I learned a lot from Dr. Hershael York when I took preaching from him at SBTS almost two decades ago and continue learning from him as he talks and writes about preaching. In this post, he encourages pastors to think about the tone of voice we use in the pulpit. This reminder is needed for us all. “The orality of preaching makes it a more powerful medium than writing. Words on a page lie flat and subject to whatever tone or emphasis the reader wants to assign them, but spoken words stand erect, communicating not only through lexical meaning, but also through pitch, pace, volume, emphasis, and especially tone.”
I appreciated this from Chris Martin. He writes about the cost that we pay from our frequent social media use. “We are not even the product. Big social internet companies do not care about us. It is our data they want. Our data is the product. How do they get our data, then? By harvesting our attention using complicated mathematical equations to decide what kind of content will get us to stop, watch, click, or comment.”
I enjoyed this from Tim Challies. It wasn’t a diatribe about how things have changed, but a look at the aspects of our childhood that our own children won’t experience. Many of these gave me great memories of my relatively simple, analog childhood. “It would cost you an extra $0.50 if you didn’t rewind the VHS tape before returning it to the video store! And your brother or sister would be upset with you if you didn’t rewind the Phil Collins cassette back to song 1 of side 1 before putting it back in the case.”
The Gospel Coalition released an outstanding resource called series of essays. These short pieces by a variety of pastors and scholars are arranged under major doctrines, such as “Jesus Christ,” and then delve into the subcategories of theological discussions that contribute to our understanding of the major issue. For example, in the essays on Jesus, they cover the humanity of Christ, the deity of Christ, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, Christ in the Old Testament, and more. This is a great resource for gaining a quick overview of important theological issues.
I cannot overstate the importance of Cal Newport’s work to my work life and personal life over the last few years. Beginning with his book Deep Work and continuing with So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Digital Minimalism, Newport helped me understand how to fight to regain my time and attention so that I could focus on the most important tasks before me each day. Newport has written extensively about the effects of smartphones on our work and personal lives. Here, he writes about a new study that examined the effect of smartphones on our concentration. “Subjects measured notably lower on working memory capacity and fluid intelligence when the phone was next to them on the desk versus out of sight.”
All too often, we neglect important, basic doctrines because we spend more time thinking about more controversial doctrines. This leads to Christians having an insufficient understanding of the basics of our faith which robs us of the joy of the Christian life. In The Ascension of Christ, Patrick Schreiner revisits Jesus’s ascension, his going back to the right hand of the Father, and his session, his taking a seat at the right hand of the Father. Using the model of Jesus as prophet, priest, and king, Schreiner explains how the ascension informs our understanding of Jesus and helps us think through how this doctrine should inform our Christian lives.