The Chronicles

A Record of Times

‘Destiny 2’ News: Bungie Conducts Server Maintenance Ahead of Release of New Patch

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Bungie has conducted some maintenance work on “Destiny 2” on Thursday, preventing players from signing into the game for hours. The announcement came early Thursday morning, a few hours before the downtime.

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

What to Make of Karl Barth’s Steadfast Adultery

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Do the recent revelations discredit his theology?

I knew that Karl Barth, arguably the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century, had a decades-long affair with his personal assistant, Charlotte von Kirschbaum. But I didn’t know some of the details. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and the details were deeply disappointing.

As the author of the recently released Karl Barth: A Biography for Evangelicals, I was anxious to read the latest revelations about the relationship. I had briefly discussed it in the book, noting the pain it caused his wife, Nelly, especially when Barth not only admitted to his wife his love for Charlotte but also insisted that Charlotte move into the family home to help him with his workload. Based on the work of Barth scholar George Hunsinger, I tried to set the relationship in the context: A younger Barth had fallen in love with a woman his father forbade him from marrying; his marriage to Nelly was in some sense arranged. So Barth was an emotionally lonely man. But I concluded that even if it was merely emotional adultery:

Husbands of much lesser stature have recognized that when such a relationship sabotages the very integrity of one’s marriage and becomes a burden to the family, it may suggest a duty to sacrifice one’s desires for the sake of one’s vows.

Then I read “Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum” by Christiane Tietz in Theology Today, which discusses recently released personal letters Barth wrote to von Kirschbaum from 1925–1935. I was stunned. It wasn’t merely that Barth had committed adultery or that a great theologian was shown to be not so great in his personal life. As church history shows time and again, sin is no respecter of persons, no matter how great.

No, …

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Evangelism and the Marketplace: Four Stories of Evangelism on the Streets of Chicago

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Evangelism professor talks to people while they’re waiting for the train

Once a month I go out with Wheaton College students to share the gospel on the streets of Chicago. Many are intimidated by this kind of sharing. While I prefer ‘friendship evangelism’ most of all, marketplace evangelism is also a worthy enterprise.

In fact, the Gospels and the Book of Acts are full of examples of Jesus and Paul encountering anyone they happened to meet, making the most of each situation. If you think of Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4) or Paul in Athens sharing at the Agora (Acts 17), your memory will be jogged and you can discover many other examples. This kind of witness has its own perimeters and unique features, but it is surprisingly fun and often fruitful.

Last Friday, I was out with about 25 students and 3 of us went together. We prayed, telling Jesus we were available to talk with those to whom his Holy Spirit would direct us. We asked that he would lead us to people whose hearts he was preparing that we might make explicit what he was doing implicitly in their lives already.

My approach is simply to ask people in environments where they may be waiting for something or someone (train stations, bus stops, park benches, etc.). I simply explain we are out talking with people about Jesus and ask if we can speak with them for a while as they are waiting. Sometimes people say they are not interested, and we thank them and move on. My experience is that about 50% of those I approach in this matter are interested in talking. And it’s fun!

This past Friday, I went with Maddy and Amanda to the food court at Ogilvie Transportation Center and we had four deep and engaging evangelistic conversations.

Story 1: Jewish Background

First, we spoke with a Jewish guy who initially didn’t want …

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ Finds Hope Within Its Bleak Dystopia

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious sequel is a life-affirming spectacle of noir and neon.

One of the powers of cinema, and particularly the sci-fi genre, is its ability to hold up a mirror to our present era and ask us to consider its current trajectory. Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterful sci-fi neo-noir, presents a grim and graying vision of the near future. That future, however, is punctured with vivid images of hope. Amid the complex philosophical and theological questions it raises about the nature of humanity, existence, and the soul, a flicker of sincere goodness shines.

“Memories … you’re talking about memories,” declares Deckard in the original film. For many, 2049 will recall memories of the original Blade Runner, with its mood and textures—the haunting atmosphere of its 2019 Los Angeles. Now, 30 years after society has recovered from a technological blackout, the manufacturers of replicants—artificial humanoids—implant memories into their lifelike creations in order to make them behave more humanely.

In 2049, LAPD “blade runner” K (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant who seeks the truth behind a childhood memory he continues to recall: a wooden horse, hidden in the belly of an enormous factory. Could it have actually happened? That this memory is so vivid—so real—must provide the key to his very identity. Was this memory artificially created in a lab and implanted, or did the experience really occur? And if the memory did happen—did it happen to him? What is really real?

‘Four symbols make a man.’

The film gestures toward our growing understanding of the unique connection between memory and bodies. In his Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past, …

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Friend, Have You Heard the Good News About the Simulation Hypothesis?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Why a sci-fi idea championed by Elon Musk and others is an opportunity for Christians.

In June of last year, entrepreneur Elon Musk intrigued the science and technology community with his controversial remarks about the world being a “simulation.” “The odds that we’re in base reality,” he said during the Code Conference interview, “is one in billions.” In other words, the universe we live in is probably (or is probably like) a sophisticated computer game.

This general idea has gained interest ever since the release of the popular film The Matrix (1999)—though not with much seriousness. However, through the eyes of many contemporary scientists and engineers—perhaps the most respected group of people in our age—the world is looking more and more “rigged” for life. Even a recent study debunking the theory shows that the idea is serious enough to be more than science fiction. As Musk demonstrated, it’s certainly not embarrassing to discuss it in public anymore. Oddly enough, this conversation presents a unique opportunity for Christians to present the power and validity of the biblical world-and-life-view.

Christian theology is ripe with analogies, metaphor, parable, and symbolism—all of which are contingent on the time and language of the day. This figurative speech is the primary mode in which theology works, and this is particularly true with regard to the doctrine of creation. Popular texts like Faith Seeking Understanding (Daniel Migliore) provide several analogies for creation, such as “generation,” “formation,” “emanation,” “mind-body relationship,” and “artistic expression” (where creation is like a portrait that God is painting).

There seems to be no immediate reason …

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More on Leaving White Evangelicalism: A Response from Bryan Loritts

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

People of color need to establish our own conferences, organizations, and networks.

LaVar Ball is onto something. It’s time for Jesus-loving minorities to stop begging for a seat at white folks’ tables. Like the Big Baller Brand, which was founded by basketball players Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball, we need to establish our own tables. Unlike its loquacious CEO, our tables need to be open and we need to invite our white siblings to sit at them and to be guests in our homes.

Ray Chang’s open letter to John Piper and white evangelicalism is one of the most moving, courageous, and prophetic pieces of prose I’ve read on this subject in some time. His definitions, diagnosis, and insights are spot on. What he has penned is a must read.

My only pushback would be the posture of his letter. I don’t know y’all, but at the age of 44, and having spent over half my life as a guest in the white evangelical world, I’m tired of begging to be noticed, considered, and invited.

I’m tired of begging white evangelical academics to include people of color on their required reading lists.

I’m tired of begging white homiletics professors to lengthen their references of good preachers to preachers of color.

I’m tired of urban hipster church planters, planting churches in gentrifying neighborhoods never once considering existing minority churches in those neighborhoods as ones to learn from and partner with.

I’m tired of recommending young minority leaders to serve on white church staffs, and watching them get used as tokens to show how “serious” the church is about diversity, only to see it end very badly.

I’m tired of the silence of other minority leaders who, in their pursuit of climbing Mount Significance, are scared to speak the truth for fear of …

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The Truth about Suicide

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

More and more Americans are taking their own lives. How the church can step up.

In 2015, more than 44,000 Americans died by suicide—one death every 12 minutes, as the Department of Health and Human Services put it. The overall suicide rate has grown by nearly 30 percent over the past 15 years, prompting some to call it a new public health crisis.

Al Hsu knows this reality personally. Nine months after the InterVaristy Press senior editor got married, he received a phone call from his mother. “Daddy killed himself,” she told him. When he heard the news, Hsu and his wife already had plans to visit his parents. His 58-year-old father was in rough condition after a stroke had left him partially debilitated and gravely depressed. The aftermath of his father’s death sparked Hsu to reflect and research, the results of which found their way into Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope (InterVarsity Press), first published in 2002 and re-released this year.

Hsu spoke with assistant editor Morgan Lee about the inner conflict of grieving a suicide, the best and worst ways his community responded to his pain, and whether ending one’s own life condemns a Christian to hell.

What is it like to lose someone you love to suicide?

Counselors call this kind of grief a complicated grief or a complicated bereavement because grievers are actually dealing with two realities: grief and trauma. The grief of losing a loved one is normal and expected, but with suicide comes trauma. In processing a suicide, there is no easy path to peace and the grief journey cycles through all sorts of different feelings and emotions.

So it’s important to realize that this grief will strike you in many different ways.

Right. For grievers, there are any number of emotions that …

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A Punk Rock Rebel Returns to Church

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

I was parked between “spiritual but not religious” and “New Age dilettante” when depression threw me into God’s arms.

I have always been a person of gloom. Even as a small child, I suffered bouts of depression salted with anxiety before I even knew what the words meant. From toddlerhood on, insomnia overtook me as I tried rocking myself to sleep. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I wouldn’t brush my hair. I didn’t want to go to school.

But I did go to church. Until I didn’t.

I’m a cradle Christian, raised on Sunday school classes with picture books of Moses bobbing in the basket in the reeds and Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the straw-dusted manger. Christmas Eve meant candlelight services, and the rest of the year was punctuated with youth group performances of schlocky Jesus-pop musicals. I attended Bible study after school, and in the summer our teacher toted us to rallies where I’d win scoops of candy for correctly reciting Scripture verses.

My sensory memories of church were always profound: the heady scent of stargazer lilies on the Easter altar, pine boughs and candle wax at Christmas. When “Do You Hear What I Hear?” played on the stereo, hearing “A star, a star, dancing in the night / With a tail as big as a kite” felt like having a hand wrap around my heart and give it a loving squeeze. I even liked the zing of fear I got from scary biblical lore. Watching The Ten Commandments every year, my favorite moment came when I’d superstitiously hold my breath as the spooky Angel of Death drew across the sky, bypassing houses that had lamb’s blood painted on the lintel. Whew, close one!

Depression, Sarcasm, and Cynicism

Meanwhile, the darkness within kept creeping. Way back in second grade, an upsetting session with a school psychologist had given me the impression …

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The Rural Church: A Special House of Prayer

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

An excerpt from “God’s Country.”

I like to fancy myself a rural contemplative, which is to say that I like to walk around town trying to pay attention to Jesus. I sing when I take out the trash. I recite Scripture when I hoe weeds. I liturgize when I mow the lawn.

This is my attempt at the contemplative life, a life of praising God amid the ordinary, of attending to God right where I am and in whatever I’m doing. It’s what Brother Lawrence was getting at when he talked about “the practice of the presence of God.”

Prayer is the special grace of the rural church. I’m convinced that rural ministry is contemplative ministry, rooted in constant prayer that pays attention to Jesus. Perhaps one of the most important gifts that rural pastors and leaders can offer the church is modeling a life with a contemplative heartbeat.

Jesus took the disciples to a rural place to pray, but their prayer in the countryside wasn’t a retreat. It wasn’t about finding inner peace. Their prayer was struggle. It’s like the labors of Jacob, who stayed behind, on the far side of the river, to wrestle with God (Gen. 32:24–32). It’s why the ancient desert monk Agatho said, “We need to pray till our dying breath. That is the great struggle.”

Leaders in the early monastic movement envisioned their monasteries as special houses of prayer sustaining the global church. They left the city and tucked themselves away in rocky nooks and crannies in the desert of Egypt. They didn’t head for the sticks for fear of city life. They went out into the desert not as a flight but as a vocation—to pray on behalf of the city. They had a calling, and they took it with profound seriousness. What if the rural church were to claim …

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Interview: Stephen Mansfield: Why So Many Conservative Christians Wanted a ‘Pagan Brawler’ in the White House

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

And how their choice of Trump has affected the church since last year’s election.

Election 2016 ended a year ago, but its effects on American culture, including the American church, persist. Many are still asking how Donald Trump became president, and what part evangelical Christians played in making that happen. Stephen Mansfield, author of bestselling books about the religious faith of recent American presidents, believes that faith matters in the story of President Trump as well. Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him describes Trump’s remarkable partnership with conservative evangelicals. Blogger Samuel D. James spoke with Mansfield about what the events of last year mean for Christians and how a divided American church can heal.

Is it fair to consider Donald Trump a prosperity-gospel Christian?

He’s definitely drawn to the side of Christianity that preaches personal power, prosperity, and success in this world. Part of that preconditioning comes from his years hearing sermons from Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale privately believed in “born again” Christianity, but Trump fed from the stream in Peale’s thought that was essentially secular motivational philosophy. Trump sees himself as a religious man and sees his own success as the result of living out certain religious principles—just not the ones at the heart of the gospel.

You describe how meeting with religious leaders during the campaign gave Trump something of an “education” he didn’t know he needed. Were his stances on religious liberty, abortion, and socially conservative issues a product of political ambitions?

A good illustration is his approach to the Johnson Amendment, which prevents pastors from endorsing …

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Today’s Church Needs the ‘Timeless Spirit’ of Pietism

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Why a centuries-old reform movement might hold the key to transforming our world, one renewed heart at a time.

Given reports of declining religious affiliation and rising social tension, it’s no surprise that 2017 has offered up a catalog of books charting the future of the Western church. How can we not only survive this cultural moment but thrive as well?

In the spring, Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option tackled the question by channeling the wisdom of Saint Benedict, who established monastic life in the wake of Rome’s collapse. Evangelicals’ response was mixed, in part because Dreher’s vision carries high-church and magisterial assumptions that many evangelicals do not share.

Enter The Pietist Option, a new book by Christopher Gehrz (a historian) and Mark Pattie III (a pastor). Like Dreher, Gehrz and Pattie look to the past to figure out how to navigate the present. But unlike The Benedict Option, The Pietist Optionwill feel very familiar to evangelicals, even those who have never heard of Pietism before.

We often use the term pietism as linguistic shorthand for any inward-focused spirituality that is anti-rational or holier-than-thou. Gehrz and Pattie argue that historic Pietism is better understood as a set of instincts about the Christian life: that true knowledge of God cannot come apart from relationship with him; that the church has a divine call to pursue unity; that Christianity is both simpler and more demanding than we realize; and that the Resurrection calls us to hope.

First emerging as a reform movement within the Lutheran Church of the late 1600s, Pietism quickly spread to other churches, eventually influencing the Puritan, Baptist, Methodist, and Brethren traditions. Despite its reach, Pietism doesn’t leave a clear structural trail. “Suspicious of faith becoming too institutional …

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‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

‘The Affair’ Season 4 Spoilers: Are Noah and Juliette Over?

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Noah (Dominic West) and Juliette (Irène Jacob) have allegedly parted ways in the upcoming season of “The Affair.”

New York Yankees vs Houston Astros Live Stream Free (FS1): Watch MLB Playoffs ALCS Game 6 Online

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will meet at Minute Maid Park on Friday night in a huge Game 6 for their MLB 2017 Playoffs American League Championship Series as the Yankees look to complete their astonishing comeback and claim the pennant.

Ed Sheeran Cancels Asian Tour Dates After Bike Accident, Says He Went to the Pub Before the Hospital

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Ed Sheeran has canceled some tour dates in Asia due to injuries he sustained after a bike accident.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner News: Newly Engaged Couple Spotted in Paris

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are engaged.

‘Far Cry 5’ News, Release Date: Collector’s Edition Now Available at GameStop

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Fans of “Far Cry” will have to wait until February 2018 for the release of the fifth installment of the game series. Ahead of its release, Ubisoft has announced that it will make available in the U.S. a couple of Collector’s Editions of the game, which will contain some exciting stuff but will probably burn a hole in fans’ pockets.

‘Victorious’ Reunion News: Elizabeth Gillies ‘So Down’ to Revive Nickelodeon Series

Posted on | October 21, 2017 | No Comments

Fans of the Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon series “Victorious” were disappointed when the show got canceled back in 2013. But with the ongoing trend of revivals and reboots taking over, is there hope for a “Victorious” reunion?

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