Aaron Armstrong's Blog
January 6, 2018
[image error]How Podcasting Hurts Preaching
Read Mercer Schuchardt:
Of course, churches’ motivations are sincere: They want to provide preaching for the shut-in, the elderly, the infirm, and those incapable of traveling. They also want to spare you the solitary hell of a daily commute that amounts to hours stuck in traffic each week. (For the few who sincerely can’t make it on Sunday, pastors should also be visiting them in person, bringing the Eucharist, and perhaps dropping off a text of the sermon or...
January 5, 2018
I don’t do this all the time. In fact, it’s pretty rare. But the other night, I decided to do something different as I prepared to start a new Bible reading plan: I read the first chapters of Genesis out loud. The creation story through the fall of humanity.
It wasn’t a terribly dramatic reading at least not at first. But as I read, I found the drama seeping into my voice. The excitement of creation building with each “Let there be.” The sinister sweetness of the serpent’s question, “Did God...
January 4, 2018
[image error]How Obsession with Youth Hurts the Church (and the Youth)
Jaquelle Crowe offers a helpful review of Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church’s Obsession with Youthfulness by Andrew Root.The Preacher’s Proclamation
The preacher and the people are both responsible for protecting the pulpit in the church. When the pulpit isn’t held in high regard, sheep become malnourished by fast-food style preaching that contains little nutritional value. When pastoral ministry...
January 3, 2018
I am always consuming books, whether they’re physical, digital or audio. Every month, I like to share a breakdown of everything I read, including the books I abandoned. I do this because it gives me an opportunity to introduce you to books you might not have had an opportunity to read while practicing the art of writing concise book reviews.
In December, I read 12 unique titles to completion, read one of those twice, and started several others that I have yet to complete. Here’s what I read:...
January 2, 2018
[image error]One of the Only New Year’s Resolutions Worth Repeating
Here we are, the first week of the new year. And because we are, most of us are considering resolutions. There are the standard promises of weight loss, gym membership, more reading, and a host of others. Chances are, you’ve made one of these resolutions before. Maybe it worked out, and maybe it didn’t. If it didn’t work out, then perhaps you’re redoubling your efforts this year. Maybe you have some kind of plan that will...
January 1, 2018
What is wisdom for? Who gets it? How do you grow in it? When I was much younger, I believed wisdom and knowledge were more or less the same thing. So if I could just learn enough, I’d be wise.
But then I became a Christian, and I slowly began to think differently. I still saw that wisdom and knowledge are connected, but they’re not the same. Wisdom is the result of applying our knowledge—and especially, knowledge that grows us into the image of Christ.
When I think about the year ahead, this...
December 31, 2017
Here we are, once again preparing for the calendar to roll over to a new year. As I shared recently, this past year was good in many ways, but it was also extremely difficult, an experience I know is not unique.
Every year, even our best years, have a mix of joy and sadness.
Some years, the sadness wins more than joy.
Others, joy comes out on top.
And as we look ahead to the next year, some of us can only pray, “Lord, let this year be a little better than the last.”
I’m tempted to pray that...
December 30, 2017
[image error]Why Our Expectations for Teens in the Church Are Way Too Low
What Google knows about being human
Historically, one of the failures of youth ministry is that kids have not been viewed as potential contributors in the church, and that is a disservice to them and to the church as a whole. We need kids to learn how to be real church members, and we need kids to have good ecclesiology—a good theology of the church.
Jason Thacker & Justin Wester:
Google is ubiquitous in our culture....
December 29, 2017
For the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to pay very close attention to warning signs about my spiritual health.1 In 2015, I hit a wall, where I realized I was running on empty due to various circumstances. Throughout 2016, I made a number of changes to my lifestyle, my reading habits, and my writing schedule to allow me space to get healthier.
As one year moved into the next, I wanted to build on the good foundation that had been laid and keep going.
Then 2017 actually happened.
December 28, 2017
[image error]2 Ways the Church Can Help Women Who Are Burned Out
The church can organize specific times of prayer, when women (young mothers, especially) can come together with child care available—even for an hour, once a week. There, women can gather and have coffee and chat, knowing that for that hour, they can just relax, be refreshed, and then go back home and feel uplifted—not just emotionally and physically, but spiritually as well. The fellowship of other Christian women can certain...