The Problem of Evil
Jessica Kelley, a mom who has experienced deep loss, offers some thoughts regarding theodicy. She writes,
…it seems the majority of Christians consider evil and suffering to be part of God’s “perfect plan.” They believe God specifically allows things like sexual abuse, the Holocaust, and Henry’s cancer for an unknown “greater good.” I believe the failure to reexamine this common belief leaves battered hearts primed for passionless hope.
Check out Passionless Hope
John Mark Hicks as begun a series of lessons on the book of Revelation that he will be posting on his blog. This week he has provided a great introduction to the book. I recently studied the book of Revelation again and I was amazed at some things I had missed before. I found Hicks’s description of the “hermeneutical vantage points” helpful. I have always considered myself a moderate preterist, but after studying the book again I found some value in the idealist viewpoint. Hicks says the following about his own position, “I lean toward the Idealist strategy with a strong tint of moderate preterism.” Concerning the overall message of the book Hicks writes,
…perhaps the message of Revelation is not so much about comfort and hope in the face of persecution (though that message is there) but the call to radical discipleship that refuses to make peace with the surrounding culture for the sake of respectability and economic benefit.
Check out On Reading Revelation
In What am I Preaching (5 Key Questions for Preaching in a Changing Culture #3) Chris Altrock praises the idea of gospel preaching. He shows how some Christians have missed the gospel and points to authors such as N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Timothy Keller, and others who are calling us back to the biblical idea of gospel. This is a great read for anyone who preaches.
What Can We Do to Prevent Another Tragedy Like the One in Bangladesh?
It is sad that certain news stories don’t garner the media’s attention like others. People have died in abortion clinics, Bangladesh, and Syria, and yet our media is focused on Jodi Arias and other attention grabbers. (Just a side note. I do not believe the biggest problem with our media is media bias, but the fact they are all out to make money and get ratings. The Jodi Arias trial just happens to draw more ratings than people in Bangladesh dying to make our cheap clothes.) This week the Slow Church blog posted some alternatives to cheap fashion. Amy Peterson wrote,
Pursuing simplicity in our consumption of clothing isn’t about ignoring fashion or beauty. God is the source of all beauty, and I believe we reflect him when we make beautiful decisions in the way we clothe ourselves. In refusing to indulge in “fast fashion,” we can make choices that protect the beauty of the earth, that care for the dignity of workers across the world, and that allow us to engage in our God-given desire to create.
The State of Congregational Singing
This week I came across an interesting article regarding the state of congregational singing. The article specifically addresses how men have stopped singing in churches. The author writes,
Years ago, worship leaders used to prepare their flocks when introducing a new song. “We’re going to do a new song for you now,” they would say. “We’ll go through it twice, and then we invite you to join in.”
That kind of coaching is rare today. Songs get switched out so frequently that it’s impossible to learn them. People can’t sing songs they’ve never heard. And with no musical notes to follow, how is a person supposed to pick up the tune?
And so the church has returned to the 14th century. Worshippers stand mute as professional-caliber musicians play complex instruments, sung in an obscure language. Martin Luther is turning over in his grave.
Check out Why men have stopped singing in church
I’ve written in the past about creativity and preaching. Learning about the creative process has helped me craft better sermons. One of the best people currently speaking and writing about creativity is Austin Kleon. I find Kleon’s thoughts on creativity to be extremely helpful for many reasons, but mainly because he is realistic and practical. He believes everyone can be creative if they work at. Check out this recent video where Austin Kleon spoke at Creative Mornings in Austin on the subject of creativity.
The Sound of Silence
Here is a great little cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence by Jenny & Tyler. All the proceeds from the download of this song go to help fight human trafficking. You can find out more here.