Quick Takes – 2/9/2008

Mark Roberts explains What is Ash Wednesday? and What is Lent? “I grew up with only a vague notion of Ash Wednesday. To me it was some Catholic holy day that I, as an evangelical Protestant, didn’t have to worry about, thanks be to God.”

African-American Snapshots & Portraits. Here are snapshots of African-Americans of all ages and from various walks of life. I really enjoyed scrolling through these photos. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful in the world than people. (HT: Presurfer)

10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online. “Whether you are a current writer or looking to break into the craft, formal writing courses can help you hone your skills. If you don’t have the money or the time for a campus-based course, there are plenty of universities that offer free writing courses online.” (HT: Lifehacker)

Elizabeth Marquardt reports on the effects of divorce on aging parents. “Because of profound changes in how Americans organize and sustain — and often break up — our families, our nation will soon confront a never-before-seen shift in how we die and whom we’ll have around us when we do. And the likelihood is that on every level, we will be dying much more alone.”

Michael Mckinley speaks up in defense of “long, boring sermons.” “Information retention is really a secondary consideration … Something much greater and more important is happening in a sermon. We are holding up Christ from all the Scriptures, we are exploring the ways that he is beautiful, we are feeding on him by faith and celebrating his works together.”

Trevin Wax thanks his parents for shooting Mario. “Thank you for limiting my access to computer games and Nintendo when we were growing up. I realize it would have been much easier for you to let the Nintendo babysit us four kids. But you put our well-being ahead of your own comfort and taught us to read, write, make music, create radio shows, play in the backyard, and make movies. We’re the better for it today.”

Carl Trueman objects to the modern phrase “doing church.” “Church is not something we do; rather, it is something which God does; it is an act of God’s grace. Just as God acts in Christ to save, so he acts in his church to save. The church is not something which human beings construct in grateful response to God; rather, it is something which God himself creates by a sovereign act of his grace.” (I guess Carl wouldn’t like the title of my sermon series on 1 Timothy last year: “Doing Church Together!”)

Pulpit Magazine offers some thoughts on home, private or public schools. “It is a decision that must be made on a case-by-case basis, using biblical principles and prayerful wisdom to make a God-honoring choice. It involves knowing the Word, knowing the schools in your area, and knowing each of your children. Remember that the ultimate responsibility for the proper education of your children rests upon you—the parents—not the school or the church (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4). Those two institutions are vital to a child’s overall development, but standards, convictions, and moral strength should be implemented at home.”

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