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Link Love

July 7, 2014

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If ever I felt inclined to lament the lack of children, God never gave me time to do so. In response to every private, fervent pleading I’ve made before God, his answer has been a different door slammed open: a missions opportunity, a new writing assignment, a sudden book contract, an unexpected job, an unsought promotion, the chance to care for aging parents, a student needing extra help, another telling me I am her “true mother,” or another taking my motherly advice to heart at last.

In a life spent moving from place to place, the predictability of landscapes both new and familiar has been a comfort, a well-worn bead to click against another through every iteration of hunger and praise. One of the many pangs of such constant motion is to leave each place both loving and mourning all you have come to know, and to go forward with five kinds of homesickness equally shared, the scent of new terroir on your skin and your spirit forever dogged by the genius loci endemic to each site.

I’m learning quickly that my privileges are my blind spots. I am a married white woman with a graduate education. I do not understand the plight of a poor single black mother in Memphis who worries how rent will be paid and how her children will eat. The evils of poverty and racial discrimination, as two examples, will remain generic evils for me until I seek out stories different from my own. I, too, must learn to listen if ever I am to participate most fully in the body of Christ.

We are socialized to think women talk more. Listener bias results in most people thinking that women are hogging the floor when men are actually dominating. Linguists have concluded that much of what is popularly understood about women and men being from different planets, verbally, confuses “women’s language” with “powerless language.”

“We have to pay attention to detail and care for the contractors we work for,” Yates says. “As a tradesperson, I don’t know any other way to do that than by doing a really good job. We believe that God exists; therefore, the things we do and make now matter. The whole apprenticeship process is also a discipleship process.”

 

Link Love

June 25, 2014

I’m on vacation for the week, so no blogging to speak of, but here’s a short list of links I’ve found interesting this week:

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“But it’s the wrong way of going about it. The best way to prepare them for the world that they face is to present what the possibilities are and to let them be scared of what might happen.” She adds: “I think that’s really what literature does in every realm. You rehearse your life by reading about what happens to other people.”

A trigger warning won’t help.

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What do you do in those moments, when your world comes crashing down and all hope seems lost? Maybe you will tragically and inexplicably lose a loved one; maybe you don’t know anything about what the future holds; maybe your dreams will be shattered and lost forever.

One day, you’ll face a Psalm 88 moment. If you don’t, God will place you next to someone who is. I’ve found there are 3 ways to think about life through the lens of the Gospel during these times.

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Not content to offer a rake when a shovel is needed, Michel is intricate in her examination of the human heart and its many facets―our fears to want, our disordered desires, our kingdom longings, our opportunities to surrender, our practical needs, and the boundaries that rein in our desires.

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Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention. And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely. And that means building a wall.

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What I’m interested in when it comes to blogging is not so much “success,” but sustainability. How do I keep doing this work? How do I continue to come up with new things to say? How can I stick with this thing even when it seems like I’m in a slump and no one is reading at all?

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This quote I can’t stop thinking about, by Marilynne Robinson from her book Gilead:

“It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.”

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for good summer reading, here are some of my favorite reads. Click on the image to read more.

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Link Love

June 13, 2014

Here are some things I’m loving this week:

First Aid Kit’s new album which you listen to here on NPR’s First Listen.

This documentary which has prompted a week-long art history-fest in our home.

All my smartest friends have all recommend West Wing to me for years. I must be the dumb one because I never gave it a chance until the past month. My roommate and I are watching it slowly and surely and loving every single episode.

I’ve been rereading one of my favorite Annie Dillard books the past week or so: Living by Fiction

I love iced coffee but I do NOT like how watered down it gets with ice. Making a batch of cold brew fixes everything. All the time.

The internet. Sometimes I hate the internet. But sometimes, like when I’m looking for an apartment on the other side of these United States, or looking for moving options, or trying to sell a bunch of furniture and books (all the books. Want to buy all the books?), I’m just really grateful for the internets.

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Also, just a quick note. I’m a full-time design freelancer now and I have some openings for new work coming up. If you’re getting married and need invitations, or starting a business and need a website, or rebranding your business, or need a book or ebook laid out: I’d love to chat with you! Click on those links to see some work I finished up this month. Thanks for letting me do that little business plug.

Link Love

April 28, 2014

Arguing Against the ‘Argument Culture by Derek Rishmawy
For the conversation to make progress, you need to acknowledge the other person’s emotions. It doesn’t mean you agree with what they’re saying, but you need to acknowledge that he or she is upset or passionate. If you don’t, there will be a roadblock in the conversation.

Six Types of Grace by Paul Tripp
God’s grace is the grace of completion. There will be a day when you and I will be fully restored to who we were meant to be. There will be no more sin; there will be no more struggle. Everything will be restored, and we will worship in the presence of this amazing God of grace.

The Parable of the Winter Tomato
What is the quality of your fruit? And what is the quality of your soil? A great post by Sharon Hodde Miller

Should Christians Use the Term ‘Gay Christian’ by Owen Strachen,
We must not make the common mistake, in addition, of thinking that Christians who experience some level of same-sex attraction are somehow consumed by their sexual desires. They must fight sin of many other kinds: pride, laziness, foolishness, anger, and so on, just as every follower of Christ must. Not every person with SSA is on the brink of a Sodom-like situation. Sometimes we’re heard in those tones, and that’s not helpful. Note: I’m sharing this not because I agree with every word of it, but because I think there’s food for thought here in an increasingly hostile environment toward the terms we use (or don’t use) to talk about sin. 

Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat
This song has been on repeat for me the past few days. The original hymn was written by John Newton and recorded by Jamie Barnes for Sojourn Music. Fashion my heart in your alchemy // With the brass to front the devil’s perjury // And surefire grace my Jesus speaks // I must. I will. I do believe. O Lord.

Out of My Comfort Zone by Rachel Jankovic: Here is the good news for sinners and the bad news for lynch mobs: Jesus Christ died with the sins of repentant pedophiles. He became not only our sins, but the sins of the people that we are looking on in hatred.

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Link Love

April 23, 2014

The Real Problem with Female Masturbation I’m linking to this because I’m so grateful these subjects are being talked about more and more. I spoke at an event a few weeks ago and was astonished to find that most of the followup conversations I had with the women there were on sexual issues that they had never been taught about. It shouldn’t have shocked me, but it did. Friends, leaders, women—we MUST create space for these conversations. We must shush the prude in us that doesn’t want to say those words aloud and bend down in the dirt with our sisters to give them the living water.

Nathan Bingham and Mathew Sims both had great articles up this week on whether it’s a sin to retweet or share a compliment on social media.

There has never been a time in my memory when I have not wrestled with depression and condemnation. I am less prone to worry, anxiety, and panic than I ever was, but Simon and Garfunkel’s Hello, darkness, my old friend, is a common refrain in my life. Zach Lee is one of the pastors at my church and for as long as he’s been there, he’s been honest about his struggles in this area. I’m grateful for his words here and hope they encourage you if you share the weakness.

If you were on Twitter at all this week #ERLCsummit was trending. I was a bit surprised as it was the hashtag from a small conservative conference meant to train Southern Baptist pastors and leaders in ministry. I watched many of the talks on the live-stream because they were on sex, homosexuality, pornography, and marriage—and I think we’re in times when it’s more important than ever to be thinking biblically about these issues instead of culturally. The reason the hashtag was trending so high, though, was because of the backlash it was receiving from the self-described progressive Christians. While I do think there was some unfortunate phrasing and less than apt metaphors made by some of the speakers, I was grieved by the reactions of some progressives. That said, I appreciated Wesley Hill’s response as well as Chelsea Vicari’s Women, Sexuality and the Southern Baptist’s ERLC Summit. Every time a Twitter-storm happens on these issues, I’m reminded of what a great—and limited—tool Twitter is. And I’m freshly aware of our need to be in season and out, to live life face to face with real struggles and strugglers. 140 characters is not enough to disciple someone in truth.

Some time ago someone asked me, “Do you even want to be married?” My response surprised me: “No. I mean, I want to love Jesus. If living single with those girls in that house makes me love Jesus more than being married, no, I don’t want to be married.” I’ve thought about it so many times since then because the truth is, I DO want to be married and I DO think marriage would be good and hard in the right ways. But the deeper truth is that today I DO love my singleness because it is a gift from the Lord and I honestly see it as such. I appreciate Ben Stuart’s thoughts here.

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Link Love

March 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

Five Essential Benedictine Values for Writers: You have to kill these things that seem so wonderful when you first thought of them or wrote them, but that don’t belong. I have a phrase that I first thought of in 1970, and I am still looking for a place to put it.

Phelps, Driscoll, & Gothard: I’m not trying to silence anyone. I’m not trying to shame anyone. I am trying to consider how our discourse, particularly online, might be helped if we took to heart Solomon’s warning on grabbing passing dogs by the ears and Jesus’ warning about specks and planks. I am hoping it will begin with me.

Nickel Creek’s new album A Dotted Line is available for a limited time streaming on NPR’s First Listen. Give it a listen.

How to Fill Your Life With Joy: I think everybody wants the silver-bullet, the thing that makes sanctification move like a superhighway rather than the dirt path that it is.

All of Christ for All of Life: In Christ, there is grace to get through the stinkin’ day. And whether we do so by the skin of our teeth or bounding and leaping with joy upon joy, our souls are united to him day by day and age to age

 

Link Love

November 15, 2013 — 1 Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some Link Love. I’m hoping to start doing this more regularly soon. Here are some things I’ve found noteworthy in the past few weeks.

I found myself weeping halfway through this article on sex and the gospel. The picture she presents of the law and grace hit home for me in powerful ways. I hope you’ll take the time to read this whole article, married or not.

Tyler Braun is catching a good amount of flack for this post and I’ll confess, I’m scratching my head at it. I understand people’s complaints that he’s “part of the [perceived] problem,” but I just don’t understand why you’d bite the hand that’s trying to feed you. He’s asking a great question—and one I wish more complementarian men would ask.

This: “Feminism pushes women to independence – spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Yet independence isn’t the solution. Dependence on God is the solution.”

I was still getting push-back on my post from last week on prostitution, mostly from those who have bought the lie that it’s not as big of a problem, or the sort of problem I made it out to be. Hyperbole, they essentially said. Well, yes, in a sense it is. It’s a blog post, not a thesis. But simply because I gave a keyhole glimpse into the problem doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. This video may be difficult to watch, but if you think it’s not a problem, then I recommend watching it.

Opinions about Obamacare are in no shortage right now (I have a few of my own), but David Murray wrote what I think was one of the most helpful pieces on the subject that I’ve seen yet. Hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through it.

A few friends of mine from back home just started a coffee company. I know these guys take their coffee seriously, but they also take their church and state seriously. Check out what they’re doing here. (The house that short clip was filmed in belongs to some of my dearest friends in the world—I have spent many, many nights in front of that woodstove discussing theology, the gospel, family, and the church. It just made me so happy to see again it for a few minutes.)

Link Love

August 26, 2013

There were three posts up on Challies recently that all made worthy points for different seasons. For young men: What Will Be the Cost to the Church. For men and women: She Strengthens Me. And for couples: When God Says to Get Drunk. I highly recommend reading each of these, don’t just pick one.

I am loathe to call myself Reformed or Calvinist and that is primarily because there are such polarizing views floating around the blogosphere. I know what I believe, and why, and it has a lot less to do with five points or predestination, and simply because God revealed Himself to me here and sustains me here. Nate Pyle gives five reasons why he’s reformed.

One of the disadvantages of being covenanted at a well-known church is I often have to fight the need to defend The Village to others—not because others think it is dysfunctional, but because from their vantage point, it is perfect. I find myself defending our messiness. From my vantage point I see the brokenness, the people falling through the cracks, the less than perfect systems, etc. I appreciate this post from Sam Rainer, Messy is Healthy.

Being in a relationship with someone challenges my personal assumption of health in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. All my quirks and unhealthy fears are brought to the surface in this season in a way they just haven’t been before—at least not with a guy. Doug Wilson gives 10 challenges to assumptions young men make, and I think some of these are just as apropos for young women.

I’m strangely grateful that cell-phone ownership didn’t become common until I was 20, and that I didn’t own my own until I was 24. I understand that a lot has changed in the past ten years, but there is much about this article that is wisdom for all ages. Teens and Unrestricted Access.

Kevin DeYoung wrote of five commitments to those struggling with same sex-attraction. I so appreciated this piece, especially in the recent weeks where there have been many treatises on where we stand biblically, albeit dogmatically. This piece wafts of compassion and truth.

My friend Jen Wilkin drops another winner with this one, The Mother of All Swear Words. I will never forget coming home from school in Kindergarten asking my mom what a certain four-letter word meant and the way she navigated that discussion. Even though it wasn’t until years later that I knew what the word really meant, the impression she gave me in that first discussion opened the way for safe discussions later.

This is just cool (click through for more images).

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Link Love

August 8, 2013

Getting Out of the Man Box by Thabiti Anyabwile
Sometimes the expectations and discussions among evangelical men sounds hauntingly familiar to plain old “patriarchy”–which I use as a pejorative, a term capturing 1950s-style subjugation of women and unfettered male dominance. I know not everyone uses the term that way, but I do and it’s difficult for me to hear it with a positive ring.

An Inside Look at a New Generation of Pastors, interview with Matt Chandler
Is there a climate of hiding and trying to be pretty, or is there a climate of “I’ve fallen short. I need the grace of God as much today as I did five years ago”? And that’s really the the climate we want to create in regards to how we do group life here, the stories we celebrate, testimonies that are given from the stage.

Pray for Your Wife Challenge, by Mike Leake
May we not only pray for our wives this month but may we nurture our wives in such a way that the Lord will use us to answer those very prayers.

Daily Writing Benefits, by Ken Davis
Writing is a focused activity that keeps distractions at bay long enough for you to explore wonders of the past. Sometimes it is frightening, sometimes wonderful and almost always beneficial.

What’s at Stake with Internet Pornography, by Russell Moore
We agree with those—often even secular feminists with whom we disagree on much—who say that a pornographic culture hurts women and children through the objectification of women, the trafficking of children, and the commodification of sex.

We’re All Virgins Now, by Tim Challies
God does not look upon his people as non-virgins and virgins, spoiled and unspoiled, defiled and undefiled. He does not see two classes of people: those who have waited to experience sex within marriage and those have not. So why do we? Why do we obsess about those who have experienced sexual intercourse and those who have not, like this remains a matter of the utmost significance? Why is this the one sin in the whole pantheon of sin that forever marks a person, that forever changes their status?

I’m moving this weekend, have a conference for work all week, and a pile of due articles looming in front of me, so my mental acuity and creativity is somewhere below sea-level. Link-love it is.

Before the links, though, the more I read actual books, books over which authors have labored and sweat blood and tears, the less I find good writing on the web. This is sad to me because I think if we’re going to put content out there, it should be good content, it should be the best content.

Fellow writers: don’t write because you feel something must be said—it is far better for one writer to say one thing in the most winsome way possible, than for many content-creators to say the same thing many different ways and none of them win any. There is just as much glory to be had for the plumber, the pastor, the preacher, the preschool teacher, the parent, and the pediatrician as there is for the poet. It only depends on whose glory he seeks.

Now for some good writin’:

Alone With My Thoughts: I’ve been alone in the car on some rather crowded highways. That, sadly, doesn’t mean I have been driving in silence. If my windows could talk, well, parental guidance is suggested.

Cigar Smoking and Grace For the Accountability-Holder: We are looking for grace from our accountability-holders. But we ought also to be looking to how we might give grace to our accountability-holders. Maybe we ought to strive for holiness and integrity in our lives not simply out of personal religious ambition but out of relational mercy, out of a desire to not make religious cuckolds of our friends.

Is ‘Background Information’ Ever Necessary to Understand the Bible? Others so focus on “background information” that they end up foregrounding what is in the background and backgrounding what is in the foreground.

There’s No Such Thing as a Writer (and other thoughts for those of you thinking about writing): It is of the utmost importance that one be humble before words. They have been around for a very long time, they are very powerful, and they are a gift from God.

When is a Royal Baby a Fetus? They find out they are pregnant, they see the two little stripes on the home test, and their heart drops. They don’t know what to do; they have no help from the man who impregnated them; they already work tirelessly, raise children, and have precious little in the bank. Though every life is precious, some are imperiled from the start.

Bending Toward a Rightness:

A number of my peers have recanted,
found God just too wild.
Oh they still rise to say the creeds but
there is no blood in their mouths.
I expected by now to learn the language of God
but I have only learned to love him.

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.37.41 AMI just love this. That’s all. 

Link Love

April 30, 2013

Bad Writing: Bad writing is naturally mistaken for good writing. That’s because unlike good writing, bad writing hoards attention.

Getting Through Slumps: I’m no expert on either preaching or getting out of slumps. But doodling tonight, I thought of six things that might help.

Permitted or Pursued? I have to think that egalitarians would grow quieter in their critiques if we could point to more women within our ranks who convincingly demonstrate equal, complementary value in our churches.

Body Image: Changing the definition of what we want these bodies to look like doesn’t get anywhere near to solving our problems.

Biters: Then, with calculated persistence, they began to eat each other, each to the death.

Heart Idols: 20 piercing questions from Tim Keller. These are great questions to ask ourselves.

A Deeper Beauty: Women, “Hot Wives,” and Christ: While it’s a distinctly God-glorifying thing for a young man to really, really, really like his wife, it’s possible that some women might feel pressure to be some sort of gospel version of [supermodel whose name you shouldn’t really know here]. 

Link Love

April 10, 2013

What Do the Noseguard and the Center Talk About: [He] writes, “we are having this discussion on the fifty yard line in a full stadium.” That’s well-said. There are a lot of onlookers to this discussion. The stadium feels filled with four types.

Woman in the Image of God: You see, being made in God’s image does more than establish the equality of all people (although is does); it is does more than simply level the playing field between men and women (although it does); it does more than argue for the sanctity of human life (although it does). Understanding that you are made in the image of God gives you a way to finally make sense of your life, to finally know who you are.

Is Romans 1 About Homosexuality? So those who teach that this passage is not fundamentally about condemning homosexuality are correct. Paul’s main point is not about homosexuality. It is about the consequences of idolatry. But that doesn’t meant that it has nothing to say about homosexuality.

Fasting from Twitter and Facebook: This isn’t really too much about actually fasting, but just being mindful of our use. A good short listen.

Love this:

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Why Ministers Need the Wilderness by Mike Leake: ”When the Lord bruises a man in the wilderness he doesn’t hide behind “correct theology” and call it “just speaking the truth.” He, with dust in his throat, simply holds the hand of the mother who lost her infant.” (If you only read one of these link loves, read this one)

Our Shining North by Timothy Willard: ”I read the popular blogs and articles and commentary and cultural hoo-ha and I wonder who among us loves the Word.”

The Mystery Unfolding, Grasping: A Maundy Thursday Reflection by Jared Wilson: ”For Paul, mystery is not something unsolved. It is something that was once unsolved but is now available and visible. But it’s still a mystery. It doesn’t cease being a mystery.”

I Hate My Church by Seth McBee: ”People saw Paul as filled with grace for those he walked with. Most that leave their church are just the opposite. They have nothing good to say and sound bitter, spew slander, and are outright hateful against the church.”

We’re Not the Ones God Has Been Waiting For by Daniel Darling: ”But there is a subtle danger in seeing ourselves as the last best hope for the church. Like Peter on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion, what we give up to warm our hands by the fire of acceptance will leave us burned.”

7 Questions for Christians About the Gay Marriage Debate by Barnabas Piper: ”If we believe in a sovereign God, then why are we so fearful? This could apply to just about any area of life, but apply it liberally to our societal fears. God is in charge. He knows what’s up. Represent Him well in all spheres of life, trust His reign and chill out.”

*I only realized after I looked at this week’s compiled links that it was a buncha white dudes this week. 

Link Love

March 22, 2013

Why We Need More Women in Ministry: “Second, male leaders can intentionally seek out female input. Women have an incredible wealth of wisdom, insight and parallel perspectives to offer the Church and the world—as men do.”

Should a Christian Dentist Fire His Too-Hot Hygienist? “At the root of this is, I fear, a kind of misogyny which identifies women themselves as the problem rather than one’s own lust and self-control. That’s not what the Bible teaches.”

Sanctification in a Season of Singleness: “I think that this regular emphasis on our roles as men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and so forth can obscure the one aspect of our identity that we have in common…”

In light of some blog-battles recently, regardless of where you stand on issues, we all ought to stand in goodwill and charity toward one another. It is not enough to simply admire someone’s level-headed in matters of controversy, without taking a cue for oneself. A few bloggers had some good things to add.

The Blogs, the Battles and the Gospel: “I commend these seven rules to my fellow bloggers and to all of us who engage in online discussion.”

Dude, Watch Your Jargon: “The easiest thing to do in a world where we get more air time but less ears is to nestle ourselves into a rut of discourse. We speak macro-jargon.”

On the Separateness of Preaching and Healing: “Some broken people you want to love, and other judgmental people (even though we know in our hearts that this, too, is a form of brokenness) you want to give a double-barrel of exegesis.”

And this week’s winner of all, Say Something Right Now, or Else! “Silence is not always golden. But the “say something, or else!” form of public shaming is frequently manipulative and the cries are sometimes best ignored.”

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