This is also the first weekend of Advent. Given that, I want to begin this week with a few Advent-themed items:
- David Taylor reflects on the counter-cultural nature of the season of Advent (as properly understood) and offers his own "acts of service" Advent calendar.
- Daniel Montgomery and Bobby Giles, writing for The Gospel Coalition offer the counter-cultural proposal that we skip the "Christmas season" this year.
- Ray Pritchard begins his Advent Devotional Series today.
- Speaking of Advent calendars, check out the Evangelism Advent Calendar from the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, and also my own Musical Advent Calendar, which began earlier this morning - select "Musical Advent Calendar" from the right sidebar to see the complete calendar to date.
- This isn't exactly Advent-themed, but I have to share the Stuff Christians Like take on the real meaning of Christmas
Now on to faith, theology, and church life:
- Another thought-provoking installment from Ray Pritchard's devotional series on Ecclesiastes, this one on the grace of God even in the face of loss
- The Gospel Coalition offers an excerpt from Tim Keller's book on "the power of deep rest."
- Christianity Today offers an excerpt from a Dietrich Bonhoeffer sermon on "why love never ends."
- Also in CT, Fred Sanders reviews Carl Trueman's The Creedal Imperative, a new book about "the need for creeds."
- Jared C. Wilson, of TGC, offers six questions worship service planners should ask.
- Josh Deffam, guest blogging for Stuff Christians Like, notes the different types of church ushers, including the most impressive: synchronized ushers.
Some thoughts on politics and public policy:
- Michael Kinsey wrote a striking op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on the concept of change (the seventh paragraph is a particularly good summary of the ironic American perspective).
- Stuart Stevens, from the Romney campaign, reflects on the former governor's work on the campaign trail, and what it all means for the Republican Party's future (also in the Tribune).
- Amy Payne of The Heritage Foundation writes about movement in international Internet regulation
- A business/technology story with some public policy implications: The Econonist takes a look at the "four giants of the Internet age"
- The Gospel Coalition reports on "recent news and reports on marriage and family" (compiled by Joe Carter).
A few interesting arts and entertainment notes:
- Colin Eatock writes for the Houston Chronicle about a trend toward young music directors for American orchestras (this surprised me at first reading, probably because the music director of my favorite, hometown orchestra is in his seventies)
- Speaking of my favorite, hometown orchestra, Heather Gillers of the Chicago Tribune summarizes music director Riccardo Muti's role and compensation at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer explores "music's connections to society as a whole."
- Robert Beaser, of the Juilliard faculty, writes a feature for The New York Times on "the rigid old days of contemporary music" - and what things are really like today.
And a few odds and ends:
- WorldVision has an anecdote (and a challenge) about the life-changing nature, for youth, of having a tangible purpose
- Carrie Muskat of MLB.com summarizes the Chicago Cubs' progress this offseason in building next season's team
What articles or blogs caught your attention this week? Share them in the comments section below!