Rank #1: Russell Moore & Tim Keller: A Conversation
In this episode of Signposts, I sit down with Pastor Tim Keller, Chairman of Redeemer City to City and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. We talk about his ministry, his work reaching out to an increasingly secular American culture, and spiritual formation for Christians.
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Rank #2: Signposts: A Conversation With Rosaria Butterfield
In this special episode of Signposts I sit down with professor and author Rosaria Butterfield to talk about her conversion to Christ, her previous life in the LGBT community, and what Christians need to remember when reaching out to the world around them.
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Rank #3: Signposts: How Should You Handle Disagreement With Church Leadership?
The odds are that, sooner or later, you will find yourself disagreeing with the leadership of your local church. The issue may seem small or it may seem very significant; you may be a lay member, or you may be on staff. Regardless of the circumstances, what are the most important things to remember when you don’t agree with the leadership of your church?
In this episode of Signposts I talk about what healthy disagreement within a church can look like, and what marks the difference between handling it well and damaging the fellowship.
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Rank #4: Signposts: Senator Ben Sasse and Russell Moore talk about how perpetual adolescence hurts the church
In this episode of Signposts I sit down with Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. We talk how perpetual adolescence hurts the church and about his new book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance.
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Rank #5: Signposts: How I Do My Personal Devotions
A daily personal devotion time is something that most Christians would say is vital to their walk with Christ. But often it’s a spiritual discipline wrapped in frustration and confusion.
In this episode of Signposts I talk about my own personal methods for private devotions, and reflect on what I’ve learned about the priority of spending time in meditation and prayer.
Listen below and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes when they publish.
Rank #6: Signposts: How Should Christians Handle Disagreement Over Halloween?
In this episode I respond to a question about Halloween and the local church, and how Christians can handle disagreements in a way that glorifies Christ and preserves fellowship.
Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.
Below is an edited transcript of the audio.
I had a question from a listener asking about Halloween, and she is particularly concerned not about Halloween itself and whether or not Christians ought to celebrate Halloween; there are all sorts of resources you can look at about that. Her question particularly is about disagreements that she has in her small group in her church. They have a small group, community group Bible study and some of the families Trick or Treat and their kids dress up and they do Halloween, some of the families don’t because they think that Halloween is a pagan holiday and they think it celebrates darkness and those sorts of things, and so they have a disagreement. She is just asking, what do we do when Christians disagree about something like Halloween?
I think it is a really good question because it comes at something that the scripture talks about really clearly in Romans 14 when Paul is talking about differing consciences on questions along these lines. You have a dispute that is going on in the church at Rome between people who would argue that a Christian ought only eat vegetables and people who would say the conscience is free to also eat meat. Now, think about this, there are kinds of multiple layers here: why would a Christian argue for a vegetarian only sort of meal? Well, on the one hand you could have Christians who would say that on the basis of the way that Christianity restores the original creation, and those Christians might say, “Well, human beings weren’t created to kill and to eat meat from animals and so let’s return to a time when we are eating only vegetables.” That’s not the only argument there. There is another argument that could say, especially when you are living in an ancient world where a lot of meat was being sacrificed to idols, that the way that a Christian could maintain his or her witness is not to be eating meat at all. Think about 1 Corinthians; a lot of 1 Corinthians is talking about that dispute about meat offered to idols and what do you do and how do you figure that out and how do you not wreck a weaker brother over the eating of meat?
So, that’s a real issue on the table in many different contexts. What Paul says about this is to say in Romans 14, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions; one person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls and he will be upheld for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than the other, while another esteems all days alike, each one to be fully convinced in his own mind, the one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord, the one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he abstains, he abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God, for none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; if we die, we die to the Lord, so then, whether we live or whether we die we are the Lords, for to this end, Christ died and lived again that he might be the Lord of both the dead and of the living, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you despise your brother for we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ?”
Now, obviously what the apostle Paul is teaching there under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is not that there are not moral boundaries in terms of behavior that ought to divide churches. That’s not what he is arguing there because he goes on to consistently talk about those things that are out of step with the gospel–Galatians 2, he is dealing with sexual immorality; in 1 Corinthians he is dealing with divisions, he is dealing with all kinds of issues going on in churches where he would say, this person is right and this person is wrong—sometimes really, really strongly, he’d say this person is a false teacher. I mean, think of 2 Timothy 3, those people are to be dealt with and dealt with very decisively within the context of the church. So he’s not saying, “Well, we all disagree on everything and so let’s just live with one another.” What he is saying is there are some issues that the scripture does not speak to definitively, and so in those cases you have consciences that may operate in different ways, and he will argue elsewhere that if somebody is operating in a way contrary to his or hear conscience, that person is actually sinning, that person has a conscience that is leading that person in one direction and the person thinks that what he or she is doing is violating a command of God, that actually is an act of rebellion, even if what that person is doing is perfectly morally neutral.
So, we need to have consciences that are shaped and formed rightly but beyond that, we bear with one another on some things that are not clearly defined in scripture. So when we think about the issue of Halloween, I think that one of the things that we need to keep in mind is that Christians in the American context and in some other context where Halloween is celebrated, have different views on this, we needto learn to empathetically understand why the other person holds the view that that person holds. So, if you are one of those people who would say that you don’t ever want to celebrate Halloween, you don’t ever want your children celebrating Halloween, you do other things, then don’t view Christians who take their kids Trick or Treating as Satanists and occultists. Now, maybe you come across somebody who just doesn’t have any discernment and so who is really celebrating some things that are dark and occultic. I heard of a Christian family that went to a séance on Halloween; obviously, that is something forbidden by Scripture, that is somebody who is moving in a direction that is clearly forbidden by Scripture, but most of the people in your typical church who are Trick or Treating and celebrating Halloween, that’s not what they are doing.
My kids Trick or Treat, and what we are doing in that we don’t have bloody, gory celebrating of evil sorts of costumes, but we see this as making fun of the devil in one way. You are making fun of the darkness, ridiculing the darkness in order to say, “Principalities and powers and darkness of night and death, you don’t win, and we are able to join with our neighbors in kind of expressing the fact that you don’t win.” We have more reason than anybody to think that. So there are a lot of Christians who, if you don’t like Halloween, you don’t believe in Halloween, take the most charitable view. The same thing is true for Christians who do participate in Halloween and you are looking at families that don’t. One of the tendencies that we can have, is to see a family that doesn’t celebrate Halloween and think of that person as a legalist, that this person is legalistic and censorious and irrelevant. Again, you may have some people like that. There are some churches where you would have some people who not only don’t celebrate Halloween, but want to come after the people who do and make that an issue of church identity and church boundaries, church definition. If that’s the case, then you have to deal with that, but that’s rarely the case.
Most of the time what you have are people who would say “I think that Halloween has a lot of really dark origins.” True, it does, it has both light and dark, I mean you have All Saints’ Eve, All Hallows’ Eve, and you also have druidic origins and all sorts of unsavory things, that’s true. They have problems with that and they don’t see how a Christian could participate in something with those sorts of origins. They also look around and they see many things that happen around Halloween that they say are really decadent and so they look around at the way that sometimes Halloween celebrates gore and celebrates violence and celebrates wickedness and evil and sometimes even the demonic, and they say, oh, we just don’t see how a Christian could participate in that. Don’t label that person a legalist because that person’s conscience has a problem there. Also, don’t assume that these are people who aren’t concerned about mission and concerned about their neighbors.
Now, for me, and I was telling a group of people this the other day, Halloween is actually the one time of year when I am able to be with my neighbors in a meaningful sort of way. I live in a neighborhood where you have a lot of people who are running at a very past pace and so people are in and out of their homes, and I am running at a really fast pace. I live in two different cities essentially and then am traveling all over the place and so it is hard for me to really connect with my neighbors except for the ones that are just right around the house. Halloween time, the whole neighborhood goes outside, everybody is outside, you get to know people, you are able to build relationships and connections, and for me, that’s really helpful, and for a lot of Christians, that’s one of the ways that they are able to build relationships necessary in order to be a gospel witness. But don’t assume that that means that the people who do have a problem with Halloween by conscience are hiding in their homes with the lights out and not answering the door when they have neighborhood children; that’s not typically what’s going on with people, and so, let’s understand the importance of conscience here.
So if you have a problem with Halloween, I think the default for you ought to look at those Christians who do go Trick or Treating and say, “Okay, well, what they are intending to do is to enjoy an important cultural holiday, they are wanting to be involved with their neighbors and they are recognizing the way that the Scripture teaches that we live in a fallen world, and not in a schmaltzy sentimental all-light sort of world. That’s what they are intending to do.” And if you do celebrate Halloween and Trick or Treat, then look at those families, if you’ve got those families in your church that don’t and they object to it, and think, “Good for them, they have a conscience and this conscience is leading them to be counter cultural in this way, and so this is a holiday that they don’t celebrate and that they don’t observe—good for them.” If they were violating their conscience, then they would be doing something that would be wrong for them and that kind of conscientiousness may well serve the church in important ways later on when it comes to other issues where those are the people who say, “We’ve got to be the ones who don’t follow the crowd and who obey conscience.”
So receive that and bear with one another and love one another and be able to Trick or Treat for the glory of God, be able to abstain from Trick or Treating for the glory of God, and to be able to sit around the Bible together, be around the Lord’s table together, be serving each other today after that.
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Rank #7: The Gospel and Social Injustice – Part 1
Does the gospel have implications for social justice?
Is social justice a distraction from the gospel?
I have had many people ask me recently about the issue of social justice. As Christians, we are called to live as a gospel people, and in light of recent cultural conversations on this topic some have wondered about the connection between the gospel and justice.
In this episode of Signposts, I discuss this issue and consider the Bible’s instruction for Christians seeking to live faithfully in the world and in obedience to the gospel.
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Rank #8: Signposts: Why is church attendance declining? A conversation with Skye Jethani
In this episode of Signposts, I sat down with Skye Jethani to talk about why church attendance is declining. From a conversation that began on Twitter, we explore changes in culture, supply and demand, and the state of the local church.
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Rank #9: What About The Enneagram?
What is the Enneagram?
Should Christians use or even care about it?
I am asked about the Enneagram, and other types of personal assessments, all the time. I know that some of my listeners are skeptical of it, while others are real advocates.
In this episode of Signposts, I offer my perspective on the Enneagram and think through its benefits and drawbacks.
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Rank #10: Signposts: A Conversation with Jen Wilkin
In this episode of Signposts I talk with author and speaker Jen Wilkin about the local church, men and women in ministry, and how to build a strong culture of teaching for women in the church. Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.
Below is an edited transcript of the audio
RUSSELL MOORE: I have with me today nationally known author and teacher Jen Wilkin. She’s the author of several books, including Women of the Word, None Like Him: 10 Ways God’s Different Than Us and Why That’s a Good Thing, and a book about the Sermon on the Mount. Everything I read by Jen Wilkin not only equips me better but provokes me to think and to pray. She has a column in Christianity Today and I commend the stuff she does to you, and if you’re not familiar with it, find it and you will benefit from it. Jen, thanks for being here today.
JEN WILKIN: Thanks for having me on!
RM: You know sometimes I feel guilty because I feel I’m the only one in ministry who hasn’t used the phrase “I really married up.” And I haven’t used the phrase, not because it’s not true, but because it’s always felt to me kind of condescending. I’ve never heard a woman say this about her husband, but have heard husbands say this about their wives. I can think of all kinds of times where there’s been a panel at a conference, with one woman and a group of men, and somebody will make a comment about “the rose among the thorns.” Do you think that it’s the case that often in our churches there are some subtly condescending ways of talking about women?
JW: I think it’s well-intentioned. When I hear something like that, I never think that person woke up that morning and said, “How can I keep the woman down?” I do think that we can sometimes speak in ways that intend to honor but end up sounding like overcompensating, but I do always assume it’s well intended.
RM: You know, it seems to me in many ways that women, in conservative evangelical churches, don’t seem to be as mobilized as in previous times in church history. When we think about, even when women didn’t have as high a place in society as they do now, we had women who were leading mission movements and all sorts of things. But it seems at least in my corner of the world that we don’t have as much of that anymore. If that’s the case, how can we correct it?
JW: Well I’m in your corner of the world so I would say that’s an accurate statement. Probably what’s driving that is that often in the church, in the last 20 years, we’ve adopted a sort of backlash position when it comes to talking about women. We’ve developed a sort of fear of anything that sounds or looks vaguely like feminism, and become extremely cautious about roles we’ve put women in and developed some narrow definitions of leadership and who can and should lead. So I think we’re dealing with fallout from that, and in some cases men outside the church have been more open handed toward women in leadership than those inside the church. What I’m hoping to see, and what I see happening in many places is that we’d recapture a vision for men and women partnering in ministry together. The language that the New Testament applies to the church is familial language; the church, like a family, has brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. I would love for the church to begin to look more like a family that has both parents in the home, functioning in roles of leadership and nurturing.
RM: One thing I’ve been convinced of, all my ministry but increasingly so, is that whenever there’s a truth that God gives us, there are least two errors that we deviate toward, on either side of that truth. I think that you’re right that when it comes to biblical ideals and pictures of manhood and womanhood, on the one hand, you have the sort of feminism that erases those good, creational differences. But on the other hand, we can have a hyper complementarianism. I say this as a convinced complementarian. But we can say, “In order to make sure we don’t fall into feminism, we’re going to put all sorts of hedges and protections around so we won’t even come close to a problem.” I think you’re right about that sense of backlash, and you’ve written about this in terms of the “ghosts”, the sorts of ideas of women that can be scary to men who are in leadership in the church. What do you mean by that?
JW: Well, I’ve even heard from seminary graduates that they were told in seminary to be leery of contact with women. I grew up with four brothers, a Dad that loved me and now a husband that loves me and sees me as a peer. It was strange to encounter that attitude because I hadn’t encountered it in my relationships with men. I was used to being treated like I wasn’t a threat. I have an outspoken personality, so maybe I am perceived as “Here comes trouble.” But it was a surprise to me though because what was valued in the workplace wasn’t what was valued in the church. It’s a belief system that has been cultivated and rewarded often, that women in ministry were something to be cautious around. And it did result in many ministry structures that were built on erring on the side of caution at every turn.
And when we consistently err on the side of caution, we consistently err. We are operating from a paradigm of fear instead of one of brotherly-sisterly partnership. And fear doesn’t tend to be a good recipe for ministry. There’s been a lot of interesting stuff written on male and female relationships in ministry settings, and the fact that the more forbidden you make them, the more you heighten the tension around those relationships. And I think of it in terms of, the way we dealt with sibling relationship in my homes. If you were not getting along with a sibling, we didn’t separate you, we put you together and gave you a task to do. In the church, we tend to keep people separate, and I think in the church we’ve tended to have a greater fear of adultery than we’ve had fear of men and women not fulfilling the cultural mandate given to them.
RM: What would you say to someone who responds, “Yes, but, we have had just tremendous problems within the church, and we know there is good, created longing for marriage that the devil distorts.” So there are real dangers and many times when we’ve seen these sorts of falls, they typically happen in the context of doing ministry together that has gone awry. So how would you say, don’t err on the side of fear, but do recognize the dynamic that can be dangerous.
JW: Absolutely. If you recognize one problem, what you don’t wanna do is over-correct. We don’t want to be foolish we want to be wise. But I think one thing we’ve done is made one rule fit all relationships, when in reality relationships are different because it’s two different individuals in that relationship. So when you’re trying to gauge what is my ability to have friendships with people of the opposite sex that I’m in ministry with, you have to say first, how healthy is my marriage? And then you need to say, this person who I’m working with, how strong is their marriage and how vulnerable do they and I seem to be? You’ve got to have a great deal of honesty with yourself about how safe it is to move into even low level friendship with them, depending on who the person is.
But as the friendships between two of the same gender, you learn over time which friendships you can trust and which you can’t trust, and I would say the same is true of male-female interaction. But again obviously, you’re going to be cautious because there can be a sexual component–though honestly there can be a sexual component in same-gender friendships as well. And secondly, we cannot live as though we exist in vacuum. There are cultural pressures around us and sub cultural pressures that dictate how we behave wisely in this relationship. Just because I could go have coffee with a person who wasn’t my spouse, in a highly public place that wouldn’t be questioned, doesn’t mean I should do that.
RM: You know, I get a lot of books sent to me from publishers. One thing that I notice is that books geared toward men or toward generic readers, tend to be very different than the books I get that are geared toward women. And I can even just tell by looking at the cover. Maybe I’m wrong, but usually, with key exceptions including you and others, a lot of the material directed toward women is relational and has to do with one or two aspects of life, but it’s not usually geared toward theology, or Bible, for the most part. Why?
JW: Well I would argue that its a symptom of this “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” mentality that we’ve had within the church. So if you’ve had the courage to crack open one of these book that looks like they painted the front cover with estrogen, you will look at that and say this is incomprehensible. And you’re going to draw one of two conclusions from that: you’re either going to think this is just what women want, the way they’re wired, or you may think this is all women can handle. But the command for us to love God with heart, soul, mind and and strength is not gender specific. It’s not “Hey brother, you love God with your mind and I will love God with my feelings, and these are the gifts we bring the church.”
I will stand and given an account to God for how well I have loved him with my mind. Not Dr. Moore’s mind, not Matt Chandler’s mind, not Beth Moore’s mind–my mind. I need to have a thinking faith as a woman who is a follower of Christ. And what has happened over time is that we have resourced women almost entirely at the feelings level, for the past 20 years. And so women when they are faced with a thought level challenge to their faith, it throws them into complete crisis. They’re not equipped to deal with it. Not only that, but because there’s so much polarization even within church subculture, we think we are straight ticket voters with one teacher vs another. So [according to this mentality] I have to agree with every single thing Matt Chandler says or else he’s a false teacher.
So women in particular are ill-equipped to discern what is a first level doctrine vs a second level doctrine, and to know whether it’s ok to agree with some things and disagree with others. You combine that with a tendency in women to seek consensus and to collaborate, and so anyone who critiques something that has a woman has written can be perceived to be “outside the herd.” So even within women’s circles, there is a danger to any woman who says I need to raise my voice in critique against what another woman has written. So some of the resources that are written at a level that doesn’t honor the intellectual capacity of women sort of never meets with a critique that would help us see more clearly toward other things.
RM: I think you’re about the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” dynamic. When I look at the material that is directly oriented toward men–I think it is starting to change–but for a long time it’s been hyper warrior-spirit, hyper-competitive, which I think feeds into the sort of masculinity-as-velocity mentality that is ending up with a lot of people burned out and devastated at the middle of their lives.
When you think about the local church level–maybe someone is listening to this and belongs to a church where there just hasn’t been any emphasis on Bible teaching for and by women, what can someone do to see that change? Would you say just go find another church, or what would you say to that?
JW: I would not say go and find another church. To me that is a last resort. I would say if you are someone who feels drawn to lead something like that, you should first approach the leadership of the church and say this is something I’d like to do. Often in churches where they say everything is topical or feelings-related, the first thought is: “Let’s stop that, and do hardcore inductive Bible study all the time.” I would say that’s probably not the best response. Instead, it’s better to lay a different foundation and let the other things continue. Getting women to invest in this foundational piece of learning line by line takes time. It starts with one or two women, and then they catch fire and invite their friends, and then those women catch fire. It’s a slow boil, and that’s OK. It needs to be seen as something you’re going to build into your church over the long term.
And it can be difficult if you’re in a church that overall does not value that kind of study. And it can also be difficult because as church structure has become more and more organic and decentralized, it’s harder and harder to find environments that are dedicated just to the learning of Scripture. So there may be some mechanical difficulty in terms of implementing that. We’re trying to create structures where this kind of learning can take place, and it’s not likely to take place in a home group setting. Home group is great community but it’s not the most structured place for a thought level engagement with the text. So I would urge women in the local church to talk to their leadership but in many cases they might get a blank stare. If that’s the case, gather some women in your home, get some good resources, and trust the Lord to make a harvest out of that.
RM: One thing I’ve noticed, whether it applies to orphan care ministry or any number of things, when you have people who come to church leadership and say “This is a deficiency, you fix it,” there’s typically not a good response. But if you come forward and say “God has laid this on our heart, and we’re not exactly sure what it’s going to look like, but will you support us as we attempt to be faithful,” there’s usually a very good response.
JW: A willingness to partner, yes.
RM: Well thank you for Jen Wilkin for being here today, and I recommend to all of you if you’re not familiar with Jen’s stuff, Google her and get it. And what I appreciate about Jen’s work is that we talked about overreaction here, and I think sometimes when someone is a pioneer and moving in directions that have been deficient for a while, one of the things that you can easily do is say “I want to be super cerebral, so I’m just going to present the omniscience of God in the most arid and abstract way.” But what Jen does is talk about the omniscience of God in a way that is applicable to every day lives as well. That’s a good model for all of us, men and women, to follow.
Rank #11: Signposts: How Should You Talk to Your Children About Transgender Issues?
With the Department of Education’s recent decree on transgender restrooms and public schools, many families are wondering how they are going to help their children navigate through these questions.
In this episode of Signposts I discuss what Christian parents need to do when discipling their children to think about gender identity questions, and why hard conversations about controversial topics are essential.
Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically when they publish.
The post Signposts: How Should You Talk to Your Children About Transgender Issues? appeared first on Russell Moore.
Rank #12: Signposts: Reflections On My Conversation With Andy Stanley
At our recent ERLC national conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with pastor Andy Stanley. Andy and I have a lot of significant disagreements about ministry, but our conversation was fascinating and helped me and everyone at the conference think through some important issues.
In this episode of Signposts I reflect on my time with Andy Stanley, and how our dialogue about ministry and theology sharpened my own thinking about Scripture and the church.
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The post Signposts: Reflections On My Conversation With Andy Stanley appeared first on Russell Moore.
Rank #13: Signposts: How Should Christians Respond to the New President?
In this special episode of Signposts, I discuss how Christians should respond to the election results and to President-elect Donald Trump. Listen to the episode below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.
Below is an edited version of the transcript.
Donald Trump, of course, was elected last night as the 45th President of the United States. Hillary Clinton conceded in a speech just a few minutes before I’m recording this right now. There are several things we, as Christians, should be thinking about today.
The first of those is the requirement that we have to pray for and to honor our leaders. Now, many of you know, I had and have serious concerns about both of these major party candidates and I think one of the things that all of us can probably agree on across the spectrum in American life is that election 2016 was a demoralizing and some ways even traumatic thing for a lot of people. It was a divisive time, sometimes having husbands and wives and children and parents and churches and others divided from one another and so we can be glad that the election season is over. But now that it’s over, we have a responsibility to pray for and to honor our leaders.
Eight years ago, I called on Christians to honor President Obama and to pray for President Obama and one of those ways was to even in the way that we use language to refer to him as “President Obama,” not simply as “Obama” in our own households, and the same thing is true now. This will be “President Trump,” not just “Trump,” not cartoon character that we see on television, but the one who in the sovereignty of God, God has put in charge of the United States Presidency. We have a responsibility to pray for him, to pray for wisdom for him, discernment for our President, for support from his team, from his cabinet, from his family that he would make wise and just decisions. We have a responsibility to give him a chance and we have a tradition in American life where every president starts out with a blank slat, starts out with the benefit of the doubt and regardless of what’s gone on in the campaign before, regardless of what’s gone on in the years before in that person’s life or in that person’s policies, or in the person’s rhetoric, we give the new President the opportunity to lead, and I think we ought to do that now. I think that we ought to hope and pray that President Trump will turn out to be a wise and just and inclusive leader who actually brings about the unity of the American people. Let’s hope for the that and let’s pray for that.
The second thing that we ought to remember this year is that we as a church have higher priorities than politics. I think one of the things that we have seen this year is the way that politics has become a sense of transcendent identity for people across the spectrum from the left to the right in ways in which sometimes our political disagreements are more about heresy and ex-communication than they are about politics. We, though, as Christians, understand that politics is important, the decisions that we make as a country are important but not as important as the gospel of Jesus Christ, not as important as the church of Jesus Christ.
We, after all, are only temporarily citizens of this republic, the kingdom of God outlasts Mt. Rushmore and outlasts the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and outlasts the United States of America, so we should be thankful for the blessings that we have as Americans. We should be involved and engaged as much as we can as American citizens but always as those who are not first Americans, we are first citizens of the New Jerusalem, we are first those who are brothers and sisters in Christ and heirs of the kingdom of Jesus. That means that we are not going to be utopian, we are not going to think that any election solves our problems, that any election is going to be able to have any permanent solution to anything, regardless of the outcome and we are also not going to be the people who are panicked and fearful because, no matter what happens in the culture around us, no matter what happens in the government around us, we are victors in Jesus Christ and, as a matter of fact, the Bible tells us we are more than conquers through Jesus Christ.
So we ought to be the people, whatever it is that we face in the years to come, whether those things are good and hopeful or whether those things are not so good and not so hopeful, we ought to be the people who are confident, we ought to be the people who are joyful, we ought to be the people who are modeling to the outside world what it means to be a reconciled community where there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, black nor white, but all in the Christ where Jesus Christ is all and in all, and in that we have a message that can say to a world that often is in a kind of Darwinian struggle with one another for who’s going to be first, who’s going to be second, and say we serve a different kind of kingdom, we are strangers in this world. We serve a kingdom where the first will be last and the last will be first and where the meek will inherit the earth and where power comes through one who is crucified in weakness and yet lives by the power of God.
That ought to give us confidence, that ought to give us engagement, and that ought to give us peace, joy, love, righteousness, gentleness, patience, and self control. So let’s go forward with that kind of hope and that kind of faith and that kind of love. Let’s pray for President Trump onward.
The post Signposts: How Should Christians Respond to the New President? appeared first on Russell Moore.
Rank #14: Signposts: My Favorite Podcasts
I’m often asked about which podcasts I listen to. With all the time I spend traveling, I listen to quite a few podcasts, and there are a few in particular that are especially helpful to me in keeping up with what’s being talked about in broader culture.
In this episode of Signposts I talk about which podcasts I frequently return to, and what makes them specifically useful to me in my life and ministry.
Listen below and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and get new episodes when they publish.
Rank #15: Introducing My New Podcast
Today is the first episode of my new podcast, Signposts. This is a brand new, biweekly podcast that features conversation about the gospel, politics, books, and much more.
In this introductory episode, I explain the name “Signposts,” and talk about why I’m doing this new podcast and what you can expect from it.
I hope you’ll join me in this new opportunity to talk about where the culture points us toward the kingdom.
Rank #16: How I Write
In this episode of Signposts, I talk about my approach to writing. From keeping track of ideas, to writing books and articles, this podcast offers you a look at the whole process. You can find the full transcript and links to subscribe below.
We’re about to take a little break here in the summer here on Signposts. I’m going to take a few weeks as I’m writing a book to really concentrate and give my attention to this book. As I was thinking about that, one of my colleagues said, “You should talk about on Signposts how it is that you write.” And I have to be honest, I’m really reluctant to do that because I said “Nobody cares how I write, first of all, and second of all I certainly don’t commend to anybody else my particular way of writing.” But he said, “There may be some people who can benefit from that as they’re thinking about how to write for themselves.” And maybe so.
Because you are probably going to be called upon to write something at some point in your life. It may not be that you’re a writer, but you may have to write a loved one’s obituary. Or you may have to write a letter to a child or a family member. All of us are going to have to put down on paper or on the screen our thoughts at some point. Some people just do it much more extensively than other people do it.
So here’s kind of the process I go through. And again, I don’t commend it to anybody at all. This is just the way that I work. What I wish I could say to you is that I sit down and make out an elaborate outline, and then have note cards in front of me, and I go through each of note cards. That’s not how I work. What I have to do is spend a lot of time, first of all, reading in whatever area I’m going to be writing in, and then a lot of time just processing that. So just thinking. A lot of the most important writing time for me actually is not in front of the screen, it’s walking in the woods. Because that’s when I’m thinking through “Okay but what about this, and what about that, what about this idea, and what about that idea,” and sort of churning as I’m thinking through this. And for me, exercising – especially sort of meandering free exercising – is what helps to put all of that together for me.
I also like to keep with me a little notebook because there will always be those moments where something will just flash. I’ll be reading in Scripture devotionally and something will hit me – “I haven’t considered that, that’s important for whatever this thing is I’m writing.” Or I may be sitting in a wedding somewhere and something hits me. So I want to have something that I can quickly jot something down about whatever it is that I’m thinking. Then just continue to churn and continue to think about these things. Then when I sit down to write what I typically want to do is to spend some time balancing writing what’s down on the page, usually these days in my study at home, with sort of pacing around the floor. So if you watched me – I would never want any one watching me. I have a couple of friends who will sit there and write while they’ve got people around them. That would be disastrous for me, because I just jump up and pace around the room, sit down and write a little bit more, jump up and pace around the room some more. It’s a really sort of neurotic thing to watch that I wouldn’t want anybody to see.
But as I’m writing things down, I have to have huge periods of solitude interrupted by short bursts of community. So what I need to do is to talk about what it is that I’m writing about, not all the way through, but in certain little bursts. So I’ll gather a group of friends together and just say “Hey, this is what I’m thinking about. Does this make sense?” Or I’ll call my friend David Prince on the phone and say “Hey, what do you think about…” and just start talking about what it is that I’m writing. Or my wife and I might go for a walk and I might talk to her about what I’m thinking through. That helps me to break out a little bit of the solitude in order to test out ideas. But I have to have this solitude.
So, often when I was at Southern Seminary I would drive down to Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky, the place where Thomas Merton was a monk, and I would go there because I could just wander in the woods completely silent and quiet there. I could think things through, and then I could come back into the Abbey and write down the sorts of outlines of things that I thought about. I may be there all day and then get in the car and drive back and I’ve got the time driving also then. So usually it is better for me, it’s better time spent if I would take however long it took to drive to Gethsemane Abby, all day there, and however much time it took to come back. Even if I didn’t put anything on the page that whole day, that’s not a day lost because it’s all then uploading. And then I come home and I’m able to write.
It’s also true for me that I can’t write little dribbling out amounts in any sort of continuous way. So if I’m writing a book, I just can’t write a paragraph on a plane and then another paragraph in between meetings. I’ve got to write continuously and the flow of thought really can’t be broken away or interrupted. Now, you may be different. And it may be that the way that you write is best in terms of just planning out “I’m going to write a paragraph every morning” or whatever. If so, good for you. I wish I could do that but that’s not the way that I operate. That’s not the way that I do things.
That’s different when I’m writing a book from when I’m writing a short article like a blog post or something. In that case, what I need is a dose of adrenaline. So what I need is for something to either make me angry or make me really, really happy where I just simply have to express it. I was telling that to a friend one time and he said “Really? Angry? Because almost none of your writing seems angry to me.” And I said “Well, that’s because the anger for me is a sense of provocation. It’s not what I then use to actually write the article.” So I may become really angry or grieved about something, but then I’m going to work through “Yeah, but why would somebody do this? Why would somebody hold to that view?” And then when the adrenaline hits I usually just sit down and just write the blog post altogether, in sometimes just a few minutes. But because it’s all there – whatever’s in the background has been fueled up with the adrenaline and then there it is.
The other kind of writing though that I find really beneficial is something that you’ll never see. It’s something that actually I heard recommended by a podcast host, Brian Koppelman, who is a filmwriter and producer and he hosts a podcast that I love called “The Moment.” And he recommended something called morning pages. As a matter of fact, he just mentioned “morning pages” one time on the program. And I didn’t even know what it was, so I Googled it. And I found out that morning pages is something recommended by this book “The Artist’s Way” which I then ordered and read. I don’t endorse everything or even most of what’s in that book. A lot of it is really New Age-y and sort of spiritually therapeutic sort of stuff. But there’s some really helpful stuff in there too that you can sieve out.
And one of those things was the idea of morning pages. And basically what it is that you get up first thing in the morning and you write 3 pages that no one is ever going to see, that you’re not going to look at at least for a long period of time. Where you can make all the mistakes and errors and you can just “stream-of-consciousness” write. And at first I thought, “That is going to be a total waste of time.” But I did it, and it was really helpful to me. Because when I would sit down first thing after waking up and just start writing, and not know where I’m going to go, I could find out some of the things that were actually burdening me at the time. Maybe some of the things that God was working on in my life. And so in doing that, I’ve kind of been able to find things to have more gratitude about. I’ve found some some sins to repent of. There are some things that I thought that I had forgiven, that when I’m doing these morning pages I realize “Wait a minute, if I’m still talking about this in this stream of consciousness way, then maybe I haven’t forgiven this.” All sorts of things have sort of come out of that, and it just kind of primes my brain to be able to think through other things during the day.
Again, what’s key to me is the idea that nobody is going to see this, I’m not going to look at this, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Because perfection or the idea of perfection is what scares me from writing. And I think that’s true for a lot of people. It causes you to procrastinate because you think “I should wait until I can write this perfectly.” You’re not going to write this perfectly, there’s no way to write this perfectly, and you’re not even going to go back and look at it again. That’s important for me.
And then also, no one’s going to see it. You know, sometimes when I’m keeping a journal I’ve always got in the back of my mind “My kids are going to one day be reading this,” and I want to sort of put my best foot forward for my kids. This does away with the temptation toward that kind of performance or that kind of mask. Now obviously, I’ve got the notebook on my desk, and I could drop dead of a heart attack today and my kids could read the morning pages. But that’s not what’s in your mind as you’re doing it. So that’s helpful for me, and may be something that you enjoy or something that you don’t, but it has proven to be a source and a catalyst for a lot of things that I have later written about or preached about or talked about later on.
We’re going to take a few weeks off here on Signposts, and then we’ll be back coming into the fall with many new episodes of Signposts, including some things I’m really excited about right now that I’ll tell you about later. So have a good time, have a good summer, and we’ll reconnect afterwards.
Rank #17: Signposts: What Fathers Need to Tell Their Children
One of the most important things that we as Christians can know is what fathers need to say to their children. The Scriptures give us wisdom on this, and help us to see what it is that every human yearns to hear from their earthly, and heavenly, father.
In this episode of Signposts I reflect on what the Bible says about fathers and children, and how the gospel leads and forms Dads to model the fatherhood of God.
Listen below, and use the links to subscribe to Signposts and receive new episodes automatically.
The post Signposts: What Fathers Need to Tell Their Children appeared first on Russell Moore.
Rank #18: Signposts: A Conversation With Rod Dreher
How should Christians respond to cultural transformations, many of which actively threaten the beliefs and practices of the church? Journalist Rod Dreher offers a provocative answer in his new book “The Benedict Option,” which encourages believers and churches to abandon the popular models of cultural engagement and focus instead on shoring up our own theological foundations and communities.
In this episode of Signposts I talk to Rod about the Benedict Option and what he hopes Christians take away from his book. Listen below and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.
Transcript coming soon
Rank #19: Signposts: A conversation with Andy Crouch about family and technology
How do I navigate technology with my kids? In this episode of Signposts I talk with author and speaker Andy Crouch about families and the use of technology. We also talk about his new book, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place.
Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes when they publish.
The post Signposts: A conversation with Andy Crouch about family and technology appeared first on Russell Moore.
Rank #20: A Conversation with Jamie Ivey
My guest on this episode of Signposts is Jamie Ivey. Jamie is an author, a sought-after speaker, and perhaps she is best known as a podcaster. Jamie is the creator and host of The Happy Hour podcast, which is a fantastic podcast for women that my wife, Maria, absolutely loves. In addition to all of this, Jamie is a wife and mom. Her husband, Aaron, is a worship leader at The Austin Stone Church, in Austin, Texas. And Jamie and Aaron are parents of four children, including three by adoption.
In this episode, Jamie and I had a great conversation about adoption, life in ministry, parenting, and many other things. If you’re not familiar with Jamie, I encourage you to visit her website: jamieivey.com.
Be sure to subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes as they are released.