Dorothy Littell Greco encourages diversity in personal relationships: “We move through life amassing preferences and forming deeply held beliefs about everything from the food we eat to the music we play in church on Sunday morning to how we value other people. Differences that arise when we build relationships within a diverse group often conflict with those preferences. Rather than affirming or validating our choices and beliefs, differences force us to evaluate our convictions which can result in disequilibrium or even insecurity. That’s part of why we sometimes resist rather than embrace diversity.”


Nicole Howe balances competing vocations: “Whenever the topic of vocation and calling is addressed, Ephesians 2:10 is often referenced, in which we are told that ‘we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ This verse is often summoned to remind us that our callings and vocations have been pre-ordained, hand-crafted by God in advance. This is a beautiful reminder that God is sovereign over our callings. However, I think we often miss another profound and stunning truth tucked away in this Scripture: we are God’s handiwork. The original Greek word used here is poiema, and it’s where we get our English word for poem. We are created beings, yes. But not just any old created thing — a work of art, God’s masterpiece, a poem delicately and intricately constructed.”


Anne Kennedy examines how the Bible names names: “Erroneous and heretical teaching, of course, is only one part of the problem. There is also the unrepentant sinning cyber ‘Christian’ celebrity who won’t go away. The last decade is replete with abusive pastors who ‘rehabilitated themselves,’ bypassing whatever ecclesiastical justice that tried to impede their reach or dampen their fame. Some were adulterers, some swindlers, some just extraordinarily mean. None of them were willing to go take the back pew in a small church where the only useful job on hand would be sweeping the floor.”


Julie Roys reports on pastoral “self-rehabilitation”: According to MacDonald’s website, MacDonald’s new Home Church Network (HcN) will provide people who “struggle to get to church or to stay in church,” a non-traditional way to do so. For leaders who qualify, HcN says it will provide a video Bible teaching recorded specially for home groups. HcN also promises to include worship from “some of the most loved and widely appreciated worship leaders in the world.”


Kate Shellnutt reports on Timmis and ACTS 29: “One couple said they were confronted for missing an impromptu barbeque with their gospel community in order to spend planned family time with their kids. They were accused of not putting the mission of the church first. Several who took interest in ministry opportunities outside the mission for their gospel community—which could shift or change under Timmis’s orders—also received pushback, told not to pursue an outside Bible study or social time or not to volunteer with a local coffee shop or summer camp. Students in the university town were discouraged from returning home to their families over the summer—it was seen as a sign that they weren’t really committed to the life of the church.”


Joe Carter does a FAQ about late term abortion: “In other words, if a physician determines that the child is ‘non-viable’ and/or the abortion is necessary for the physical or mental health of the mother, a woman can have an abortion from the moment of conception until the child’s natural birth.”


David Brooks wonders about the state of the nuclear family: “This is the story of our times—the story of the family, once a dense cluster of many siblings and extended kin, fragmenting into ever smaller and more fragile forms. The initial result of that fragmentation, the nuclear family, didn’t seem so bad. But then, because the nuclear family is so brittle, the fragmentation continued. In many sectors of society, nuclear families fragmented into single-parent families, single-parent families into chaotic families or no families.”


Manohla Dargis, Wesley Morris and A.O. Scott talk about the Academy Awards: “How can the show continue to attract a global audience? By focusing on the big-budget, IP-driven franchise movies that are Hollywood’s leading global export? That has been an obvious, dreary answer for quite some time, but ‘Parasite’ suggests a different one. There’s a whole world of movies out there — exciting, surprising, popular movies — that deserve audiences and accolades in America.”


Podcast of the Week: Tish and Esau discuss the life-changing—and life-stabilizing—nature of liturgical rhythms, which have saves us from ourselves and changes our cultural scripts.