Happy Saturday! This is your weekend reading; a list of my favorite blogs, videos, books and more from throughout the week (with some editorializing from time to time!). Something that hit me this week during a discussion with a weekend reader was that you may not realize this is actually a blog post, and not simply an email. You can see the original online versions by visiting http://www.pjwenzel.com.
Speaking of feedback…I’m actually looking for some input from everyone. Right now I send this email in separate groups through my native email client, but the list of folks is growing and that’s becoming more onerous. I’ve stayed away from blast email services like Mail Chimp because I want you all to know that this is not some impersonal newsletter, but rather its something between friends, and that you can always respond back with thoughts. Anyway, let me know what you think about that, one way or another, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy the post…
The Washington Post had a story this week about how literary reading is on the decline. I’m unsure I buy the results wholesale, but there are some concerning trends here. They sort of bury this bit at the bottom, but I think its what was so thought-provoking:
A number of recentstudies have demonstrated that fiction — particularly literary fiction — seems to boost the quality of empathy in the people who read it, their ability to see the world from another person’s eyes. And good works of literature, particularly novels, can grant you direct access to another person’s mind — whether it be the mind of the author, or of one of their imagined characters — in a way that few other works of art can.
Over at Desiring God a post was written by one Paul Maxwell called ‘The Price Isn’t Quite Right’. If I were to talk directly with Mr. Maxwell I’d tell him that he needs an editor, and badly (its just not very well written). BUT, the topic fascinated me because he was taking aim at entrepreneurs and their love of money and success. I count myself as an entrepreneur, and I thought much of what Mr. Maxwell had to say was a good reminder. Here’s one of my favorite parts:
Do we have the luxury to believe that our hearts are money-love-repellent? “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me” (Hosea 13:6, NIV). “Entrepreneurs” don’t struggle with greed — we are tempted by all the satisfactions we pursue through monetary accumulation: safety, worthiness, love, comfort.
As Christians, it’s easy to be caught in an insane back-and-forth between feeling guilty for wanting money, and rabidly seeking financial gain. In that process, it becomes easier and easier to think that the laws of the market apply to God’s ways with us.
A little bit of brilliance by Kevin DeYoung this week: Stop the Revolution. Join the Plodders. There are some big things to digest before you even finish the first graph. But he hits his stride here:
My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without followthrough. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. We haven’t held a steady job or raised godly kids or done our time in VBS or, in some cases, even moved off the parental dole. We want global change and expect a few more dollars to the ONE campaign or Habitat for Humanity chapter to just about wrap things up. What the church and the world needs, we imagine, is for us to be another Bono—Christian, but more spiritual than religious and more into social justice than the church.
From beginning to end, DeYoung is on to something here. If you’re a Christian, being part of the church isn’t just “a good habit” or “socially responsible” or something to do on a Sunday to make you feel better. It ought to be part of the very oxygen that keeps you alive. I’ll go one step further than DeYoung and say that Christians ought to cultivate and experience (to some degree!) a desire for it, a need for it, and enjoyment of it.
This was really funny: Nice Trash Can! Let’s See What the Bears Think
The Presidential…this was all over the place this week: Inside the collapse of Trump’s D.C. policy shop. Lot’s to ponder here about how the campaign interacted with these folks, and the seemingly tenuous relationship between NYC and D.C. Others might wonder why all the work was done in the first place when it seems NYC wasn’t using it.
New York Times: Evangelicals Ignore G.O.P. by Embracing Syrian Refugees. I’m always interested in reading the depraved (and often very warped) perspective of the liberal media on Christian activity. But no matter what the writer was going for here, its cool to see the church being the church. What the author misses is that many Christians who don’t think its wise to have these refugees come to America (by-passing the years-long immigration line), will still serve them like we serve everyone else because they’re people created by God in His image.
SIDEBAR: There ought not to be division of mind here, and I don’t think there is (despite what the NYTimes may suppose). Christians – like many Americans – understand that its both unfair and potentially dangerous to allow a mass importation of refugees into this country. Yet, Christians follow a higher calling, even when politicians (read President Obama) do stupid and even lawless things. These truths go back to our nation’s founding in two ways. First, Christians recognize that there has always been a motive for coming to this great country – freedom and liberty. There Syrians aren’t coming here from a heart-swelling desire to assimilate into our great society. They don’t value our liberty, and they might even misunderstand it. Second, true Christians don’t see (ought not to see) a Syrian as someone less than human, less than an image bearer. Jesus radically broke down all national boundaries time and again in his teaching (think the Good Samaritan), and the church has always sought to make disciples of all people everywhere.
This is hilarious: Groggy, Bound Wayne Grudem Awakens In Warehouse To Discover Evil Twin Endorsed Trump In His Name. Don’t get all worked up Mr. and Mrs. Trump supporter, I’m not bashing the GOP nominee here, just too funny not to post!
Well that was quick……..Fox settles with Gretchen Carlson for $20 million, Greta Van Susteren departs.
Soooo….goooood……Treat Yourself to the Voice of God
Interesting: The McMansion’s day has come and gone
Spooky: Promoting Infanticide in Newsweek. Excerpt:
But beneath that veneer, the infanticide message is the same today as it was in the 1920s and 1930s. We ignore the approaching darkness at our own peril.
My buddy Ben sent this little gem along: Thank God For Your Job (Doesn’t Matter What Your Job Is!)
Creepy and Startling from CNN reporting on a story from Ohio: This is the devastating effect of heroin that police want you to see
I haven’t finished reading this yet, but its critical of Andy Stanley, so it must be good (I jest, I jest): Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism
In case you missed it, this was a huge financial story this week: Wells Fargo to Pay $185 Million Fine Over Account Openings.
Nate “sometimes I’m wrong, sometimes I’m right” Silver: Election Update: Clinton’s Lead Keeps Shrinking
Okay, I know there wasn’t a ton of politics in there today, but that’s all I have! I hope you enjoy the weekend!