Gleanings are some items I’ve found lying around the web that I’ve found helpful this week.
This is one of the most encouraging articles I have read in awhile, in regards to the power of Gospel in the face of overwhelming odds and staggering persecution. It’s amazing what God is doing in Iran. Most helpful may be Afshin Ziafat’s reminder to continue praying for the persecuted church, and for giving us practical ways to do so!
Pastoral wisdom from John Piper: “Join Paul in appealing to the highest power and authority in the universe to strengthen you ‘with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy’ (Colossians 1:11). Endurance! Endurance! With joy! That is the need of these years. Only God can do this.”
A brilliant analysis of children’s literature and the culture that produces it, again from Joshua Gibbs: “children’s books have become increasingly squeamish when it comes to addressing genuine human problems, let alone the idea that vice must be painfully overcome through virtue.”
This is a difficult read, not for the squeamish or easily-offended [due warning given!]. However, it is an eye-opening look, from a secular sociologist of religion, at the effects of pornography use on conservative Protestants. I obviously don’t agree with most of his conclusions (following the general truth of scientific inquiry that “is” does not equal “ought”). This one is both telling and not surprising: “After looking at pornography for a long enough time, they started to back away from their faith a little bit. They were less likely to pray, less likely to attend church, less likely to feel like God is playing an important part in their lives.” Our idols tend to do that, don’t they? The solution to this problem is not–as a social scientist might argue–“lighten up, boys,” but rather, “Repent!”
I thought I was all alone in thinking that it was ridiculous to criticize Facebook for censoring content, since they are a private company, not the government. The debate is bigger than my understanding, heating up with a recent op-ed in the New York Times from Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes as well as a response from Facebook VP Nick Clegg. All that to point out the issues are big, but government intervention in regards to censorship by a private corporation–to me–seems to amount to congressional hearings on steroid use in Major League Baseball. Just odd.
And I think Jonah Goldberg might sympathize with me: “the argument that the solution to the problems with Facebook et al is to make government the de facto content editor strikes me as batty.”