President unless they disavowed those particular conflicting laws. It’s an interesting argument, and anyone who has any familiar with the subject has to admit that it has truth merit to it, but I’m unsure as to why its truly relevant. I’m less certain why he continues to address it at all. Also, Joe Biden is one step closer to announcing his presidential run.
Pretty Cool Music: The debut of R.C. Sproul’s hymn album ‘Glory to the Holy One’ was some months back, but here the whole album performed in concert, is posted on YouTube.
David Mathis wrote a blog called, ‘Four Prayers for Bible Reading’ that was really encouraging to me this week.
Educational: A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article on how oil is transported (truck, boat, pipeline, train) now and how each area can improve.
More on the Fall of (modern day) Rome: Obama to nominate first openly gay service secretary to lead the Army.
Sports upset of the week: Ole Miss beats Bama. I found it interesting reading because I know next to nothing about Ole Miss, and what struck me above all else was how confident sounding the underdogs were after the game, and how the Alabama folks seemed to chalk it up to their own failure, as opposed to anything done right by a less-talented Ole Miss. Perspective is everything…
Lastly, the world seems to get more dangerous every day, and it doesn’t help that we let the fox guard the henhouse…(h/t Uri G.)
That’s it! I hope you enjoy your weekend!