Snippets from the interweb (7th May 2023)

Young people, the church isn’t optional

Jared and Becky Wilson write this one. And it’s not just relevant to young people either. We have seen much of what he describes for other groups, such as Iranians and Africans in our church. Many of these lessons will apply to you, whatever demographic you might belong to.

Nine microstresses of a pastor

‘Pastors are not alone in having stressful jobs. I don’t want to imply that their work is more difficult than other jobs. But pastors are unique in the cumulative number of microstresses in their lives. And, left alone without care, these microstresses can lead to a total collapse. Here are nine of the most common microstresses pastors experience by the very nature of their jobs and calling. Not all of them are the result of negative circumstances per se.’

Young people: Deranged and cute

This was an interesting one taking in Nick Cave, the King’s coronation, the cult of youth, some insights from the Bible and some stuff about growing up sensibly. It sounds disjointed, but it is isn’t. Worth a read.

A new Christian authoritarianism?

This is an absolutely excellent critique of Christian Nationalism by Jonathan Leeman. It is worth worth persevering with the length for the 6th critique alone (the following quote it not part of that particular point): ‘A new generation of (mostly) young men, forgetful of history’s harder lessons, wants to theorize once more. They talk about theological retrieval, meaning, they open up old books of theology. Yet they would do well to open up old books of history, too. How did all that theorizing work out in the Reformation? Any comments on the wars of religion which decimated European populations for centuries? Anything to say about the ravages of anti-semitism? Or the burning of fellow Christians at the stake or drowning them in rivers? Or the rank hypocrisy of power-hungry princes and city magistrates and slave owners who were only too happy, day after day, to cloak their abuses and thievery in under the sacramental cloak of baptism? If we’re going to retrieve history, we should retrieve all of it, not just the clinically-sterilized formulas of old theology books or state constitutions.’

“That’s just your interpretation”

Kevin DeYoung addresses this tired old argument: ‘When someone says “That’s just your interpretation,” or when critics slander conservative Christians as believing not just in the infallibility of the Bible but in the infallibility of their interpretation of the Bible, the next step is almost never to strive for a supposedly better interpretation. The critics don’t mean to dive deeper into the text so as to determine what the Bible teaches. The charge of “just your interpretation” has the opposite effect; it short-circuits the interpretative process altogether.’

Coronation: A Christian Coronation Service Doesn’t Mean Britain Is A Christian Nation

John Stevens: ‘I suspect that the majority of the population will watch the Coronation as something of a cultural event, a kind of historical re-enactment from the past, rather than as a spiritual reality. There will be no starker reminder of the contrast between what the Coronation purports to be saying about the nation and what it really is than the fact that the lesson will be read by a Hindu Prime Minister who holds the real executive power. There are some, predominantly Anglicans, who see the Coronation as an opportunity to showcase the central place of Christianity, and the Established church, in the nation. I suspect that it will in practice either strengthen arguments for disestablishment, as the Elizabethan settlement no longer resonates with the people, or be met with benign indifference or gentle mockery.’

From the archive: We run a paradoxical race

‘We have this paradoxical race that is only won as we run with those who are much slower than us. Those of us who go ahead, leaving others behind, may find we missed the point of the race altogether. The guys in costumes at the back of the marathon know they aren’t going to be taking first place. But they run for other reasons. Those of us who stay behind with them know that most will wonder why we’re running a race that we know we aren’t going to win that way. But, in the end, we run for other reasons too. Our aim is less to win and more to help others finish.’