Thursday, August 22, 2013

All Around the Web - August 22, 2013

HT: The Blaze

Trevin Wax - Is the Abortion Battle a War On Women or a War Between Women?

The fact is, women are at the forefront of the so-called “War on Women.” That’s why it’s particularly damaging for media outlets to adopt the pro-choice spin on abortion battles by failing to challenge the terminology. It has the rhetorical effect of making every pro-life woman a traitor to the cause of women’s rights.

Using the “War on Women” nomenclature communicates this message: if you are for unrestricted abortion rights, you are pro-women. If you are pro-life, you’re anti-women.

This must be news to the majority of women in the United States, who consistently express their support for a ban on late-term abortions. Consider the recent recent controversy in Texas over a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks. If this is an example of Gov. Rick Perry’s “War on Women,” it doesn’t play out that way in the polls. You see, women are more likely than men to support a ban on abortion at 20 weeks.

In other polls, women take a stronger pro-life view than men: 24 percent of women want all abortions made illegal and 36 percent want almost all illegal. Americans are generally in favor of abortion access during the first trimester, but support falls drastically by the second and third trimesters.
Apparently, most women in the United States do not believe they need unfettered access to a life-taking surgical procedure in order to be on equal footing with men. Outside of Planned Parenthood circles, few women believe the highest and most sacred aspect of women’s rights is the choice of a mother to take the life of her child.

Craig Evans - Reza Aslan Tells an Old Story about Jesus |

Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth resurrects the theory that Jesus' ministry and death are best explained against the background of Jewish zealot movements at the turn of the era. There is little here that is new. The ablest presentation of this line of interpretation was made by the British scholar S. G. F. Brandon in 1967. Few followed Brandon then; virtually no one does today. I doubt very much that Aslan's fresh take on it will win a following—at least not among scholars.

Aslan, who is writing for non-experts, describes Jewish zealotry (largely in terms of zeal for the temple and for Israel's law of Moses) and surveys some of Israel's history between the Testaments. He reviews the attempts of a number of men who in one way or another sought to throw off either King Herod or the Roman yoke and win freedom for Israel. He places Jesus of Nazareth and his following squarely into this history and social setting. On this understanding, Jesus' proclamation of the coming kingdom of God was a call for regime change, for ending Roman hegemony over Israel and ending a corrupt and oppressive aristocratic priesthood.

Aslan's core contention might be outlined as follows: The regime change that Jesus and his followers anticipated did not take place. Jesus was arrested and executed, along with two other rebels. Not long after—however it happened—Jesus' followers became convinced that their master had been raised from the dead and that his mission had not been a failure after all. Unlike other zealot movements that ceased after the deaths of their respective founders, the Jesus movement not only continued, even in the face of severe opposition. It flourished, soon reaching large numbers of non-Jews.

This is where it gets interesting. With the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (who becomes the well-known Paul the apostle of New Testament letters and the book of Acts), the Jesus movement began to be pulled in two directions. One camp remained loyal to the very Jewish roots of Jesus and his family, while the other increasingly came to view Jesus as a divine figure, a figure very attractive to non-Jews who otherwise had little interest in traditional Jewish thinking and living. It was the latter wing of the Jewish movement that eventually won out, thus creating a new religion, one destined to have the most followers around the world. Ironically, what it became was not what its founder proclaimed or intended. Or so Aslan contends.

Liberate - A Conversation About Pastoring Sufferers | I've added part 1 of this conversation.

Today - Duck Nation has spoken: 'Duck Dynasty' poised to be biggest cable show of all time | Maybe there is hope for America.

It’s a Duck Nation, and we’re all just living in it.

Last week, A&E Network’s reality show “Duck Dynasty” catapulted to become the biggest unscripted show in cable history with its fourth season premiere. With nearly 11.8 million viewers, the show about a Louisiana family that has made millions from its duck call fabrication business is on the brink of toppling “The Walking Dead.” If it does, it will become cable's biggest show.

The A&E Network, as Duck Commander patriarch Phil Robertson would say, is “Happy, happy, happy.” The show premiered in March 2012 and finished its first cycle with an average 1.3 million viewers, according to data provided by Nielsen. By its third season finale, an average 8.4 million people were tuning in to hear Phil saying things like, “Ducks are like women. They don’t like a lot of mud on their butts,” and Uncle Si explaining the many uses of the word “Hey.”

Has "Duck" reached its peak audience? There's no way to know, but the network's executives aren't betting against it.

Joe Thorn - Reading for Pastor Development

Must Read For All Pastors/Planters

This could be a longer list, but as it relates to ministry itself, I always point people to: 

The Reformed Pastor, by Richard Baxter
The Christian Ministry, by Charles Bridges
Lectures to My Students, by Charles Spurgeon: Specifically his lectures on Calling and Earnestness.

And the most recent additions to this list are:

The Shepherd Leader, by Timothy Witmer
The Pastors Justification, by Jared Wilson

In our internships and residencies we focus on three areas: knowledge, skills, and character. Books are not everything. In fact there is a very strong emphasis on practical ministry. But the questions had to do with our reading requirements. As it relates to the books that are read adjustments are made based on the individual's strengths and weaknesses, as well as what they have already read. I'll give three examples of how this has looked for us.

Real Clear Politics - FOX News Special: "The Great Food Stamp Binge" | Here is part one. Click the link for the other 5 parts.

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