A La Carte (April 23)

There are just a couple of fairly minor Kindle deals for you to consider today.

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(Yesterday on the blog: We Are All Theologians)

It Is Well

Writing for WORLD, Janie Cheaney does a great job telling the story of Horatio Spafford who wrote “It Is Well.” But be warned, once you learn the rest of the story, you can’t unlearn it!

Reducing the Stumbling Block before THE Stumbling Block

It’s important to remove the “stumbling blocks” that can keep unbelievers from truly hearing the gospel. “We all put stumbling blocks before unbelievers can get to the stumbling block of the cross. Some of these are beyond our control, but others are within our powers of adjustment. The way we appear, our communication styles, attitudes, actions, and histories affect what others ‘hear’ long before they hear the gospel. The faster we recognize this truth, the better we can prepare for for effective proclamation.”

No Children Please, We’re ‘Birth Strikers’

The National Post covers a trend that seems to come and go–people who believe the moral thing to do is to refuse to have children. “Interest in halting procreation for the sake of the planet is growing. Population Matters, a charity that addresses the effect of population size on the environment, has seen its online traffic and social media following soar, with a Facebook post on going child-free reaching four million people.”

Notre Dame and the Two Kinds of Secularism

Gene Veith: “France has been especially aggressive in its embrace of secularism, to the point of forbidding not just teachers but students from wearing religious symbols–whether Muslim headscarfs or Christian jewelry–in public schools. And yet the French are pouring out their hearts lamenting the Notre Dame fire.”

Algorithms Made Me Do It?

I enjoy it (and am honored) when bloggers tee off things I’ve written to explore new aspects of a topic. That’s the case here. “Algorithms don’t know the depths of our souls, but they keep us coming back. They keep placing content in front of us that draws out the sinful ‘old man’ we are trying to put to death.”

Measuring the Filter Bubble: How Google Is Influencing What You Click

This article helpfully shows how Google is not just reporting search results, but also influencing them through the “filter bubble.” “Put simply, it’s the manipulation of your search results based on your personal data. In practice this means links are moved up or down or added to your Google search results, necessitating the filtering of other search results altogether. These editorialized results are informed by the personal information Google has on you (like your search, browsing, and purchase history), and puts you in a bubble based on what Google’s algorithms think you’re most likely to click on.”

The Bombs on Easter Sunday: Five Ways to Pray for Sri Lanka

Here, from Ajith Fernando, are five ways to pray for Sri Lanka. “The Zion church in Batticaloa, where at least 28 were killed (including many children), is a vibrant church at which I have preached several times. The pastor was out of the country at the time of the bomb blast. The sister of our Youth for Christ leader in Eastern Sri Lanka, Thamendran, was worshiping there and is fighting for her life in the hospital, with serious head injuries.”

Flashback: The Next Frontier in Pornography

Just like video porn proved a quantum leap over magazines, VR porn seems likely to leave mere videos as a quaint relic of the past. If standard on-screen porn is Aspirin, VR porn is fentanyl in all its power and addictiveness. So let’s consider this our warning.

Our sexuality is not our soul, marriage is not heaven, and singleness is not hell. —Jackie Hill Perry