Weekly Digest: Remembering the People Who Helped Along the Way
Welcome to my weekly digest for March 31, 2023. There will be no digest next week in honor of Good Friday.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
In a couple of weeks I will be speaking in Cincinnati at the Clear Speech for a Confused Age event hosted by the King’s Domain ministry at Christ the King church there on April 13-15th. If you are able to attend you should, because I plan to have some brand new material for this one.
Remembering the People Who Helped Along the Way
Covenant Church in Queens, New York is in the Presbyterian Church in America and was founded in 1981. I am impressed that on the History page for their church, they even today specifically list in appreciation the various churches who supported them in getting started.
Another thing which we need to remember and give thanks to God for, was the fact that churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and elsewhere in the PCA were praying for and supporting our church planting efforts. These included Briarwood Presbyterian Church, founded by Frank Barker; First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs, Florida; Trinity Presbyterian, Eastwood Presbyterian and First Presbyterian churches of Montgomery Alabama; and others. Our first communion set (wooden trays) were donated by Harvester Presbyterian Church (indirectly … I don’t remember how we received them). Another good friend of Covenant Church and the Ling family was Manhattan Presbyterian Church, started by Rev. Wayne Jamison, and later pastored by Rev. Jim Pickett.
This church was originally started in the heavily Chinese neighborhood of Flushing. So even as far back as 1980, these southern churches were thinking about and investing in ethnic churches far away from where they were located. In any case, I find it notable and commendable that this church has never forgotten the people who helped them get started.
Best of the Web
Alex Murell: The Age of Average - A wonderful article about why, despite the rage for all thing “independent,” everything seems to have converged towards sameness.
American Greatness: How Hard Work Destroys Character - I don’t necessarily agree with all of this contrarian take, but it’s good to see someone take the opposite side of the rise and grind mindset, or the idea that hard work builds character or is how you get ahead. Clearly, that’s not the secret sauce to success in America today.
I graduated in May, commission in hand, but my training company at The Basic School for the Marine Corps didn’t pick up until October. This gave me four straight unencumbered months to do with as I pleased. I could have prioritized learning a language, studying military strategy, or physical training. I might have even emphasized continuing with my liberal education through self-study.
But I had embraced the “hard work builds character” mindset. I understood the value of a dollar, see. I wasn’t a lazy bum who just lived in his parent’s basement. No, sir. I knew how to work. And work I did. I got a job as a groundskeeper for an upscale retirement center. I spent a golden summer in the flower of my youth mowing lawns and picking up trash for wealthy Boomers. I regret every second of it.
What an utter waste. I did not need the money—I earned plenty later in the Marine Corps. I certainly didn’t need something just to keep me busy; I have always had an active intellectual life and a strong sense of purpose. I should have followed my natural inclination and pursued the kind of work fitting for my actual talents.
Instead, I worked for serf-wages doing mind-numbing work in triple digit heat. Far from improving my fitness, I degraded it. The long hours, early waking, and unpleasant conditions did not allow me to focus on the sort of physical development I actually needed. Instead of cultivating my mind by focusing on the higher and more critical tasks of war and peace, I spent my days thinking of inanities.
Freddie deBoer: Why So Many Elites Feel Like Losers - Great thoughts by deBoer about how we’ve lionized the creator economy, which is a terrible business to go into for most people.
We’ve spent decades ironizing the trappings of both middle-class respectability and white-collar success, representing the former as boring and conformist and the latter as exploitative and selfish. I don’t have any particular disagreement with those critiques. But the countercultural texts that so viciously lampooned the ordinary definitions of success conspicuously failed to proffer realistic alternatives. The result, from my perspective, is a nation full of young striving types who have no coherent vision of success, no reasonably achievable path forward to avoid feeling like losers. And I think that this is both inhumane for them and unhealthy for society, which requires ordinary people to buy into a shared social contract. Absent a more modest model of success, it’s little wonder that so many have decided to become creators, influencers, or artists.
Jake Siegel: A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century - a long but very good look at “disinformation” and how our government is using it.
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New Content and Media Mentions
Someone made a video asking if America is a negative world for Christians.
New this week:
I wrote a piece about how to build friendships.
At American Reformer, John Ehrett has a great piece on the modern view of trauma and the church.
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There’s been surprisingly little ink devoted to criticizing Generation X, but I stumbled across this video from two years ago that takes a crack at it.