Books You Should Read (or Read Again), the Wisdom of Social Media, & How Work Is Making Us Miserable
Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, when it comes to reading, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”
Articles of the Week
Who Says Social Media Can’t Make You Wise? Jen Wilkin. Confession: I (Chris) rail against social media as much as (perhaps more than) any other topic. I have often said that if I had access to a Twitter kill switch, I would hit it in a New York minute. I don’t think Wilkin has completely changed my mind on that, but she offers a wise perspective on social media and wisdom. As she points out, “Any crowded room we enter contains its share of sages and fools; social media platforms are just very crowded rooms following the same pattern. We can’t choose who enters, but we can choose which voices we listen to and which voice we ourselves use.” Amen and amen.
Should SSA Christians Have Non-Sexual Romantic Relationships? Sam Allberry. This is a peculiar question, but one that Allberry and others have been fielding with increasing regularity. For those who have same-sex attraction, is it allowable to pursue same-sex romance so long as a person abstains from same-sex, well, sex? Allberry’s response reveals much-needed distinctions between friendship, intimacy, and romance.
Seven Books I’ve Read More Than Once, Trevin Wax. If you’ve never read these books, now is a great time to start. Pick one and get moving. By the way, we’d be interested to hear how other Christian leaders populate a list like this!
Matthew 18 Is Not Instructive for Book Reviews (But Much of the New Testament Is), Jen Oshman. Christians who publish book reviews—especially negative ones—will find Oshman’s experience familiar. You write a critical review of a new book, and inevitably someone will ask, “Did you contact the author privately before you posted that review?” The intimation here is that Matthew 18—about confronting believers directly—applies to the world of public books and articles. While it is charitable to reach out to authors directly (we have often done so), Oshman’s reminder here is a sane one: The context of Matthew 18 is the local church, not the public square.
Workism Is Making Americans Miserable, Derek Thompson. This may look familiar to you. That’s because Pastor J.D. loved this article so much he wanted to run it again, this time with his very own words. And here they are:
This article is one of those where someone has a brilliant insight the Bible teaches as a core principle: the futility of making work an idol. However, the Bible’s presentation is more complete—man shall not live by work alone, but man was made for work. An idol is a good thing that only becomes a bad thing when it becomes a god-thing. Realizing it is insufficient as a god doesn’t mean it is no longer good, however. The ideal society is not, as the author seems to indicate, where we spend our time trying to figure out what to do with our leisure and where the poor get welfare with no work required. God created us for work. God put man in the Garden to work it, not just lounge in it, which is why life without meaningful employment will in most cases be unsatisfying as well. Work, as the author indicates, makes a terrible idol. But so does leisure.
The author is correct that removing work’s “idol” status will also help us reframe the discussion of whether we should expect to “find our passion” at work: “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” This has produced a generation of dissatisfied idealists who can’t understand why they don’t spring out of bed each morning excited to get to the office. The Bible explains that this is the result of the curse—our work would become toil. Thus, I should expect that even in fulfilling, life-giving work, there will be days I not only feel unfulfilled, but downright weary. This was a great line: “The modern labor force evolved to serve the needs of consumers and capitalists, not to satisfy tens of millions of people seeking transcendence at the office.”
On the Lighter Side
The Exploding Whale: The Greatest News Broadcast in TV History. What do you do with a 45-foot, 8-ton whale, that washes up on shore, dead on arrival? If your answer was, “Explode it,” then (1) What is wrong with you? And (2) Here’s what that would actually look like.