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A La Carte (December 26)

wednesday

I trust you enjoyed your Christmas, however you spent it! We had a mostly-quiet and very enjoyable day marked by family, thoughtful gifts, and good food. It was a pleasure.

Today’s Kindle deals include all kinds of good books you may want to look at.

What We Lose if We Ditch the Virgin Birth

Stephen Kneale tells some of what we’d lose if we ditch the virgin birth. “You don’t have to look very far to find people telling you that the virgin birth is really unimportant, fatuous theology. We don’t need to believe that sort of unscientific nonsense these days, they will tell you. After all, the Hebrew word translated ‘virgin’ can legitimately mean ‘young woman’ so we’re not textually bound the view. We can readily dispense with the virgin birth, our credibility in the eyes of the world can go up a little and we can maintain the main shape of the Christmas narrative.”

Did We Finish Any Good Work This Year?

“If you’re also looking back on the year wondering if any of the work you finished meant something, know that, by God’s grace, it did. Today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and through the end of the ages, he will continue to complete the work he started until his full glory is revealed and he cries out, It is finished!” I guess this one is largely for the moms out there.

Amazon’s 4-Star Stores Are All About Customers’ Data

It doesn’t surprise me to hear that shopping at Amazon’s new 4-star data-driven stores is a kind of soulless experience. “The concept is intriguing: brick-and-mortar stores, stocked with products with Amazon.com ratings of four stars and above. In addition to highly rated products, the 4-star stores also carry new and trending items and top sellers, and customers can test out Amazon’s electronic devices and smart home accessories.”

The Forgotten Part of the Christmas Story

It’s not too late for another Christmas reflection, is it? “Behind the familiar scenes of shepherds and wise men so common at this time of year is one so horrific it often gets overlooked and under preached. Many would not even consider reading it or telling their children that this was also part of the story that went on during the time of Jesus’ infancy.”

The Journalist and the Preacher

Here’s an interesting little article on self-disclosure, especially for preachers.

What Exactly Is Short-Term Mission?

Different people mean different things by short-term mission. Here’s a proposal about what the term could or should mean. “It seems to me that we need criteria for distinguishing between short and long-term mission that are more objective than the ones we are using at the moment. Here is my proposal…”

‘Canada’s Warren Buffett’ Drives His Own Pickup Truck

I don’t even really know why, but for some reason I rather enjoyed this profile of the man they call “Canada’s Warren Buffet.”

Flashback: Sex on The Silver Screen — Outsourcing Depravity

When we watch sex on the silver screen, we are asking unbelievers to behave in ways we would never tolerate among ourselves. Yet we tolerate it so we can enjoy entertainment we otherwise couldn’t enjoy. We outsource our depravity so we can live within the letter of the law, even while violating the spirit.

Humans are needy by design. Will we abandon the myth of independence and seek God?

—Ed Welch

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