books, Santa. books. please.

 

Dear Santa,

If you think I’ve been a good boy this year - or if you think it would help me be a better one next year - I’d really, really, really like to receive any of these books for Christmas. Thanks!

P.S. – I’ll leave some cookies and a St. Arnold’s Root Beer for you on the table across from the fireplace.

David

By preachersmith Posted in Books Tagged

this went thru my mind

 

Bible literacy & reading: What People Quote vs. What They Read

“… people read the Bible primarily as a loosely organized collection of inspiring quotes surrounded by confusing babble … this way of reading the Bible is a rejection of the flow and structure of the canon.”

Children, parenting & technology: Resisting the Siren Call of the Screen [required reading]

“The message we communicate to our kids, she writes, is: ‘Everybody else matters more than you.’ Children, she declares, ‘are tired of being the ‘call waiting’ in their parents’ lives.’”

Church, community, discipleship, faith & fellowship: Passing on the Faith in a Makeshift Choir Stall

“It’s hard to pass on the faith … when people of different age groups don’t engage each other intimately.”

Faith & youth: On Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as U.S. Teenagers’ Actual, Tacit, De Facto Religious Faith [essential reading]

“Here we summarize our observations in venturing a general thesis about teenage religion and spirituality in the United States. … The creed of this religion, as codified from what emerged from our interviews with U.S. teenagers, sounds something like this …”

Tradition: Breaking Tradition [essential reading]

“… every tradition, at one point, was a break with the status quo. Every tradition started off with trying to do something new and fresh and compelling. And over time, what was once revolutionary becomes static and codified. We stop paying attention to what the tradition was trying to do, and only focus on what it did.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Books & reading: Books to Have and to Hold

“This may seem like a trivial difference, but that’s not how it feels.”

Brokenness, healing, trauma & understanding: Understanding Trauma – How We Treat the Broken Among Us

“To be broken means that we lack the strength or capacity to manage our circumstances. It means we are truly helpless in the light of the challenges we face. All of us experience this state at one time or another, but the traumatized and mentally ill face it every day.”

Empathy, leadership & power: When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart [required reading]

“Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.”

End of an era: A Farewell, and Thanks

“It gives me no pleasure to write this, but I am no longer going to be publishing the e-zine New Wineskins. As both a print magazine and later an online e-zine, New Wineskins has had a colorful history over the last 20+ years, but I can no longer continue to publish it.”

Expectations & people: You Get What You Expect [essential reading]

“If we expect something good, it has a way of showing up. If we expect something bad, it too has a way of showing up.”

Grammar & writing: En Dash, Em Dash: What Are They and How To Use Them [really?; we need three different kinds of dashes?]

“What are these dashes you speak of?”

Preaching & sermons: * Sermons are Not for Liking [essential reading]; * Clarification on My Comments About Preaching and Change

* “Sermons are not for liking. There are at least two reasons for this: it dishonors preaching and it dishonors the preacher.”

* “… change in shared practices, involves more than changing our minds about things. This requires deeper, cultural change.”

this went thru my mind

 

Atheism: New Atheism is Dead

“… New Atheism is in decline because more atheists see the social benefits of religion.”

Books, publishing & sales: Why Evangelicals Have All the Bestsellers

“HarperOne just released The NRSV Daily Bible, a wonderful project that divides the Scriptures into 365 readings with prayers and meditations that deepen and amplify your daily practice. But chances are you will not have heard of it or seen it. Why is that? The answer has a lot to do with why evangelicals have all the Christian bestsellers and why there are so few (if any) mainline Protestant leaders who have a national profile. I thought it would be interesting for you to hear about our publishing challenge and to ask you for advice or counsel on how to solve the problem.”

Church: * The New Traditional Church by Tony Morgan [required reading]; * What If Target Operated Like a Church? by Tony Morgan

“This is going to sound a little sacriligious, but I’m wondering what would happen if we eliminated some ministries of the contemporary church. What would happen, as an example, if we only asked people to invest their time in this way: Participate in corporate worship and Bible teaching. Read your Bible. Serve others. Make disciples.”

“… churches are sort of notorious for worshiping methods and traditions whether or not they actually produce results.”

Churches of Christ: * The Dividing Line is the Solution to Unity by Terry Rush; * Why Churches of Christ Are Shrinking – Part 3: A Misplaced Identity and a Failure to Truly Believe in Grace by James Nored

“Do we look like Washington or does Washington look like us?  Polarization is now in chasmic proportion … in both places. The Republicans and the Democrats work against each other just like the Baptists and the Presbyterians or the Church of Christ and the Church of Christ. “

“… despite this clear command and the way that his followers will be known as his–their love for one another–Churches of Christ have tended to place their identity in something else. Churches of Christ have placed their identity–that which they hold most dear and which makes them “distinctive,” the way that you know a church is a church of Jesus Christ–by something else entirely. That identity is not placed in Christ and our love for one another, but in having the right, well, you know what it is. The right name, worship, and leadership structure, and a host of other things.”

Computer security & identity theft: Your Weakest Link: All Those Online Accounts You’ve Forgotten About

“Spend two or three hours tracking down all your accounts. After you’ve written them all down, separate them into categories of importance based on the information they hold. After you’re done sorting, then purge, baby, purge! Get rid of anything you don’t use weekly: Delete the account outright, or log into the account and delete all the personal information you don’t feel comfortable with.”

Evangelism & outreach: * Video: Texas Congregation Launches ‘Bar Church’ to Reach Outside Its Walls; * Bar Church

“The Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, is launching ‘Bar Church.’”

“The mission of Bar Church is to take the gospel of Jesus to people who are unwilling, as a result of feelings of unworthiness or prior negative experiences with a church, to participate in a traditional church gathering within a traditional church setting.  We believe it’s something Jesus might do.”

Forgiveness & guilt: Why Do I Still Feel Guilty After Asking For Forgiveness?

“We have to discipline ourselves to trust the fact of our forgiveness over the feelings of our phantom guilt.”

History: The Big Question

“Q: What day most changed the course of history?”

The Bible mini-series: Weird Things on the Set of ‘The Bible’

“The producers of the History Channel special The Bible (filmed in the Sahara), a show which got cable’s highest-rated audience of the year last Sunday (13.1 million viewers), reports the following oddities …”

this went thru my mind

 

Books, ministry, reading & thinking: Why Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads by Kevin DeYoung

“Very, very, very (did I say “very”) few pastors are called to engage in the highest levels of scholarship at the same time as pastoring a congregation. It’s just not possible, at least not for very long. But most pastors should still make it a point to jump into the deep end of the pool and get in over their heads once in awhile. Let me give you a few reasons why.”

Children, families, health & parenting: How ‘Crunch Time’ Between School And Sleep Shapes Kids’ Health

“‘It’s hard enough to get dinner on the table while trying to help them with homework,’ says Paige Pavlik of Raleigh, N.C. ‘Once we do everything, there is absolutely no time to go outside and take a walk or get any exercise. It’s simply come in, eat, sit down, do homework, go to bed.’ The relentlessness of it makes her emotional. Pavlik starts to cry as she talked about her family’s daily crunch time. ‘It’s really hard,’ she says. ‘This isn’t how I thought family life was going to be.’”

Churches of Christ: Churches of Christ and the Myth of Excellence

“Let’s certainly look for ways to do things in our communal life better. But let’s not forget that the Gospel is not a call to improvement and proficiency but to suffering, obedience, humility, and sacrifice for the sake of the world. And when those things become the primary focus of our life together, the desire for success in the way that much of evangelicalism has pursued it will simply cease to be a concern.”

Congregational singing: A Personal Manifesto for Congregational Singing by Rob Hewell [required reading]

“When given the opportunity, I’ll speak to these issues; otherwise I will hold myself, and no one else, accountable for these standards.”

Control & relationships: Controlling Other People: This is a Heart Issue by John T. Willis [essential reading]

“A major problem in human life has always been the desire of people to attempt to control other people. This problem is pervasive in all aspects of life. …  For all who wish to be true Christians, Philippians 2:3-4 is very important. Put this on YOUR fridge and read it every day.”

Children, genetics & poverty: To Spot Kids Who Will Overcome Poverty, Look At Babies [very interesting]

“… while there’s always a difference between how much the heart beats when a person inhales and when he or she exhales, everyone has a different set point. Sometimes there’s a big difference, and sometimes it’s small. And in very young babies, researchers have noticed that there are different temperaments associated with these different set points.

“When there’s a big difference and the set point is high, babies tend to have great attention and can focus for long periods of time on the things in their environment. ‘When you’re presenting them with a new toy, they’re going to really look at it and inspect it,’ says Conradt. ‘But they also may be more irritable and fussy when parts of their environment are changing.’

“In contrast, babies with a low set point ‘might lose interest after a couple minutes, but they’re also not going to be as fussy or irritable,’ she says.

“Babies with a high set point seem to have a more sensitive nervous system, which makes them more sensitive to their environment, in both good and bad ways. Babies with a low set point seem to have a less sensitive nervous system, which makes them less sensitive to their environment.

“Conradt and her colleagues wondered if this simple measure could be used to predict how children in poverty would fare as they aged.”

PowerPoint: Better Powerpoint: What We Remember from PowerPoint Presentations, Part 2

“Participants in the study tended to remember the same slides even though those slides did not contain pictures. This may be because the text was highly visual, in the sense that it generated mental pictures. … high-imagery words are remembered a lot better than low-imagery or abstract words. … Dare to insert text-based slides in your presentation, with the condition that people can “picture” that text without much mental effort. … Slides with tight links are remembered more than slides with weak links. … if you want a presentation to attract attention, find out what your audience would consider novel. … Repetition was another trait shared by the four most recalled slides. … Another characteristic of the four popular slides is that they contained negative information …  Slides that reported a high recall in the study were slides that offered advice that made the viewers ‘look good.’”

Privacy & technology: Why Life Through Google Glass Should Be for Our Eyes Only

“… there’s something particularly troubling about Google Glass. When we put on these surveillance devices, we all become spies, or scrooglers, of everything and everyone around us. By getting us to wear their all seeing digital eyeglasses, Google are metamorphosing us into human versions of those Street View vans — now thankfully banned in Germany — which crawl, like giant cockroaches, around our cities documenting our homes. Neither Orwell nor Hitchcock at their most terrifyingly dystopian could have dreamt up Google Glass. According to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, quoted by tech website Mashable, ‘Glass will also have an automatic picture-taking mode, snapping pics at a preset intervals (such as every 5 seconds).’ Pics every 5 seconds! Gulp. So where will all that intimate data go?”

this went thru my mind

 

Awareness, focus, inattentional blindness, & thinking: Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight [required reading]

“… what we’re thinking about — what we’re focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see.”

Books & bookstores: Buying is a Hard Thing for Bookstores to Do Effectively, and That Becomes an Increasingly Important Reality for Publishers

“As the shelf space for books being managed by retailers that accept the high cost of managing book inventory and commit to doing it effectively continues to decline, publishers need to understand that it will be really hard for non-book retailers to replace them.”

Churches of Christ: “Why Churches of Christ are Shrinking” Blog – More Thoughts by Joshua Tucker

“Lord, help us not to be bound by personal preference, but by an overwhelming desire to please You and see Your Church grow. Help all of us to be selfless, full of Your Love, and the ability to judge things objectively.”

Civil War & Les Miserables: In Camp, Reading ‘Les Miserables’

“Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” was published in 1862 and English translations of the five parts that constitute the novel began to appear in America by year’s end. … While Hugo may not have had the Civil War in mind, American reviewers certainly did and many viewed the novel through the prism of the war.”

Death & fear: America’s Culture of Death by Ben Witherington [required reading]

“When a culture replaces the value of everlasting life, with the value of this life extended as far as possible, the culture has become totally myopic, unable to see beyond the immediate, the tangible, the empirical. And oddly enough when the lie that ‘this life is all there is’ is believed, it makes it much easier to allow death to rule one’s mind, one’s fears, one’s behavior. Death simply becomes the price of doing business, or surviving. A culture becomes fear based and makes decisions on the basis of fear, rather than faith and a belief in the life to come.”

Millenials: FactChecker: Are Millennials More Self-Sacrificing and Community-Minded Than Previous Generations?

“For those who pay attention to the different opinions and declarations on how the various generations are different than the ones that came before, you have no doubt heard that while Generation X was the slacker generation, Gen Y, or the Millennials, are very different, the most community service-minded, action-oriented, let’s change-the-world-generation alive today, perhaps in the history of our nation. Generation We. It’s taken as a nearly uncontested reality. Except it’s not true. The best research on this topic, relying on nationally representative research by the leading scholars on the issue comes to essentially the very opposite conclusion.”

Small groups: Small Groups for the Rest of Us by Chris Surratt

Parts one [introverts], two [guys] & three [anyone].

Submission: The Most Offensive Word in America [required reading]

“The most offensive word to Americans is a simple, two-syllable word that insults our beliefs and violates our value system: submit. We inherently believe no one has the right to tell us how to live, where to go or what to do. We are our own masters.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible study: Serious Bible Study on the Web by David Instone-Brewer

“The Internet is still full of rubbish … Google’s ‘ranking’ is based largely on linkages – if lots of people refer to a site, then lots of people thought it worth recommending. But they do not realize the value of a lot of things out there. The following essay will identify the best recommendations.”

Books & reading: Practical Tips for How to Make More Time for Reading

“Reduce your intake of social media and replace it with a book. … Shake up your routine. …  Go audio. … Turn off the TV. … Set a family goal. … Find a new reading spot. … Join a book club.”

Civil disobedience, faith, Martin Luther King, Jr. & racism: * Letter from Birmingham Jail [required reading]; * Loving the Dream by Jonathan Storment; * Martin Luther King, Jr. at Southern Seminary; * Are We There Yet? by Keith Brenton

* “There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests.

“Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

“But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

* “I read a survey a few years ago, that said 6% of white people in America, think that racism is still a problem. To help put that in perspective, consider this: 12% of people think Elvis may or may not be dead. But 93% of African American people think that racism is still a problem. And, at least in the world that I grew up in, and know today, they are right.”

* “”This podcast contains a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 19, 1961. The speech is more remarkable considering the context. Southern Baptists were not unified in their posture toward the Civil Rights movement and in 1961 the outcome was far from certain.”

* “We may have made strides in our battle against racism, but in many ways, we have simply traded black and white for red and blue.”

Discipline & suffering: How Do We Know if God is Disciplining Us? by D.A. Carson

“… when we face suffering of any kind, we should use the occasion for self-examination. … the remedy is always the same: flee to the Cross, and trust our good and gracious and holy God. And it’s not inconceivable that we may conclude, with Job, that this suffering cannot be God’s punishment for specific sins in our lives. We sometimes observe that hard cases make bad theology. But easy, formulaic answers to questions of suffering are invariably reductionistic — and they make bad theology, too.”

Facebook: Search Option From Facebook Is a Privacy Test

“This week, Facebook unveiled its search tool, which it calls graph search, a reference to the network of friends its users have created. The company’s algorithms will filter search results for each person, ranking the friends and brands that it thinks a user would trust the most. At first, it will mine users’ interests, photos, check-ins and ‘likes,’ but later it will search through other information, including status updates.”