The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
Around the Web:
Why Are You on the Earth?
John Piper writes at Desiring God blog about the human responsibility to “to be the secretaries of [God’s] praise.”
- The work of the secretary is to transcribe the song of the mountains, the clapping of the rivers, and the singing of the forest, and the telling of the heavens.
Man is here to interpret and transcribe the praises of God.
The singing trees are not the secretary. The psalmist who told us what the trees are saying is the secretary. The blog writer who quotes the psalmist is the secretary. The mother who points her child to the tree and speaks of God is the secretary.
As we interact with the creation around us, which is pouring forth praise, may we “interpret and transcribe” that praise. Read more.
The Monk Who Wasn’t Good Enough
I will never forget standing in the chapel of the monastery where Martin Luther lived as a monk, and seeing our tour guide gesture at the large flagstones before the altar. “Luther used to lay here,” our guide said. “He lay, face down, arms outstretched at his sides, for hours, praying.” It was my first introduction to Luther’s story pre-Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with the man who nailed 95 Theses on a door, but I think the five years he spent trying to earn righteousness is perhaps the most compelling part of his story. Nathan Busenitz tells Luther’s story in compelling prose.
- He became the most fastidious of all of the monks in the monastery. He dedicated himself to the sacraments, fasting, and penance. He even performed acts of self-punishment like going without sleep, enduring cold winter nights without a blanket, and whipping himself in an attempt to atone for his sins. Reflecting on this time of his life, he would later say, “If anyone could have earned heaven by the life of a monk, it was I.” Even his supervisor, the head of the monastery, became concerned that this young man was too introspective and too consumed with questions about his own salvation.
But the haunting questions would not go away.
Read more about the monk who couldn’t earn his way to heaven at The Cripplegate.
The Thrill of the Unrushed Yes
Lysa TerKuerst guest posts at A Holy Experience on the value of leaving space in our lives for relationships and taking the moments we are offered.
- Each morning I have a routine with my husband. It’s simple. Nothing profound. Nothing epic.It’s just a moment.
He asks me to help him pick a tie. He then needs gentle hands to fold the collar over.
Actually, he doesn’t need. He wants gentle hands to fold the collar over. And I do. It’s just a moment. But it’s a moment where we stop. We see what a gift imperfect love is. We find “us” in the middle of the rUSh.
And in this unrushed silence, we connect.
It’s often much simpler to focus on the tasks and get things done quickly and efficiently, but the moments are when life happens. Read more.
Communal Mourning: What Social-Media Grief Says about Us
Amanda Wortham explores how our communal experience of grief makes itself known in social media what that says about us as humans.
- This seemingly artificial mourning is an easy target for our scorn. But we fool ourselves if we think we can engage in popular culture without investing some kind of emotion in its major players. Celebrities have shortcomings, of course. We are only too aware of that lately. But there is merit in what they do because it enables us to connect with one another in fresh ways, to give us communal experiences, to help us identify with each other. When we lose one, we lose a significant cultural leader. It is right to feel that loss, and it is right to stand in the community that that artist created, to remember together, and to honor that legacy.
Amanda goes on to say that our hashtags and trending stories say one very clear thing about us: we’re exactly the way God created us to be. Read more.
Around the Warren:
Don’t Leave Art to the Professionals
James Witmer reminds us that the “art should be left to the professionals” attitude stands in stark contrast to the attitude most children start life with.
- You’ve probably heard this said by someone more famous, but I’ll say it again myself (see what I’m doing here?): The younger children are, the less self-conscious they are about crafts and creativity.When younger, our girls were constantly singing; not proper songs, but stream-of-conciousness lyrics with iffy melodies mashed together on the spot, oblivious to any audience. The craziest smudges of brown, green, and orange were stuck to refrigerator and walls. And they mad-libbed “stories” in which the ridiculous gave way to the absurd until the whole thing collapsed into the nonsensical.
Build beauty. Read more.
The Winged Watchman
Liz Cottrill introduces us to Hilda van Stockhum’s The Winged Watchman, a book set in Holland during World War II.
- If you hand this book to your young reader, you’re going to have a hard time getting him to come to the supper table; if you read it aloud to your nonreader, you’re going to discover that your teenager is hanging about in nonchalant, but intent fashion, and your husband or wife is going to beg you on the way out the door, “Do not read this while I am gone.” It’s really that good and will draw in your entire family.
Liz says there are surprises right up until the very end. (Which she says at the end of her post. So in this case, there aren’t surprises at the end.) Read more.
The Endless Tale
James Baldwin’s story about the story teller and the king is much shorter than the story the story teller told the king.
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Who doesn’t love foosball? Now, you can make a mini-table for your little ones. Actually it’s simple enough that they could help you make it.
And Something to Watch
You know when you turn on the television and every preschooler in the vicinity congregates before it, just inches away, mesmerized?
I figured out what they’re imitating:
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.