Monday, May 16, 2016

Spiritual Coffee: Use What You Know - A Theology of Defeat - Freedom and Conscience Go Together

Today's three resources worth reading. Click on Spiritual Coffee for prior roundups to sharpen and equip your Christian thinking and enlarge your heart.

Put Your Knowledge to Work, Barnabas Piper (The Blazing Center)
A short but insightful piece of motivation to use what you know creatively and actively. Also an excerpt from a forthcoming book Barnabas Piper is publishing next year.
"If you have profound knowledge of life-altering genetic research and do nothing with it then it is worth less than if I use my sports trivia knowledge to spark a new friendship."
"we need to be able to see a truth and think of all the ways it might be useful – useful to connect to another person, useful to teach a child, useful to reveal something of God, useful to bring a smile to someone’s face, useful to help someone in need, useful to create something beautiful, useful to protect or defend truth. And this imagination, this curiosity, is what allows us to do with our knowledge."

Peter Leithart's Theology of Defeat, Richard Clark interviews Peter Leithart (Podcast from "The Calling" on Christianity Today)
Wrestling with the reality of failure and our own weaknesses has been a very personal journey for me, both spiritually and relationally. We almost all begin with the assumption we aren't supposed to fail, and the corresponding sense of crushing shame and worthlessness if we do. Scripture teaches the exact opposite, and I am always encouraged at seeing another theologian's analysis of the acceptance of failure with humility. Leithart shares his own personal journey as a young pastor in learning to let go of his need to be perfect and to cease feeling responsible for everything himself.

The Captain of Conscience, Jordan Ballor (Acton Institute)
This is clever, playful, and though-provoking. Ballor is usually insightful and entertaining at the same time. This is no exception. He examines the Civil War movie and the different worldviews of Tony Stark and Captain America to make a simple point: freedom of conscience and the individual right to choose - to act independently of some paternalistic government overlord - only matter and only work out well if the individual is anchored by virtue. If Captain America and his allies weren't driven by a strong moral code and conscience, they would simply be terrorists. Virtue and morality are indispensable to liberty.

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