Good morning folks, I hope the week was a good one. Here are the books, news items, and articles I found most interesting.
First, the shooting in Las Vegas is on everyone’s mind, so I want to link here to a column written by Al Mohler on the subject of “evil” in light of the shooting. One excerpt especially caught my attention:
Evil is a fact, too. And evil is a theologicalcategory. The secular worldview cannot use the word with coherence or sense. The acknowledgement of evil requires the affirmation of a moral judgment and a moral reality above human judgment. If we are just accidental beings in an accidental universe, nothing can really be evil. Evil points to a necessary moral judgment made by a moral authority greater than we are — a transcendent and supernatural moral authority: God.
Mohler also mentions that one of the characteristics of evil is that it often seems random, and nonsensical. But because we are moral creatures, we necessarily think in those terms – as we should. Lots to ponder and pray about here. One thing I’ve noticed recently though: Our reaction to natural disasters and terrible shootings showcases humanity at its best and worst – but what we notice and how people react is very basically human. Hollywood and liberals in our college classrooms may try to rewrite what it means to be human and may claim there are no real moral categories, but in the wake of a disaster, we don’t find anyone claiming anything of the sort. That is because to do so would be to assert something so insensitive and ridiculous that they’d be booed down and shamed by the media.
It would be wise to use what we learn in the wake of the evils of disaster to combat the evils of mis/disinformation flooding our televisions and classrooms today.
Moving on…I don’t think I got to link to this last week but it is excellent: Using Scripture to Pray Over Your Children.
Oddly enough, the Village Voice had a fascinating article this week called, ‘Keepers of the Secrets’ …excerpt:
I was told that the most interesting man in the world works in the archives division of the New York Public Library, and so I went there, one morning this summer, to meet him.
NOTE: ChristianAudio.com has Sinclair Ferguson’s ‘The Whole Christ’ audiobook for free this month.
This was excellent as well: God Is with You in Your Panic Attack (h/t Derek S.)
Also, I wanted to link to this story from Politico called, ‘How We Found Tom Price’s Private Jets’. Not because it’s such a fascinating read, but because every day I get newsletter compilations from Politico (and others) and I continue to be shocked at how often they make the news about themselves. Here’s a note to my friends in the media: you are violating one of the most basic rules of journalism! The news isn’t about you! This may not seem like a particularly egregious example but for me, it’s just the latest in a serious of nausea-inducing headlines that make my head involuntarily shake with dismay…of course, I grew up the son of a journalist (a real one) – we watched movies like Broadcast News, where Aaron Alman invariably would have sarcastically derided these showboats by yelling at the TV or the Paper with a witty, yet stinging, comment (A lot of alliterations from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!). End Rant.
Speaking of journalistic obsessions, this week all the rage was “bump-stocks” and I’m not linking to any of their “investigative” articles, but I am linking to a press release from Cong. Adam Kingsinger that talks about efforts to tighten restrictions on them in the wake of Las Vegas. I will just note that a good friend of mine who has helped train me for self-defense shooting, says that he is baffled why these things are still legal at all (and that’s coming from a huge 2nd Amendment guy).
Major News Item: Jimmy Kimmel Produces Official Document Confirming He Is Nation’s Moral Authority. I knew it! ….was only a matter of time!
Actually – here is a real news item that I’m thankful for: Trump Administration Rolls Back Obama Rule on Birth-Control Coverage
More nonsense: Farewell, Valedictorian: High Schools Drop Tradition of Naming Top Student …. not even sure you need to read the article…just shake your head and move along!
I can’t believe I’m linking to scummy Slate…but this is cool: The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See. (h/t my Kate)
Intriguing: Musk: Tesla can rebuild Puerto Rico power grid
I read a few interesting books this week. First, I read the latest book by Blake White called ‘God’s Chosen People: Promised to Israel, Fulfilled in the Church’, and for those who’ve never thought much about the nature of the OT and NT and God’s people across the ages, this is a good introductory volume. Blake is definitely becoming a better writer (I laughed out loud a few times), and while he I wish he would have slowed down a few times and been a little more thorough, the book definitely moved quickly apace and was an easy read (something of a virtue for theologians).
I also finished Zack Eswine’s book The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus. Really good book here. Worth reading for all church leaders – and for those who aren’t, its an interesting and thought-provoking look inside the mind and life of a young pastor. Eswine is a bit of a rambler, I was lost at times structurally, but the content was excellent.
Lastly, I read Arnold Kling’s The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across the Political Divides. It was thoughtful but too short; a good discussion starter, and probably required reading for anyone thinking about talking politics around the office water cooler.
Currently working through (among others): Heroes: From Alexander the Great & Julius Caesar to Churchill & de Gaulle, The Vanishing American Adult, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History, Henry V, and David Copperfield.
That’s it! I hope you enjoy your weekend!