Read This! 07.20.17

The Radical Difference between Believers and Unbelievers

This is one of the reasons why Paul speaks against partnering with unbelievers.

Identity & the Gospel in Judges 19

I like this series idea and might start something similar myself.

How I Overcame Cynicism as a Pastor’s Wife

It’s a real temptation not just for pastor’s wives but probably any ministry wives.

The Paradox of the Worship Selfie

I always try to read what Bob Kaulfin writes on the topic of worship.

Are You in the Dangerous Time In Between?

This is worth reading and considering.

12 Principles on How to Disagree With Other Christians


5 Ways to Give Your Family Your Best

I enjoyed meeting Ryan at the SBC Pastor’s Conference, I’m also blessed by his work here.

5 Words of Advice for Young Seminarians

This is sound.

Apparently a hungry caterpillar isn’t just a children’s book:

Moral Licensing in the SBC?

You are on a diet. For the past week you’ve been exercising like a professional athlete and eating nothing but rabbit food. Then you walk by a kid selling strawberry pies. You buy three of them hoping to share with your family. You eat all three. But you justify this by saying, “I’ve done so good on my diet that I deserve to cheat a little”.

Sociologists have coined a term for this behavior. It is called moral licensing. And it extends to far more than just eating strawberry pie while on a diet. Studies have found that when we humans do something that we consider a good deed rather than backing that up with more good deeds we tend to go the other way and give ourselves permission to do something less than favorable.

I first learned about this concept listening to Malcom Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History. Gladwell weaves together stories of outsiders who broke through a barrier only to have the door closed behind them. Rather than seeing the door remain open what often happens is that accepting one “outsider” serves as justification for the status quo to close the door again. There are exceptions to the rule, like Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the MLB, but more often than not the door closes after an one outsider breaks through.

I’ve been wondering a bit lately about where the SBC will land on this issue. In my mind we face a bit of a crossroads as a denomination. We have seen significant growth over the past decade in terms of racial reconciliation. In 2012 Fred Luter was nominated as the SBC’s first African-American president. Was this opening a door for wider representation by minorities or will this serve as a license to slowly shut that door?

I’m a nobody with only one set of eyes, so take my observations for what they are worth. Yet, I must voice my concern that I see and hear a bit of moral licensing. I hear folks touting voting records on resolutions, raising a ballot for Fred Luter, and the like. What I’m hearing is the ol’, “I have a black friend, so I cannot be racist” schtick. It’s really no more than giving ourselves permission to not look deeper into potential vestiges of racism. It’s blinding our eyes to the pervasive whiteness on our committees and our stages.

In my opinion, a massive part of the problem with the recent dust-up concerning the alt-right resolution was the lack of minority representation on the resolutions committee. Our resolutions committee absolutely misread the situation and the importance of this resolution. I cannot help but think had there been more representation by minorities that the committee would have had a better read on our need to bring this to the floor.

Then we heard the names of those appointed to a personal soul-winning, evangelism task force. Look at the list of names. Notice a trend? The group is mostly comprised of white seminarians and white mega-church pastors. The wise words of Walter Strickland (our newly elected 1VP) are not being heeded, “Superior theological development results from the diverse collection of the church (across ages, genders, races, and cultures) rather than from an individual or believers isolated in their cultural context”. (Removing the Stain, 58)

There is one other thing I’ve noticed in the past few years that has me both encouraged and discouraged. I am happy to see more representation by minorities on our panel discussions. But I’m also discouraged that for the most part the only questions they are asked on these panels are questions related to race. To me this reeks of moral licensing. We are doing the good deed of having at least one minority represented on our panel and then giving ourselves license to not do the greater thing of considering them intellectual equals and asking for their perspective on significant theological issues not related to race.

In order to move forward we must be intentional about representation on our boards. This is not virtue signaling or affirmative action. It is about intentionality. It is about recognizing that unless I’m intentional about not doing this I will look at a pool of people and pick those who look like me and think just like I do.

I’m encouraged that the way forward has already been modeled by the 2017 Pastor’s Conference and hopefully will continue with H.B. Charles at the helm in 2018. We were blessed by hearing from a diverse selection of voices. We need this to continue. I was part of that selection process, and we had to be intentional about pursuing diversity. We had a pool of many qualified men to preach. We could have easily filled it with 12 white guys who were gifted preachers. We could have just as easily filled it with 12 minorities. But we chose to be intentional about hearing from many different voices.

Until a healthier balance is achieved we have to look at every committee and board and make certain that we have a diversity. We cannot let things like the 2017 resolutions committee misreading that alt-right resolution happen again. We cannot pretend that we are going to get the best ideas on personal evangelism and soul-winning when we are mostly leaving out smaller churches and minorities from having a voice. And why not have a panel of nothing but minority Southern Baptists talking to us about something like ecclessiology or pneumatology? Why not intentionally do something like this?

Here’s to praying that the open door or racial reconciliation and minority representation/leadership swings open wide and doesn’t slowly begin to close by way of moral licensing.

Photo source: here

Read This! 07.18.17

5 Consequences Leaders Face for Not Resting

Leaders who fail to rest fail to lead effectively.

One of My Biggest Ministry Mistakes

It might not be what you think it is. I’m learning this lesson too, it’s a mistake I’m prone to making.

Six Reasons Why Women May Be Leaving Your Church

Not only men leave.

How Can Pastors Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry?

Owen Strachan puts a little meat on a buzzword.

In Defense of Vengeance

Interesting thoughts.

Remember the Other Carey

There is another great missionary with the last name Carey.

10 Short Steps to Long Tenure

It’s easy to get distracted from these simple things.

Rethinking Christian Calling

I tend to agree with this…though wonder what a pendulum swing will look like in the other direction.

I really appreciate Shai Linne:

Read This! 07.13.17

Why Ministers Should Learn to Write Well


The Dangers of Loneliness

Loneliness can be dangerous, David Murray explains why.

5,000 Days

Congrats to Tim Challies who just completed 5,000 consecutive days of blogging. That’s quite a feat. Here he answers a few of our questions about blogging.

10 Practical Ways to Focus Your Mental Energy

Since picking up Deep Work, I’ve been thinking through and trying to apply many of these habits.

How to Pray for Your Pastor

I appreciate it!

Five “Fake News” Stories People Believe About Early Christianity

I’m always amazed when I hear someone still promoting one of these fake news stories.

5 Reasons We Struggle to Rest

I think the third one might be my biggest culprit. 

Unequally Yoked

I’ve been enjoying this series on the ecumenical movement.

This is why you and I fall for misleading graphs: