Archive - May, 2011

Francis Chan on hell, and the danger of getting it wrong

I’ve not yet seen the manuscript of his forthcoming book, Erasing Hell, but I appreciate this message on the danger of our judging God, or requiring that God only act in ways that we would act.

A few other good resources on the doctrine of hell:

What is Hell? by Robert A. Peterson and Christopher W. Morgan
Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson
Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment by Robert A. Peterson

Elyse Fitzpatrick on the Gospel and Parenting

Elyse Fitzpatrick recently sat down with Scott Anderson of Desiring God to record a 90 minute interview about her new book, Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus.

HT: Desiring God

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

I’m looking forward to this new book by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and her co-author Jessica Thompson. It’s called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Here’s the publisher’s description:

A guide to help Christians parent their children with grace and an emphasis on the cross.

How are parents to raise children so they don’t become Pharisees (legalists) or prodigals (rebels)? It’s all about grace-filled, gospel-driven parenting, says the mother/daughter team of Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Christian parents, in their desire to raise godly children, can tend toward rule-centered discipline. There is, however, a far more effective method–a grace-motivated approach that begins with the glorious truth of God’s love for sinners.

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The Great Recession’s “Lost Generation”

A somewhat depressing take on the job market for recent college graduates from Chris Isidore of CNN Money:

About 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession, according to job placement firm Adecco…..Last year, the unemployment rate for college graduates age 24 and younger rose to 9.4%, the highest since the Labor Department began keeping records in 1985…..Adecco also found that 18% of recent grads have been forced to turn to full-time jobs outside their field of study, often jobs for which a college degree is not required.

The term “lost generation” is meant to refer to the notion that, according to economists, it may take such graduates 10 or more years to recover the lost wages from being unemployed at what should have marked the beginning of their careers.

What should we make of this? As Christians, we’re reminded to hope in God at all times, and not on the uncertainty of employment status or wealth. We ought not to find our significance in such things. In fact, God often uses hardship to wean us from this world and purify our hearts.

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Survey on Where and Why We Buy Books (and E-Books)

Tim Challies published his annual survey for 2011.  Not surprisingly, e-books are growing. I was most intrigued by this question:

Twelve Months

It seems that those who start using e-readers, for the most part, want to use them more, not less, in the future.

Check out the entire survey.

Surviving vs. Thriving (at College)

I wrote a guest post for the Tyndale House Publishers blog today. Here’s how it starts:

You’ve heard the statistics:  80% of Christians fall away from their faith during college. Watch out for the party scene. Don’t run with the wrong crowd. Don’t experiment with drugs. Don’t cut class. Don’t flunk out. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t get someone pregnant. I don’t know about you, but when I went to college, it seemed so many of the messages were well-intended warnings of what terrible dangers awaited me away from home.  The goal, it seemed, was survival.

Read the rest of it.

Who is responsible for academic plagiarism?

My friend Nick Kennicott was kind enough to post a penetrating question in response to my last post about the industry built around plagiarism. Nick pointed out that “Ed Dante” argued (towards the end of his article) that the academic system tolerates if not encourages plagiarism. Can a case be made that universities are to blame?

This strikes me as a complex subject, and one of those times where blogging helps me formulate and develop my thoughts. Here’s where I’m at for now, and I welcome any new insights:

1. The reward system for faculty at some schools is all about research, not teaching. At those schools, undergraduates sometimes get very little attention from the faculty, who have little motivation to get involved in the academic lives of students, let alone their personal development. Academically Adrift, for example, made the case (among other things) that the incentive structure of higher education too often ignores student learning – we don’t care enough to measure it, and grades are inflated to make life easier for faculty and students, many of whom are seeking a credential not an education. It sounds like Dante had a bad experience when he brought his novel to the faculty at his school. [The most important thing in choosing a college, I think, is this: What kind of people will I learn from? What motivates them? Will they actually care about my development, academically and as a person? Are they encouraged to do so by their management?]

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Why is Thriving at College so long?

A few people have raised the question to me in some form or another: “Why is Thriving at College so long? I’d like to give it to my high school graduates, but I’m not sure they’d read it.” Though I’ve replied to a few e-mails and blog posts, I thought this might be a good place to summarize my thoughts.

Thriving at College is intended to be comprehensive in its scope. Other books have given in-depth treatment to the intellectual challenges Christians face from atheism and relativism, particularly in secular university environments. I wanted to address these matters, but I also wanted to treat the host of other challenges that Christians face in college. Put the matter another way: Assuming that a Christian’s faith remains intact, does it follow that he or she will thrive at college? I don’t think so. They may graduate as a somewhat older Christian adolescent, still unready for the challenges of adult society, and in deep debt. Sadly, many do.

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John Piper on the marks of a spiritual leader

In case you’ve never seen this 1995 document, check it out. It’s outstanding. Much of it can be applied to the Christian leader in a variety of environments, including the business world.  Here’s the list of character qualities he unpacks:

1. Restless
2. Optimistic
3. Intense
4. Self-controlled
5. Thick-skinned
6. Energetic
7. A Hard Thinker
8. Articulate
9. Able to Teach
10. A Good Judge of Character
11. Tactful
12. Theologically Oriented
13. A Dreamer
14. Organized and Efficient
15. Decisive
16. Perseverant
17. A Lover
18. Restful

Ross Douthat’s Requiem on Huckabee

Not surprisingly, Douthat nails it on Huckabee, both his strengths and his weaknesses.  On the plus side:

He’ll be missed because he embodied a political persuasion that’s common in American life but rare in America’s political class. This worldview mixes cultural conservatism with economic populism: it’s tax-sensitive without being stridently antigovernment, skeptical of Wall Street as well as Washington, and as concerned about immigration, family breakdown and public morals as it is about the debt ceiling.

And on the minus side:

Of course, his 2008 campaign also reflected populism’s inevitable flaw: a desperate lack of policy substance. Huckabee won votes by talking about issues that the other Republican candidates wouldn’t touch, but his actual agenda was a grab bag of gimmicks and crank ideas. And nothing in his subsequent television career has indicated a strong interest in putting policy meat on the bones of his worldview.

Read the whole thing.

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