Recommended Reading Round-up
Though not writing as much on this forum, I still want this to be a place where serious ideas are shared. Since I still read a good many (perhaps too many) online articles - from news and political analysis to theology and philosophy - I have decided to start a doing "Round-up" posts with links and brief summaries of the most interesting or significant articles I've read in recent days. I've done this before, but now it will be a regular feature of this blog (or such is the plan).
So, here is today's Round-up of Recommended Reading:
1) Young adults and Church:
There has been much wringing of hands over the much-discussed decline of Christian faith among young people (or at least, the decline in the number who identify with traditional denominational labels when surveyed by pollsters - God only knows about faith). Should we become more liberal on sexual morals since that is in fact where many younger people are on those issues? Or should we become more conservative since it is in fact the more conservative congregations and denominations that are actually reaching and keeping younger people for Christ? Along side this debate we've also seen on-going debates about whether churches should adopt more liturgical or more contemporary/rock-music type worship services in order to keep younger folks in church.
Yet, according to the Huffington Post, research has revealed many of these debates might largely be "adventures in missing the point." The single strongest indicator of whether younger people will become and remain committed Christians is whether their parents take the Christian faith seriously and promote faith in Christ at home. Check out the article HERE.
So as a pastor may I ask: is it time for your family to establish a home altar or a family prayer time? Do you ever discuss the significance of the Bible around the dinner table with your children?
2) When support for Gay 'Marriage' turns ugly (and irrational):
After the somewhat hysterical, but not always well-informed (but nevertheless politically successful) reaction to the religious freedom law in Indiana and other states, we've (thankfully) seen a bit more discussion in public forums about freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for religious and social conservatives, who are now a new minority in this country.
One such article was THIS ONE at The Week. Ryan Anderson, a prominent, young, and articulate marriage traditionalist has been "shunned" by his Alma Mater because a vocal group of marriage liberals insisted on it. The author of this piece is himself liberal on the marriage question, but wonders if we are seeing a movement in the direction of suppression of free and open debate of freely-expressed ideas. He also wonders whether the ability of future generations to debate ideas reasonably will erode and indeed whether we will in fact raise up a generation of "cry-babies" unprepared for the challenges of the real world should our great institutions always give way to those who shout most loudly and frequently how 'offended' they are about whatever it is they happen to disagree with or dislike.
3) David Brooks' new book on Virtue and Character:
I must confess that I have always found David Brooks to be a refreshing voice in the contemporary media world. He is one of the very few calm, thoughtful, and articulate conservatives who regularly gets a hearing on NPR and PBS. I have also been intrigued for a while by the fact that Brooks is also Jewish, a child of Abraham. The Christianity Today editors also apparently like him, because they've featured his new book on character HERE.
4) The Lasting Influence of the Inklings:
Dad sent me THIS somewhat long but very engaging piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education celebrating the lasting influence of the Inklings of Oxford - a group of Christian authors including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield among others. Compared with their (at the time, more fashionable) secular counterparts in the literary world, the Inklings have had a greater influence on mainstream culture, and are coming to be more recognized in serious academic circles as well.