WOW, there are some game-changer reads in this week’s line-up.
Ready? Set? GO!
Abigail Rine’s essay What is Marriage to Evangelical Millenials? raised some really excellent questions about the presumptions people bring to discussions about marriage (particularly why we marry at all). Do not miss, on this topic, Matthew Lee Anderson’s Why I Am Opposed To Gay Marriage: a masterfully written and very thought-provoking treatment on the place of eros in marriage. Anderson covers why we marry, why the sexual chemistry factor (eros) matters, how it calls us to faithfulness, and how a beautiful and true vision of marriage (the “I will always love you” kind, with eros being a feature throughout) affects the way we conduct all our conversations. It’s a lengthy essay but well worth your time. Even if you don’t want to read the application to same-sex relationships: READ SECTIONS 1-4 on love, sex and marriage.
Sheryl Sandberg’s tribute to her husband, Dave, who died tragically last month, and to the community who are standing with her as she wades through grief and love is profound and profoundly beautiful:
“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.”
Edward Schlosser (a pseudonymous name) wrote an eye-opening piece from his perspective as a liberal college professor, who has become terrified of his liberal students. This piece is worth reading not just by college students and educators, but for all who engage in online discussion, because he writes about the changing culture of the “politics of personal testimony, in which the feelings of individuals are the primary or even exclusive means through which social issues are understood and discussed.” I am not a college student, but I can see patterns of what Schlosser describes on the internet: people presenting challenging ideas are increasingly viewed as threatening people.
It’s not just that students refuse to countenance uncomfortable ideas – they refuse to engage them, period.
Steve McAlpine’s observations on Stage Two Exile in Western Christianity are worth reading if you have read, grieved, brainstormed or prayed over how we can “do church” better in the world in which we live. To set the context, he describes “Stage One Exile” this way:
Cafes were taken over for morning conversations between up and coming exilic leaders; pubs were used for exilic church; MacBooks were bought in bulk; and emerging/missional trailblazers employed coffee quality as a spiritual boundary marker, with a zeal that would have made any adherent of Second Temple Judaism weep with recognition.
In Exile Stage One the prevailing narrative was that the Christian church was being marginalised, Christendom was over, the church needed to come up with better strategies to strip away the dross, and all of this in order to reconnect Jesus with a lost world.
This article is peppered with wisdom, laugh-out-loud tongue in cheek, and some really deep-thinking observations with massive implications for our approach to church and engaging in culture.
Alastair Roberts kicked off this week’s discussion of the Saltshaker blog with a conversation about The Eternal Subordination of the Son, Social Triniarianism and Ectypal Theology. Yes, I know: the title is terrifying, and yes, I know: Alastair is incredibly clever and it is intimidating to read things like this. BUT…. this post is fascinating because it summarizes a critique of theology which is based on the supposed nature of relationships within the Trinity and then seeks to apply them in human relationship (e.g. The trinity live in community, so we should too, or the Father is a King-figure, so healthy communities should have a King, or—in the case of the gender discussions—the Son submits to the authority of the Father, so women should submit to men because this “reflects the Godhead”.) I’ve heard a myriad arguments based on this kind of thinking before, and this article blew a hole in it for me. I’m still processing.
I loved this story of 5th grade boys who spotted bullying and took action.
This is fascinating: a ground-breaking study where they have found a missing link between the brain and immune systems – a finding which has HUGE implications for conditions such as MS, Alzheimers, and even autism.
“In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist.”
Scott Saul’s essay on The Most Honest People In The World, And Why We Need Them was a refreshing and needed read (hint: it’s children.)
Micha Boyett’s reflections on pregnancy are poignant and important: ‘As Long as the Baby’s Healthy’… But What If He’s Not? No matter what, we need to be prepared to receive the children God gives us. I just love Micha’s heart and her writing.
The Narrowback Slacker’s thoughts on How I limited screen time by offering my kids unlimited screen time is DEFINITELY something I plan to consider with our kids in the years to come.
This guy is crocheting food-shaped hats: both random and hilarious.
This delighted my LEGO-loving children no end:
And, I have to post this Dear 16-year Old Me video. I am crazy obsessive about this. So important:
From me this week?
I have a post over at the wonderful SheLoves magazine on the Surprising Wisdom of Ants:
If you had told me 25 years ago that I would one day order a package of ants in the mail, I would have laughed in disbelief.
But I did not know, 25 years ago, that there were such things as ant farms: miniature terrariums where you could observe a colony making their subterranean labyrinths. I did not know, 25 years ago, that I would have two small boys with an irrepressible love of multi-legged creatures.
How could I have known that, late one night—bundled under blankets and bulky expectations for the perfect “boy” birthday—I would click “buy now” for an online order of a space-age looking ant farm, and one small vial of harvester ants? (read the rest here)
I shared some thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), gender reassignment surgery and how we respond here, if you’re interested.
And on the blog: a tribute to two of the most inspiring students I’ve ever worked with (and to you, the invisible hero in our midst).
Thanks for reading!
Photo Credit: Seven Pegs, by Anders Adermark (Flickr Creative Commons)