I’ve realized how easy it is to consume news, information, and even spiritual knowledge without retaining it. We move from social-media post to online article to amusing YouTube video to online shopping seamlessly. One of the downsides is we don’t reflect on or respond to what we’re reading, viewing, and hearing. Because of the amount of information that inundated us, we also tend to forget what we read (that mattered) and fail to hold on to or prioritize what was actually beneficial.
To force me to evaluate more of what I read, watch, and listen to, and also prioritize which ones are the most helpful or are of benefit (even if just for amusement or distraction, which does have a role), I’m hoping to do a monthly post pointing to some of my favorite “finds” of the month. I hope some of them can be helpful to you as well. Most of them show up on my Twitter feed at some point, so you can always go there as well.
- Enough About Me by Jen Oshman. In a day-and-age where we’re told we as individuals are the answer, Jen helps us see why that is so destructive. But even better, she points us to the One who is enough. Here are my top 10 quotes.
- How to Think by Alan Jacobs. Spend a few minutes online or scrolling through Facebook and you’ll realize how shoddy our thinking is today. And it’s not all on us. News, media, political pundits, and politicians themselves spread misinformation that gets shared and posted without a second thought. Many people get sucked into an echo-chamber where they only hear what they want, and see every argument and idea as a weapon to wield. Jacobs helps us see the dangers in our thinking today and ways to grow.
Two books releasing in September to look out for: Unfolding Grace: 40 Guided Readings through the Bible by Drew Hunter, and Deep Discipleship: How the Church Can Make Whole Disciples of Jesus by J.T. English.
- “9 Tips for Making the Most of Your Bible Study” by Jen Wilkin. I recommend Jen’s article with this older one by Drew Hunter, “10 Things You Should Know About Studying the Bible.” Bible study affects everything else in our life. It’s always helpful to get these reminders so we can maximize that time in the Word.
- “Make Your School Decision. Then Trust God” by Glenna Marshall. Figuring out what to do for kids and school this semester has been stressful for parents. Here’s a reminder there’s no perfect decision, so no matter what, rest in God.
- “Are Christians Losing the Battle to Form Christians?” by Brett McCracken. Though directed to pastors, this speaks to the increasing challenge where so many church attendees are formed by their online habits, social-media, and partisan ideologies.
- Tim Keller has taught on, written about, and his church has lived out biblical justice–using the terms “social justice”–for years (decades, actually). In August, he provided a helpful survey of how biblical justice contrasts to secular attempts at justice (including Critical Theory).
Good Stories (We All Need More of These)
- This video of whales breaching and spinning in the air is amazing, and the daughter’s reaction is great. The joys of father-daughter time in the outdoors!
- After a man has a kid in the neighborhood repeatedly bike on his driveway, he takes action, and in doing so, he teaches us how to be better neighbors.
- The death of actor, Chadwick Boseman, was another loss in 2020. He brought such dignity and nobility to his characters. The stories written this week of him visiting and giving hope to patients with cancer while he quietly fought his own battle have been inspiring, as was his Howard speech where he encourages young people to choose purpose over a job.
What to Watch
- My top find for “what to watch” would be the Disney+ Nature documentaries. I hope to write more about these soon, but I love the combination of storytelling, learning about animals, humor, and pointing out the beauty of God’s creation (even if he doesn’t get credited). There are a lot of great shows and documentaries highlighting the beauty and glory of our world, but these Disney Nature movies “personalize” the stories in a way that (for me) makes clear ways creation is full of general revelation.
Whether it’s a flamingo chained around the ankles with cemented salt that gets thicker, tripping them up (a good visual of our idolatry), or the way a father penguin offers refuge and protection for his child through the harshest of storms (a picture of our Father), the visuals illustrate spiritual truths present in our world.
(Here’s the save-my-skin or give-me-grace preface stating this doesn’t mean I endorse or agree with everything each post, author, or website says , or has said in the past, or that that their third-cousin posted on Twitter. Also, this doesn’t mean these were the most important issues. It might be that I find an article especially helpful, but I want to post a few recommendations on a theme at once in a future post. So, please give grace for what does and doesn’t get mentioned. This is not the “canon” of what’s true or most important, but simply a few recommended resources.)