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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Pentecost, Pastoring and Intentional Friendships

Here are three of my latest articles: "So You Want to Make Disciples?" for In Touch Conversions usually result from deliberate, genuine friendship building. This involves intentionally inserting ourselves in environments where unbelievers are present. It includes leveraging our natural human talents to find common ground and build friendships. It requires patience, not trying to “close the deal” but coming alongside, seeking a person’s good, and learning to grow in relationship. "6 Ways to Pastors Can Equip Churches To Engage Cultural Issues" for ERLC When pastors fail to equip their people to think biblically about issues, they cede authority to the high priests of culture: the talk show hosts, cable news hosts and online opinion-makers. People will go somewhere to have their consciences formed. Why isn’t the church their first choice? "From Every Nation Under Heaven" - for In Touch The promise of Pentecost is that the gospel reverses this curse, undoing the confusion of the Tower...

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Is Speaking Your Mind a Christian Virtue? Ten Thoughts from Scripture

We live in an age where “speaking your mind” is considered a virtue and a hailed as a sign of good leadership. But is this trait something the Bible commends? Should Christians be known for “speaking their mind?” There are several truths about our speech we should consider from Scripture: The Bible commends honest speech. Proverbs 6:17 names a “lying tongue” as one of the things God hates. The prophet Zechariah instructed God’s people: “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another. Paul commands the new covenant people of Ephesus, “Let everyone of you speak truth to his neighbor.” (Ephesians 4:25). Lying is a sin, the product of a fallen nature. Lying is the work of the enemy (John 8:44). So truthful speech is the sign of a redeemed heart. The Bible commends truthful speech for rebuke. Faithful, the Proverbs says, are the wounds of a friend...

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Troubled Hearts in Tumultuous Times

What is going on? This is the sentiment I've heard from many friends and family, especially as they survey this increasingly crazy election season. I have to admit that I've been more than a bit distressed myself lately. How is it, for instance, that a vulgar, reality-show icon who has built his empire by exploiting the poor, who openly mocks the disabled, who defends the abortion industrial complex, who threatens his opponents, who brags of his adultery, who says that he has "no need of forgiveness"--how is this guy winning among evangelicals in places like South Carolina? How is it that the worst kind of leaders continue to win and those who have accomplished records, who lead with dignity, who genuinely serve the common good don't seem to win office? If you love your neighbor, you can't help but be discouraged by the state of our world. Or perhaps you are...

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