We are going to disagree with people. This is going to happen. Therefore, we need to know how to disagree agreeably. In this post at The Gospel Coalition, Bobby Jamieson provides us with questions we need to ask ourselves when we enter into a disagreement over ideas. “So, what can you disagree about and still remain members of the same church? The more items you are able to place in that category, the easier it is to promote and preserve unity.”
Good literature is a gift from God. Every good story enthralls us, teaches us, and stretches our imagination. I loved reading through this list and seeing how different writers chose to end their stories and what their last lines intended to convey. “The last line’s job, ultimately, is not to compel you to read on, but to compel you to wonder what could come next. Long after the first line has dissolved into a story’s swirl, the last line’s job is to float to the top of a reader’s imagination, and bob about after the book is closed.”
Pastors often don’t know the right thing to say, but too often they just start blabbering anyway and don’t say anything that anyone would ultimately find to be helpful. Scott Mehl gives us some advice for when we find ourselves at a loss for words. “Pastors shouldn’t be surprised by this feeling, and they shouldn’t be afraid of it. While many expect us to be pillars of strength and the wisest of sages (and we often expect it of ourselves), those expectations have no place in reality. To assume a pastor will know what to say in every situation is to mistake a weak, imperfect human for the eternally perfect God.”
Unfortunately, many people, including Christians, reject calls for civility and say that we live in times where we need to be ready to fight. It may be true that we live in particularly perilous times, but this does not mean that Christians have a blank check to act however they want. Building off of an article by Elizabeth Corey, Alan Jacobs makes the case for our rediscovering the importance of civility. “If anyone lived through extraordinary circumstances, it was a man who was rejected and scorned by his own people, then arrested, tortured, and crucified by Roman officials, but who nevertheless said of all his killers, as he hung dying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Such absolute forgiveness may be beyond our reach, but perhaps the more easily acquired virtue of civility is achievable.”
I have been looking forward to reading this important work by Drew Dyck on self-control for a long time. He helps us understand why we struggle with self-control and, using insights from Scripture and neuroscience, shows us how we can learn to exercise greater self-control in the future. If you have trouble sticking with important habits, this work will give you greater insight into how you should move forward.