Friday, August 2, 2013

All Around the Web - August 2, 2013

The Gospel Coalition - 7 Tips for My Younger Preacher Self |

1. Preach the Word
2. Trust the Word
3. Preach Shorter Sermons
4. Talk like a Normal Person
5. Work on Application
6. Get Feedback
7. Be Patient

The Gospel Coalition - The Problem with Sexual Compatibility |

From the many conversations I've had with those who are happily married with healthy, God-honoring sex lives, I've learned that true sexual compatibility, if we must call it that, happens when two people commit themselves first to God, and then to each other. This covenant commitment affords an opportunity for a husband and wife to unconditionally serve and love the way Jesus loves his bride, the church (Eph. 5:22-33). Marriage is a journey in which two incompatible, selfish sinners learn to become one. There will thus be multiple things—including sex—that both parties will have to figure out together along the way.

Desiring a healthy and vibrant sex life in marriage is a good and even wise thing. But for the Christian it's not ultimate. As a single Christian man, I desire a spiritually healthy marriage before a sexually healthy one, though I trust the former encourages the latter. Therefore, I'm willing to trust God and wait, not because I want to have the most euphoric wedding night with someone I'm perfectly sexually compatible with, but because I want a healthy, God-honoring marriage after the wedding night with the person to whom I've just committed my life.


John Stonestreet - A Head Transplant, Really? |

Last month, Italian scientist Sergio Canavero ignited a debate among ethicists and in the media when he published a paper on how to accomplish – I kid you not – a head transplant, or more accurately, a body transplant. The idea is that patients whose bodies are dying but whose brains are still functional could get a new body to use. Canavero claims he can try it within two years if funding comes through, though he admits the ethical implications could “undermine society.” No kidding.

The questions are haunting: Can a person be reduced to their head? Should a man be fitted with a woman’s body, or vice-versa? If a patient later has a child with another’s body, whose would it be? Are there any limits to our attempts to “heal” ?

Christianity Today - What Does Preaching Do to Your Brain? |

When I first picked up Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons (InterVarsity Press), by Richard H. Cox, I was a drawn immediately to its title. In today's day and age, where virtually every scholarly endeavor attempts to pour its topic into the new wineskin of neuroscience, my concern was that this book would fall short of the title's claim. The premise that preaching is somehow fundamentally different from all other forms of oral communication is one that the majority of people might find curious. But it could certainly resonate with many people of faith. Could it be that there is something "sacred" about active preaching? Does the brain have a unique area or cortical region that helps it make sense of religious teaching? Is it possible that pastors could use the findings of neuroscience to somehow alter their preaching and, in doing so, get the people in the pews to grasp the theological truths they are trying to communicate?

The brain scientist in me instinctively pushed back, and I found myself approaching Cox's thesis with an element of doubt. As I read through the book, however, I gained an appreciation for what the author was trying to do, the integrative process he was engaged in, the limitations of the scientific claims being made, and the eagerness of publishers to take the brain angle.

Christianity Today - Barely Half of Weekly Churchgoers Think Pastors Contribute "A Lot" to Society |

Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans think clergy contribute "a lot" to society, according to new data from a survey on which professions Americans respect most.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 18 percent of American adults surveyed believe clergy contribute "nothing" to the wellbeing of society, and another 36 percent believe clergy contribute "some." That's just one percent less than those who believe clergy contribute "a lot."

The percentages have stayed more or less constant since the last time Pew asked the question in 2009. Clergy rank lower in public esteem than the military, teachers, medical doctors, scientists, and engineers, but higher than artists, journalists, business execs, and lawyers.

But according to Pew, even among regular churchgoers (those who report attending services at least once a week), barely half (52 percent) rate clergy as contributing "a lot"—and more than 1 in 10 church-going respondents say the clergy contribute "not very much/nothing."

In case you cared:

HT: 22 Words

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