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All Flesh Is Like Grass

I received news of Rachel Held Evans’ death on Saturday morning. Ironically, I was sitting in a session of our CBMW west coast conference when the text came from my wife. We had been praying for Rachel and her family for the last couple weeks. Nevertheless, I was stunned. Immediately after receiving the news and before the next session was to begin, we led the entire CBMW conference in prayer for Rachel’s husband and children. 

The news really was a punch in the gut for me. Rachel and I never met each other in person, but we were not strangers. The New York Times obituary includes these lines:

Ms. Evans fearlessly challenged traditional authority structures, which were often conservative and male. She would spar with evangelical men on Twitter, brazenly and publicly challenging their views of everything from human sexuality to politics to Biblical inerrancy.

That was us. We had countless online interactions and debates over the years. I did a search Saturday night on my twitter feed and read through some of the old threads. I had forgotten about so many of them. They were direct and concerned fundamental issues of the faith. We were often at loggerheads. Continue Reading →

Women and children first? Absolutely.

I’ve been enjoying Andrew Roberts’ recent biography of Winston Churchill titled Churchill: Walking with Destiny. The book includes a letter in which Churchill opines about the sinking of the Titanic and about how proud he was that the men on the ship put women and children onto the lifeboats first. Churchill said that the whole event “reflects nothing but honour upon our civilization.” His prose is grandiose but stirring:

I cannot help feeling proud of our race and its traditions as proved by this event. Boatloads of women and children tossing on the sea safe and sound — and the rest — silence. Honour to their memory. In spite of all the inequalities and artificialities of our modern life, at the bottom — tested to its foundations, our civilization is humane, Christian, and absolutely democratic. How differently Imperial Rome or Ancient Greece would have settled the problem. The swells and potentates would have gone off with their concubines and pet slaves and soldier guards, and . . . whoever could bribe the crew would have had the preference and the rest could go to hell. But such ethics could neither build Titanics with science nor lose them with honour.’

I can’t help but wonder if men in 2019 would do what those men did over one hundred years ago. Would they put the women and children into the lifeboats first? Or would the elbow their own way to safety? In any case, what an act of valor on the part of these men. Churchill is right. The whole event reflects honor on that civilization.

Top Ten Posts of 2018

I want to thank all of you who have read and interacted with this site over the last year. I am grateful for every one of you. For those of you who are interested, I give you the top 10 blog posts from 2018. This blog is a combination of content creation and content curation, which means that I sometimes write original material and that at other times I pass on to you items that I find interesting from elsewhere on the interwebs (although over the last few years the curation part has moved more and more to Twitter and Facebook). A number of items on this year’s list surprised me. Posts about John Chau appear twice on this list, and I am glad for that. Without further ado, here is the list. Continue Reading →

Chaplain Bill. RIP.

I only have happy feelings when I think about my days as a student at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). It was such a formative time, and I remain grateful to professors who poured their lives and teaching into me during those years.

A big part of life on campus in those days was chapel. I don’t know if it’s still this way today, but we had chapel meetings four times a week (Tue-Fri). The personality who filled that space was our chaplain, Bill Bryan—known affectionately to everyone as “Chaplain Bill.” He had a big heart, a big voice, and booming trumpet, all of which he lifted up in praise to the most High God. Continue Reading →

Stan Lee wrote the stories of my youth

I just saw the news about the death of comic book mogul Stan Lee. I don’t know much about Stan Lee the man, but I do know something about the characters and worlds he created within Marvel comics. Lee’s stories and characters were a big part of my childhood. He didn’t create stereotypical superheroes. He humanized them in ways that a kid like me could relate to. The New York Times describes his work this way:

Under Mr. Lee, Marvel revolutionized the comic book world by imbuing its characters with the self-doubts and neuroses of average people, as well an awareness of trends and social causes and, often, a sense of humor.

In humanizing his heroes, giving them character flaws and insecurities that belied their supernatural strengths, Mr. Lee tried “to make them real flesh-and-blood characters with personality,” he told The Washington Post in 1992.

“That’s what any story should have, but comics didn’t have until that point,” he said. “They were all cardboard figures.”

This is absolutely correct, and it is why Lee’s signature character Spider-Man captured my imagination when I was in the fourth grade. Continue Reading →

The Enduring Vision of Albert Mohler at Southern Seminary

This week we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Dr. R. Albert Mohler’s tenure as the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am so grateful for his leadership at Southern and in the Southern Baptist Convention writ large. I am more grateful than I can tell for his influence in my own life. I would not be doing what I am doing today if it weren’t for him.

The faculty and the board of trustees had a banquet to honor the anniversary on Monday night, and the video above was premiered at that event. It was a special evening, and here is one piece of it we can share with you.

Congratulations, Dr. Mohler. And thank you.

Top Ten Posts of 2017

I want to thank all of you who have read and interacted with this site over the last year. I am grateful for every one of you. For those of you who are interested, I give you the top 10 blog posts from 2017. This blog is a combination of content creation and content curation, which means that I sometimes write original material and that at other times I pass on to you items that I find interesting from elsewhere on the interwebs. Both kinds of posts appear on this list, but the vast majority are original pieces. This year’s list includes a lot of material dealing with gender and sexuality. Continue Reading →

Top Ten Posts of 2016

Some of you may have noticed a big change at DennyBurk.com in 2016. I closed down comments on the blog. I didn’t make a big announcement or anything. I just did it. Why? The short answer is that Tim Challies convinced me. After a trial run of closed comments, I eventually wavered and opened them back up. But then I read this article explaining why NPR shut down comments on its website, and that sealed the deal for me. No more comments!

I want to thank all of you who have read and interacted with this site over the last year. I am grateful for every one of you. For those of you who are interested, I give you the top 10 blog posts from 2016. This blog is a combination of content creation and content curation, which means that I sometimes write original material and that at other times I pass on to you items that I find interesting from elsewhere on the interwebs. Both kinds of posts appear on this list, but the vast majority are original pieces. Drum roll, please. Continue Reading →

Our Advent Calendar Tradition

Like many of you, my wife and I are trying to cultivate Christ-centered traditions in our household. And that is no less true during the Christmas season. I thought I would share one thing that we do that some of you readers might wish to incorporate into your family traditions—an advent calendar.

We like the advent calendars because they are about advent—the first coming of Christ in fulfillment of God’s promises. Advent calendars are a way to mark every day of the Christmas season with that singular focus. In our house, the tradition is very simple. Beginning on December 1, we read a daily verse of scripture pertaining to advent season. I will say a few words of instruction about the verse (very short!). After the reading, the children take turns opening that day’s door on the calendar. Our calendar is a manger scene. For every figure in the manger scene, my wife and I briefly explain who they are and why they are important. Continue Reading →

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