Good Stuff I’m Reading 7.15

The New Yorker is such a grab bag, but deeply personal stories like this one about an immigrant family’s adjustment in America, translated from the Hebrew, remind me why they’re such a lovely and important venue.

My ex-classmate and writer crush Kaitlyn blessed my heart again with another beautiful article on having peace in making life decisions that don’t make sense to others. She brutally describes her battle to die to self and the need to be approved by others, and instead making the decision that she knows will bring her rest and the space to work on what God’s calling her to. I hope one result of her decision means we get lots more pieces like this one…

I thought by now I’d be done sharing excellent-and-devastating articles from the Rabbit Room on Mr. Rogers, but I guess not. This one zeroes in his self-doubt, whether self-doubt in the creative process, which felt all too real, and self-doubt in his own salvation. His advice for creating: “Oh well, the hour cometh and now IS when I’ve got to do it. GET TO IT, FRED. GET TO IT.”

I don’t know what the right balance to strike between reading the Bible as timeless or specifically relevant today’s problems is, but I do know that Rachel Held Evans’ WaPo article is a helpful counterbalance to other pro-government, pro-dominant-culture ways of reading the Bible that are getting a lot of press right now. She’s also just a lovely writer, and I’m thankful for her work. I’ve had some really good conversations on how the general role of Christians in the Bible is that of outsiders and aliens, and it’s when we try and play as stakeholders in the dominant culture that we have a dog in the fight and start to compromise in order to win.

Limited myself to just one  Alan Jacobs piece this week, and it had to be this address he gave at Duke University. It feels like his relatively-recent How to Think, specifically tailored for the problems everyday students (not administrators) face in dealing with what he calls the “repugnant cultural other” in daily life. I think his biggest strength in this piece and maybe everywhere is how strongly a sense of him as a person comes through in his humor, anecdotes, and down-to-earth style. His statement here is a beautiful example of winsomely talking about matters of faith in a secular world: “As many of you know, I am a Christian, and while I am not nearly as prayerful as Christians are supposed to me, I get pretty prayerful twice a year: when I’m ordering books for my classes.”

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