Best Reads and Listens for Thanksgiving Week
“Lewis and the Beauty of Self-Forgetfulness” - Joe Rigney, Desiring God
Yesterday marks the 57th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death (he died on the same day as JFK and Aldous Huxley). Rigney has written an excellent book, Lewis on the Christian Life, and this is a wonderful excerpt on humility; all the brilliance of Lewis packaged for practical application.
“Christian Witness from the Cultural Margins” - Bruce Ashford, First Things
“As America’s roots in Christianity are severed, we must unify and learn to minister effectively, even from the margins.” It’s time to get serious about Christian witness when Christianity is no longer culturally ascendant. We’re reaching a point in our culture where Christians can still hold public positions of power, but not if they actually believe what the Bible says or what the church has believed for thousands of year. But does that mean we should give up on positions of power? Not necessarily, writes Ashford, but it will require that we learn to witness in weakness.
“The Underground Movement Trying to Topple the North Korean Regime” - Suki Kim, The New Yorker
Who needs Bond movies when you have stories like this? Kim details the story of a young Christian man working to bring down the world’s most secretive dictatorship. It’s incredible what people will do for freedom. Espionage, death threats, heroic bravery, and a modern-day underground railroad, this story has it all.
“America Needs Nationalism” - Seth Kaplan, The American Conservative
Is there anything good about nationalism? Kaplan frames the issues of nationalism and that have arisen within the Trump presidency and discusses the dissolving common ground in America. He summarizes what is becoming a consensus view among those in the center, a country must have shared history, identity, and a future vision to remain functionally united. This is a moment of crisis for the US, but returning to our founding principles may be the path forward.
“Is the Book of James Really Christian?” - Michael Kruger, The Gospel Coalition
Arguments over the book of James are as old as the church. Martin Luther thought it should be thrown out of the canon. Kruger looks at the tensions in James between faith and works and lays out a way to reconcile these issues by looking at works before, during, and after salvation.
“Sameness and Distinction: Rethinking Assumptions about God’s Design of Men and Women” - Jenn Kintner and Joshua Wester, CBMW
In our current cultural confusion, the church needs to have a loud and clear voice on sexuality and gender, doubling down on what the Bible says. The latest issue of Eikon, the journal of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood explores gender from a biblical perspective. There are several excellent articles in this issue or you can download the PDF. In this article Kintner and Wester look at what the Bible says about the sameness and distinction between men and women, sorting through what is biblical and what is cultural.
“What Is the Hope for the World? NT Wright and Peter Thiel” - The Veritas Forum
This fascinating conversation, moderated by Ross Douthat covers the future of the world through the eyes of one of the greatest technologist/philosophers, theologians, and journalists all in conversation together. The interplay between Wright and Theil is fascinating in the way they approach the purpose and future of technology and the fundamental nature of humanity.
“The Rise and Triump of the Modern Self with Carl Trueman” - Gospel Bound
Carl Trueman’s new book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, looks to be one of the more significant books of the last few years. But at 700 pages of philosophy and sociology, it’s slow to get through. In this conversation, Trueman and Hansen discuss the major arguments he makes in the book. How did we get to the place where you can choose your own gender? How is it that we have so much trouble discerning what’s true? This conversation will give you your bearings and make sense of some of the more puzzling trends in the world today.
“War, Revolution, and the American Story with Rick Atkinson” - Thinking In Public
Rick Atkinson is one of the best and most entertaining historians writing right now. He’s published a trilogy on WWII and is currently writing his second book of three on the American Revolution and founding. He’s won three Pulitzer Prizes and continues to break new ground on familiar topics. Mohler and Atkinson discuss American history, the founding, and the need for great writing and storytelling in America today.
“David Epstein on Skills, Practice, and the Subtle Art of Cultivating a Meaningful Career” - Deep Questions with Cal Newport
I’ve really been enjoying Cal Newport’s podcast. He’s the author of Deep Work, Digital Minimalism, and So Good They Can’t Ignore You. When I saw that he had David Epstein on the show to talk about how they work and how to navigate your career, I couldn’t wait to listen and I wasn’t disappointed. David Epstein’s recent book Range is one of the most interesting and most helpful books about how we work; specialists and generalists, finding the right career, how to optimize your skills and talents, etc. This is a great conversation about writing, building a career, and cultivating and capitalizing on what you’re good at and interested in.
“A Tale of Three Waves” - Goodfellows: Conversations from the Hoover Institution
Here’s my pick for the best podcast on current events. Each week Niall Ferguson (historian), John Cochrane (economist), and H.R. McMaster (historian, retired General, and former national security advisor) discuss what’s going on in the world. Their discussions typically feature some of the rare qualities for insightful dialogue: civility, expertise, and perspective.
In the latest episode of the So We Speak Podcast, we cover some great questions from November. What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Can predestination be comforting? These are important and perennial questions for Christians to think about and discuss. We cover both of them and point to some good resources in this episode.
Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak.