Old Books, The Beauty of Struggle, & Your Kids on Social Media
Your weekly installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.
Video of the Week
What Does Washington Have to Do with Jerusalem? Ben Sasse. Senator Sasse spoke this week at The Gospel Coalition, answering the question, “What does Washington—and the United States—mean?” What kind of political experiment is this country anyway? And what should we expect from contemporary politics? This is a great (non-partisan!) lecture reminding us that politics works well as a framework, but terribly as a center.
Articles of the Week
Why Social Media Is Not Smart for Middle School Kids, Victoria Dunckley. The diagnosis here is, in the words of our generation, “meh.” But Dunckley’s suggestions are helpful for parents who are trying to figure out how to shepherd their kids through a world that they never experienced—the world of social media. You love your kids; love them enough to keep social media from gutting their souls. (For more, check out Jon Acuff’s Five Rules We Gave Our 13-Year-Old When She Joined Instagram. As Acuff says, “Be deliberate. Be involved. Be curious.”)
Breaking Faith: Why the Culture Wars Are Worse Than Ever, Peter Beinart. By Atlantic standards, this is a short article. By any standard, it’s an important one, connecting our increasingly divisive political life to our culture’s secularization. Pushing religion out of the public square was supposed to make the culture wars better. It turns out, surprise surprise, that religion was one of the few factors keeping us from becoming complete animals to each other.
Reading Old Books, Joseph Sobran. C.S. Lewis pointed out that one key benefit to old books is that they reveal our cultural blind spots. “Two heads are better than one,” he says, “not because either is infallible, but because they are not likely to wrong in the same way.” The “old heads” of old books, full of glaring blind spots that we can easily see, also point to flaws in our contemporary understanding. Sobran writes in that Lewis-ian vein, encouraging us to master “an author whose vision or philosophy is both rich and out of fashion.” It doesn’t have to be Tolstoy or Shakespeare—though they wouldn’t hurt. But find some dead folks to read … and you’ll suddenly gain an immunity against the whims of public opinion.
The Beauty of Spiritual Struggle, Trevin Wax. As a runner, I (Chris) may find this more interesting than the average churchgoing Joe. (And I can attest to the phenomenon of the “runner’s high” that Wax finds so elusive.) Yet Wax hits on something vital for all American Christians to hear. Our tech-savvy culture has conditioned us to think that if something doesn’t happen easily, then our process must be wrong. But growing in godliness is like running: sometimes you’re really cruising and feeling it; most of the time you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Faithfulness—and success—are found in the beautiful struggle.
On the Lighter Side
Goat Parkour, Tien Tea Time. Baby goats doing tricks. We’re told it’s much more impressive live.
Wisdom For Your Weekend is presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from J.D. Greear. 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.”