links: this went thru my mind

 

Bias, criticism, open-mindedness & thinking: Why We Confuse The Onion for the News [essential reading]

“… we all have biases, and our efforts to rid ourselves of them through education and self-awareness don’t actually ‘fix’ the problem.”

Cell phones & etiquette: Cell Phone Funeral Etiquette

“Cell phones often go off when we least want them to. In church. In school. During sex. And at a funeral. As other funeral directors can attest, the oddest thing about a cell phone ringing during funerals is how many people will actually answer.”

Church attendance, faith, millennials, peace & unity: The Millennials Are Rejecting Fighting Churches and Christians [essential reading]

“… many of them are walking away from our churches, and more of them are not attending at all, when they witness or hear about negativity and divisiveness in those churches. They want to see unity among Christians, and they are often disappointed.”

Health: * Aging Well: Keeping Blood Sugar Low May Protect Memory; * Depression: Could Be Almost Depressed?

* “… even modest increases in blood sugar among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s can have a negative influence on memory.”

* “Research suggests that as many as 12 million people in the United States may be suffering from low-grade depression symptoms that are not severe enough to warrant clinical treatment. … In fact, on some of these measures, people who are almost depressed report feeling worse off than people who actually fall into the clinically depressed range. … There is also another more serious problem: Research indicates about 75% of cases of low-grade depression will devolve into full-blown major depression if they are not recognized and arrested.”

Grandparenting, parenting & prayer: How to Pray for Your Children & Grandchildren [required reading]

“Because there are 12 prayers in this list, you could concentrate on one prayer per month to concentrate on. Within a year you will have consistently prayed the entire list.”

Holy Spirit: The Kingdom’s Second Major Death

“Why has this gone on?  Why has the Holy Spirit been quenched in our circles? Control.  Man is obsessed with control; even in religion’s court. … The Kingdom’s second major death, after Jesus’ upon the cross, is that of the Holy Spirit within the hearts of men.  We have killed Him off and buried Him in our tombs of organization and control.”

Leisure, online & time management: What You Would Be Doing If You Spent Less Time Online

“More time online means less time socializing, studying, and sleeping.”

Faith & President Obama: * The President’s Devotional: What Obama ‘Did In Secret’ In Newtown; * The Man Behind the President’s Devotional

* “The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I’ll never forget. … It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself—never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view.”

* “Dubois has been sending devotionals to Obama every morning since the 2008 presidential campaign. A collection of these spiritual messages to the president has now been published Dubois’ new book, The President’s Devotional. Dubois started working for Obama shortly after he became a senator. A public policy and economics student at Princeton University, he was also ordained at a small Pentecostal church where he served as an associate pastor. It was this combination of skills that led him to become Obama’s faith outreach coordinator during his first presidential campaign and, later, to be appointed as the Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the president’s first term.”

this went thru my mind

 

Apologies, civility, & humility: The Sorry State of the Apology by Dorothy Greco

“The apology seems to be at an all-time high, and simultaneously, an all-time low.”

Attitude, church, expectations, ministry & vision: 10 Dangerous Church Paradigms by Ron Edmonson

“I’ve been in church all my life. Along the way I’ve seen and learned a lot. Almost all the insight I have into church has come by experience. I have observed, for example, that paradigms can often shape a church’s culture. A paradigm in simple terms, is a mindset; a way of thinking. In this case, a collective mindset of the church, often programmed into the church’s culture. If the church is unhealthy part of the reason could be because it has some wrong paradigms. In that case, it will almost always need a paradigm shift in order to be a healthier church again.”

Bible interpretation, hermeneutics, & humility: CENI – Having a Humble Hermeneutic by Matt Dabbs

“My goal in this post is to … to remind us that we must be humble in how we interpret scripture and what we bind or don’t bind on other people.”

Cell phones & privacy: Create a Temporary Number

“Burner gives you a free number that lasts for one day, five voice calls or 15 texts. If you need more, you can buy a new number or extend your current number for a few dollars. Calls and texts don’t count against your monthly limit. The app allows you to permanently delete – ‘burn’ – any number at any time. This takes it out of the service and permanently deletes it from your phone.”

Climate change, ecology, environment, global warming, & preachers: New Research on Protestant Pastors’ Views of the Environment

“When asked to respond to the statement ‘I believe global warming is real and man made’ …”

Culture, history, immigration, prejudice, & the United States: Why I’ve Stopped Saying ‘We are a Nation of Immigrantsby Kevin Miller

“As innocuous as it sounds, the ‘nation of immigrants’ line is an abbreviated version of the prevailing narrative of national origins that makes white people like me the norm while making others, well, ‘others.’ Without appearing to do so, it subtly shapes my thinking about
who is and isn’t a true or real American.”

Evolution & science: Biological Evolution: What Makes it Good Science? (parts 1 & 2)

“Is the contemporary theory of evolution an example of good science? The answer to this question completely depends on how you define ‘science,’ and what you think makes science ‘good.’ … In conclusion, when measured against the standards of a good scientific theory, modern evolutionary biology clearly qualifies as good science.  Ongoing debates within evolutionary biology exist about mechanism, rates, and causes, but not over whether evolution occurred.  Such a question has been largely settled by the last 150 years’ worth of research.”

Grandparenting: A Letter to the Grandkids On Baptism by Mark Woodward

“Grandad would just like to write this letter to all of you, those baptized already and those who will be.  These are just a few things I really want you to know about your baptism that I’ve been thinking about.”

Leadership: Leading From Psychological Brokenness

“The High Calling talked to four experts about how psychological pathologies impact leaders and their organizations. In a series of four articles, we’ll examine the topic. First, let’s explore what we mean by psychological pathology.”

Marriage: So What IS Marriage by Patrick Mead

“… if you think THIS is complicated, wait until you study a bit and see how complicated sexual identity is.”

this went thru my mind

 

Acts 5, Ananias, God, Sapphira & violence: How Do You Explain the Violent Judgment of Ananias and Sapphira? by Greg Boyd

“Knowing that God’s true character looks like Jesus voluntarily dying on the cross for his enemies, we will always know that something else is going on if God appears to act in ways that are contrary to this enemy-loving, non-violent character.”

Bragging, jealousy & rejoicing: Solving Your ‘You Problem’ by Sean Palmer

“I would only feel as if  they were bragging, if I felt something else first: JEALOUS!”

Church & faith: Together by William Willimon [21 min. sermon video clip; required viewing]

“Where the heck did you get the notion we wanted you to be comfortable? … The way of Jesus Christ is just too difficult to attempt it by yourself. …. the only way that you can be saved is by bringing all of us along with you. It’s together.”

Church & generations: A Head, Heart, or Hands Church? by Dan Bouchelle [truly required reading; as in “if you read only one thing this month”]

“I grew up in a church designed for the head. That is not a criticism. It is just a description. We did not trust emotions because they were easily manipulated and clouded thinking. Actions were important and we believed ‘good works’ were essential to faithfulness, but what really mattered was getting your theology straight. … The church of my heritage lost many of the boomer generation who walked away looking for a church with a heart. … Ironically, now that boomers make up the majority of leaders and have the most control in our churches, the emerging adult generation has shifted the criteria for validity again. Young adults today, and the culture in general, are not looking for a powerful experience of God or ballast for a head-heavy church. … What this generation longs for is not more heart but something to do with their hands. … While the young adult generation is not anti-logic or emotionless, they just aren’t impressed with their church options. They may show up for the show and agree with most of the teaching, but they will give their time and money to something that changes lives in tangible ways.”

Church & phones: The Cold, Hard Truth About Phones in Church by Jon Acuff

[I won’t spoil it for you here. Go look at it. There’s a powerful parable here, not just a smile.]

Leadership & worry: 7 Encouragements for Leaders Who Worry by Ron Edmonson

“Having a strong faith is no guarantee your emotions won’t play tricks on you at times.”

this went thru my mind

 

Change: * How to Change an Organization by Dan Rockwell; * How to See and Cure Sick Organizational Cultures by Dan Rockwell

* “[Brook] Manville said ‘The king and subject model doesn’t change cultures.’ Great leaders don’t change people; they create environments where people change themselves.'”

“Sick organizational cultures focus on themselves rather than customers.”

Evangelism: Be Where the People Are by James Wood

“You won’t make non-Christian friends by going to church more.”

Happiness: Happiness, Harvard Business Review, and the Church by Thom Rainer

“It is time for our churches to get back to being churches. Then, and only then, will people discover true gospel-centered joy.”

Homosexuality: * The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitmentsby Kevin DeYoung; * Talking About Homosexuality by Timothy Keller

* “Even for those Christians who agree that homosexuality is contrary to the will of God there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about homosexuality being contrary to the will of God. … So how ought we to speak about homosexuality?”

* “Homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality – sex is designed for marriage between a man and a woman. But that belief should have no impact on a church’s or a Christian’s desire to love and serve the needs and interests of all their neighbors, including gay people, people of other faiths, and so on.”

Hospitality: Where Saying “Thank You” is an Insult by Dan Bouchelle

“‘We don’t thank the Venda people for feeding us. It is an insult to them,’ said our South African friend who was traveling with us.”

Manners: Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders by Christina DesMarais

“If you do anything on this list, you need to stop it right now.”

Music: An Open Letter to Praise Bands by James K.A. Smith

“… let me offer just a few brief axioms with the hope of encouraging new reflection on the practice of ‘leading worship’ …”

Parenting: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Dad by Daniel Darling

“Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. … Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.”

Perseverance: 3 Suggestions to Help You Persevere by Jim Martin

“The truth is that God in Christ is greater than whatever obstacle might stand in our way.”

Philemon: Onesimus and Philemon: Peter Head on the People Who Delivered Paul’s Letters by John Byron

“The most likely candidate for the job of ‘first interpreter’ of Paul’s letters is probably the person who delivered it. … In a recent paper delivered at the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge University Peter Head examined Paul’s letter to Philemon and wondered who carried the letter. Here is some of what Peter had to say as reported by Peter Malik …”

Scholarship: Scholarship as a Way of Life by James K.A. Smith

“Let me highlight three joys of scholarship as a way of life.”

Violence: “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” by Sam Alexander

“I’m wondering in what way this can be considered living out American values.”

Worship: Is God Vain for Expecting Me to Worship Him? by Ron Cox

“… to the extent that God commands us to worship him it is not born out of any need that God has.”

this went thru my mind

 

Addiction, alcoholism, bitterness & forgiveness: Rodney King Looks Back Without Anger by Jim Kavanagh

“Yes, I’ve forgiven them, because I’ve been forgiven many times.”

Anonymous comments: Why I Never Read Anonymous Letters, Comments, Emails, or Notes In The Offering by Brian Jones

“I have a simple rule: whenever I receive anonymous letters, notes, emails, or blog comments they go straight into the trash. I never read a single word. Ever. Why?”

Ants: SCLQ – Ants by John Acuff

“… [in] this [3 min.] video … scientists pour 10 tons of cement down an abandoned ant colony structure underground. After the cement is dry they excavate the entire colony and study the structure, which is amazing.”

Birds: Study Sheds Light on How Birds Navigate by Magnetic Field by James Gorman

“… two researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Le-Qing Wu and David Dickman, have solved a central part of that puzzle, identifying cells in a pigeon’s brain that record detailed information on the earth’s magnetic field, a kind of biological compass.”

Blogging: 11 Life Skills Learned Blogging by Joshua Becker

“… the discipline of blogging was forcing me to learn new life skills – life skills that are highly transferable to other endeavors.”

Cell phones: More People Have Mobile Phones Than Electricity Or Drinking Water [infographic]

“How big is mobile? Really big. This slide from analyst Chetan Sharma shows that mobile is the most pervasive technology ever invented.”

Depression & faith: Depression ≠ No Faith by Leanne Penny

“It’s not always easy to be a Christian with depression, because there are still some people in the church that really don’t understand.”

Enemy: “Who Is My Enemy?”A Reflection from Lee C. Camp

“If the light of Christ has overcome the darkness through suffering love, if at the cross of Christ the justice of God was satisfied, and if we are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus, what then? Could it be that the killing of Osama bin Laden is but a continuation of bin Laden’s ways, which in the end can only be overcome in the longsuffering love of Christ? These are neither trivial nor flippant questions, and I raise them with much trepidation.”

George Harrison: The Passion of George Harrison by Dave Urbanski

“More than a few interviewees note Harrison’s determined, at times defiant, nature, most notably when it came to his main spiritual thrust: The ultimate goal of seeing his body, possessions, and the earth itself pass away to make room for whatever was next.”

Government assistance: Myths and Facts: Poverty and the Federal Budget by Amelia Kegan

“Most Christians agree that helping poor and hungry people is an important part of Christian discipleship. But not all agree on what the government’s role should be in this effort. Research … suggests that government programs play an essential role in helping low-income families.”

Handwriting & your brain: How Handwriting Trains the Brain: Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas by Gwendolyn Bounds

“… researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.”

iPhone app: Prayer Notes

“If you don’t have a prayer app on your mobile device, yet, you may want to consider installing Prayer Notes. … We check Twitter. We check Facebook. We check email. … How about checking Prayer Notes?”

Journaling: Why I Don’t Journal: The Danger of Words by Dan Bouchelle

“I do not journal. … I know it is a helpful spiritual discipline for many. … What I need most is not to speak (or write) but to listen.”

Life lessons: Turning 60: The Twelve Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned So Far by Tony Schwartz

“For several weeks now, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned during the past six decades that really matters. Here’s a first pass …”

Non-violence: Nonviolent Resurrected Jesus by William Willimon

“… we have many instances in the New Testament of people violating and killing the followers of Jesus. But we have not one single instance of any of his followers defending themselves against violence, except for Peter’s inept, rebuked attempt at sword play. This consistent, right to-the-end, to-the-point of-death nonviolence of Jesus has been that which Jesus’ followers have most attempted to modify. … You can argue that violence is sometimes effective, or justified by the circumstances, or a possible means to some better end, or practiced by every nation on the face of the earth—but you can’t drag Jesus into the argument with you. … Sorry, Jesus just won’t cooperate.”