Final Call (January 20)

Welcome to Final Call, a brief, hand-picked selection of news, articles, videos, and curiosities from the Internet and beyond.

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5 Crazy Hours

Today was a crazy but well-choreographed day for the residence staff of the White House. You may enjoy reading this article on how they took just five hours to move out one family and move in another.

Mini Q&A

Q: Please comment with your thoughts on the recent developments concerning Evernote and their privacy policy. Your article had convinced me of the need to upgrade my existing account, but now I’m reconsidering. Any helpful thoughts? 

A: I have used and recommended Evernote for many years. Like many of its users, I was alarmed and perplexed by recent news that they would be allowing a number of their employees access to private user data in order to monitor and enhance the software’s capabilities. What may have seemed like a helpful idea on their end is actually an invasion of privacy on ours. However, I was quite certain they would quickly heed the outcry and abandon their plans. Not surprisingly, they did that. While I am concerned that they would even think of loosening privacy policies at a time like this, I remain comfortable with their current policies.

Free Stuff Fridays

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Zondervan, and they are giving away 5 copies of The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. (Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon.) You can sign up to win right here.

Dan opdeVeigh

As far as I know, Dan opdeVeigh has only ever released one EP, but I really like it (and am hopeful for more). You can listen to it in full (or purchase it) at Bandcamp.

Three Types of Confession and Repentance

Yesterday I reviewed Megan Hill’s Praying Together. I thought you might appreciate this look at three times of corporate confession and repentance.

When we pray together, we practice three types of confession and repentance. First, we confess corporate sins corporately. That is, gathered together, we confess the corporate sins of our local body of believers and of the wider church. We find an example of this in Ezra 9–10: “All who trembled at the words of the God of Israel” (9:4) gathered to confess the sin of the covenant people who had intermarried with pagans. Not every individual Israelite was guilty of this sin, but the godly admitted their connection to those who were and confessed this sin because they were part of the same covenant community. In our day, we might together confess the disunity in our local church, the neglect of gospel proclamation in many corners of our nation’s churches, or the pervasive sins of pride, racism, and spiritual apathy in the church worldwide.

Second, we confess individual sins corporately. That is, gathered together, we confess categories of sins that each of us has committed in some way. This is what the Israelites did in the days of Josiah (2 Chron. 34:8–33): the law was read out, all the people humbled themselves, and each one covenanted to follow the Lord “with all his heart and all his soul” (v. 31). In our churches, we might read through the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1–17) and together confess that we have broken the law in our own lives.

Finally, we confess individual sins individually. That is, a single individual confesses in the hearing of the group a specific way he has broken God’s law. We find this in the book of James: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Though this command might bring to mind a group-therapy session—with each member disclosing his private struggles—that is not likely to be what James had in mind. Instead, this verse requires us to confess to one another the sins we have committed against one another, and to pray together for forgiveness and reconciliation.8 Like Zacchaeus repenting of his fraud and pledging to return the spoils of his sin to its rightful owners (Luke 19:8), we publicly confess the ways we have cheated and wronged those with whom we pray.