Here are some of the articles that resonated with me this week:
Love Is a Skill, HT to Challies. “Anyone who has tried very hard to love other people well will know that love doesn’t always feel very natural. A lot of times it feels more like hard work.”
The Problem with Reading the Bible Verse-by-Verse, HT to Knowable Word. The verses divisions, subheadings, footnotes, charts, etc., in most of our Bibles “break up the text into little chunks (often arbitrarily), and we do not naturally read in little chunks, we read in big chunks. You read ordinary books section by section, not word by word, but all the footnotes and verse numbers condition us to read the Bible verse by verse.” Those tools are good for study later, “but the first and most important rule for interpreting and appropriating any biblical book is to actually read the book.”
Dig Deeper, HT to Challies. “Think of the scriptures like a fancy layered dessert — maybe a cake or parfait. There are several layers, and each offers new delights. If you don’t dig down into all the layers, you’re missing out.”
A Call for Endurance and Faith, HT to Challies. “We are not without encouragement in times like these, and sometimes the call for endurance comes in ways that seem strange to the contemporary churchgoer who has enjoyed religious freedom all their lives.”
What Does God Want of Me? HT to Challies. “But what I do remember are the three questions that came out of this difficulty, questions that my husband raised in the midst of this trial to help provide us with direction and guidance. These questions have stayed with me ever since, and have given me clarity and lessened my burden in a wide variety of situations: problems with children or other family members, issues in my marriage, dilemmas in church, personal trials, and more.”
Is Your Way Really God’s Way? ‘While the Bible is heavy on function (what we are to do) it is light on form (how we are to do it).” This article helps discern between form and function and the errors of insisting on our form of doing things.
Protecting Your Teenagers Online, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “We have a pool in our backyard. We also have young children. What steps do we take to protect them? 1. A fence; 2. Swim lessons; 3. Supervision.” Kristopher Schaal then applies these three levels of protection to internet usage.
Cultivating Attention: The Challenge of Reading Great Literature, HT to Linda. “As a literary critic, writer, and professor, I have the great privilege of working with literature every day, and helping others to encounter the beauty of great stories as well. Evangelization and discipleship through beauty is vitally important for our modern culture, for God is perfect Beauty as well as perfect Goodness and Truth. Stories, poetry, and all the arts can help us both to grow in our own faith and to share that faith with others in a compelling way . . . But it’s not easy. Many readers find themselves discouraged, encountering a gap between their desire to engage with great tales and the rather more difficult reality of the experience.”
Why the World Needs Readers (Like You), HT to Linda. “I’ll be honest. It’s in my own self-interest to say that reading is important. I am the author of a book blog, after all. But I believe—passionately—that reading is more than your average pastime. Much more. Here’s why I think that readers, people like you and me, are critical to preserving civilization—and helping it flourish.”
How an Introvert Does Thanksgiving, HT to Linda. “As a large and diverse group, we introverts love our families and the holidays no more or less than anyone else. So the fear and loathing with which we sometimes face this season is not an intro-aversion to the whole concept of family or holidays. It’s more the specifics of the experience that exhaust us; many of us are right now anticipating Thanksgiving with equal parts of delight and anxiety. Yes, pie. But also forced togetherness, lots of chitchat, and old family scripts replaying again and again. It’s a tradeoff. So, before the holidays flatten you like a runaway truck, perhaps take a minute to sort through their delights and the stresses to sketch out some strategies for Thanksgiving so you can enjoy more of the former and less of the latter.”
I Could Never Get Grandma’s Dressing Quite Right—Until She Was Gone, HT to Linda. “Back then I hadn’t yet learned that the most important thing about cooking for other people is the joy your food can bring them. . . .that on Thanksgiving, it’s a waste of time to roast a whole entire pumpkin for pie (the canned stuff is superior anyway!), and that investing in six great dishes is far better than churning out 12 I’m too exhausted to actually eat, and that turkey tastes approximately the same no matter what you do to it.”