Why study shadows when we have the Son? That’s a question I’m often asked when I’m trying to promote more reading of the Old Testament. The question is usually focused specifically upon typology. Why study the types when we have the anti-type? It’s a valid question and if there is no satisfactory answer then the Old Testament, or large parts of it, are going to continue to gather dust. But I believe there is a satisfactory answer, six answers in fact.
Michael Bloomberg: “I’ve earned my place in heaven”
Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
No, All Christian Content Shouldn’t Be Free
Dan Darling: “I understand the desire to get resources into the hands of those who can’t afford them. The impulse to break down financial barriers so people can hear the gospel and so God’s people can grow is good. I’m thankful for all of the free content, readily available online and elsewhere. But there point we must understand is that good content always has a cost.”
When was the last time you said this or were asked this?
If you’re male, probably aged eight or thereabouts.
Could you even begin to imagine asking it as an adult? What would you do if another man asked you this? Start running?
Over at Salon, Mark Greene asks why men are so bad at making friends with one another. Most of Mark’s answers are based on sociology but here are some of my own answers.
We’re too busy: Deep friendships take time, lots of time, lots of time doing nothing terribly productive but just being together, talking, and listening. Who’s got time for that in today’s busy world?
We’re too selfish: Male friendships are too often based upon what we can sell to someone or what we can get from someone. “What’s in it for me?” is too often the primary or only criteria for whether we build a relationship with someone.
We’re too functional: The Salon article made the point that male friendship usually grows out of organizations – work, sports, clubs. Problem is that when our participation ends, so do our friendships. They were more functional than emotional.
We’re too proud: “Friends are for wimps!” OK, we might not say it, but we often think it. “I’m strong, independent, self-sufficient. I can manage life on my own. I don’t need friends.”
We’re too fearful: I’ll put this bluntly. We don’t want anyone to think we’re gay. I know, it’s crazy, but I know others that have the same fear. If I come across as too emotional, too “touchy-feely,” too close, will he think I’m making a pass?
We’re too safe: We’re not prepared to risk rejection. Better stay in the safety zone of arms-length acquaintance than try to get closer and risk seeing someone back off or push off.
We’re too superficial: Friendships can only thrive where there is real authenticity, where both parties are prepared to let down their guard and show their real emotions and feelings. That requires going beyond the superficial self-images we build up of ourselves.
We’re too brainwashed: I agree with the Salon article that most of us have taken our view of masculinity from TV and Hollywood
A real man is strong and stoic. He doesn’t show emotions other than anger and excitement. He is a breadwinner. He is heterosexual. He is able-bodied. He plays or watches sports. He is the dominant participant in every exchange. He is a firefighter, a lawyer, a CEO. He is a man’s man. This “real man”, as defined by the Man Box, represents what is supposedly normative and acceptable within the tightly controlled performance of American male masculinity.
We’re too competitive: Who wants to be friends with someone who is always the best at everything, wants everyone to know that, and who never encourages or praises anyone else?
We’re too un-Christlike: Think of Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners in general, but also a man who built twelve strong male friendships in just a few short years. These friendships were motivated by a desire to serve and do these friends eternal and spiritual good. He showed endless patience, practiced constant forgiveness, and even ended up with one lying upon his chest while they socialized together (John 13:23).
Any other reasons you can think of? And any suggestions to help us change our ways?
After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”
Accurately sub-titled “A Christian Self-Help Approach to Depression and Anxiety.” This was the most helpful book my wife and I used when she was going through a lengthy period of pregnancy-related depression. Especially good on teaching you how to do some basic CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy).
Very short and partly biographical book. Although it says “Spiritual Depression” in the title, unlike Lloyd-Jones’s book it covers a lot more than that with some fine practical chapters on sleep, nourishment, and self-esteem.
A sympathetic and sensitive book, especially good on helping sufferers discern whether their depression has a spiritual cause and how to respond to that. Sometimes seems to revert to the “medicine only alleviates symptoms” dogma, but this is still a good book for a pastor or counselor to guide someone through.
Although this is an extremely good book for those whose depression has primarily spiritual causes, it’s not a book I would give to everyone suffering with depression as there are often other factors that may be far more significant.
A harrowing biographical look at depression by a pastor and his wife. If you want to feel the pain of depression with being depressed, this is the closest you’ll get. Perhaps over-balanced into the “physical-only” approach, but gives a deep insight into the struggles of depression and what the church can do to help.
Actually deals more with schizophrenia than depression, but so many of Amy’s points apply to how the church responds to depression as well. Amy weaves her own family’s painful sufferings throughout her challenges to the church to increase in compassion and care towards the suffering.
A kind of Depression 101 (or 911) (or 999 in the UK)!
Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.
When The Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper. A sensitive and balanced book from “The Apostle of Joy” with solid and do-able biblical advice for those who struggle in the darkness (and those who care for them).
Grace for the Afflicted by Matthew Stanford. Comes from both a biblical and clinical perspective and deals with a much broader range of mental health issues than depression. A well-rounded perspective on the physical, spiritual, social, and providential contributors to depression.
If You Hate The New York Times And Hannity I thought I was the only one! Rod Dreher highlights a thoughtful news website that is journalistic, rigorous, and accurate but is also asking questions that resonate with ordinary family life.