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.”

Church Resource of the Week

How to Vet Potential Counseling Referral Sources, Brad Hambrick. “As a pastor, it will serve you well to get to know the mental health professionals in your community and identify several who have a strong faith commitment that can be a part of a trusted referral network. This post is meant to help you think through how to vet counselors in your community; whether (a) you are new to a community and building an initial referral network, or (b) a new counselor contacts your church and wants to become a referral resource.”

Articles of the Week

When You Feel the Darkness of December, But Cannot Believe the Light of Christmas, Chris Pappalardo. The Christmas season can often be a difficult one, reminding you of the loved one no longer sitting at your table, of the broken relationship that should have lasted forever, of the ongoing illness that continues to wrack your body with pain. Even if you aren’t in a season of suffering, you probably know and love people who are. As Victor Hugo once wrote, “Those who do not weep, do not see.” In the midst of a world of such heartache, we may want to shrug Christmas off as naïvely optimistic. Here’s why we shouldn’t.

Superheroes and Saints, Alexi Sargeant. Comic book writer—nay, legend—Stan Lee passed away earlier this month. Whether you know him or not, you certainly know the superhero universe he created. Marvel Comics is largely his creation. Interestingly, as Sargeant says here, Stan Lee’s approach to superheroes has a lot to teach us Christians about what it means to be a saint. To be a hero in Stan Lee’s universe was to be simultaneously vulnerable and strong, human and otherworldly. Christian, take note!

Three Beliefs Some Progressive Christians and Atheists Share, Alisa Childers. As fathers of young children and pastors at a church with many young members, Pastor J.D. and I are acutely aware of “de-conversion” stories—the stories of those who grew up in church but eventually stopped believing. Many who end up ditching the biblical faith do so in phases. And one of the last stops on the train ride out of biblical orthodoxy, it seems, is progressive Christianity. This trend is disturbing, but it’s not inevitable.

Lift Her Chin with Love, Greg Morse. This is simply beautiful. “The Christian husband is not called to flatter, but to be the world’s greatest lover. A kind of ‘lover’ whose affection reaches beyond the bedroom into the hospital wing, the pew, the small group gathering, the car rides, the kid’s soccer games, and into—and through—the funeral home. A lover who speaks for God when his words quiet her insecurities. A lover who is an inebriated man, drunk off of her love, always.”

On the Lighter Side

Six Suites for Cello, Yo-Yo Ma: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. The music here is masterful. But Yo-Yo Ma’s short lessons interspersed are also intriguing. I’ve been mulling on his statement, “I have lived with Bach’s music for all of my life; it’s embedded in everything I play” for several days now.