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A La Carte (May 7)

Today’s Kindle deals include:

(Yesterday on the blog: Letters to the Editor (The Decline of Blogs, the Next Frontier for Pornography))

Catholic Ireland is Dead and Gone

“Ireland’s constitution has naturally evolved to respond to new challenges, but it has done so within a context that sees the Catholic Church enjoying overwhelming social advantages, controlling almost all primary and secondary schools, and commanding the loyalty of vast numbers of people. As late as 1979, during his papal visit, John Paul II celebrated mass in front of 1.25 million people—one third of the Republic’s population and the largest gathering in its history. Four years later in 1983, Irish voters adopted the Eighth Amendment, guaranteeing in all but the most extreme circumstances the right to life of the unborn.”

‘These Bombs Led Me to Christ’

You have seen my picture a thousand times. It’s a picture that made the world gasp—a picture that defined my life. I am nine years old, running along a puddled roadway in front of an expressionless soldier, arms outstretched, naked, shrieking in pain and fear, the dark contour of a napalm cloud billowing in the distance.”

The Reality of Disappointment

‘Life is one long, steady disappointment. This dawns on most people by their thirties. Childhood is all potentiality. The teenage years are all angst—but even angst betrays some hope, since it is only quiet outrage that things could be better. A person can still carry into his twenties the illusion that the world will soon blossom. Not until his thirties does a person realize that much of what’s coming won’t be better than what has come. The forties, fifties, and on often only reinforce Alexander Pope’s infamous beatitude, ‘Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.’ To live is to be disappointed.’

96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million

“Even by the dizzying standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history. It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died not long afterward in 2016. Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest friends and relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune over the decades. She did this by shrewdly observing the investments made by the lawyers she served.”

How to Remember What You Read

David Qaoud shares his system on how to remember what you read.

The Preacher and Politics: Seven Thoughts

“We live in a day where politics are everywhere, and everything is about politics. On one level this has always been true. Jesus is Lord, not Caesar. That’s a political statement. Every sermon touches on the polis, on the city of man, on our earthly citizenship. But that’s not what I have in mind, at least not entirely. What I mean by ‘politics’ are the elections, the elected officials, the political parties, and the endless stream of policy debates and legislative, economic, and judicial controversies that so much of our daily news and social media feed comment on constantly. What is a pastor supposed to do with these controversies and debates?”

Perplexing Passages: What Is the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13?

Flashback: When Gifts Lose Their Luster

I have come to realize something about those times when I grow weary of good gifts: This weariness makes a statement about me, not the gift. The weariness is so often a direct result of my neglect. I have neglected to cherish the gift and honor the giver.

He that created us at first by His power can create us anew by His love.

—John Paton

  • Three Respectable Sins of Pastors

    Three Respectable Sins of Pastors

    Over the past few years, there has been a lot of attention given to the ways that pastors may abuse their parishioners. Such attention is appropriate and every pastor ought to prayerfully guard himself against such abusive behaviors. Every church leadership structure ought to build rigorous systems of accountability and follow biblical guidelines in the…

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    A La Carte (May 29)

    A La Carte: A coward’s guide to evangelism / The great dechurching will hurt poor people / The unique experiences of pastors / Three words for Christian parents / Save the world, have a baby / The conquest of Canaan / Kindle and book deals.

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    A La Carte (May 28)

    A La Carte: What to do with the nice things people say / Old age syndromes to avoid / The amazing navigation skills of the dung beetle / 7 kinds of sacrifices / Hope in the grief of dementia / and more.

  • Managing Kingdom Causes with Sound Business Principles 

    This week the blog is sponsored by Redeemer University. The word “management” conjures up images of executives leading large corporations with the goal of generating wealth for shareholders. Think of “sustainability” and the lens widens to benefiting other stakeholders like customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Now, broaden your view even wider. Pan out–way out!…

  • Comparative Suffering

    Comparative Suffering

    It is something you tend to hear a lot when you have endured a time of significant sorrow or suffering: “I know it’s nothing compared to yours, but…” We have a natural tendency to compare—to compare our experiences to another person’s and to rank or rate them accordingly. The person who has suffered the loss…

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    A La Carte (May 27)

    A La Carte: Critical dynamics of criticism / Behind Jordan Peterson’s teaching is his own humanistic agenda / The Christian’s keystone habit / Getting out of the burnout pit / Is salvation by faith unfair to those who never hear of him? / That portrait of King Charles / Kindle deals / and more.