Read this! 02.15.18

10 Things You Should Know About the Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement

I appreciate this series.

Why Do Churches Cover Up Sin?

It’s a bit disconcerting that there are so many reasons.

Who Watches Porn?

Here are three key predictors of porn use. And also how this could be an avenue of healing and repentance.

Longing For Likes

I think Jared Kennedy does a good job here on showing how the gospel relates to Gen Z.

On Writing Books and Getting Published

In case you were wondering.

The Power of De-Conversion Stories

It does seem to follow a tired pattern.

Will Sexual Propriety Make a Comeback?

I sure hope so.

The Incredible “Mehness” of Social Media

I tend to agree.

I don’t understand figure skating. Nor do I really want to. But this would help:

What If We Took Outrage Porn as Serious as Traditional Pornography?

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:18-20)

I know many of young men who are convinced this verse is talking about viewing online pornography. Many became addicted to porn long before coming to Christ. Battling this addiction as a new believer (or even as a long-time believer) can feel like a losing battle. There’s a John Piper article I’ve had in my arsenal for awhile now that helps folks deal with the guilt of sexual failure. One of my greatest joys in ministry is seeing young men set free from the shackles of pornography addiction. But I’m dealing with a new kind of pornography that I’m finding even more insidious (if not more so) than the sexual variety.

It’s what Tim Kreider has termed outrage porn. It’s any type of media that is designed to evoke outrage for the purpose of getting traffic or attention online. These articles might be written to tick you off (speaking against your tribe) or to fire you up (speaking against another tribe). I don’t believe I can summarize it any better than Tim Challies has:

Like pornography, this kind of outrage is ultimately self-centered and self-gratifying. One person calls it “self-gratification through feigned indignation.” Even when it isn’t feigned, there is still that element of selfishness, of self-pleasure, in it. The outrage isn’t for them, it’s for us. We feel better for having done it, for having participated in it. It is expiating in a sick sense. With the outrage behind me, I am satisfied that I have done my bit, and now I can move on to the next thing. Expressing outrage is almost a kind of brand loyalty–we are outraged together in this common cause. (From Outrage Porn and the Christian Reader)

I believe this type of pornography is even more insidious than sexual pornography because it’s not quite as obviously wrong. Within the church we’ve been socially trained to feel a massive wave of guilt when viewing online pornography. And rightly so. But I’d argue we’ve actually dulled the conscience’s ability to experience this wave of guilt in matters related to anger. The church has often used anger, wrongly, to fire up the base. We too readily equate indignation with godliness and concern. And we preachers know the red meat we can throw out to our congregants to get the “amen” crowd fired up. This has led, I would argue, to the ability to spend hours on the internet reading and sharing outrage porn without much feelings of guilt.

But what if we took outrage porn as serious as the better known variety?

Hopefully our members wouldn’t dream of sharing pornography on social media. I would think they would be quickly called out for sharing such inappropriate things. But why don’t we do the same when people share outrage porn on the internet? Do we not view it as serious? Do we believe the outrage porn? Surely, we don’t think a young man can digest hours of pornography without it harming his soul. Yet, why do we believe we can digest an endless stream of negativity from social media and political pundits with no harm to our souls?

So for the next few days I want to ask that question. What would it look like if we took outrage porn as seriously as we take pornography?

First, is it really the same?

Photo source: here

Read This! 02.12.18

When Revival Happens Elsewhere

Very balanced article.

When Someone You Admire Does Something Disgusting

Don’t deny or despair.

7 Reasons Why Monthly Church Business Meetings are Dying

I’m shocked at the statistics in this one, but I also see it happening. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Parents: Do These Blinders Prevent You From Protecting Your Children?

Wise words at the end too.

Rachael Denhollander’s Cry for Justice in the Church

My thoughts are similar to David’s. I’m really wrestling with this.

4 Ways Netflix Perpetuates Modern Anxieties

This seems so pathetic, but I think it’s true.

Why Pastors Should Use More Historical Illustrations

As a history nerd, I agree.

When It Comes to Screen Time, Learn to Tell Kids ‘No’

One of those things that I know is true but drift into a lifestyle the opposite of this.

I always love the bad lip reading NFL version. This is 2018:

What We Did With All Our Free Time

In 1930 economist John Maynard Keyes posited that one of the most difficult things in the 21st century would be how to manage all of our leisure time:

For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.

All the magazine articles from good ol’ Maynard’s day, which dreamed about using all this free time, likely never envisioned that books on time management and stress would be on our best sellers list. It seems we are busier than ever. We look at our busy calendars and laugh at these morons who thought we’d have leisure time. It sure doesn’t feel like we have all this leisure time.

But we are actually up about 45 minutes a day of extra leisure than 40 years prior. We really do have more leisure time. So, why doesn’t it feel like it? Why do we feel more busy if we are actually less busy?

It’s because our solution to the Maynard Problem was to turn leisure into duty. Things which would have firmly been in the leisure category forty years ago are now compulsory activities. Baseball practice isn’t a leisure activity anymore. “Coach says we have to be there”. We’ve got to check up on our social media sites. We feel like failures if we fall behind on our Netflix watch list. And so we feel busy and pressed with what ought to be leisurely.

But we wouldn’t dare admit this. We wear busyness as a badge of honor. Never mind that our busyness is often having to do leisure activities. I’ll confess that I’m amazed the national average is less than 4 hours per day on work and over 5 on leisurely activity. I don’t know many people who fit that schedule. Most people I know work, in some fashion, at least eight hours per day. I’m not sure how people squeeze out 5 hours of leisurely activity. These numbers are skewed by the unemployed. The national average for those working is 8.13 hours per week. And yet even those fully employed still manage 3.28 hours of leisure time. (Source)

I’m arguing that the reason we feel so busy is because we’ve turned that 3.28 hours of leisure time into compulsory activities. Things which should be seen as optional are now mandatory.

I’m convinced that God has given us exactly the right amount of time to do the things which are necessary and that He has called us to do. If we have a time of leisure then let us enjoy it for the glory of God. Let’s play baseball and enjoy it, and not turn it into a job. If our leisure activities become a job then we need to assess whether or not they are actually fulfilling our goals and responsibilities that God has given us to fulfill. If we have a time of work, then let us put our hand to the plow and work with all of our might.

The problem, though, is that so many haven’t sat down to write out goals and responsibilities. And so what happens is that we have all these activities that we aren’t differentiating. This is why we feel so busy. We’ve got a mass of activity and nothing to filter them.

There are two books I’ve found which are really helpful with this.

1. What’s Best Next by Matt Perman (it’s long, but helpful)

2. Do More Better by Tim Challies (it’s short, and probably your best option)

Photo source: here