Introducing-3

Whether you’ve got a seat on the train or whether you’re stuck sitting on the floor, we hope you can still make yourself comfortable and find these seven an encouragement…

1) The God of the Olympians – Ah, hurrah for Team GB! But did you notice just how many sportspeople at the Rio Olympics seemed to be religious? Stephen McAlpine reflects upon what this ‘reality check’ might tell us as we breathe the air of a culture that likes to tell us that believing in a higher being is on the way out.

2) Jesus Christ – Egomaniac? What John Piper Said at Google – I was chatting to a bloke recently who said that he valued the Christian religion, but he didn’t like it when people talked about Jesus too much. In fact, he also said he felt Jesus must have been a bit self-obsessed given the amount of things he said about himself. That’s exactly the objection that this short talk engages with – give it a read/listen. (I’m not sure how Piper happened to get the opportunity to speak at Google’s offices; I searched for more details online but I couldn’t find anything. Boom Boom.)

3) Special Report: Findings in Sexuality & Gender – A fresh report in the journal The New Atlantis examines research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, and argues that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. A free executive summary of the key findings can be viewed on the website – definitely worth a read.

4) An interview with Alec Motyer – This week the great preacher and Bible scholar Alec Motyer died and went to be with Jesus. I remember being taken to hear him speak in Chester as a teenager and being impressed by his grasp of the Scriptures, and since then I’ve frequently enjoyed listening in on his rich and pastoral biblical wisdom – particularly through his commentary on Isaiah, as well as his Psalms By The Day devotional which I’m finding a big encouragement this year. This short interview was made a few months ago and Alec speaks about his life, writings and ministry – it’s a great window into the man and his faith. You might also like to read these tributes from Lee Gatiss and Justin Taylor, the latter which includes details of another enlightening interview with Alec.

5) Preaching to the Unchurched: 3 Adjustments I’ve Made – No magic bullet here, but helpful stuff nevertheless.

6) Why Instagram’s Latest Addition Fails at Authenticity  – I can’t really vouch for the author, but I hope this might be an interesting read. If you’re an Instagram user you’ll know about its new feature, Stories, which looks strangely familiar – ah, yes, it’s Snapchat in disguise! On one level it seems understandable that the internet would gradually create places where we can  ‘learn to forget’, but what does this new feature have to say about where we’re to find out identity?

7) The Best One-Liners of the 2016 Edinburgh Festival – As ever, just brilliant – so clever! The winner was this gem: “My dad suggested I register for a donor card, he’s a man after my own heart…”

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