Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
Tony Reinke, "6 Ways Your Phone is Changing You" at www.DesiringGod.org (posted July 19, 2014):
"My iPhone is such a part of my daily life, I rarely think self-reflectively about it. That’s precisely what concerns David Wells, 75, a careful thinker who has watched trends in the church for many decades.
"Wells asks Christians to consider the consequences of the smartphone. 'What is it doing to our minds when we are living with this constant distraction?' he said recently in an interview. 'We are, in fact, now living with a parallel universe, a virtual universe that can take all of the time we have. So what happens to us when we are in constant motion, when we are addicted to constant visual stimulation? What happens to us? That is the big question.'
"That’s a huge question. What is life like now because of the smartphone? How has the iPhone changed us? These self-reflective questions may seem daunting, but we must ask them."
Click here to see the full post from which this excerpt was taken. Please note the usual disclaimer, that my recommendation of this post is not necessarily an endorsement of everything else on the site where this was posted.
Ray Ortlund in The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ. Crossway, 2014, pp. 65-66:
"The gospel does not hang in midair as an abstraction. By the power of God, the gospel creates something new in the world today. It creates not just a new community, but a new kind of community. Gospel-centered churches are living proof that the good news is true, that Jesus is not a theory but is real, as he gives back to us our humanness. In its doctrine and culture, words and deeds, such a church makes visible the restored humanity only Christ can give.
"In his powerful essay 2 Contents, 2 Realities, Francis Schaeffer proposes four things that should mark a gospel-created church: sound doctrine, honest answers to honest questions, true spirituality, and the beauty of human relationships. Yet the last of those four, the beauty of human relationships, is the first thing that outsiders are likely to notice when the enter a church. True beauty makes people stop and stare. But 'if we do not show beauty in the way we treat each other, then in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of our own children, we are destroying the truth we proclaim.'"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall, Temptation: Two Biblical Studies. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1983. p. 132-33:
"In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes master over the flesh. All at once a secret, smoldering desire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money, or, finally, that strange desire for the beauty of the world, of nature. Joy in God is in course of being extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.....The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: “Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” “Is it really not permitted to me, yes—expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?” … It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God.
"There is only one stronger reality to be set against the exclusive reality of desire and of Satan: the image and the presence of the Crucified. Against this power, the power of desire breaks up into nothingness; for here it is conquered."
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