Snippets from the interweb (5th September 2021)

Religion or relationship?

‘Those two things are so often placed as opposites in our conversations about gospel culture. I’m sure you’ve heard the preacher say following Jesus is about relationship not about religion. And in some ways I want to say yes, but in lots of others I want to say no. I think its lazy to characterise it in this way, it’s far too simplistic.’

The world is catechising us whether we realise it or not

Kevin DeYoung: ‘It is worth remembering David Well’s famous definition: worldliness is whatever makes righteousness look strange and sin look normal. Here’s the reality facing every Christian in the West: the money, power, and prestige of the mainstream media, big time sports, big business, big tech, and almost all the institutions of education and entertainment are invested in making sin look normal.’

Don’t numb your feelings

‘There is a danger to the subtle stoicism that some corners of Christendom are drawn toward. In this worldview, emotions are dangerous and hinder faith. This is false. Emotions are not our enemy. They’re a gift from God and purposed by him to be harnessed, not suppressed.’

Billy tea, cool shade and the inevitability of work to be done

‘Too much work and too little rest is foolish, as is resting much and working little. But working in God’s field, tilling the soil and planting the seed, even though it draws great drops of sweat and sometimes even blood—then, weary from your labour, falling into the gentle embrace of Christ to find your rest—that is wisdom. That is joy.’

Never trust a scientist

‘As amusing as the stories are, they also have rather grim consequences. No matter the subject area, and no matter how impressive the credentials, our trust in the experts keeps being betrayed. And in some sense, this is a good thing. Scandals like this remind us to take nothing at face value. Nullius in verba, after all.’

What your church needs more than productivity

‘Many men, especially in the global West, are addicted to work. It’s understandable— productivity offers a cleaner high than any drug, and without the hangover. This can be equally (even especially) true for pastors, because we are rightly careful about not being lazy or unfruitful in ministry. We want to prove ourselves hard workers in the Lord’s vineyard, so that we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Prayer, though, doesn’t always feel as productive to us as chaining ourselves to the computer, leading a board meeting, counseling a troubled member, reading a good book with an aspiring pastor, or getting out there and doing the work of an evangelist.’

From the archive: Avoiding the implications of Acts with McCarthyism

‘Whilst this passage isn’t about Communism, the reality is that most people haven’t insisted that it is and – looking at the church throughout history – this doesn’t seem like the clear and present danger reading the passage. So, you tell me, who is twisting scripture and trying to wriggle out of its implications?’