Gleanings are some items I’ve found lying around the web that I’ve found helpful this week.
One of my greatest burdens as a pastor is leading a church to be a praying church. I honestly don’t think we can fully honor God as we should if we are not depending on him in prayer. This article is helpful as I continue to think (and pray) about our lack of prayer: “So, do you want to become an advanced pray-er? Then you don’t need a stopwatch. You don’t need to learn new contemplative methods. You don’t need to do knee exercises. But you do need to become an expert ask-er. This is gospel-driven prayer.”
This is a great meditation on the burning of Notre Dame, the necessity of beauty, and the call to faithful work even when you don’t see the great “end”: “Beauty, as such, is not useful; yet without it, we would not be what we are. This is why a religion indifferent to beauty is a religion indifferent to the real end for which we are made.”
“Why does my Bible say something different than yours?” is a question I hear in pastoral ministry. I enjoy answering questions like this based on my understanding of text criticism, source documents, and the transmission and divine preservation of Scripture. This is an interesting article for Bible nerds and other interested people that gives a balanced-position (and a helpful tool) for seeing the similarities and differences in our biblical texts: “After two years of work on KJVParallelBible.org, I have come to believe that a firm grounding in the differences and the similarities, inductively gathered, is the best defense against the unhealthy skepticisms of both Ehrman on the left and Ruckman on the right.”
Ross Douthat over at the New York Times, in light of the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka: “…if the equation of traditional Christianity with privilege has some relevance to the actual Euro-American situation, when applied globally it’s a gross category error…One of the basic facts of contemporary religious history is that Christians around the world are persecuted on an extraordinary scale.” This is news to most Westerners who equate Christianity with conservatism and right-wing politics.