A La Carte (June 7)

Good morning. Grace and peace be with you today.

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Let Passing Controversies Pass

“Practically, one question to ask ourselves as pastors — about our preaching schedule, about our meeting agendas, about our conversations — is, Who sets the agenda? Is it the world? Is it what’s trending on Twitter? Is it the never-ending flow of daily news that keeps us from giving our limited attention to what’s most important and enduringly relevant? Is it the latest error you’ve been made aware of in a famous church or Christian spokesmen far, far away? Or is it even the loudest, most immature voices in our own church?”

When Trust Isn’t Broken

We hear a lot of heartbreaking stories of trust being broken and children being harmed. It was a joy, then, to hear a story about trust that was not broken and a child who was blessed. “In a time when we are hearing almost daily about people who abuse others’ trust- adults and children, teachers and students, spiritual leaders and followers, I cling to this example of someone who gave so much more than what he was paid for and did not violate faith.”

‘This Should Be the Biggest Scandal in Sports’

If you’re at all into baseball, you will probably enjoy reading this one (though you’ll also be frustrated by it). Note: There are a couple of “bleeped out” bad words. (If you’d rather watch a video about it, try this … but ignore the gambling commercial.)

No U-turns Allowed

“We live in a plastic world—I’m not referring to the avalanche of plastic which fills our bins, or litters our beaches. I’m thinking of the idea that we can be what we want, change who we are, make and remake ourselves at will—in many ways we have become plastic people.” But the plasticity extends in only one direction…

Giving and Receiving God’s Word

“I was surprised recently to read of someone offering their support and sympathy but promising not to share Bible verses. My first thought was, ‘Isn’t the Bible our main source of comfort?’ Human comfort helps, but it only goes so far.”

Already Saved … Not Yet Finished

I enjoyed this reflection on several dimensions of the “already, not yet” paradigm.

How the Culture Wars Came for History

Some book reviews, like this one, go far beyond a mere review. (Note: a couple of bad words.) “Of course all societies have myths, and they always have done. But a myth isn’t the same as a lie, unless you are seriously going to argue that all societies since the Egyptians and the Persians have been barefaced liars.”

Flashback: Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Opportunity

…while work may not be exciting and may not be particularly fulfilling, I’ve been struck recently by how much our joy can be improved or eroded by people who work very ordinary jobs. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that ordinary people working ordinary jobs have an extraordinary number of opportunities to improve or erode our joy.

The evangelical church needs to stop preaching the false gospel of cultural identification. Don’t spend all your time trying to figure out how to be just like the next generation. Be yourself. Tell them about Jesus. —Kevin DeYoung