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!
Guarding Sabbath for our Children
Jen Wilkin writes over at The Beginning of Wisdom about the importance of Sabbath—and gives some practical pointers for how to guard Sabbath rest and teach our children to do the same.
- My oldest son started high school this fall. At his orientation the counselors took a portion of the program to speak to parents about the greatest challenge they see students face in school. I expected to hear about poor study habits or substance abuse, but to my initial surprise, these were not at the top of the list. Apparently, the greatest challenge presenting itself in the office of the high school guidance counselor is a growing number of kids struggling with anxiety and depression. Can you guess why? A combination of over-scheduling and sleep deprivation, linked to two main contributors: electronics use and extracurricular activities. We were encouraged as parents to go home and talk to our teenagers about setting boundaries in both these areas. Parents across the auditorium scribbled notes furiously as the counselors outlined some suggestions: limit texting, monitor bedtimes, cut back on team practices. I couldn’t help but think to myself: tonight there will be many demonstrations of teenage angst when mom shows up with her new list of suggestions.What is unfolding at my son’s high school is a clear illustration of a spiritual truth: the need for regular periods of rest in our lives. From the earliest pages of the bible we find God instituting patterns of activity and rest – not just any kind of rest, but rest with the intent to engage in worship and community. The concept of Sabbath weaves its way through the Old Testament and the New, occupying a prominent place among the Ten Commandments and informing our understanding of Heaven. Despite its prevalence, few Christians understand or practice Sabbath as a regular part of life, and consequently, neither do their children.
Little by Little and All Alone
Alyssa Ramsay has a way of writing about simple things we see daily and pulling out deep truth. She shines here in this post from her blog, Cords of Light.
- They have diverted traffic into temporary gauntlets built to make room for building. A packed dirt parking lot for construction vehicles sits where the on-ramp used to be. I can’t tell which parts are the means and which will be the ends.Dirt, concrete, and machines.
Then down to the right, I notice a lone excavator. While all the other machines and their operators work in clusters, dodging each other while attempting to work as a team, this one seems to have been sent off on its own. It has scaled the slope of a pyramid of dirt and begun to move the earth.
Doubting the Resurrection
Tim Briggs writes at the Church at Charlotte blog about the value of doubt in our walk of faith.
- For some in the Christian community, doubt is a sign of spiritual weakness. Doubt is seen as opposing faith. My experience has been the opposite. As an 18-year old spiritual sojourner, God met me in my doubt. And as a 32-year old follower of Christ, He continues to do so. Doubt has always been a key ingredient in the nourishment of my faith. So, by all means, feel free to ask the hard questions. I truly believe Jesus stands with his arms wide open ready to welcome them. Remember, this is the same Jesus who responded to a Father who cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” by healing his son (Mark 9:14-29). This is the same Jesus who beckons us to “ask…seek…knock” (Matthew 7:7-11).
A Clean House and a Wasted Life
Tim Challies writes at his blog about the old adage, “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life” and the proverb, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4). In doing so, he explores what it means to live well.
- I love productivity. At least, I love productivity when it is properly defined—as effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. By this definition, each one of us, no matter our vocation, ought to pursue productivity with all the vigor we can muster. And if you do that, it is inevitable that along the way you will accumulate some mess. You cannot focus your time, attention, gifts, energy, and enthusiasm toward noble goals while still keeping every corner of life perfectly tidy.
Around the Warren:
The Ones in the Front Row
Glenn McCarty addresses the pressures we put on ourselves and our children for “success” and redefines our understanding of the concept.
- Before the orchestra plunged into their featured piece, a dozen grade-school-aged students from a local music school trooped across the stage for a performance of Vivaldi. Several of the youngsters couldn’t have been much older than my six-year old, and as I watched their bows sweep confidently across the violin strings, I felt a mixture of anxiety and fear creep over me. It was a familiar emotion, with its roots in insecurities buried deep in my past.Why can’t my children do that? I found myself asking.
Am I doing something wrong that they aren’t already so skilled at something?
“…to taste its goodness…”
The Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown
A wonderfully illustrated book about the value of loyalty and the joy of true friendship that stars a floppy gray bunny? Helena Sorensen points out that, well, we’re all in.
- I don’t know about your kids, but as soon as their birthdays arrive, or Christmas rolls around, or their grandparents send them spending money, my children forget about all the multitudes of delightful toys that are scattered around their room. The stuffed animals piled on their beds, the cars and princesses crammed in their toy boxes, the games and books and puzzles stacked on their shelves…all of these pale in the dazzling light of the newest, shiniest things.Emily Brown would be appalled. She understands friendship and loyalty like few children I’ve ever met. It’s no matter that her loyalty belongs to a faded, floppy gray bunny called “Stanley.” Emily and Stanley are bosom friends. They’re partners. They ride through the desert on their motorbike. They climb through the jungles of the Amazon. They explore the outermost regions of the Milky Way.
Cellphone Jones: A New (Unreleased) Slugs & Bugs Song!
We love Randall Goodgame and his Slugs & Bugs music around here. If you don’t know it, here’s a chance to get introduced with a new (and unreleased!) song, “Cellphone Jones.”
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Sometimes when I find these kind of activities online, I am seriously tempted to whip them out at home, even without kids. There are some in this list that are forcing me to resist that temptation…particularly the rainbow soap foam. Read more here.
And Something to Watch
I wanted to be a marine biologist for a while in middle school. I finally figured out I wasn’t really that interest in the whole science part of it, but I still really like marine animals. They’re just cool. Take blue whales, for instance:
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.