“So what’s the point of family devotions? I wonder if it would be helpful to first consider the purpose it hasn’t served in my family. Family devotions has not been a means through which we have obeyed a specific law or fulfilled an explicit command. There is no commandment in either the Old Testament or the New that tells Christian families they must spend time reading and praying together each day. So we haven’t prioritized it for that reason.”
I feel like God has been teaching me this for years (via Tim Challies):
If we are going to follow in such a way that we parse every word and appeal to every loophole, we should expect our followers to parse our every word and to pursue every loophole. If we are going to follow formally, to go through the motions but with grumbling and complaining, we should expect our own followers to grumble, to complain, to do no more than the minimum. If we are going to follow the letter while ignoring the spirit, we should not be shocked when those we lead likewise follow the letter but violate the spirit. We are all natural imitators, so that the way we follow begins to look a lot like the way they follow.
Appreciate this piece from Tim:
One thing we need to carefully guard against at a time of uncertainty is the irresponsible use of hyperbole. Just because people are behaving in different ways, does not mean they are behaving in panicked ways. Just because things are not normal, does not mean they are chaotic. Fifty people queuing to get into Costco may be surprising and even alarming, but, as long as those people are waiting their turn calmly, it is not panic (“sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior”). People responding to government advisories by heading home from overseas and flooding O’Hare airport’s customs hall does not constitute chaos (“complete disorder and confusion”). Preparation is not panic and confusion is not chaos.
Appreciated this piece from Tim Challies. Especially liked his list of principles, he has been pondering, towards the end of the article.
As parents in this digital world, it’s like we have planted ourselves and our families on a beach. Though the water is rising, we have convinced ourselves that we can somehow hold back the tide. But inevitably it just keeps creeping higher and higher up the beach until our best plans, like feeble little sandcastles, are swept away. There seems to be a kind of inevitability about it, that before long we’ll all always be staring at our devices. In fact, it seems like our devices have wills of their own, and this is exactly what they want. They want to dominate our lives. They want to be our main thing.
I appreciate this post by Tim Challies on friendship. There is nothing like a friend who can tell you to snap out of it and quit being a jerk.
Often the best way to gain objectivity is to appeal to a friend for an outside perspective. It may be that each of us appeals to a personal friend or that together we appeal to a mutual friend. But either way, a close friend is able to listen, to evaluate, and to offer guidance. Some of the best counsel I’ve gotten from friends is of the “you need to stop being a jerk” variety. Friends have helped me better love those I love most.
Tim and I might not always agree 100%, but I have always appreciated his perspective and his writing ethic (he writes everyday despite having issues with his hands).
First, we don’t want to go back to gatekeepers. The early thrill of blogs, and something we may now largely take for granted, was the way they democratized information. They gave a voice to people who otherwise would not have made it past the traditional “gatekeepers”—the acquisitions editors at publishers or the editors at magazines. Before blogs, if you wanted to reach the Christian public, you had to go through one of these channels and were often rejected. But then through blogs you could reach around these channels and independently develop your own voice. This democratization has allowed new and unexpected voices to enter into our conversations.
But I both feel and know this: God is good. Though I have had some moments of self-pity, I don’t think I’ve had as much as one moment of doubting God’s goodness or kindness or noble plan. Though I can’t say I have any idea why I am going through this, I have never doubted that it is God’s will and that somehow it is good, even if I cannot quite see it. I have never doubted that somehow it is better than the alternative, even if I never see it on this side of eternity.
In our culture of “unfriending” and “muting” others, I found this piece by Tim Challies titled “The Cost of Surrounding Yourself with Negative People” refreshing.
It turns out that there is something far more costly than being with negative people: The cost of avoiding negative people, and thus, avoiding the kind of life that Jesus calls us to.
You can read more here.
Welcome to the Surf Report for the Week of September 23.
God has been teaching me quite a bit when it comes to the Bible study I’ve been leading on Wednesday nights. He has been teaching me to remember:
- Not everyone is a Christian AND not all Christians are at the same place in their walk with God.
- To not take personally the people who choose to come and go. Attendance has been inconsistent/up and down.
- To lead. That it doesn’t matter how much older the rest of the guys are, I’m there to facilitate discussion and lead the group.
I wrote a bit about some of our discussion this week in “How do you de-stress?” Also had a friend send me a link to a video that I found helpful in studying 1 John (which we’ve been going over on Wednesday nights).
This week I found out that there are Josh Groban fans. I learned that I should never talk bad about a character Josh Groban plays (especially on Twitter). Ah, the Internet. You can read my thoughts on Josh Groban’s new project in “Things to Avoid – The Good Cop“.
Also spent some time in a clinic last week, wrote about that experience in “Missing the Firetwuck“.
My week has been completely devoid of video games. But I did re-post a Tim Challies article from awhile back (“From Across the Net – ‘Christian Men and Their Video Games’“). His article reminded me of the Christian tension of being in the world but not of the world. Got me thinking of debates I’ve been a part of over the years. Debates on Christian liberty, discernment, and the almost Christian desire to have everything spelled out in black and white.
There are definitely games fellow believers shouldn’t touch. The Bible, the Holy Spirit, family and friends help us navigate what we should and should not consume.
Question of the Week: Do you think Fortnite’s timed cosmetic purchases are predatory towards young kids?
That’s it for this week. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments below. Have a great weekend!
To play videogames as a Christian, however, requires being honest and discerning not just about their content, but about their value. The entertainment games provide is just one of the many values intrinsic to interactive media. Let’s play games responsibly, with discernment and moderation, but let’s dig deeper. Let’s tap into the many values of games, and ask the Lord to open our eyes to values we’ve failed to see. In playing games Christianly, we may just become more self aware, more mindful of our neighbor, and more in love with our God.
And yet even in Christian circles there is little attention given to the relationship of boys and their mothers, at least once they pass the toddler stage. It is rarely mentioned and rarely celebrated. We still look askance at a boy who spends a lot of time with his mom or a mom who is close to her boy. There is still that suspicion—that irrational and unfair suspicion. There is still that fear that a boy necessarily ought to be closer to his father than his mother.
I am thankful for the relationship Tabitha has with Wyatt. She balances out my rougher parenting edges with a tenderness I find hard to provide.
Odd that Challies references James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys. Dobson’s chapter aimed at moms is brief and lacking any substance. Tabitha and I were terribly disappointed in it.
“If technology is so easily twisted and abused, our gut response may be to avoid it. We can try to carefully avoid using any form of digital technology, fleeing the temptation and the opportunities for evil they encourage. And yet for most of us, avoidance is not an option, nor is it necessarily the most biblical, God-honoring response, as we will see. Our task, then, is not to avoid technology but to carefully evaluate it, redeem it, and ensure we are using it with the right motives and for the right goals.” – Tim Challies, The Next Story
I am thankful for the small group of friends that I have; I am also thankful for slowly learning that it is okay to tell another guy that you love them.
Tim Challies has a great article up today entitled “The Myself I Was Yesterday“. Thought I’d share.