Online Reading (July 20, 2018)

Bible Translations: Get Religion talks about the problem Journalists have in knowing which translation of the Bible they should quote in stories.

Money: Be careful of taking a banks advice of how to deal with US borer and customs.

Abortion: A very good reader-level examination about what happens to abortion laws in the US if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Refugees: While we like to say Canada’s awesome on how we deal with refugees, our wait times for their hearings keep getting longer.

Immigration: World Mag has a feature on a for-profit company trying to help new Americans to find work and develop skills.

Apologetics: Here’s a Christian response to a piece by noted skeptic and atheist Michael Shermer.

Online Reading (July 18, 2018)

Speech and Taxes: CRA loses an interesting case in Ontario on whether the tax code can constitutionally limit the speech of charities.

Biblical Criticism: Sean Macdowell talks about how the principle of embarrassment means that the Old Testament should be trusted.

Persecution: World Magazine gives some examples of the very strange things being used as evidence that an American missionary is a terrorist.

Persecution 2: Tim Challies gives some incisive lessons Christians should learn from early church persecution.

Discipleship: Jen Wilkin at the Gospel Coalition answers why we need Bible reading to stoke our affections for Christ.

Online Reading (July 17, 2018)

Community: Nancy Guthrie comments on what to do when Christians let us down (and it WILL happen)

Unintended Consequences I: Laws preventing criminals from profitting for their crimes can sometimes cause problems for other victims of the criminal.

Unintended Consequences II: When activists made sure that (non-transgendered) star Scarlett Johanssen gave up her role, it may have kept the movie from even being made.

Anti-Semitism: Get Religion points out how a flattened understanding of the relations between Judaism and Israel seems to be leading to a rise in anti-semitism.

Blessing the Community: Hannah Chao at TGC talks about a ministry of an LA Church that helps high schoolers learn skills to express themselves in film.

Struggling with Unbelief: Mark Alrtrogge has some scriptural good news for those of us who struggle with unbelief at times.

Online Reading (July 13, 2018)

What I’m reading on Friday the 13th (oooo)

Charity: Elon Musk volunteers to fix people’s water in Flint, Michigan.

Missions: Protests in Haiti strand American short-term missionaries.

“charity” gambling: An example of Chase the Ace for the benefit of a local fire department isn’t promoting much charity in a family.

Interpretation: So, how does one interpret scripture?

Online Reading (July 12, 2018)

What I’m reading today.

Heresy: A balanced article on seeing and naming false teachers.

Weather: scientists have cameras recording as a large glacier calves ice into the ocean.

Missions: Eliot Clarke expresses some of the possible pitfalls missionaries face in honour/shame cultures.

Academia and Religion: Scholar J. Budziszewski talks about the question of doing academic inquiry as a Christian at the Veritas Forum.

Online Reading (July 11, 2018)

Marriage: David Mathis has a decent article on the picture marriage is of Christ’s love for the Church.

Church Revitalization: Thom Rainer gives reasons for his optimism about a coming wave of Church revitalization.

Holiness: Over at the Cripplegate, a decent article on how to know you’re growing in holiness when struggling with anger.

Weather: Tropical Storm season begins for us in Newfoundland.

Sermon: TGC word of the week promotes a timely message about how buzz and belief are different things.

Of Cities to Come

Our experiences of coming home may have something to do with coming home to a place we’ve not yet been

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Re 21:22–25.

I believe that God provides signs in our daily lives for the ultimate joys He has prepared for us. When he talks about things in His Word, He isn’t just speaking in vague generalities, even when what we’re learning about isn’t easilly thought of from our perspective. He is using metaphor, but metaphor isn’t a pseudonym for “not true”.

Part of our confusion stems from our inability to understand metaphor. We imagine that something being spoken of metaphorically is less real than what is seen, touched, tasted and experienced, when in many cases, what is being spoken of is a deeper truth, one so deep that we can only think of it metaphorically, because what is concrete fails us. The concrete is the language of eternal truth, but it isn’t the deepest truth.

This is especially the case when God speaks in Revelation about the glories He has prepared for eternity to come. In the above quote, we see God telling us about a strange city where its light and its temple are God Himself. In a world that imagines us secular, I suppose we think we can imagine a city without a temple, but if what we’re talking about is the central works around which a city is built, and in which its people spend most of their time, it’d be like saying a Church without shopping malls or sports stadiums, as God is that ultimate value which now we often place in sports or in purchasing power.

This week I am attending meetings at a Church I once attended in South Korea: Sarang Community Church, Seoul. They have graciously asked me to talk about my work as a lead mentor for the learning community in St. John’s, and our work planting Churches in Newfoundland and Labrador. Probably in a later blog post I’ll explain just how important the English ministry at Sarang was for my life, but for now, it means that I’m visiting a city I once knew fairly well.
Since I got to Seoul yesterday, I’ve been hit by a strange feeling of both familiarity and strangeness. I am not Korean, and my Korean is barely at survival level. I do not look like a Korean even slightly, and yet as I’ve had experiences I’ve missed for years, from using the subway, to drinking ludicously overpriced coffee in Gangnam, to eating foods that are either unavailable or crazy expensive back home in Canada. All of this teaches me something about Revelation 21. I feel both familiar and alien.

In the city to come, while everything will be new and exciting, there will also be a safety and familiarity to it, as the center of that great new city to come is God Himself, who we know now in Christ. In essence, when that great day comes, and we are in the new kingdom, we will be in a great place we can only be in because of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, so in one sense, we will be alien, present not because of our own righteousness, but because of the righteousness of God imputed to us in Christ, but we will also be fully welcome, and in a very real sense that no city on earth can emulate, we will be home.