this went thru my mind

 

Annihilationism, conditionalism & hell: The Legacy of Edward Fudge & the Future of Conditionalism

“The inaugural Rethinking Hell conference will be held on July 11th-12th, 2014, at the beautiful Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas. This will be an historic occasion for the movement of Evangelical Conditionalism/Annihilationism, representing the first gathering of its kind.”

Anxiety, fear & worry: The Dark Doctrine All Churches Hold Dear [required reading]

“How do we become obedient to God’s stark call to refrain from worry?  Stop it.  It is a choice; not a circumstance.  It is obedience; not a mood. To ignore this strong Word from God is indeed to hold a very dark doctrine of rebellion.”

Change & conflict: The Reality of Change and Conflict

“Change invites conflict. You can’t escape that fact. But … avoiding change stifles growth. Which eventually leads to conflict. (Ever been a part of a declining organization…or church?) And … avoiding conflict allows tension to build. Which in the end creates more conflict. (Ever seen what happens when someone is silently angry with you long enough?) Therefore … In my opinion… avoiding conflict or change is impossible.”

Church & witness: Why the Church Can’t Seem to Get Traction in Society

“The reason the church cannot seem to gain traction in this mega-troubled society is we have joined the masses in trying to escape.  Ours is not the call to dodge incoming arrows of rejection; but rather for staying put in pain upon the cross that the hurting may find perfect and ultimate healing.”

Cicadas: The Return of the Cicadas [7 1/2 min. video]

“I’ve been working an a 1-hour documentary on cicadas since 2007 …”

Consumerism & minimalism: Living With Less. A Lot Less.

“Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago. Apparently our supersize homes don’t provide space enough for all our possessions, as is evidenced by our country’s $22 billion personal storage industry.”

Dignity, modesty, respect & swimwear: Jessica Rey – The Evolution of the Swim Suit [9 1/2 min. video; required viewing]

“… he had to hire a stripper to wear it.”

Meaning, significance, and work: God at Work: Not in Vain

“The things we do with our life will find their way, through the resurrecting power of God, into forever. Your work is important, not just because you can contribute to church, but because you get to partner with God! The resurrection of the world means that some of the best ministries, don’t have the word ministry in them!”

Ministry: The Pastor’s Job Description

“Three pastoral acts are so basic, so critical, that they determine the shape of everything else. The acts are praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction. Besides being basic, these three acts are quiet. They do not call attention to themselves and so are often not attended to. In the clamorous world of pastoral work nobody yells at us to engage in these acts. It is possible to do pastoral work to the satisfaction of the people who judge our competence and pay our salaries without being either diligent or skilled in them. Since almost never does anyone notice whether we do these things or not, and only occasionally does someone ask that we do them, these three acts of ministry suffer widespread neglect.”

this went thru my mind

 

Conflict & relationships: Sometimes Fault Really Is on Only One Side by John Stackhouse

“Jesus ran into conflicts all the time. Was there fault on both sides?”

Homeless: * Learning to See Homeless People by Jeremy Myers; * Homeless People: Your Neighbors With No Address by Jeremy Myers

* “I don’t know any poor or homeless people, do I?”

* “How can I help people like these? Should I even be helping them?”

Ecology & technology: The Periodic Table of iPhones [infographic]

“Right now, more that 90% of rare-earth minerals come from China, mostly because mining for rare-earth metals has been an environmental nightmare. But new processes are reviving rare-earth mining in the United States and elsewhere.”

Listening: How to Listen by Seth Godin

“The listener has nearly as big a responsibility as the speaker does … The hardest step in better listening is the first one: do it on purpose. Make the effort to actually be good at it.”

Marriage: Everyday Idolatry: The (Wrong) One by Jonathan Storment

“We always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” [Stanley Hauerwas]

Pharisees: Pharisees: Revisiting an Old Problem by Scot McKnight

“…  I am asking for the many who are still using “Pharisee” in the old-fashioned ‘religious bigot’ sense to be much more careful.”

Super Bowl: * Super Bowl 2013 Commercials; * 7 Life Misconceptions Portrayed in the Super Bowl Ads by Joshua Becker

* [Links to the Super Bowl Commercials on one page]

* “… as somebody who has developed great frustration over the consumer-driven culture that we live in, I observe marketing with a skeptical eye. I often seek to determine the underlying promise of any advertisement and uncover what else, other than the product itself, marketers are trying to sell me. Far too often, I discover their underlying message promotes foolish misconceptions about life. We would be wise to recognize and intentionally reject each of them. Consider just a few misconceptions on display during Sunday night’s Super Bowl.”

this went thru my mind

 

Archaeology: Book of Nehemiah Found Among the Scrolls

“Scroll scholars find first fragment of Nehemiah [in the Dead Sea Scroll.]“

Biblical imagery: Desert Moments [4:43 min. Ray Vander Laan video clip]

“… a high percentage of the Biblical images that teach us about who we are, who God is, what life is, come out of the desert.”

Conflict: 5 Reasons We Argue When We Agree by Ron Edmonson

“Have you ever argued with someone only to discover you agreed?”

Do Not Track: Twitter Supports “Do Not Track”

“Do Not Track (DNT) is a privacy preference that users can set in their web browsers. [It is a] … a simple way for users to inform integrated web services … that they do not want certain information about their webpage visits collected across websites when they have not interacted with that service’s content on the page.”

Facebook: * As Facebook Grows, Millions Say, ‘No, Thanks’ ; * Why I Won’t Be Quitting Facebook

* “Facebook still has plenty of room to grow … As it is, about 80 percent of its users are outside U.S. and Canada.”

* “More than just a daily habit, Facebook has become the place where I get important, often surprising glimpses into the lives of the … people with whom I’ve chosen to connect.”

GestationAlexander Tsiaras: Conception to Birth – Visualized [9:38 min. TED talk video]

“Image-maker Alexander Tsiaras shares for TEDTalks a powerful medical visualization, showing human development from conception to birth and beyond.”

Parenting: Would You Take Your Son to a Brothel?

“Would you have allowed your ten-year-old son to accompany you on that mission?”

Poverty: Sight-Seeing: Creating a Community of Love and Mutuality by Siu Fung Wu

“My experience in our community has convinced me that sharing lives with the poor and marginalised will help us come to a better understanding of the Scripture and God’s heart.”

Racism: Undoing Houston’s Racism: A Pastor’s Apology by Marty Troyer

“… if we in the church are going to lead the way in undoing racism, we need to understand this social evil.
So what does racism look like today in Houston?”

The Obama administration: The White House: Faith and the White House: Things I Bet You Didn’t Know by Mark Love

“The office for Faith Based Initiatives was formed during George W. Bush’s administration. It was an attempt to bring churches, synagogues, mosques, and other explicitly religious organizations into the mix in addressing pressing social needs. The Obama administration has not only continued the office, but greatly expanded its reach in virtually every corner of the federal government.”

this went thru my mind

 

Accountability: Why I Don’t Believe in Christian Accountability | A Response by Mike Breen

“God is constantly speaking to us and is inviting us to himself and his unfolding Kingdom. His desire is that the words he speaks deep into us will change the way we see the world around us (Repentance) and result in us living differently (Belief).”

Bible interpretation & science: Misreading the Bible’s “Scientific Accuracy”

“The point is whether God guided the Biblical authors to write in such a way that they spoke better than they knew about future scientific findings.”

Charles Siburt: For Charlie by Dan Bouchelle

“Like the rest, I am deeply conflicted at the news that Charlie’s battle with cancer is drawing to a close and Charlie is in his final days with us on this side of Jesus’ appearing to set all things right. I’m thrilled Charlie will soon be with his Lord. I grieve over the hole his departure will leave behind.”

Christian conservatism: Christian Conservatives Seldom Conserve the Real Tradition by Richard Rohr

” To be fair, many progressives and liberals are just as bad.”

Church potluck meals: Food, Glorious…Potlucks?

“If food is relational, what are we saying to our friends and neighbors when we invite them to church and offer them overdone Mostacholi à la bland with a side of 15 layer Jell-o dessert?”

Cremation: Cremation: Is It Okay? by Edward Fudge

“Our confidence finally rests not in a scientific explanation, or in metaphysical theories about immortal souls, but in the personal faithfulness of the living God who made us in the first place and in whose keeping we safely sleep until he raises us on the Last Day …”

Defining Christ’s mission: What Was the Mission of Christ? David Lipscomb Answers by John Mark Hicks

“I am often amazed at how some contemporary writers–missional and emergent–seem to believe that they have embraced a new vision for the mission of God. It also amazes me that some more traditional writers–some Evangelicals and some New Calvinists–regard the missional emphasis as a new understanding of the gospel. David Lipscomb (1831-1917) reminds us that such emphases are not new.”

Difficult people: How to Deal with Difficult People and Have Constructive Conflict by Joe Wilner

“When we encounter these extreme personalities it can feel like they are trying to make our life miserable, but more often than not, it’s simply learning about these peoples’ tendencies and how to interact in a more tactful way. Some conflicts are unavoidable and shouldn’t be smoothed over or suppressed, though it’s learning to deal with our differences, and how to understand, resolve, and learn from these interactions that’s important.”

Discipleship: Favorite Quotes: James A. Harding by John Mark Hicks

“Our greatest trouble now is, it seems to me, a vast unconverted membership. A very large percent of the church members among us seem to have very poor conceptions of what a Christian ought to be. They are brought into the church during these high-pressure protracted meetings, and they prove to be a curse instead of a blessing. They neglect prayer, the reading of the Bible, and the Lord’s day meetings, and, of course, they fail to do good day by day as they should. Twelve years of continuous travel among the churches have forced me to the sad conclusion that a very small number of the nominal Christians are worthy of the name.” (Feb. 1887)

Food5 Myths Haunting Your Healthy Foods by Jonathan Bechtel

“The bottom line in all these myths is that people mistakenly assume various certifications as proxies for nutritional quality, but their presence bears no meaning to the quality of food you eat when you hold other things equal. The best way to ensure you’re eating right is to consistently consume a diet of fresh foods with minimally processed ingredients, and spare yourself the confusion of deciphering the legitimacy of the latest fads of the health food industry.”

Form & function: Form Versus Function by Timothy Archer

“How do we know when fulfilling the function is enough and when to insist on the exact form?”

Google Reader: Make Google Reader Pretty with Reeder for Chrome by Bobby Travis

“Google Reader is the best RSS subscription collector out there — but only as a base. In practice it has one of the ugliest user interfaces I’ve ever come across. … Thankfully, some enterprising folks have used browser technology to re-skin Reader into something that actually makes content easy to consume. One of the best is Reeder for Chrome.”

Grief: Good Grief – the E-Book by Ben Witherington

“Mark Galli, senior editor at CT liked the Good Grief articles so well, that Christianity Today is turning them, plus another 35 pages of my reflections that don’t turn up on this blog, into an e-book which you can read on Kindle, and see the pictures in color on Kindle Fire. In addition, there will be a sample in the April print issue of Christianity Today. Finally, all profits from this book are going to be donated to a worthy charitable cause Christy would have supported.”

Leadership: Leading the Leaders (Someone Has to Steer) by Tim Woodroof

“When leadership of the elder group is passed (sequentially and regularly) to different men—with different personalities and preferences … with varying levels of leadership skills and experiences … influenced by diverse constituencies and sensibilities … with assorted understandings of and commitments to the stated goals and directions of the church—the result can be nothing other than confusion and ambiguity and ineffectiveness.”

“Masculine Christianity“: Call No Man on Earth Father: A Comment on “Masculine Christianity” by Richard Beck

“I particularly learned a lot from J.R. Daniel Kirk’s response (who knew the translation of El Shaddai had anything to do with mammary glands?).”

New creation theology/renewed earth theology: From Lipscomb to Wallace on “New Creation” Theology by John Mark Hicks

“My interest in this post is new creation theology, that is, the belief that God will renew this earth, unite heaven and earth, and dwell with his people upon that renewed earth for eternity. This was a rather commonly held view among 19th century Stone-Campbell folk though, of course, not the only perspective. It was certainly the understanding of the theological trajectory connected with the Nashville Bible School, particularly in the thinking of David Lipscomb and James A. Harding. By the end of WWII, however, renewed earth theology had all but disappeared. What happened?”

Small groups: Four Practical Reasons for Small Groups by Rick Warren

“We may attract attenders through preaching, but disciples are made in small groups.”

To-do lists: Using Your To-Do List as a Second Brain by Nate Klemp

“How do you break out of the must-remember-mind? How can you draw your attention away from endless mental to-dos to the experience of this moment? The answer is – you need a second brain, a brain dedicated to holding on to all those emails, tasks, and calls you can’t stop thinking about. Enter the to-do list.”

Work: When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Workload by Michael Hyatt

“Here are six things you can do to cope. … Acknowledge you can’t do it all. … Accept the fact some things won’t get done at all. … Practice workload triage. … Categorize your tasks by priority. … Practice intentional neglect. … Do the next most important thing next.”

at war

What is the source of conflict among you? What is the source of your disputes? Don’t they come from your cravings that are at war in your own lives? (James 4:1 CEB)

Far too often as Christians we live in the middle of a war zone. That’s bad enough, but what makes it an especially bitter pill to swallow is the fact we cannot deny, namely that we have no one to blame for the war but ourselves.

For many, this is the hardest part about being a Christian. The hardest part. Trust a God that can’t be completely understood? Lots of folks do that. Withstand mockery or abuse from folks who are antagonistic against Christian faith? Many do that. Resist a temptation that seems almost irresistible? I see it done all the time. All of this by the grace of God.

But to stay with a church over the long haul that is filled with systemic disputes and conflict? Well, let’s just say the casualty rate is horrific and the “collateral damage” is through the roof. It’s a tremendous challenge to survive in such a setting. Few can or will.

The ceaseless temptation in such an environment is to point the finger at others and then use the war and the gore as an excuse to walk away from it all. But James refuses to let us do so. He takes hold of our pointing finger and turns it right around at us and says, “Its your dispute. It’s your cravings. It’s your own selfishness that fuels the conflict. Deal with it.”

Where does all the conflict and disputes among you come from? It’s your own cravings, I tell you, that are the cause of the war (James 4:1 DSV)

Heavenly Father, by the grace of your Son, help me ever to deal with it; to deal with what I can. Me. Amen.