I’ve been taking a break from blogging to do some writing elsewhere. With a new book in the works (potentially two coming out this year!), as well as a piece on the Ten Commandments for Moody Center, I’ve had plenty of writing to do.
The more I write, the more I find the need to read. While I’ve purchased a few great books over the last several months (e.g. O’Donovan’s Finding and Seeking, Herman and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, Block’s The Gospel According to Moses, and Craig’s Atonement and the Death of Christ), I have also been pleased to find some great articles and essays online for free. The following five works are some of my favorite finds from the past and present.
1. Vaclav Havel, “Power to the Powerless” (available here)
Havel’s essay offers an important perspective on the sort of social pressures that press individuals to adhere to authorized cultural practices. His illustration of the greengrocer is quite powerful. If you are interested in the way social dynamics can produce inauthentic behaviors, Havel’s work is accessible and insightful.
2. “All Minus One” (available here)
Aside from providing a great discussion of John Stuart Mills’s work on free speech, this piece offers some eye-catching illustrations. If you have an interest in understanding early thought about free speech, you could do worse than “All Minus One.”
3. Carl Bernstein, “The Idiot Culture” (available here)
Writing on the topic of media, Bernstein offers a brief discussion of journalism. Much of Bernstein’s covers themes similar to Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. Given the general sense of the media’s decline, Bernstein’s work (written in 1992!) Will pull you out of the current crisis and alert you to the historic challenges of journalism.
4. Michael A. Hogg, “A Social Identity Theory of Leadership” (available here)
This article is a little “heavy” but worth a read. For anyone interested in leadership and how it works, Hogg offers a unique perspective on how and why leadership works from the perspective of social identity theory.
5. Sam Harris, “An Atheist Manifesto” (available here)
As many Christians look for help in opposing Critical Race Theory, it is likely that they will run across members of the so-called “new atheist” crowd (e.g. James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, or Peter Boghossian). Harris’s piece on an atheist manifesto should give Christians pause as they align with thinkers whose basic assumptions simply do not recognize God.
Hopefully you all are finding some time to read, think, and discuss the important issues the church is facing today. These free resources may give you some opportunities to think differently about those issues.
While we must always meditate on God’s word and learn to delight in his instruction (Psalm 1:2), I have always found it helpful to read broadly and to bring the insights and thoughts of other thinkers under the authority of God’s word. As Christians, we read critically. To do so, we consistently weigh the writings of others against the scriptures. In other words, even when reading non-Christian works, we are engaged in a theological activity. Read well, be faithful, and always seek to be confirmed to the image of the Master.