Communicating Across the Racial Divide, John Piper Avoids Politics, & Can We Trust Alexa?

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 Should Pastors Vet Potential Counseling Referral Sources? Brad Hambrick. “The first part of getting to know what someone means by being a ‘Christian counselor’ is getting to know what they mean by being a Christian; both initial profession of faith and ongoing spiritual maturity. These should be natural conversations for a pastor. You are not looking for someone who is necessarily part of your same denomination, but you want to hear a clear understanding of the gospel and a joyful commitment to growing in their personal faith.”

Articles of the Week

Communicating Across the Racial Divide, George Yancey. Dr. Yancey has helped inform our view of racial reconciliation, and we could use many more irenic voices like his. As Yancey points out here, both white people and people of color are tempted to promote “solutions” to our current racial problems that are self-serving. Absent the gospel, there isn’t much hope for any other way. But because of the gospel, we in the church can practice a better way—active listening.

Why Does John Piper Avoid Politics and Current Events? John Piper. Our current technological age makes it easier than ever to offer hot takes on current events. Mainstream media outlets are hustling to beat each other to break news first. Social media adds fuel to this fire, as literally anyone can break a new story. And one of the most damning accusations a public figure can receive these days is that of aloofness and silence. In a culture like this, many pastors are playing the game, too. But Pastor John doesn’t seem to be jumping when everyone else tells him to. Why is that?

Alexa, Should We Trust You? Judith Shulevitz. The Atlantic still speaks my (Chris’) language—i.e. long-form—so this isn’t a blog soundbite. It’s a full meal. Settle in and listen to the tale of Alexa, the Amazon Echo. She’s a Victorian servant, a hip hop DJ, and a local news reporter. Sure, she often seems to have a hearing problem. But she’s also getting smarter and stronger. Will she one day also be your friend and therapist? And is that trend something to welcome or to fear?

For Progressives, Politics Is the New Religion, Emma Green. And yes, The Atlantic also does shorter pieces. Case in point: Emma Green’s reflection on political liberalism as a new sort of religion. The statistics are clear, but they shouldn’t be too surprising: In the absence of robust faith communities, people approach their political views as dogma and defend them with unmatched zeal. What might this mean for the 2018 elections? Only time will tell.

On the Lighter Side

How America Uses Its Land, Dave Merrill and Lauren Leatherby. Nerd alert! If you had asked me last week, “How much do you care about how America uses its land?” the answer would probably have been a 2 out of 10. Currently, I’m at a 9. This is just too cool. (Also, cows? Represent, my bovine friends!)