Weekly Reading – 7/18/2015

It’s a hot, hot day outside.  Perfect for rolling around on the floor with little ones, and reading indoors.  What interesting finds have you made online this week?  Here are a few of mine:

– I’m still processing exactly what I think of this article, but I do find the Washington Post’s recent article on railroads and highways functioning as racial divides a striking and interesting read.

– Like almost everyone else I know, online and offline, my heart is just broken over the news that Planned Parenthood treats the unborn like a spare parts lot. Fortunately, Congress is investigating. At least, I hope they truly are.

– I’m not at this stage yet, but I found a recent article from HEDUA on how to consider and teach so-called “controversial literature” very helpful reading. I grew up in circles where students were often sheltered from some of the more ungodly writers, but like the author of this piece, I’m not convinced that it’s the way to go.

– I grew up in a Christian home, rebelled against some points of theology and decamped to a more liberal church for a while, and lately I’ve been coming to truly appreciate sound doctrine.  I’ve enjoyed the recent writing on women’s ministries being done by Aimee Byrd and Deb W. Good teaching here.

– Many of my friends who attended college came out with debt, and I know that school debt can really limit one’s life choices. This article from Forbes made me think about how skyrocketing school costs and availability of federal aid (read – loans) may work hand in hand.

– And just for fun, yesterday was World Emoji Day!  I don’t often use them, but they are cute, whimsical and fun. 😄

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Weekly Reading – 7/11/2015

– I want my children to grow up to be believers, and I want to teach them Christian values. This blog piece, on teaching purity, is a throughtful one and draws a valuable distinction between teaching outward rules and pointing children toward inward changes of heart. I’m not sure I agree 100% with everything in here, but it does make me think about how to tackle these issues when the time comes, because I have seen that teaching one to outwardly conform to rules doesn’t cover the heart issues that affect how children will become and Who they will follow as they mature.

– Given recent current events, many of us are in prayer over continued religious liberty. However, public perceptions of our faith sometimes get mixed into that debate, and it helps to remember that we were never guaranteed freedom from ridicule or criticism for following God.

– Do you sometimes start reading a book that’s the subject of constant buzz and find that it’s just…not that engaging? Yeah, me too. Here are the 7 stages of not loving the “it” book.

– Here’s a quick and interesting read from one of Lifeway’s book buyers, talking about trends in the Christian market, as well as how her store chooses what it will carry.

– Living history and historical costume are big interests of mine, so I enjoyed reading this interview with the costumer from PBS’ Poldark.

– Looking for some reading ideas? Here are a few, courtesy of The Gospel Coalition.

– Last but not least, as a boy mama, I’m filing away this advice from Mrs. June Fuentes on raising boys.

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Reading – July 6, 2015

Oh my goodness, I have had a wonderful reading week! Some of my reading last week involved books, which you all will be hearing about later. And some involved great articles, like these:

– This is actually a 2014 blog post, but Don Sweeting’s “Those Blasted Presbyterians” is a fantastic read anytime. I knew some of the history contained in this post, but his background on the American Revolution here is well worth a read. Sweeting is a very good writer, and I found myself getting sucked down the rabbit hole, so to speak, on his blog. His piece on the PCA, from the perspective of a minister of another denomination, is another very good read.

– Given another perspective on the church and American history, The Final Break Between God and Country, reminds us that my home country (the USA) and the church are not one and the same, even if there was once a time when Christianity held a position of higher influence in national affairs than it currently does.

– I love to travel, even if many of my journeys are of the armchair variety. This photo list of amazing places shows some truly breathtaking parts of the world. One note: Some of the side links on this site aren’t exactly the most edifying, so use caution.

– This open letter to the world from a woman who had an abortion is just gut-wrenching(and not suitable for children), but it was so moving to see the ways in which God changed this lady’s heart and moved her to speak out. Again, some of the links on the sidebar aren’t the greatest, but the blog piece is so worth reading.

– Concerned about the federal data collection taking place under Common Core? Virginia homeschool families recently got some legal protection from it.

– Some of this may seem like common sense, but this article from Ligonier on 4 Ways to Reach a Child’s Heart is good stuff.

Weekly Reading – May 16, 2015

I’ve found many things of interest online lately, and here are a few I’d like to share:

– R.C. Sproul’s ministry has meant more to me than I can lay out in a short blog post. His many sermons, books, and articles have enhanced my understanding of Scripture and he has a way of explaining difficult concepts to make them understandable.  He recently suffered a stroke, and has been often in my prayers.  I was heartened to read this update on his condition, and continue to pray for him and his family.

This article on the state of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) came of great interest to me as this is my denomination. However, this article speaks to greater currents within American culture as well as challenges other churches are facing, so I think this is an article that should get greater circulation outside PCA circles.  Via Challies.com, I also discovered this counterpoint, which I found helpful.  Full disclosure: I tend to lean in the direction of the confessionalists in the PCA, but I do think the original article, with its indictment of pluralism, makes some wonderful points. Continue reading

Weekly Reading – March 29, 2015

Much ink gets spilled on men, women, and their alleged places in society. Much of the debate takes place in the mainstream media, but there are definitely conversations going on in Christian circles, too. While it’s politically correct to discuss the equality of men and women with the assumption that “equal” and “same” are synonyms, I don’t think we can say women and men are interchangeable. Tim Challies’ blog on the masculine voice and its importance in a child’s development is well worth a read.

Okay – I know everyone and their dog has highlighted Jen Hatmaker’s What Would My Mom Do?, but that’s because it’s good.  As a mom, this is one of those things that feels more and more true to me every time I read it. I long to be a good mom, and raise any children I’m blessed with in a vibrant, Christian home, but I don’t want to smother them.

The signing of a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana has provoked strong reaction on both sides. This article by Joe Carter provides some much-needed historical context and clarification to the debate. Both the lawyer and the historian in me found it informative and helpful. It’s far from the last word on the subject, but it’s wonderful information.

In the Bible, much is made of the need to protect widows and orphans. I found this article in WORLD magazine a sobering reminder of what so often happens to the widows left behind after their husbands die.

I’ve not read all the books highlighted here but I found 12 Fiction Books That Will Shape Your Theology an interesting list, and I’m curious to try more of these.

One last thing – if you’ve come across something online that you think is well worth a read, please email me. I’d love to know about !  I can be reached at library4lyfe AT gmail DOT com

Weekly Reading – March 22, 2014

Whew!  I can’t believe another week is starting. This past week was something of a trying one, as one of my favorite aunts is quite ill.  I am thankful that I got to see her at the hospital, and thankful too that I got to spend cherished time with my cousins, but it’s difficult to see the ones we love suffering.

Thinking about this situation, I really appreciated the advice and comforting words I found in this resource on visiting the sick and as well as this one on ministering to the sick and dying, both by Kevin DeYoung, very helpful. I may not be a pastor, but there is great advice in here about relating to folks in the midst of grave illness and how to care for them.

In my blog journeys, I came across this review of a book by Booth Tarkington. Tarkington is probably best known for The Magnificent Ambersons, but The Turmoil certainly sounds like a book I might enjoy as well.

This story from WORLD magazine about a teen in foster care in Alabama just made me smile. My heart broke over this young woman’s situation, but I was happy to see something positive come her way.

I grew up pretty deep in one of the more legalistic corners of the purity/modesty world, so we didn’t spend a lot of time on the tougher questions of grace vs. license. There were plenty of rules, but not a lot of explanations and not a lot of time spent on the deeper heart issues involved. Mary DeMuth wrote a great post this week, underpinned with solid scriptural guidance, that explores some of these issues. And the result is a piece that speaks in very real terms about how truly following Christ means veering away from the trajectory modern culture would set us on. (Note: Mature subject matter)

Weekly Reading – March 8, 2015

IMG_1644 Since we got all kinds of snow here in Virginia, I had a little more time to read online than usual and all sorts of things caught my eye.

– Just for fun, this Thin Mints recipe sounds absolutely delicious! I have a tendency to stockpile recipes and not use them right away, but I’m not letting this one gather dust. 🙂

– I’m all for keeping my children safe (don’t know too many moms who’d say they weren’t!) but I think children need space to learn, have new experiences, and basically learn how to make good decisions and function without my monitoring their every move. Right now we’re in the toddler stage so no one is out of my sight for long, but apparently letting older children walk home from a nearby park is enough to get you in trouble for “unsubstantiated child neglect” up in Maryland. I think this is crazy, but it’s definitely opened an interesting debate on CPS, boundaries for children and the like. What do think of all this?

– I don’t go out of my way to antagonize people or mock their sensibilities. After all, I wouldn’t want that done to me. However, banning the American flag at an American university seems like a bit much. I’ve lived overseas and had no problem with the fact that that country’s flag was flown or displayed in its public spaces.  (Note: The link goes to a page that often has good news stories and commentary, but sometimes less than edifying ad images.)

– Many folks have Tweeted or otherwise linked to this article from Boundless about marriage. If you haven’t read it Carolyn McCulley’s excellent “She’s Your Collaborator, Not Your Competition” yet, you really should. And pass it on. Someday in the closer-than-I-think future, I hope to teach my son these lessons.

– Agewise, I’m caught between generations in a way. I’m from that span of about 4-5 years that runs between the Gen X-ers and the folks who are clearly Millenials. And like most of my peers, I exhibit some traits of both. Among them is having grown up in a culture where I was steeped in a very secular form of feminism. And as a Christian, I have found myself spending years reading the BIble and other books, praying, consulting wise counsel and doing a lot of listening to the whole complementarian/egalitarian debate. I’ve got friends on all sides of the issue and have discovered there’s a lot of interesting reading out there.  On the complementarian side, this week I saw an article from Courtney Reissig that piqued my interest not just because she writes well, but also because I seem to have a lot in common with her in terms of background and so her perspective really resonates with me. I’d urge anyone to read this, but especially the 20s-40s crowd.

– Last but not least, here’s something I read that has do to with books. Bethany House gives hints on reviewing, many of which I personally found very helpful as a writer of reviews. It did raise an interesting question for me, though. What do you think of a publisher telling reviewers what it wants them to be writing? Do you think it helps you write good reviews or do you feel like it infringes on your ability to review independently, without influence/bias?

Weekly Reading – March 1, 2015

I love to find good blogs and websites online, and I know most readers do, too.  Here are some of the things that caught my eye in my travels online this week:

– I found this piece by a publishing professional on what makes her fall in love with a book pretty interesting. Some of it I would have guessed on my own, but not all. I find it interesting to read about what brings different people to certain books.

– And speaking of what makes books catch our eyes, here’s a visual feast of upcoming 2015 inspirational fiction releases!

– The interplay between the Old Testament and the New is something that alternately confounds and fascinates me. More than once I have laid my flawed and human inability to understand concepts out before God. This book sounds like it could be a helpful and interesting read.

Broken friendships aren’t a fun, happy topic, but it’s a pain almost everyone I know has endured. It’s one we don’t often discuss, though, except maybe in hushed conversations on those rare occasions we feel like we can really let ourselves be vulnerable. Good to see someone offering encouragement on the subject.

– I adore Jane Austen’s novels, British history, and tea, and one of my dream trips would definitely be one of the tours of England offered by the founder of Sense & Sensibility Patterns. They just look like so much fun! Of course I’m a terrible seamstress so a Regency gown that comes off of my sewing machine would be downright laughable but still…a lady can dream. And these pictures from the most recent tour definitely make me do that. Someday I will see that museum!

– We don’t currently have a newborn, but this brings back happy memories. Wouldn’t mind having another round of the newborn days someday soon either.

– And since I’m in the thick of toddlerdom, this video totally cracked me up!