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Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

In Light of the Paris Attacks, Is It Time to Eradicate Religion? Miroslav Volf. It’s become vogue to equate violence with religion, as if the latter caused the former. Volf points out that the data simply doesn’t support that theory. In fact, more often than not, religion acts as a force deterring violence.

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Every leadership book I’ve read says that establishing priorities is the most essential key to success. You’ve got to know what—in a long list of good things—should come first, what is mission-critical and what’s not.

When it comes to the kingdom of God, that is especially true. The subtle choices that you and I make every day have a dramatic impact on how our lives will turn out. And it’s often not a matter of choosing between something bad and something good. It’s a matter of choosing which is the most good (sorry, “good-est”) and putting that first.

A clear picture of this comes in the lives of Abraham and Lot. In Genesis 13, each man makes a smart decision—according to a particular system of values. But the trajectory of each was drastically different. It all began with 2 different sets of priorities.

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Writing is a peculiar trade.

For those who love the written word, writing is almost magical. I (Chris) am a writer, and I often find that people are fascinated by my job. It seems too good to be true. They imagine, I suspect, that I spend most of my days with a quill pen and a tattered old journal, scribbling away in some scenic and secluded spot in the woods. The birds serenade me while I craft one masterful line after another. Somewhere in the distance, a faint hum of classical music wafts in the air. (This is not the case.)

Others, however, find writing tedious and exasperating. For these folks, if writing is magical, it’s a dark sort of magic, something that can’t be controlled and never turns out well. It seems like a waste of time, a task invented by sadistic schoolteachers who love nothing more than to wield their red editing pen.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle—or maybe, in both places at once. Writing is awesome and writing is terrible. I wouldn’t recommend it as a trade (it’s too frustrating). But I can’t imagine what it would take for someone to force me to stop (it’s too rewarding).

People often ask me how to improve their writing. I don’t consider myself the expert on this, but I have noticed some common features among good writers. So whether you’re planning on writing the next great American novel, getting started on a blog, or just trying to pass English 101, you can get better.

Here’s my slightly subjective and unashamedly unoriginal advice:

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