Archives For _samp

Around-the-Horn[1]The Parable of The Lawn Mower
Here’s a wonderful parable about why we must proclaim the Gospel, not simply display it.

Third World Osteen
Where Third World poverty and Joel Osteen’s tweets collide, or, applying Osteenisms to the poorest of the poor.

The Emerging Reality Facing Clergy
A good article from The Atlantic asking, what is the church willing to do support its pastor?

America’s Udder
We have two presenting issues on our southern border. One is the border security itself, and the other is all the stuff we are doing that creates the need for border security in the first place.

A Haunting Peace
Islamic scholars must stop the self-deception which claims that Islam is 100% peace, and with honesty, recognise the violence that continues to exist within their religion today.

N is For Nazareth
Christians around the world are changing their social media avatars to the arabic letter “n.” In so doing, these Christians are reminding others around them to pray, and to stand in solidarity with believers in Iraq who are being driven from their homes, and from their country, by Islamic militants. The Arabic letter comes from the mark the ISIS militants are placing on the homes of known Christians. “N” is for “Nazarene,” those who follow Jesus of Nazareth.

Am I In Trouble?
It’s not just a question from the mouth of a disobedient toddler.  It’s the same question that many of us ask when we think about opening God’s word after an absence of days, weeks, or months.

Build Your Character, Not Your Platform
Words like “platform” and “influence” are important.  But if we aren’t careful, in our desire to build our platform and influence, we can end up building our ego.

Short-term Missions, Long-term Impact
The trip was undeniably a PowerPoint success story. We had secured a cornucopia of colorful photos with pithy captions to document our accomplishments. We delivered a sterling report to our supporters back home who has all been holding vigil, waiting for the bottom line: how many souls from Botswana would will be in heaven because of our cash?

What Not to Say at My FuneralAround-the-Horn[1]
Because I do care now, and will care even after I’m with the Lord, here are some things I hope and pray are not said at my funeral. I care about those who will be there, about what they will hear. I want the truth to be spoken, the truth about sin, the truth about death, and, above all, the truth about the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Three Reasons You Should Not Try to Bind Satan
There is a pernicious paranoia that permeates churches today: folks think Satan can hear them speak. Some people unwittingly pad Satan’s résumé to include God’s unique attributes of omniscience and omnipresence. Yes, Satan certainly is ambulant (1 Peter 5:8), but he is confined to one place at a time. He can’t read your mind, and he doesn’t perk his ears when he hears his name mentioned in your prayers.

J.R.R. Tolkien Reveals True Meaning of The Lord of The Rings in Recently Found Audio Recording
Over 20 years ago, a lost recording of J.R.R. Tolkien was discovered in a basement in Rotterdam, but the man who found it kept this important reel-to-reel tape hidden away. Until recently, only he had heard the recording. But now, I am one of those lucky Middle-earth lovers who has listened to this magical magnetic tape, and I happily declare that it is awesome. For it proves once and for all that Professor Tolkien was, in fact, very much the hobbit that we all suspected him to be. What’s more, we get to hear Tolkien reading a lost poem in the Elven tongue which he translates into English. And to top it off, he states in unambiguous terms (cue Rohirrim war trumpets) the real meaning of The Lord of the Rings!

Pastors Are Not Born But Formed
Cruising through Bruce Gordon’s masterful biography on Calvin, I’ve been struck to see that pastors aren’t born but formed. It’s easy when reading the final edition of the Institutes or the later commentaries, at such a historical remove, to forget the development and the formative influences involved in turning the proud young legal scholar into a mature churchman and theologian.

Should A Theologians Life Affect How We Regard His/Her Theology
Over the decades of studying and teaching about not only the theologies of Christian theologians past and present but also their biographies I’ve run into a common question. How should we relate their lives to their theologies? To be specific, if there’s something negative in their life story, should that affect how we value their intellectual contributions?

Religious Freedom In Peril
From the NYT: Religious freedom is one of the most basic of human rights, and one in peril in much of the world.

A Chilling New Front In The War On Religious Liberty
What does this mean? It means that the ACLU and company are pursuing a zero-sum strategy against religious groups and individuals. They have declared an all-out culture war and will offer no quarter to sincere religious dissenters. They are ready to use the coercive power of the state to trample the religious consciences of their countrymen. This is radical and chilling. Let’s hope and pray this intolerant strategy does not become the new orthodoxy among the American Left. It is toxic.

Wrestling With That Old Anglican Timeline, In South Carolina 
Anyone who follows news on the religion beat knows the drill when it comes to reporters framing the global, national, regional and local conflicts between Anglicans: The battles are about homosexuality, period, and all heck broke loose in 2003 when the tiny Diocese of New Hampshire elected an openly gay and non-celibate bishop.  The problem with that news template is that it’s simplistic.

Christian Eschatology and the Planet of The Apes
A Christian vision of the future proves the dystopian movies to be right, in some sense. There’s a fire being kindled somewhere, and not even the Statue of Liberty can withstand it. But, after that, there’s the kind of new creation that makes everything new.

A Company Liberals Could Love
From the NYT: For a generation now, liberals have bemoaned the disappearance of the socially conscious corporation, the boardroom devoted to the common good. Once, the story goes, America’s C.E.O.s recognized that they shared interests with workers and customers; once wages and working hours reflected more than just a zeal for profits. But then came Reagan, deregulation, hostile takeovers, and an era of solidarity gave way to the age of Gordon Gekko, from which there’s been no subsequent escape.  There are, however, exceptions: companies that still have a sense of business as a moral calling, which can be held up as examples to shame the bottom-liners.  One such company . . . .

Get With the Program – The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops
Writing about the age of John Milton, the British author A. N. Wilson once tried to explain to modern secular readers that there had once been a time when bishops of the Church of England were titanic figures of conviction who were ready to stand against the culture. “It needs an act of supreme historical imagination to be able to recapture an atmosphere in which Anglican bishops might be taken seriously,” he wrote, “still more, one in which  they might be thought threatening.”  Keep that in mind as you read the news that the General Synod of the Church of England voted yesterday to approve the consecration of women as bishops of the church.

Arminianism 101: An FAQ
From Roger Olsen

Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to U.S. Border
From the NYT: The killings are a major factor driving the recent wave of migration of Central American children to the United States, which has sent an unprecedented number of unaccompanied minors across the Texas border.

When the Bricks Start to Fall
It is worthy noting that the Lord Jesus describes one of the features of hypocrisy as being manifested in an inability to read the culture. A hypocrite does not know what is coming down because it does not suit him to know what is coming down. It is always handy to say, when things are comparatively calm, “well, that’s not my interpretation.”

Around-the-Horn[1]Six Lies College Grads Will Be Told
Most graduation speeches follow the same format. And they are filled with inspirational quotes and silly sayings that somebody’s mom will post on Facebook three years later with pretty little flowers and a demand to share. Or maybe the saying will be really good and you’ll see it on one of those overpriced placards that people buy to put in their storage sheds.  Usually the graduates are just lied to. Here are six lies they’ll likely be told:

I Was A Victim of Bad, Bigoted Parenting
From Carl Trueman: In light of this story, about a girl who became a boy at the age of five, I resisted the temptation to rearrange the word ‘lunatics,’ ‘asylum,’ and ‘have taken over’ to make a well known phrase or saying, and instead spent a moment or two reflecting on my own childhood . . .

What I’ve Learned in Twenty Years of Marriage
From Russell Moore: My grandmother wisely asked one night when I was finally going to ask “that girl from Ocean Springs” to marry me. I answered, “When I can afford it.” She laughed. “Honey, I married your grandpa in the middle of a Great Depression,” she said. “We made it work. Nobody can afford to get married. You just marry, and make it work.”

The Dangers of Theological Controversy
In recent years, there has been a growing debate over the doctrine of sanctification. Some of the questions involved in this debate include: Does justification produce sanctification? Is sanctification “getting used to your justification?” What role does sanctification play in the subjective assurance of salvation in the life of a believer? Does justification make union with Christ possible, or does union make justification possible? In addition to these questions, a myriad of others have been–and ought to be–raised for the sake of clarity and the defense of truth. There are, however, several dangers that come with controversy.

Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman
I have little or no desire to police how Cox or any other man or woman conducts his or her personal life. But having a culture organized around the elevation of unreality over reality in the service of Eros, who is a sometimes savage god, is not only irrational but antirational. Cox’s situation gave him an intensely unhappy childhood and led to an eventual suicide attempt, and his story demands our sympathy; times being what they are, we might even offer our indulgence. But neither of those should be allowed to overwhelm the facts, which are not subject to our feelings, however sincere or well intended.

There Is No Third Way
From Albert Mohler: For some time now, it has been increasingly clear that every congregation in this nation will be forced to declare itself openly on this issue. That moment of decision and public declaration will come to every Christian believer, individually. There will be no place to hide, and no place safe from eventual interrogation. The question will be asked, an invitation will be extended, a matter of policy must be decided, and there will be no refuge.

The Ten Most Asinine Things About #YesAllWomen
From Mollie Hemingway: What a sad state of affairs. Rather than seeing each other as men and women with inherent dignity, #YesAllWomen encourages a war where we see each other as enemies to be fought.

Holiness by J C Ryle 2For the past few years the SAMP staff has been reading and discussing primary source theology during our summers.  My reasons are manifold: There is the simple an practical matter of equipping and encouraging.  While I am the bishop of a diocese and the rector of a parish, I am still the pastor to my staff.  Secondly, I find that the languid days of summer parish life allow for a more considered and reflective pace of reading, thought and discussion – things which the pressing needs of parish life and ministry are too easily eclipsed during the ministry year. And thirdly, I want to expose our staff to the richness of the Christian faith.  So, we tend to read “old dead guys” – often because they are unknown and neglected.  I especially prefer to read old books of theology. I find in these books a fresh perspective as the writers are both free from the spirit of the age in which we live and the errors of their age are now plain to us.

Two summers ago we read The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes.  We created a .pdf of the original document and broke it down by weekly readings, including discussion questions.  This resource is still housed on the SAMP site and may be accessed here.

Last summer we read A Treatise on Grace and Free Will by Augustine.

This summer we will be reading Holiness by J.C. Ryle.  As I told the staff, Ryle has much to say of perennial importance regarding Christian living here and now.  Holiness speaks strongly to our contemporary shallowness and superficialities; laying out afresh, biblically, systematically, and in practical terms the true fundamentals of Christian sanctity.

I’d love to have you read along with us.  You can click the link above to read the book online.  Alternatively, I’ve had Catherine Guerry, the Manager of our bookstore, Common Grounds, stock a few books.

 

 

Around-the-Horn[1]Is It God’s Will For All Christians To Be Wealthy?
More and more Christians, all over the world, believe that material prosperity is the right of all Christians. They believe that God expects them to ask for it and to anticipate it as a sure fulfillment of his promise. There is no doubt that both the Old and New Testaments teach that the faithful will be blessed by God.  But does that blessing necessarily always include material prosperity?

The Measure of Successful Ministry
If you are truly preaching God’s Word, God may choose to use your ministry to build up the Church and bring many souls to salvation in your midst. But He may also choose to use your ministry as an instrument by which to shame the wicked, force out the false prophets, and cause the institutions of the Church to collapse around your head. Either one is a holy calling if it comes from God.

Let the Separation Begin
From Michael Brown at Charisma Magazine: Without a doubt, this issue [homosexuality] will become a great dividing line in the church, and I, for one, welcome it, since it points to a much deeper divide in our approach to God, His Word and the people He wants to redeem. Ultimately, it will separate those who put God first and ask, “How can I fulfill His desires?” from those who put themselves first and ask, “How can He fulfill my desires?”

Fire On The Mountain
From Michael Horton: And now the law does something else. It not only announces the threat; it guides us in safety.  There are still “dangers, toils, and snares.” After we fled our San Diego fire, we were glued to our TV set for ongoing reports of danger. We were also reminded to prepare for loss of power and to stock up on water and provisions. Instead of announcing a threat, these reports gave us important information. It was still different from good news (“The fire is out!”), but it was also different from pure threat (“Evacuate!”). 

Dear Class of 2014: Thanks for Not Disinviting Me
From Stephen Carter (Yale Law Professor): Given your generation’s penchant for shutting down speakers with whom you disagree, I am assuming that you have no intention of playing any serious adult role in mediating those conflicts. And that’s fine. We should leave the task of mediation to those unsophisticated enough to be sensitive to the concerns of both sides.

What Do You Mean By Unconditional Love?
It is common today to hear people say, “God loves us unconditionally.”  When people say that God loves us unconditionally they usually mean something like, “After conversion God loves you no matter what. Isn’t that great?” In one sense this is true, God’s love for his people is not based upon what they do or do not do. But this does not mean that God loves us unconditionally. If God loves anyone he loves them conditionally. What is the condition?

To Whom Else Would We Go?
I’ve grown more and more weary of blogs and articles and tweets and opinions on every matter, more and more thirsty for the words of life.

Around-the-Horn[1]The Silence of Jesus and the Voice of the Apostles
From Wesley Hill: Robinson’s answer here suggests that Jesus knew of many same-sex couples and remained silent on the ethical status of their relationships. The implication, it seems, is that if Jesus saw no need to carry forward Leviticus’ explicit prohibitions of same-sex sexual behavior, then neither should Christians today. Leaving aside the myth of a sexually tolerant Jesus that Robinson’s answer conjures, we have here—again—a misunderstanding about how traditional Christians form their ethical convictions.

A Letter from C.S. Lewis On Christian Piety and Homosexuality
An interesting letter from C. S. Lewis to Sheldon Vanauken, who had written for counsel on how to counsel students with questions about Christianity and homosexuality.

Sexuality and Personality
This is the reason that sexual issues are controversial. Deconstructions of the meaning of our digestive systems don’t phase us. The new-found “origin of the species” is fairly boring. Anti-Christian potshots are largely humorous. But watch us freak out over sexuality. It’s personal. Let’s consider one way in which this is true: Sexuality recapitulates the essentially relational nature of the person.

Simplicity and the Sensate
From Doug Wilson: Cultures pass through aesthetic phases as they rise and fall, and the last phase is the phase of decadence. It is the phase in which sensate spectacle is glorified, and it is a sign, not of glory but of decrepitude. Our generation is in the thick of this last phase. Our culture is attracted to the sensational and insists upon spectacle.

Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
From Russell Moore: 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.  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.

God, The Gospel, and the Gay Challenge – A Response to Matthew Vines
From Albert Mohler: Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.  The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.

How “Cis” Killed Gender Theory
Modern gender theory is dead, and we have killed it. Weep — we were really onto something.  We wriggled out from a dichotomy of a “normal” sexual orientation (heterosexuality) and deviations from that norm (homosexuality and lesbianism, largely), to a world of “alternative lifestyles” (homosexuality and heterosexuality as equally valid “life choices”), to a world excited and exploding with the hundreds of labels we are growing fond and familiar with today (sapiosexual, omnisexual, pansexual, trigender, bigender — you know the drill).  This evolution is easy to trace. If there is no “norm” to sexual attraction, then every form of sexual attraction is its own norm.

 

Around-the-Horn[1]Weakness is the Way
J.I. Packer delivers a powerful blow to the rampant triumphalism that has infected much of the Bible-believing world.

Illiterate People of the Book
69% of adult Americans consider themselves Biblically literate according to a study conducted in 2013 by the Barna Group. But the same study found that 58% of American Christians are not interested in Biblical insight on how to live their lives.

Concern for the Prodigal Son
Doing a little study this afternoon, I came across this illuminating section from B. B. Warfield on the parable of the prodigal son, and the danger of make it a definitive statement of the gospel.

If A Student Says Homosexuality is Wrong in School, Is it Bullying?
From the Atlantic: What right should students have to talk about God in homework, assemblies, club meetings, and graduation speeches? This is the question at stake in a new law in Tennessee and other states across the country. On Thursday, Governor Bill Haslam signed the Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act, which affirms that religious students should have the same free-speech rights as secular ones.

A Christian Country?
From the Archbishop of Canterbury: “Christian faith is much more vulnerable to comfortable indifference than to hatred and opposition.”

Firing Rome’s Canon
I can’t fathom how anyone could believe the silliness we’re all supposed to be celebrating. Rome actually insists that we believe that when these popes died, they wrote a check for more than they owed and calmly told God He could keep the change.

Can Blessings Be A Trial?
Blessings are a trial that can lead to pride or gratitude. Which is it for you right now?

Why We Need Dinosaurs Like C.S. Lewis
Who could be against “progress” or “development”? Only someone, like Caspian, who has realized that some things progress and develop in the wrong direction. And one of the great gifts of C. S. Lewis was his well-honed suspicion of progress.

Around-the-Horn[1]Chick-fil-A! Lay Thyself Toward the Idol or Be Damned
It is beyond ironic that some of the very people who fought to be able to live their lives freely and “out of the closet” are now actively working to shove others into a closet of silence, where personal beliefs are stowed away in service to a shushing tyranny of “niceness” — a pretend world where no one ever disagrees with anyone or entertains a thought that might slip into non-conformity, and the dubious idol of the permitted social idea has become the unmerciful all-in-all, a godling demanding constant prostration and continual penance under threat of eternal damnation.

A Faith that Fights
Christians are disciples, and therefore by definition, we are disciplined. Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it,” is couched in an exhortation not to grow weary under the discipline of our loving Father. By using the illustration of a Grecian Olympic fighter, the preacher to the Hebrews teaches us that part of our discipline in the Christian life is conditioning. We need practice.

Christianity Packs its Office and Leaves the Building
Well, once again, a lawyer has told me to clean out my desk and vacate the premises, this time in The Atlantic. In truth, he was talking about natural law, not me, Christianity. But whenever someone says, “A government that tries to invoke divine law ceases to be of, by, and for the people,” I’m indicted too.

On My Mind: The Skinny God
Many years ago, J. B. Phillips wrote a book called Your God is Too Small. It was quite popular at the time, in 1952, although it now seems rather quaint. The juvenile understanding of God Phillips was attacking then is, by contemporary standards, rather innocent. This, however, is a book which I believe should be written afresh every decade. For is it not the case that our internal bias (cf. Rom. 1:21-5) constantly tilts us away from God’s centrality and toward our own? And does this not lead us to focus more on ourselves and less on him? Even worse, don’t we then substitute our importance for his greatness?

Revival Defined and Defended
Thomas Prince, editor of The Christian History — the first religious periodical in American history — could hardly have invented the Great Awakening, as Frank Lambert argues. Indeed, Prince and New Light allies such as Jonathan Edwards failed in their efforts to employ this growing medium to quiet critics and quell radicals. Their example actually refutes both the scholarly critics of revival, who doubt God’s supernatural blessing, and also modern-day radicals, who believe our actions guarantee God’s blessing of revival.

A Ministry to the Hateful and the Hated
It sometimes feels like being the bridge between two angry worlds. And it’s heartbreaking – not because people are angry, but because people have such good reason to be angry.

How Do I Get My Own Concierge Pastor?
If you’re one of the 12,000 members of Mars Hill, 14,000 members of Elevation or the 30,000 at NewSpring, you are not likely to ever meet your pastor. Why then do the holographic pastors of these churches demand personal attention from their own flesh-and-blood personal pastors? If a personal relationship with a pastor is so important, these churches need to change their model dramatically.

Four Blood Moons
Books like this will always prove a disappointment. At the end of it all Hagee won’t say what we should expect or exactly when we should expect it. He merely says that something big is going to happen in the near future. Vague predictions based on misused Scripture have a way of coming about.

JC Ryle :: Sermons to Children
My Dear Children: I am going to talk to you about Jesus Christ and your souls.  I want to make you happy.  But I know that people are never really happy unless their souls are happy; and I am sure that people’s souls can not be happy, unless they love Jesus Christ.  And that it the reason why I am going to preach to you now: I want to tell you something about Jesus Christ and your souls.

Around-the-Horn[1]When Marriage is Hard
So this is why they make you take vows.

A Bubba With A Passion for the Gospel and for Golf
On Sunday Bubba Watson, one of the most untraditional golfers on the PGA Tour, was the winner of the 2014 Masters Tournament. But golf isn’t Watson’s top priority.

It’s Back – The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the State of Modern Scholarship
From Albert Mohler: Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment dates back to ancient times.

The Neutrality of Bigness
Last Lord’s day, despite the absence of a few, we had an encouragingly large congregation. By some standards, it was large. By others, pitifully small. By ours, with a visiting family of believers, and a number of visitors from the community, several for the first time, it was a joy.

Archbishop Welby Struggles with a Greater Truth
The Archbishop’s mistake, or naiveté, was to treat these opposing views as standing upon equal ground.

Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think It Is)
one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.

A Medical Account of Jesus’ Death
When you reconstruct the medical aspects of Jesus’ crucifixion, the result is a brutal, vivid picture of what Jesus endured to save people from sin.

Around-the-Horn[1]Till Conscious Uncoupling Do Us Part
The twitter universe was abuzz when actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her digital media website GOOP, that after 11 years of marriage, she and her husband, Coldplay front-man Chris Martin, were “consciously uncoupling.”  #consciousuncoupling  . . . Say what?  Everyone else calls it a separation, split, break-up, or divorce. But Paltrow, known as somewhat of a lifestyle guru, thinks those terms carry too much negative baggage. So what, exactly, is conscious uncoupling?  Here are 3 main ideas that I’ve extracted from all the GOOP-y conscious-uncoupling gobbley-gook . . .

Four Types of Belonging
Four different dimensions of belonging have emerged as I have studied churchgoing. I have named them activities, events, people, and places. The central idea is that all four are present in each of us but, for most individuals, a particular one is dominant.

John Donne in Lent
Donne is the poet of embodiment. He writes about things we can see and feel: fleas, ants, bearbaiting, the sudden blush of a young girl, a long voyage at sea, theatres that “are filled with emptiness,” and wartime in an “age of rusty iron.” He also writes a lot about himself and his torturous relationship with God. After he died, Donne was called “a second St. Augustine.” The Doctor of Grace is quoted more than seven hundred times in Donne’s surviving sermons. There is no doubt that he read and lived out the Confessions over and over again. The Augustinian themes of restlessness, original sin, repentance, forgiveness, pilgrimage, predestination, the resurrection of the body, and the overarching hope of salvation born of pain—these are all present in a language that still dazzles in both poetry and prose.

The Book of Common Prayer is Still A Big Deal
The key differences, I think, lie in two other areas. First, in what Cranmer took away: for instance, the whole panoply of devotion to the saints was cut back tremendously, leaving the saints’ days still in place but emphasizing that they are examples to be followed rather than intercessors.  Second, and for Cranmer most important, is the strong emphasis on a lectionary that took people through the whole Bible—and, if people went to Morning and Evening Prayer, read through the whole of the books of Psalms each month. Cranmer wanted the literate to read the Bible thoroughly and faithfully, and for the illiterate to hear it read every day.

Is Opposition to Marriage Like Opposition to Interracial Marriage?
Is opposition to same-sex marriage at all like opposition to interracial marriage? One refrain in debates over marriage policy is that laws designating marriage as exclusively the union of male and female are today’s equivalent of bans on interracial marriage. Some further argue that protecting the freedom to speak and act publicly on the basis of a religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman amounts to the kind of laws that enforced race-based segregation.  These claims are wrong on several counts.

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Fascinating TED video.

The Life You (Don’t) Want: Oprah’s Tour For the Self
This is cultural consumerism at both its highest and lowest — humanistic in its instincts, privileged in its priorities, and carefully glazed with all the right marketing to deceive itself that justice is at hand and Neighbor Love has the wheel. It’s as if human desire has grown so weary of natural constraints and so content with its own appetite that it would prefer to label self-indulgence as “self-help” and be done with it.  It’s faux-self-empowerment for the self-centered, heart-religion as a mantle for hedonism.

Why Teaching Poetry is so Important
Students who don’t like writing essays may like poetry, with its dearth of fixed rules and its kinship with rap. For these students, poetry can become a gateway to other forms of writing. It can help teach skills that come in handy with other kinds of writing—like precise, economical diction, for example. When Carl Sandburg writes, “The fog comes/on little cat feet,” in just six words, he endows a natural phenomenon with character, a pace, and a spirit. All forms of writing benefits from the powerful and concise phrases found in poems.