As I mentioned Monday, the opportunity to blog again couldn’t have come at a better moment. Anyone who has known me for any time at all knows that if you get me going on a topic I enjoy, you’d better grab a seat . . . and maybe some caffeine. Our weekly Gleanings feature was designed to help me out in this area. I realized that I had entirely too much to say, but not nearly enough time to say it. So, taking my cues from some of my favorite blogs, I decided to post an original article on Monday, and my own favorite online reads Friday.
This does mean that I share some things I don’t always agree with, or that I don’t fully agree with. But I think that’s both to be expected, and okay. Occasionally, I’ll caveat the post with a snarky title, and in exceptionally rare cases provide an explicit disavowal. Most of the time, though, you’ll have to read between the lines on the title I give the reading (which is almost always different from the original) and then see for yourself whether or not it’s worth the read (which I always determine by reading it anyway).
So where do I get my links? You could probably name a few just from seeing them every week, but here are my top four (from last to first), and why I use them and not others.
#4: CNN. A few months ago CNN became my primary source for print news (and by that I mean electronic print). My standards were simple: a mobile app with substantial content, relevant updates, global perspective, readable user interface, and Facebook connectivity. I flirted with several others, especially the Fox News app. In the end, though, four factors turned me off to Fox: (1) their exorbitant use of graphic smut, (2) their annoying ‘Breaking News’ updates, (3) their heavy emphasis on the American political scene, and (4) the fact that I now overhear Fox News Channel for about forty hours every week at work. So there you have it.
#3: The BioLogos Forum. Science is one of those subjects I used to love to hate, but over the years I have grown to appreciate what it has to offer to a life well-lived. The hard part is finding sources that glorify God as Creator, engage with other views substantially and lovingly, and do actual research (both biblical and scientific). The BioLogos Foundation fits this bill rather well. As I pointed out above, I don’t always agree with their views, but because of these disagreements, I do far more homework on things than I would if I read a more familiar source like Apologetics Press.
#2: The Christian Chronicle. The bride of Christ struggles with several problems in our (and every age). What I appreciate most about the Chronicle is their stated mission, “to inform, inspire and unite” Churches of Christ throughout the world through conscientious and comprehensive reporting throughout the brotherhood. They publish much that I cannot in good conscience Like (I usually follow their news blog through Facebook) much less Share, but in the end their policy of engagement is far preferable to the avoidance inherent in many of our “fellowships within the fellowship.”
#1: First Things. I probably don’t have to tell you that I’m a big fan of First Things (I share them so much, I limit myself to only two of their articles per Gleanings!), but I should probably tell you why. Quite simply: they focus on what’s important. So while I get most of my news by watching Fox and reading CNN, the vast majority of my opinion reading comes from First Things. Much like our posts here, their commentary runs the full gamut of human discourse, while centering everything on the important dynamic between Christ and Culture. Each of their writers has their particular niche (often identical with their unfortunate denominational affiliation), but almost all of their writings bring scriptural, historical and/or literary wisdom to bear on the issues of the day.
Quite simply, Gleanings is intended to provide far more breadth and depth to the blog than I could provide otherwise, especially without writing full-time. And putting them together is often more fun than writing my own posts. But hopefully they’re at least a little less fun for you to read!