Monday, August 25, 2008

Blog Address Has Changed:

If you're looking for content from Owen Strachan (the writer of consumed) , please visit the following site:

Also, please bookmark the site or change your feed address, as I'm no longer blogging here.

See you at

Many thanks!

--Owen Strachan

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Week-est Link, August 22, 2008: Final Link

1. Ligonier Ministries, the ministry outfit of R. C. Sproul, is offering extra copies of its current issue which covers what is commonly called the "New Atheism". Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and others have popularized this brand of thought. See if you can get a hold of this magazine issue, and equip yourself (and your small group, or your church) to meet the worldview challenge of the day. (HT: Challies)

2. It came out recently that Barack Obama had make a mistake in recalling his voting record on abortion. In fact, he said that those who in fact had the record straight were liars. Rich Lowry details the sad truth about Obama's record on abortion, showing that he is not a moderate at all on this issue but an extremist who worked to defeat a bill that would have saved babies accidentally born during abortion procedures. An Illinois hospital was leaving these babies to die; thankfully, most of the Illinois legislature supported the bill that would have made such action illegal. As an abortion extremist, however, Barack Obama sought the defeat of that bill (even after a clause was inserted that made the bill neutral in terms of Roe v. Wade and the larger issue), and succeeded. Such action is utterly inexcusable, morally reprehensible, and leaves little doubt about Obama's past stance on abortion.

3. Bookmark this blog on biblical theology. It's led by Jim Hamilton, an exciting young theologian, and should prove very insightful. The trend toward biblical theology is very exciting and will be helpful for preachers who want to understand the full scope of scriptural theology when preaching a given passage. (HT: Justin Taylor)

4. Signing off for consumed. Thanks for reading. It's been a great run. I'll pick up on Monday at

--Have a great weekend, all!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moving Day: Last Call for Consumed

It's been a great three years here at consumed, but it's time for a change. Starting next week, I'll be posting at this address: If you read this blog and wish to keep reading it, you'll want to change your blog links, bookmarks, or feed subscription. Again, just so it's very clear, here's the address at which I will be blogging from now on:

Please update your links in whatever way you read this blog.

I suppose there's not really any major change to the actual content of the blog, but this all feels a bit like a move. I'm just changing platforms and blog addresses, but in a funny way, I'm feeling like I'm actually leaving comfortable physical space that I've called home. This blog and its address have in a way been home to me and my thoughts for the last three years, and I'm a little sad about leaving little consumed.

Here's hoping, though, for progress and growth on the new blog. It's less tied to a certain platform, and thus I've been told by knowledgeable bloggers that it will make the blog easier to find. I think that's true--there's not exactly a lot of competition on the web for "owen strachan", two words that are rather scarce and especially so in combination. On the other hand, when you type in "consumed" you find a whole ton of other sites, and mine is buried in there somewhere (a just fate, one could say).

But there's no shift in philosophy here., despite being a rather narcissistic title, will be devoted to God and thoughts about the world and the church He has made. It's that simple--no change.

I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging at this address and I am profoundly thankful for lots of faithful readers and commenters--KC, Al (not that Al), BC, JA, my mother, Brian from KY, Bradley, and many others. I hope that I won't lose any of you, but that we'll continue the thinking together and the conversation at the new address.

Tomorrow's the last post over here; again, please make the switch:

Yours in Christ, OS.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Thoughtful Pastorate: Resources to Strengthen Ministry and Christian Life, Pt. 3

I've tried to give the evangelical pastor (and interested layperson) some good resources by which to stay up on current trends in theology and culture. Day one covered explicitly Christian resources; day two provided a mix of blogs and magazines; today I offer up another scattered mix of outlets that you might check once in a while to see what's going on.

1. Relevant Magazine email list (click the link and look to the lower right of the page for a sign-up box) has some good links and gives you a little snapshot of what young, hip, "cool" evangelicals are thinking. Some of it will make you scratch your head, but if your goal is staying in touch with what various groups of people are thinking, this email will help.
2. The 9Marks blog provides lots of good thinking on the church. It asks great questions, questions that most people leading the church won't ask, such as "How does the Bible teach us to structure our churches?" Also, check out Mike McKinley's writing--he can be hilarious (he's the cool 9Marks guy).
3. For that matter, let me recommend the 9Marks site. Have you checked it out? I talk about it pretty often on this blog, but if you've never bookmarked, you really should. The site has a ton of good content--interviews, book reviews, and articles, all of which center around the church and its life. The bimonthly newsletter is nothing less than exceptional and will acquaint with current conversations on the church.
4. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has a great blog called GenderBlog. Because gender issues are so important and contested right now, you should avail yourself of the content on this blog. Some pieces are brief, but you'll be able to stay up with current trends on this hugely important subject. Also, go to GirlTalk for helpful writing on Christian womanhood (and check out Carolyn McCulley's blog on womanhood from a single's perspective--excellent).
5. Once in a while, take a spin through some cutting-edge cultural reference points--sites like The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, People, Conde Nast, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and so on. You'll want to be careful on some of these sites about what content you view, but if you are, you'll gain a healthy perspective on what people in various pockets of culture are thinking, coveting, and struggling with.

One of the most helpful things you can do as a pastor and a thoughtful Christian person is to acquaint yourself with local media. For example, now that I'm in Chicago, I pick up the free RedEye magazine and read Sheridan Road magazine (also free) when it's sent to me. RedEye keeps me up to date on what hipsters and edgy twentysomethings are thinking, while Sheridan Road lets me know what the ultra-rich of the North Shore are into.

This is one of the most helpful ways you can think culturally as a Christian, and therefore minister more effectively in your setting (like Paul at Mars Hill in Acts 17). Identify the leading thought media of your area and browse it to learn what people are thinking and talking about. I learned to do this from my former boss, Dr. Al Mohler, and also from Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll, each of whom excels at reading, understanding, and speaking to the culture. I followed their example in DC, in Louisville, and I plan to do it wherever I go in order to connect with people better and minister to them.

I hope that this brief series has been helpful to you. There is an avalanche of resources I could recommend and there are many that readers will identify as personally helpful that I have not listed here. However, I'm confident that the fifteen to twenty resources listed here will greatly assist pastors across the nation (and perhaps the world) to stay up to date on both Christian and secular culture. You and I need to know the Word, preeminently, before anything else; but beyond this, it will really help us to know what people are thinking. The world is constantly changing, and we should not fall behind as we engage it.

Ministering as if we're in a vacuum may not prevent us from faithful ministry, but it won't do much to help us. Bookmark some of these links, get in touch with the world, and get passionate to reach all corners of your world for Christ.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Thoughtful Pastorate: Resources to Strengthen Ministry and Christian Life, Pt. 2

The resources I shared yesterday were mostly blogs. They're all free, and they will, if you check them regularly, keep you very much up to speed on the basic thought trends and events of evangelicalism. Even if you don't have time to scan them every day, taking an hour or two each week to scan the listed blogs will help a great deal to keep you aware of challenges to the faith and positive developments.

Here are some other miscellaneous resources that you could check if you have a little extra time beyond the five cornerstone outlets. These are sites to visit on, perhaps, a bi-weekly basis.

1. The Kairos Journal. As a pastor, you have to sign up for this and have someone recommend you for the site. It's geared for pastors who want to think in a Christian way about culture. It's a great preaching resource. The "Daily News" feature compiles important news stories from around the world.
2. The Al Mohler Radio Show link list is a compendium of top news stories and feature pieces from the leading print media. It's a fantastic resource that you should have to pay for, but don't. Subscribe to it by email and it will be delivered daily. Separate from Dr. Mohler's writing.
3. Time or Newsweek. Both of these popular print magazines have their biases, but they do a pretty good job of capturing the latest cultural trends. If you don't want to subscribe to the print versions, you could always scan their websites for the latest headlines. That would be helpful.
4. World Magazine is a solid counterpart to the secular print magazines. It provides Christian perspectives on current events and key trends. I enjoy and benefit from World and find its subscription price worth it.
5. National Review is also a current events-and-trends print magazine, but it's explicitly conservative, often helpful, and sometimes quite funny.

No one wants to pay for news anymore, but if you have a little extra in your church budget, pay for a few of the above magazines. You can of course visit the websites of these outlets, but I personally think it's worth supporting a magazine that you find helpful if you can. It ensures that you'll keep getting what you want: the news. Most magazines don't cost much, either. With that said, it may not be worth getting many magazines due to cost and time concerns.

More resources tomorrow, the final day of this series. Hope it's helpful--please share any useful ones I'm missing in the comments.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Thoughtful Pastorate: Resources to Strengthen Ministry and Christian Life, Pt. 1

Once in a while, someone asks me what I would recommend for pastors who want to stay up on cultural happenings and thought trends. I in no way claim to have some kind of mystic insight into what pastors should read for cultural knowledge, but I do have a few quick thoughts that could possibly be of help to the pastor (and the layperson) who wants to stay up on a Christian perspective of what's happening in American life and thought. I have structured this list with the busy pastor in mind, the kind who only has a few minutes to keep current but who nonetheless is (admirably) committed to doing so.

Without further ado, here are a few resources I would personally commend (in no particular order):

1. Collin Hansen's online bi-weekly Christianity Today column. "Theology in the News" is a very perceptive, contemporarily engaged column.
2. Justin Taylor's blog, Between Two Worlds. This is the bulletin board for reformed evangelicalism (and maybe just evangelicalism).
3. Tim Challies's blog, which offers lots of helpful book reviews and links. The reviews are often very current, which is nice for those who want to know what's big in the Christian publishing world.
4. Al Mohler's blog, which is the premier analytical evangelical thought resource. With book reviews, radio shows, links to important sources, and much more. One-stop shop for thoughtful Christianity, and the best place to begin worldview thinking on the Web.
5. The Reformation 21 blog. It's got a Presbyterian slant and boasts some of the most pungent evangelical writers out there, including Carl Trueman of Westminster Seminary.

This is just a start. I'll have more in the next few days, with the hope that I can help pastors and laypeople to think well about life, faith, and the world in the brief amounts of time that come to us all.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Week-est Link, August 16, 2008: The Death of Death

1. Have you read J. I. Packer's classic introduction to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ? If not, you should. It's illuminating and expanding. (HT: Monergism)

2. The Southern Seminary fall chapel calendar is up. Note the Darrell Bock Gheens Lectures in early November. (HT: Blake White)

3. Interesting Mark Driscoll video on the Bible's use of harsh language. This is a tough issue, particularly on matters of personal application.

4. McCain and Obama are at Saddleback Church, the church that Rick Warren pastors, for a discussion of issues of faith and humanitarian concern. The New York Times has noticed.

--Have a refreshing weekend, all.

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