Weekend Reading: April 29, 2017

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!  Let’s get right to it…

First off, there was a major story that many might have missed this week about the way in which Obama administration officials (read John Kerry) dealt our country a serious blow during the Iranian nuclear negotiations.  Namely, they released many folks back to Iran that we were detaining for terrorism-related reasons. Apparently, over the last 15 months, the release of these people has had further reverberations inside the intelligence community.  Politico’s in-depth investigation can be found here, and I’ll warn you that it is LONG.  So you might want to grab another cup of coffee before you pull that one up…

Continuing on with the foreign policy theme, there’s a story by Bloomberg out there that details how the fleet we’re sending into the Korean theater isn’t equipped with the capability to shoot down their missiles.  This seems…odd. But we DO have such firepower sitting pretty close to Japan, which can be mobilized pretty quickly I’d imagine. The reason I link to this is not to highlight some policy blunder (I’m not pretending to question a strategic military decision), but because the story has a lot of useful information about what kinds of weaponry we have in the region, and what our capabilities are.

Science…(sort of)…lots this week about Bill Nye. He’s (again) saying controversial things.  I suppose to just get attention? Well, just an FYI, I think it’s helpful to keep an eye on these kinds of popular debates over science.  I saw that Justin Taylor over at Gospel Coalition also wrote up something on the nature of arguments and how to disentangle them – and he used the global warming argument (that Nye has highlighted again) as an example.  It’s not interesting enough to link to, just know that Nye is creating enough waves that it’s sparking a wider dialogue out there…

Oh NO!  Jaws Of Life Needed To Remove Worship Leader’s Skinny Jeans

TECH: Is this creepy, or is it just reality? (h/t Lisa W.)

Tech/Science that was buzzing around social media this week: This Fluid-Filled Bag Lets Lambs Develop Outside the Womb. Humans Are Next. (h/t Katie W.) I’m unsure what to think of things like this without extensive thought. We should obviously be excited about any opportunities to save the lives of babies. Yet on the other hand, the more we dig into stuff like this, the more we are challenged by tough ethical questions. What amazes me the most is how many Christians simply skip over the latter assume that the ends justify the means.  And, maybe they do in this case. I’m still noodling this. But we need to be thinking carefully about how we approach these kinds of issues – not only for ethical concerns but because many of us have had situations where this tech could have saved a lost child.  I believe we can be both thoughtful, and sensitive at the same time, so long as we are committed to the fundamental principles of loving our neighbor, and not working to displace God from His sovereign creative work.

And then there’s this: 911 call: Man wants police dog to search for stolen heroin…oh man…

Politics….from the New York Times:  At a ‘Unity’ Stop in Nebraska, Democrats Find Anything But.  This is an interesting look inside the Democratic Party right now. There are a ton of lessons to be gleaned from this, not only if you’re a Republican, but also if you’re a Christian considering worldview implications.

History: Ten Common Misconceptions About George Washington

MORE History: Why Did People Stick One Hand in Their Jackets in Old Photographs?

Good Stuff: God Plans for the Unexpected and Inconvenient.  Tasty excerpt:

I don’t have resident in me the resources to meet the needs around me. Our lack tempts us to avoid others’ needs rather than expose our insufficiency.

Theology: Implications of Definitive Atonement.   This is from Jonathan Gibson, who has already compiled a massive book on this topic (which I have enjoyed for a few years now).  It’s more of an anthology than a book you’d read straight through. Nonetheless, it’s really thought-provoking, and for you theology nerds it’s probably worth getting.

Books…In case you hadn’t noticed, I may have spent more time on reading books this year than reading articles. At least that’s the way it feels to me. This week I’ve been continuing to work through Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’, and finished David McCullough’s ‘Mornings on Horseback’, which is a biography of the first half/part of Teddy Roosevelt’s life. It doesn’t get into his Presidency, but it does give a good sense for his family, who he was, what he was all about. It is especially helpful in understanding what were the major shaping forces in his life. Very fascinating and well worth it.

I’m also probably 40% into Phil Knight’s autobiography ‘Shoe Dog’ and am really enjoying it thus far. He really started this shoe business from scratch. His exploits are the kinds of things entrepreneurs will eat up. I finished another time through Rutherford’s ‘The Loveliness of Christ’, which is a small book, and is essentially a compilation of quotes from his letters, and is highly worthwhile.  I don’t recall mentioning before that I read The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It’.  It was well worth the read (h/t Nick N.)! These two young guys spend a lot of time interviewing older, wiser men and women who describe their journey in ministry – they are essentially exploring what J.I. Packer terms ‘Weakness is the Way’ (and they interview him about this book in the first chapter!) It’s really good. 

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy your weekend!

PJW

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