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We Are Equally Sinful. We Are Not All Equally Broken or Toxic. (via Brad Hambrick)

Brad Hambrick makes a necessary distinction that is vital if pastoral care and personal support is to be appropriate for people whose problems have different causative conditions:
From the article:

The concern I want to discuss is the tendency to assume that biblical principles like those found in I Corinthians 10:13 mean that all our struggles carry the same weight. The unintended consequence can be that abusive relationships receive the same counsel as garden-variety arguments and instances of low impulse control receive the same guidance as manic episodes.
We’re All the Same
Let me begin with the first sentence of the title: “We are all equally sinful.” Whatever distinctions we make later in this post in no way imply that anyone needs Jesus-on-steroids or a double dose of atonement. There are no varsity and no junior varsity sinners. We are all in the same league (i.e., sinful) and in need of the same Savior (i.e., Jesus) by the same means (i.e., repentance and faith). I fear that, because we want to make sure people understand this paragraph that Christians can neglect to make the kind of assessments discussed below.
There Are Differences
Now let’s move to the second sentence of the title: “We are not all equally broken or toxic.” As I am using these terms, “broken” would refer to things for which we do not bear moral responsibility but create unique challenges for us, and “toxic” would refer to persistent patterns of sin that not only harm others but we punish others if/when they bring them to our attention. From the opening paragraph, the person whose body involuntarily cycles between the extreme highs of energy-grandiosity and lows of depression would be experiencing the “brokenness” of bipolar (not just garden-variety moodiness), and the person who verbally and physically intimidates his-her family and punishes them if it is brought up is exhibiting the “toxicity” of being abusive (not just garden-variety rudeness).

Read the rest of the post here.


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A Brief Visual Tutorial On Typefaces (via Pierrick Calvez)

Pierrick Calvez promises a five minute visual guide to the better use of typefaces.
It is very helpful.
As a special bonus it teaches the differences between the Hyphen -, the En Dash –, and the Em Dash —; along with examples of their correct use.

Go here.


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Ali – A Life by Jonathan Eig

I saw an excellently priced copy of Ali – A Life by Jonathan Eig at Big W.
It looks like it will be the standard biography of a landmark figure in 20th century popular culture.
Ali was so much a product of the culture in which he grew up, was prepared to stand aloof from that culture and suffer its condemnation, and came to be accepted and revered by that same culture on his own terms. A transformative figure.
I’m not a fan of boxing (I balk at ticking the ‘Sport’ box in my tags, but this is well written and provides genuine insight into a polarising and distinctive figure.


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Hold On – Sunday Songs

Hold On by Nicky Chiswell features on EMU Music’s album Worthy.
All the characteristics of Chiswell’s work: sound poetic lyrics and a strong melody.

The lyrics:
Verse 1
We have this treasure in jars of clay
To show all power is God’s
We are afflicted in every way
But we will never give up
Struck down…but not destroyed
Hold on for His glory
Chorus 1
Let’s take up our cross
Let’s take up His word
And hold out the Light of life
to this world
Light up the dark
Make Jesus known
He’s always with us
Hold on
Verse 2
We believe and so we speak out
But it’s not about us
We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord
He has shone in our hearts
Struck down…but not destroyed
Hold on for His glory
Bridge
And though our bodies are wasting away
Our inner selves are renewed everyday
And though our bodies are wasting away
Our inner selves are renewed everyday
Struck down…but not destroyed
Hold on for His glory
Verse 2
Let’s take up our cross
Let’s take up His word
Let’s hold out the Light of life
to this world
Light up the dark
Make Jesus known
He’s always with us….

Let’s take up our cross
Let’s take up His word
And hold out the Light of life
to this world
Light up the dark
Make Jesus known
He’s always with us….
Hold on

Words & Music: Nicky Chiswell
© 2014 Chiswell, Nicky


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 42

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 42

Chapter 25 – Of the Church Cont. (Paragraphs 4-6)
IV. This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.


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Instead Of Advice, Christ (via First Things)

Preaching that is full of advice about how people can live like Christians can’t transform, only preaching that points people to God’s transforming power in the person and work of Jesus Christ has the hope of change.
The conclusion of an article about Luther’s theology by Phillip Cary at First Things.

How we have always been justified by faith alone is best seen in light of Luther’s distinction between law and Gospel. Both the law of God and the Gospel of Christ are God’s word, but the former only gives us instructions while the latter gives us Christ. For the law tells us what to do, but the Gospel tells us what Christ does. The distinction grows out of Augustine’s insistence, in his great treatise On the Spirit and the Letter, that telling us to obey the law of love does not help us do it from the depths of our hearts; only the grace of Christ can give us such a heart. Luther merely adds: The place to find the grace of Christ is in the Gospel of Christ.
A great many preachers, Protestant as well as Catholic, overlook the distinction between law and Gospel, thinking they can change people’s lives by giving them practical advice—as if telling them how to be inwardly transformed could help them do it. Augustine already knew better. Luther’s addition to Augustine’s insight is merely the glad recognition that there is indeed something preachers can do to help us be transformed: Instead of advice, they can give us Christ.

source