Monday, April 21, 2014

All Around the Web - April 21, 2014

HT: 22 Words

Russell Moore - Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
The Bible tells us that the king of Israel once wanted to hear from the prophets, as to whether he would be victorious over his enemies. All the court prophets told him exactly what he wanted to hear. Yet the king of Judah, wisely, asked whether there might be another voice to hear from, and Israel’s king said that, yes, there was, but that he hated this prophet “because he never prophesies good concerning me” (1 Kings 22:8).

Once found, this prophet refused to speak the consensus word the king wanted to hear. “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:14). And, as it turned out, it was a hard word.

When it comes to what people want to hear, it seems to me that the church faces a similar situation as we look to the future of marriage in this country. Many want the sort of prophetic witness that will spin the situation to look favorable, regardless of whether that favor is from the Lord or in touch with reality.

Some people want a court of prophets who will take a surgeon’s scalpel to the Word of God. They want those who will say in light of what the Bible clearly calls immorality, “Has God really said?” Following the trajectory of every old liberalism of the past, they want to do with a Christian sexual ethic what the old liberals did with the virgin birth—claim that contemporary people just won’t have this, and if we want to rescue Christianity, this will have to go overboard. All the while they’ll tell us they’re doing it for the children (or for the Millennials).

This is infidelity to the gospel we’ve received. First of all, no one refusing to repent of sin—be it homosexuality or fornication or anything else—will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10). This strategy leaves people in condemnation before the Judgment Seat of Christ, without reconciliation and without hope.

Denny Burk - Russell Moore on CBS News’ morning show

John Stonestreet - Midlife Spring Break
It’s pathetic, and as the dad of three little girls, it’s infuriating. And it represents the worst of our flourishing man-child subculture.

We’ve all heard about the guys who refuse to grow up—we remember the stereotypical Ferris Buellers of the eighties who spent high school partying.

Now the idea of teenage knuckleheads evokes nostalgia, because in 2014, the knuckleheads are balding thirty-somethings, as portrayed in movies like the Hangover series. Male adolescence now extends decades past the teen years. It’s become, as one blogger put it, “a lifestyle instead of a life stage.”

And a collapsing marriage culture is providing the incentive. As a powerful video from the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture shows, extended adolescence, delayed marriage and even the hookup scene are largely the result of simple economics—sexual economics, that is.

In this video, based on the work of University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, we learn how sex, in an important way, works like an economy. And as with all economies, it’s subject to the laws of supply and demand. Men haven’t always flown down to Miami to prowl the beaches for college girls. But they have (shocker!) always wanted sex. Once upon a time, a strong marriage culture allowed women to control the supply and set the price of sex at lifetime commitment of marriage and family.

Tim Challies - The Porn-Free Family Plan
I am a father of three children who are fully part of the digital generation. They are as comfortable with iPods as I am with a paperback and have only ever known a world where almost all of us have cell phones with us at all times, where Facebook is a teenager’s rite-of-passage, where every home has five or ten or twenty devices that can access the rest of the world through the Internet. Yet I know of the dangers that are lurking out there, waiting to draw them in.

I want to protect my children in a world like this, but I want to do more than that. I want to disciple my children to live virtuously, to use these new technologies for good purposes instead of bad ones. I believe this is a crucial part of my calling as a parent. To address this great need, I have put together what I call The Porn-Free Family Plan. It is a plan designed to protect my children from online dangers so that I can train them to use their devices and technologies well.

Thom Rainer - Ten Reasons Some Pastors Don’t Desire to Go to an Established Church
  1. We don’t celebrate the victories of established churches and their pastors. There are some very good established churches led by godly and gifted pastors. But you don’t hear much about many of these pastors and churches, and they often receive little recognition. Many of us, including me, bemoan the state of churches, without offering stories of some of the great ways God is working in these settings.
  2. Church culture is increasingly negative, and some established churches have followed this trend. The reasons are many, but we Christians often fight among ourselves and criticize each other.  We often seem to ignore the commands of Jesus who said we must love one another (See, for example, John 13:34-35). That critical and divisive spirit has made its way into some established churches. A number of pastors have thus made the decision to go places where their ministries will not be dominated by conflict.
  3. Some pastors have the “grass is greener” syndrome. No church is perfect. No work of any kind is perfect. It can be tempting to move on to another church if the pastor is dealing with conflict and criticism on a regular basis.
  4. We have failed to equip many pastors in leadership and relational skills. Too many pastors are thrust into positions of leadership for which they are ill-equipped. They find themselves to be leaders of a few hundred volunteers, and they don’t have the skill sets or training to respond well. This scenario can be especially pervasive in established churches.
  5. There is often a chasm between the expectations of pastors and the expectations of the congregations. The resume of the pastor indicated he was a great preacher, extraordinary leader, compassionate caregiver, and personable extrovert. The search committee (or its equivalent) indicated the church was ready for change and would easily adapt to leadership initiatives. Neither party was intentionally lying; and neither party had expectations met.
  6. The Internet age makes information readily available. Pastors are able to see openings in other churches, and they are often tempted to move from the challenges of the established church. Some pastors make daily journeys to sites that have pastor and staff openings.
  7. Established church members often compare their pastors to gifted orators on podcasts and other media. A pastor of an established church recently contacted me. He was frustrated. For the fourth time in one week, he had been compared to some well-known pastors. And each time he was told how he fell short of those men. He was ready to give up the church if not ministry altogether.
  8. More pastors are tempted to move campus pastor roles at multi-site churches. They would rather have accountability to one senior pastor rather than an entire congregation.
  9. More pastors are tempted to start new churches. They feel like they will not have to deal with long-standing issues of established churches. They similarly feel that the new church is a chance to start fresh.
  10. Giving is declining in many established churches, reducing the availability of resources the church once had. The established church pastor thus does not have the availability of an assistant or other staff. Some pastors in established churches struggle financially because the church is unable or unwilling to compensate them adequately.

Wired - Glow-in-the-dark roads make debut in Netherlands
Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde  promised us the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product.

One Netherlands   news report said, "It looks like you are driving through a fairytale," which pretty much sums up this extraordinary project. The design studio like to bring technology and design to the real world, with practical and beautiful results.

The Story Behind the most viewed image of the world

HT: The Blaze
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