James K. A. Smith on the importance of the dinner table

I'm reading through James K. A. Smith's excellent new book, You Are What You Love. I highly recommend this book. Here are some of Smith's thoughts on the formative power of families eating dinner together: For example: never underestimate the formative power of the family supper table. This vanishing liturgy is a powerful site of formation. Most of the time it will be hard to keep the cathedral in view, especially when dinner is the primary occasion for sibling bickering. Yet even then, members of your little tribe are learning to love their neighbor. And your children are learning something about the faithful promises of a covenant-keeping Lord in the simple routine of that daily promise of dinner together (132). Smith continues: The table at home is an echo of the Lord’s Table; the communion of the saints is given microcosmic expression in the simple discipline of daily dinner together. There is an ongoing dance...

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A modest, post-election goal for everyone

We just finished perhaps the most divisive election in modern history. The good news is that the election is over and we are experiencing what few countries experience: a peaceful transfer of power. It was good to see the President and President-elect meet and discuss the transition. But there is stil much division in the country. I can commend a few pieces to you on this. First one by my boss Russell Moore and another by a favorite pastor of mine, Erwin Lutzer. You might also read this great piece at Desiring God and this analysis of the election by Kirsten Powers. I also loved this beautiful gospel testimony by Ernie Johnson. We are a divided nation and, even if they give it their best, our political leaders and parties and movements cannot bring the kind of unity we need. Only neighbor-love, expressed by the people of God, can help show a...

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Five Great Reads on Theo Epstein

If you haven't heard, the Cubs just won the World Series. No really, they did. The pathway from a team mired in mediocrity to a first-class operation began with the brilliant hire, by new owner Tom Ricketts, of Theo Epstein as president of baseball operations. When Ricketts made this move in 2011, I knew the Cubs were finally serious about building a wining club. I've been indulging, lately, in profiles of Theo. Here are a few of my favorites: The Curious Have Won - a terrific Ringer piece by Rany Jazayerli on the vindication of the gradual move in baseball toward a data-driven approach. Theo's Curse Breakers - the Five-Thirty-Eight Treatment. Really the combination of Five-Thirty-Eight and Theo Epstein is like the nerd/analytics/data perfect storm Theo Epstein is the Man Behind the Cub Season - the Wright Thompson treatment. I love reading Wright Thompson and here he really gets inside Theo's world. A terrific...

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Teach Us to Pray: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

This is part of an occasional series of posts on the Lord’s Prayer. You can read the previous entries in this series here, here, here, here, here, and here. Today’s post looks at the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” from the Lord’s Prayer. This is the first in a series of three so-called “earthy” requests, in contrast to the first three “heavenly” requests. “Give us this day”, we are to pray, “our daily bread.” What does it mean to pray this prayer? Even in what seems like a rather simple request like “Give us this day our daily bread,” we find six important qualities God wants to grow in us through prayer: 1)   Worship The first thing we learn from this simple line of request is the nature of worship. You notice that before we get to our concerns, we have prayed through God’s concerns. This is an important life...

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