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gospel and politics

Back in February, we at the Summit hosted a forum addressing the interaction between the gospel and politics. As the past few months have taught us, politics can be a messy, confusing, infuriating venture. Christians often don’t know what to do with politics—myself included. On one side, I feel like I may not be speaking up enough on key issues. On the other side, I feel like I may be speaking up too much and causing a stumbling block for the gospel. That’s the tension I wrestle with, and that many of you wrestle with, too.

This video addresses four of the biggest myths that Christians have about our relationship to the political sphere. It also includes (beginning around 18:00) a panel discussion between me and three other leaders—Chris Pappalardo, Bruce Ashford, and Walter Strickland—asking how Christians can approach political involvement in a way that is shaped, first and foremost, by the gospel.

As a follow-up to our last forum, we’re hosting another Gospel and Politics panel discussion next week—on October 11, from 7–8:30 p.m. at our Brier Creek campus. Come join us as we discuss how to apply the gospel to the wild and wacky political world of 2016.

 I’d also encourage you to pick up Bruce and Chris’ book, which remains incredibly relevant in our politically confused climate: One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics

How Pastor J.D. Reads a Book

Posted by Chris Pappalardo on June 22, 2016
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Years ago (in 1940, to be exact), Mortimer Adler wrote a classic book with a title that seemed like a joke: How to Read a Book. But the book wasn’t a joke, for the simple reason that most people—most literate people—really don’t know what to do with a book.

To be clear, I (Chris) am not talking about people who hate to read—though I do find such people rather suspicious. No, I’m talking about people who read, perhaps even read a lot. They may know how to pass their eyes over all the words, how to understand the basics of what they’re reading, how to distinguish a beautiful passage from a dud. But once the book is closed, it becomes memorabilia. The wisdom of those magical pages remains forever between those two covers, never fully making its way into the mind and heart of the reader.

Haven’t you felt that frustration? You look at one of your books and think, Yeah, I read that a couple years ago, and remember it was pretty interesting. But what was it about, exactly? And what made it interesting? Short of reading the entire book again (which you aren’t eager to do), you don’t have a clear way of recalling the best gems. And it really doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read if you can’t remember what’s in any of them.

Think of it like this: remember Oregon Trail? Other than constantly having my oxen drown while fording a river, my biggest frustration in that game was always carrying meat back to the camp. Sure, I just shot a 1,000-pound buffalo, but apparently I can only carry 100 pounds of it back to my camp. What a waste.

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If you’re looking for some summer reading (and you should be), here is my list of books I’ve read in the last 6 months that I would recommend. And “you’re welcome” for all the bad books I endured this year that I can now leave off this list.

These are not in order of preference, just random.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin. A classic, compelling book on the character and leadership of one of American history’s greatest heroes. Rarely have I been as inspired as when I finished the last few chapters of this book. I felt like I needed to read them standing up. Awesome. I was greatly disappointed at how sparsely Goodwin treated Lincoln’s growing faith in his last years and how it shaped almost all that he said and did. A glaring omission.

A Wind in the House of Islam, David Garrison. A book about the incredible ways God is moving all over the Muslim world. More Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the past few decades than in all the 1000+ previous years combined. As the old preacher says, “If this book don’t light your fire, your wood is wet.”

An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir. Think Hunger Games for adults, but without the goofy plot. Pretty good insight into totalitarian rule and human nature. You won’t be able to put it down.

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