links: this went thru my mind

 

 

Bible reading: 3 Biggest Reasons Bible Reading is Down

“Bible reading is down because people read it in fragments, a-historically, and in isolation.”

Christianity, communication, disagreement, influence, love, relationships & words: Civil Religion Can We Talk? [essential reading]

“… we need to assume goodwill and generosity on the part of others, no matter how wrong we might thing they are. For the sake of having better conversations, and for the pursuit of truth, we have to be able to admit we don’t have it all, After all, if we want to be heard, we have to learn how to listen. So what do you say, Can we talk?”

Culture, history & the United States: I Hope We Never Become a ‘Christian Nation’ Again

* “In reality, Christianity in America may not have the same political, social, and corporate authority it did in the past, but Jesus never intended to spread the gospel message through political strength or domineering control. The problem with people claiming that America used to be a Christian nation is that, well, it never was.”

Creation, nature & stewardship: Stewardship: Being in and Working with Creation

“We use the world’s resources, but the trick is to use them wisely, and with a careful, conservative sense of balance. That’s the difficulty of stewardship. When we use up resources — the resources God gave us — with abandon and without care, the results aren’t pretty. We can never really grow it back. That’s the thing about nature; we can manage it well, but we can’t create it from scratch. Only God can do that. Stewardship is the balanced middle way — it’s not ‘use it up and move on to the next,’ but it’s also not untouched nature for nature’s sake.”

Discouragement, encouragement, ministry & support: 5 Ways to Discourage Your Pastor

“As a pastor of a local church for over twenty-five years, I had my share of buildups and letdowns. Sometimes I recall the discouraging times more. I know that I was not supposed to get down because of people and circumstances, but it happens. I also know that the people who discouraged me did not always mean to do so. But it happened. The purpose of this post is to let you in on a few things to avoid (unless you want to discourage your pastor). If you are bent on discouraging him or her, here are 5 surefire ways of doing so.”

God, suffering, tests, and trials: God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle. I Guarantee It. [essential reading]

“There’s a certain phrase I’ve come to really dislike. … ‘God will never give you more than you can handle’ is the phrase I’m referring to.”

Parenting: Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make

“It might be difficult for some parents to read through, but here’s a top ten list that I’ve been wanting to write for a while.”

Parenting & social media: Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time

“Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are.”

Social media: 5 Reasons Social Media is Dangerous For Me [required reading]

“I went on an internet fast recently – I spent 40 days without logging on to anything. Here is what I learned about how I had allowed social media to change me over the years.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAltruism, goodness, the prisoner’s dilemma & war: One Good Deed Deserves Another [24 min. audio; very interesting!]

“… we tackle the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic thought experiment, and learn about a simple strategy to navigate the waters of cooperation and betrayal.”

American culture, racism & violence: Transcript: Obama Speaks of Verdict Through the Prism of African-American Experience [required reading]

“We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.”

American history, Bible interpretation, eisegesis & the Revolutionary War: Preaching Liberty to the Colonists [book review]

“The American revolutionaries justified their cause with ample appeals to Scripture. But what should Christians think of the conclusions they drew?”

God, Old Testament & violence: Every Known Theistic Approach to Old Testament “Texts of Terror”

“The phrase ‘texts of terror’ usually refers to stories in the historical books of the Hebrew Bible that describe God as commanding his people to slaughter groups of men, women and children and “show them no mercy” (to quote on such command). Here I will lay out all the theistic approaches to interpreting these texts I am aware of. Every ‘other’ approach I know about seems to me to fall under one of these—as a version of it. … As you can see, in my opinion, all have serious problems. This is almost certainly a question that will have to wait for answer until paradise or the eschaton.”

Justice, prison system & solitary confinement: When Prisoners Protest

“There aren’t many protests in prison. In a world where authorities exercise absolute power and demand abject obedience, prisoners are almost always going to be on the losing side, and they know it. … And yet, sometimes things get so bad that prisoners feel compelled to protest, with work stoppages, riots or hunger strikes. On July 8, some 30,000 inmates in the custody of the California Department of Corrections went on a hunger strike to demand improvements in prison conditions. Their biggest complaint was the runaway use of solitary confinement, the fact that thousands of prisoners are consigned to this cruelty indefinitely, some for decades.”

this went thru my mind

 

Dispensationalism, history, John Hagee, Left Behind & rapture theology: Rapture Theology [required viewing; a 24 min. video; a good summary of the rise & spread of this all too prevalent, and badly mistaken, understanding of Scripture]

“Here’s a really interesting and important history of Rapture theology and the impact it has had on the church in America. It’s 24 minutes long, but well worth your time.”

Elections, politics & voting: * Christians & Politics by Michael J. Gorman; * Values of a Public Faith: A Contribution to a Conversation by Miroslav Volf

* “The dominant religion in the U.S. may well be ‘Americanism.’”

* “In this year of presidential elections, I decided to summarize key values that guide me as I make the decision for whom to cast my vote.”

Texting: Facts About Text Messaging [infographic]

“When someone picks up their phone it’s far more likely they are going to text rather than make a call. And because of this, we’ve grown accustomed to a whole new language text messaging has created. Here are some more facts about text messaging.”

Travel: Travel Tips for Newbies by Geoff Surratt

“I realize how challenging travel can be when I encounter obvious rookies trying to navigate the maze that is airline travel in the 21st century. So here are a few tips to help you travel like a road warrior even if you’re just a weekend newbie.”

this went thru my mind

 

Culture wars: The Cost of Waging the Culture War (part 1 & 2) by K. Rex Butts

* “I speak only for myself but if having a society where the laws reflect Christian beliefs and values means giving up the way of Christ, count me out. I believe in and follow Jesus, not a political movement that has hijacked the name ‘Christianity’ for its cause.”

* “What if instead of trying to force a vision of community based upon Christian values on the American society, what if Christians would simply love the American society regardless of what it becomes?”

Faith & works: Faith That Works: On the Meaning of “Works” by Jay Guin

“… is Romans almost entirely about an issue that no longer matters?”

History & the Mormons: The Mormons Sit Out the Civil War by John G. Turner

“A long war against the Confederacy, [Brigham] Young hoped, would distract the Union government from meddling in Utah affairs and finally leave the Mormons to govern themselves.”

Parenting: 10 Signs Your Kids Are Overscheduled

“We’ve all heard about the signs to look out for if your kid is using drugs—the glassy eyes, spending less time with friends and family, apathy towards everything—but what if the culprit isn’t pills but programming—and too much of it? … How do you know if your kid is too busy? Watch for these signs …”

Poverty: Defined as a Problem …

“… its really hard when you realize that you are regarded as ‘a problem’ by lots of people. It affects your self-understanding.”

Tests, temptations & trials: 3 “Weights” God Uses to Develop Spiritual Muscles by Ron Edmonson

“… my faith building has not always been that pleasant of an experience. As I’ve observed,God seems to use …”

this went thru my mind

 

American history: ‘Historical fact differs from myth,’ said historian Lambert by John Pierce

“‘Most countries construct myths of their origins … and speak of those myths in divine hues,’ said Franklin T. Lambert, professor of history at Purdue University, during an April 18 lecture at Mercer University. The United States is no different …”

Church & fellowship: 10 Insights About Your Church’s Fellowship by Joe McKeever

“Fellowship may not be why people are drawn to your church, but it’s why they stay.”

Churches of Christ & decline: Jay Guin’s review of Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr.’s book, Why They Left: Listening to Those Who Have Left Churches of Christ [required reading]

Here are links to parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen.

Ministry: It’s a Strange Thing Being a Pastor by Julian Freeman

“Ultimately we labour and long for results that we can never achieve. Being a pastor is a lifelong journey to a place of utter dependence.”

Preaching: No Small Matter

“It is no small matter to stand up in the face of a congregation, and deliver a message of salvation or damnation, as from the living God, in the name of our Redeemer. It is no easy matter to speak so plain, that the ignorant may understand us; and so seriously that the deadest hearts may feel us; and so convincingly, that contradicting cavillers may be silenced.” (Richard Baxter)

Statistics: Poodwaddle World Clock

this went thru my mind

 

American history & economic inequality: Radical Solutions to Economic Inequality

“For three years, government commissioners traipsed from city to city asking capitalists, union organizers, and reformers what it was like to work in America, and whether the spoils of industry seemed to be distributed fairly among the rich and poor.
The commission’s answer, released in a 1916 report, speaks volumes about the persistent dilemma of inequality in the United States, and about the intellectual timidity of today’s political responses.”

Cooking in the ancient world: * Baking Bread in Bible Times by Ferrell Jenkins * Cooking at 4th Century Qatzrin by Ferrell Jenkins

* “Ovens were often used by people of the Bible world, but some bread was cooked on a plate or griddle made of clay or iron.”

“Qatzrin was originally built in the 4th century A.D. and remained in use till the mid-8th century. I wanted to show you the oven that we have from that village. … a small clay oven placed within a mud-brick chimney. The chimney took the smoke out of the house and provided heat for the second floor bed room as well as for the kitchen. Not quite a microwave, but it wasn’t terribly different from the wood-burning stoves I knew as a child.”

Going paperless: Get Organized: Adopting Paperless Notes

“… being organized is like dieting …”

Leadership: * 5 Aspects of the Heart of the Leader by Ron Edmonson; * The Most Dangerous Lies Leaders Believe by Dan Rockwell

* “The heart of a leader is more important than any other characteristic. Here are the 5 qualities to seek in the heart of a leader: imagination … integrity … investment … intentionality … innovation.”

* “The most dangerous lie leaders tell themselves is, ‘I know.’”

Lent: * Worldwide YouVersion Community, Now More than 40 Million Strong, Making the Most of Lent; * Lent for Everyone by N.T. Wright

* “During Lent, traditionally observed for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, followers of Christ all around the world sacrifice things important to them, intentionally drawing themselves away from desires driven by their five senses. Lent helps us become more focused on the spiritual part of ourselves, preparing our hearts to genuinely experience the passion of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross. Lent draws us closer to God through purposeful prayer, self-denial, repentance, giving, and time in the Bible.”

* “Lent for Everyone is a devotional created and written by N.T. (Tom) Wright. For each day of Lent, there is a reading chosen from the Gospel of Matthew, plus a reflection by Wright. … Plan length: 53 days.”

Self-control: Building Self-Control, the American Way by Sandra Aamodt & Sam Wang

“Effective approaches for building self-control combine fun with progressively increasing challenges. Rather than force activities onto an unwilling child, take advantage of his or her individual tendencies. When children develop self-control through their own pursuit of happiness, no parental hovering is required. Find something that the child is crazy about but that requires active effort.”

The Old Testament: Old News is Good News: 4 Reasons to Preach the Old(er) Testament by Clint Archer

“There are four reasons I can think of to pay concerted attention to the OT …”