A Plea for Civility, Missionary Misconceptions, & How to Burn Yourself Out
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 occasional 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.”
Articles of the Week
5 Rules for Sermon Illustrations, Jason K. Allen. To paraphrase the prophet Amos, I (Chris) am not a preacher, nor the son of a preacher. But I sympathize with the impulse of preachers feeling that they need just the right illustration to help make their sermon connect. How do you know if the illustration you’ve got is the right one? Listen to Allen.
12 Steps to Ministry Burnout, Chuck Lawless. Nobody intends to work themselves into the ground, becoming a shadow of their previous self and spiraling into destructive habits. And yet it happens to ministry leaders all the time. In some of the worst cases, ministry burnout leads people into moral failures that scar the rest of their lives. But there are good cases, too. If you listen to Lawless’ warning, you may save yourself from disaster.
Four Misconceptions About Missionaries, Dave Hare. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! I’ve been trying to articulate what Hare says in his first and fourth points for years now—but he hit the mark perfectly. “People tend to think that missionaries go because they somehow like to live in miserable places …. But I actually don’t like the jungle. I don’t like the dirt. I don’t like hiking through the bush with a machete. You know what I like? Pavement. Air conditioning. Cheese. Having an ER that I can take my kids to.” Missionaries don’t go because they’re adventurers that love minimalistic lifestyles. They go because the need is great and the job is not yet done.
Stand Fast: When the Race Conversation Turns Hostile, Isaac Adams. It’s hard work for the church to reflect the diversity of our community and proclaim the diversity of the Kingdom. Yes, there are some—within the church and without—that are so fed up with political correctness that they resist any discussion of “diversity.” For the most part, though, we’ve found that our people want to get excited about racial harmony. Pursuing that harmony, however, can take its toll. If you’re discouraged by the tenor of race discussions today, hear Adams’ encouraging word.
Don’t Take for Granted the Fragile Blessing of Civility, Trevin Wax. Just before the furor of Election 2016 began in earnest, Bruce Ashford and I (Chris) published One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics. Having watched the course of public debate since then, we could just as easily have called the book, A Desperate Plea for Civility. Wax ties together a few recent events, showing that we’re inching toward a loss of civility. That’s a big deal: When civility is lost, widespread violence is inevitable.
On the Lighter Side
The Water Cycle Unifies, Jessica Hagy. You’ve probably never thought of this. Or if you did, you’re my kind of people. (Jessica Hagy’s indexed “charts” aren’t always so trivial, by the by. They’re always elegant in their simplicity, and sometimes they’re rather profound.)