Podcast: On the latest episode of The Hero of the Story, Andy McLean joins me to chat about why we need to teach “the beginning” to our students. Check it out on Apple Podcasts or using your favorite podcast app.
For some time I had been battling a growing conviction that my phone had taken an outsized place in my life. This manifested itself in a number of ways, but none more concerning than how it had come to fill up nearly every single one of life’s little cracks. In almost any spare moment of standing, waiting, or pausing, I’d unthinkingly grab it and start tapping, typing, and swiping. In almost any context of boredom, I’d find that it had somehow materialized in my hand, almost as if by magic. It’s like I just couldn’t help myself. It’s like I just didn’t want to. This little glowing rectangle had become my near-constant companion. I had to start asking myself: Do I own this phone, or does it own me? Who here is the servant and who’s the master?
When we think of accountability relationships (or accountability “partners”), we often think of all the ways someone might keep a weaker brother responsible for his actions. But we rarely talk about how the one being held accountable might live in such a way to not make his accountability-holder have to feel like a jerk. This runs through issues of church discipline and the like, as well. The focus is so much on gentleness and directness and loving rebuke for those sinning — which is a necessary focus, of course — that we sometimes neglect to remind people that walking in repentance and integrity is a good gift to leaders (Hebrews 13:17) because it keeps them from having to enter conflict. Us folks under accountability can take real burdens off those holding us accountable by striving to act right.
A wise friend once told me that a surefire way to see where one’s deepest affections are is to see what most easily inflames one’s emotions. It’s here that we see a massive gap between our own cultural and subcultural foment and the emotional life of Jesus.
But truth be told, the road from responsible cyber citizen to raging troll is short and well traveled, and many denizens of the latter are unaware they’ve vacated the former. Therefore, before we assume which of these two camps we occupy, let’s take heed lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). For if one day we truly will “give account for every careless word” (Matt. 12:36–37), then we can’t afford to tweet haphazardly.
The entire corpus of the Old Testament was about the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, the God-Man who would become one of us, live perfectly, die shamefully, then rise and ascend bodily. It was about mankind’s need for redemption, as seen over and over again in the epic failures of every one of its “heroes.” It was about the suffering that everyone deserved and the patience and forbearance of the Lord who had held out his hands to a disobedient and contrary people “all day long” (Rom 10:21). And it was about the child of the woman who would trample under and crush Satan, the tempter (See Gen. 3:15).
But how would this happen? Shockingly, it would happen through the suffering of the only One who didn’t deserve to suffer, the Sinless Son. As much as his disciples had believed that Jesus was the Christ, they had missed this message entirely.
This is interesting.
A favorite from the archives, and also a subject that is connected to a talk I gave for an upcoming webcast:
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read a book by an academic, especially a Christian one. Academic books are not known for being entertaining, of course. Quite the opposite. On my more cynical days, I wonder if academics may be allergic to writing things that are entertaining. (And then I look back at some of the things I’ve written in the past and feel the need to repent.) It might not be fair, but it’s expected that if you’re going to read an academic work, you need to be ready to slog through it.
This is a shame because boring writing gives doctrine a reputation for being, well, kind of… boring. But sound doctrine is anything but.