But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Monday, 22 May 2017 01:20

The Parable of Anthony Weiner’s iPhone

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A question that’s been nagging me: Would Anthony Weiner still have a political career if he hadn’t owned an iPhone?

Last week Weiner pled guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a minor through his smartphone. His plea deal comes with probable prison time. Weiner, former...

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Friday, 19 May 2017 22:59

What Graduation Means

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Last spring spent about four hours of a Monday night at a college graduation. My wife was being awarded her degree in elementary education, and she was joined by (according to the college president) 995 other undergraduates. Graduates were welcomed, inducted, charged, presented, and awarded,...

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Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:16

Gotta Trust Somebody

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My intention with my last post was to make a very small, but very important point. Discernment is not cynicism, and cynicism is not discernment. What passes for critical thinking is often nothing more than a defense mechanism, wired specifically to keep presuppositions from coming into contact...

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 05:27

Cynicism vs Discernment

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Cynicism: “I don’t believe these news reports because they critique or reflect poorly on those in my political tribe.”

Discernment: “Of course, I have my convictions and my loyalties, but everyone, including me, is capable of doing wrong.”

Cynicism:&nb...

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Tuesday, 09 May 2017 10:13

Everything Is Awful (But Only On Twitter)

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I’m headed to the mountains for vacation tomorrow, and will be signing out of all social media for the duration of my holiday. Unplugging from social media and taking vacation seem to go hand in hand, for a lot of us. But have you wondered why this is? I have a feeling James K.A. Smith got...

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Sunday, 07 May 2017 22:40

Being Eaten By Lions on Facebook

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What does Proverbs 22:13 have to do with social media and public discourse?

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

Now, you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in Old Testament to know that waking up near a lion was not an unheard of event in the life...

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Saturday, 06 May 2017 11:40

Does Sex Make Movies “Authentic”?

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I have a quick word on this take on movies and culture from Freddie deBoer. I agree with 99% of what he says, and have tried at various times to make the point he makes. But I do have one issue with his thinking, and that is his notion that a film without sex is hollow and inauthentic. I think the...

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Wednesday, 03 May 2017 04:47

A Last Word About “13 Reasons Why”

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Since registering my deep concerns with the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” I’ve been pleased to see more thoughts from others, like Russell Mooreand Trevin Wax. Non-Christian therapy and counseling professionals are likewise alarmed, and apparently there’s been enough of...

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 04:39

The Outraged Are Always Right

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It’s getting really bad out there. Americans, including very intelligent, thoughtful ones, simply cannot abide the mere presence of someone they don’t agree with. How else to explain the spectacle of allegedly reasonable people scurrying to punish The New York Times for hiring Bret...

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017 23:28

A Prayer For Wonder

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Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being God. Thank you for being such a wise, creative, powerful, tenderhearted, patient, and sovereign King of the world. May your name forever be hallowed, in my heart, in my home, in my church, and in my world.

You are indeed a good King, and we, made in your image,...

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Saturday, 22 April 2017 05:31

The Problem With Social Media Righteousness

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If there’s anybody who is writing more incisively about social media culture right now than Freddie deBoer, I don’t know who it is. There are quite a few valuable points in his latest post, but I want to focus on one in particular.

Freddie writes:

The modern internet, particularly social...

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Thursday, 20 April 2017 03:48

The Death of Expertise

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Remember that famous scene in Peter Weir’s “Dead Poets Society,” in which professor Keating (played by Robin Williams) orders his English literature students to tear out the introductory pages of their poetry textbook? Those pages, Keating explains, are the soulless pontifications...

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 01:49

Putting Down My Inner Polemicist

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I’m not a pastor, but this post by Kevin DeYoung hit me where it hurts. For the sake of clarity, “polemics” in the sense that DeYoung is using here refer to a particular mode of engaging ideas critically, with a goal of correcting bad ideas. While polemics qua polemics are...

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Thursday, 13 April 2017 05:13

The Cross vs Nostalgia

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We call it “Good Friday” now. But no Christian should want to relive that day.

On the day we call Good Friday, Jesus’ disciples were foolish. They volunteered to die with him, demonstrating that they neither understood his mission or their own hearts. Hours after pledging their...

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017 01:02

Sympathy and Suicide

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Netflix’s newest original miniseries, 13 Reasons Why, is compelling TV. It’s well-acted and hauntingly written. But while watching it, something bothered me, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. I fear that 13 Reasons Why might be the latest example of how Hollywood...

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For the last few weeks I’ve been chatting via email with pastor, writer, and Christian film critic Brett McCracken. Brett is one of the most articulate, and consistently helpful evangelical culture writers that I know. I was eager to get some of his perspective on a variety of movie-related...

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Wednesday, 05 April 2017 01:09

The Other Woman

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Thinking about this passage from Brian Jay Jones’s lovely biography of George Lucas:

What wasn’t right was that George and [then-wife] Marcia’s thirteen year marriage was quickly imploding, largely because of Lucas’s own neglect. He knew he could be difficult to live...

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Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:55

Billy Graham Rules!

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Right now the Big Thing On Twitter™ is the “Billy Graham Rule.” A new debate was flared up by news that Vice President Mike Pence practiced his own form of the rule. Some well-followed progressives wasted no time before lambasting Mr. Pence as a sexist. Some well-followed...

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Monday, 27 March 2017 11:32

The Pagans Who Will Save Christian Publishing

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I was reminded recently of one of my favorite anecdotes from Russell Moore. It’s about the day that Dr. Carl F.H. Henry told him that the next great Christian leaders were probably pagans right now:

Several of us were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, about so much doctrinal...

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Thursday, 23 March 2017 04:04

Purpose-Driven Premodernism

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I’ve finished reading Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option.” In my view, it’s a fine book, one that articulates a theologically faithful response to the West’s cultural moment. I’ll have more thoughts on it later (and a brief review in a forthcoming issue...

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017 10:47

Review: “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)

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When the history of Hollywood’s current creative stagnation is written, we very well might regard the new live action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” as the quintessential movie of the era. It is a remarkably efficient summation both of nostalgia’s...

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Saturday, 18 March 2017 05:23

My Father’s Anger

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Growing up, I did not see my father angry often. But it did happen. If my father was angry with me, it was almost certainly for one of two reasons. Either I had disrespected my mother, or else I had been cruel to my younger sister. On those occasions I did witness and endure my Dad’s anger.

But...

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My issue with pieces like this one comes down to a question of good-faith. In a certain context, given some mutual assumptions and amongst people who share particular convictions, arguing from the New Testament to a certain political program can be persuasive and valuable. The trouble comes when...

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 02:08

Sitting Athwart History

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Today I’m re-upping this post from May 2016. 

Timothy George’s profile of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and its senior pastor, Mark Dever, is a joy to read. It was a joy for me personally because my wife and I are members of a church in Louisville that owes much to Dever and Capitol...

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 06:57

Against Snark

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Snark, which the American Heritage Dictionary defines as a “snide, sarcastic, or disrespectful attitude,” is the basic currency of online writing. Without mockery, sarcasm, or innuendo, a majority of published internet writing would simply evaporate. That’s unfortunate, because...

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